Warmer temperatures, lighter crowds, and low prices on lodgings and airfares make spring the perfect time to explore our great country. A spring vacation means longer days and shorter lines, and a certain natural beauty only found that time of year. Here are five of our country’s favorite spring destinations.
The Smoky Mountains
Dazzlingly colorful wildflowers blanket the forest floor of Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year as winter gently transitions to spring. Watch for the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage, which usually takes place in mid to late April. The five-day event features classes, hikes and ranger-led tours, and draws participants from all over the world. In May, the town of Pigeon Forge hosts Wilderness Wildlife Week, a variety of free programs that celebrate the rich history, culture, and natural features of the national park.
Moderate temperatures, lighter crowds, and great deals on area cabins also make spring a popular time of year in the Smokies with couples, families, and even the spring break crowd. Gatlinburg cabins offer a combination of luxury, convenience, and rustic charm. Couples appreciate the heart-shaped tubs, fireplaces, and serenity provided by a cabin stay. Groups and families like the large common areas multiple decks and the seclusion that the cabins offer, and plan their Smoky Mountains vacation as an annual event thanks to the reasonable costs, comfort and convenience that area cabins provide.
Park City, Utah
The well-known resort town of Park City, Utah, offers some great deals on lodgings in the spring, especially after the ski season ends. Park City’s picturesque Main Street has a variety of world-class restaurants, a trolley that runs up and down the strip, and a ski lift that leaves right from the center of town. Just thirty minutes west, Salt Lake City has several “don’t miss” attractions like the Mormon Tabernacle, the Utah State Capitol Building, and the City Creek Center. Park City is also a perfect place to begin the Utah Loop, a 1,500-mile loop that takes in six National Parks and Monument Valley. At Utah Olympic Park, you can watch elite athletes train and compete, as well as learn about the area’s Olympic legacy, any time of year.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
This small barrier island located just east of Savannah, Georgia, boasts 12 miles of gorgeous beachfront, 60 miles of bicycle trails, and a laid-back Low Country vibe. Perfect for a spring break with the family, Hilton Head gets far less crowded than South Carolina’s other popular beach town, Myrtle Beach. If golf is your game, Hilton Head has over two-dozen options, including courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Robert Trent Jones. The Harbour Town Golf Links at the Sea Pines Resort also hosts a PGA tournament in April of every year – you might recognize the red and white-striped lighthouse in Harbour Town from watching the tournament on TV. Many vacation rentals in Hilton Head have tennis courts, free bicycles, and private beach access. A maze of marshes makes Hilton Head a popular destination for kayakers, as well. Beautiful architecture, cobblestone streets, and Spanish-moss trees make nearby Savannah the perfect destination for a day trip if you need a break from the slow pace of Hilton Head. If you do visit Savannah, keep your eye out for the bus-stop and bench made famous by the movie “Forest Gump.”
The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place each spring in Washington, DC. The festival features tours, a parade, live concerts, and even kite-flying demonstrations. Typically, the cherry blossoms peak around April 4th, but some years they can be in full bloom as early as mid-March. Avoid the spring-break weeks and you should be able to find reasonably priced accommodations. Along with the Cherry Blossom Festival, DC also offers a wealth of historical attractions, including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and National Mall, all within easy walking distance of each other. The free Smithsonian Institution consists of seventeen different museums, as well as many galleries and a world-class zoo. Moderating temperatures from low 60s to mid-70s also make spring an excellent time to visit Washington. And, of course, thanks to all of the museums, monuments, and historical sites, you will never run out of things to do in DC.
The Southern California Desert
Abundant sunshine, acres of blooming wildflowers, and average temps in the mid-80s make the Southern California Desert a great place to visit in the spring. Known for mid-century modern architecture, luxurious spas, and high-end shopping, Palm Springs attracts visitors year-round. Music lovers flock to the area in mid-April of every year for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and in late April for Coachella’s country-music counterpart, Stagecoach. The moderate prevailing temperatures (at least by desert standards) make spring a good time to explore the rugged desert landscapes at Joshua Tree National Park. Wildflowers defy the arid climate and carpet the ground in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park every spring as well.