If the past year has given you the travel bug and you’re ready to get out there and have some adventures then March is a great time to visit some of the USA’s hottest spots (literally). You’ll be able to enjoy some iconic landscapes in manageable temperatures for less money than in peak seasons. It’s basically a win-win, so here are 20 ideas of the best places to visit in March in the USA to get you started…
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Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve – one of the best places to visit in the USA in the spring
For a truly awe-inspiring, and some say spiritual experience, take the winding dirt road through Antelope Valley in Southern California where blankets of poppies literally carpet the ground in flames of red and orange. 8 miles of foot trails weave through the resplendent blooms, showing off California’s state flower with pizazz.
Of course, we can’t completely second guess Mother Nature and weather conditions are a big influence on the poppy crop, but they roughly bloom for 10 weeks between late February and early May and peak for around three weeks between late March and early April. In a good year this is a breathtaking and unforgettable sight, but be sure to keep checking the Antelope Valley Nature Preserve website as your visit approaches for up-to-date information on the flowers.
New Orleans – for partying and fun in March
If, like me, you are a lover of literature, arts and culture but not a fan of scorching heat and crowds then visit New Orleans in March. The city really embraces the transition into spring with the big Mardi Gras celebrations beginning to wind down and many wonderful festivals emerging to replace them. The Tennessee Williams Literary Festival brings together budding writers and established playwrights for a programme of masterclasses and performances of original works and culminates with the popular ‘Stella’ shouting competition in The French Quarter. The LGBTQIA community celebrates its own literary heritage in the popular Saints and Sinners festival, which also takes place in March. Wednesday at the Square and Buku Festivals curate amazing immersive musical talents and there is plenty going on for foodies too. New Orleans is a vibrant city which embodies the spirit of springtime so it is no surprise that March is the perfect time to enjoy it!
Golden Isles, Georgia – lovely beaches and warm spring weather make it a perfect March destination
The Golden Isles are four beautiful barrier islands that lie between Savannah in Georgia and Jacksonville, Florida. The islands rise out of a vast area of marshlands, giving the appearance of one continuous stretch. The history of the area is as unique as its landscape and dates back hundreds of years to when Native American’s would enjoy the annual bounty of shellfish. Those early settlers were followed by missionaries and later slave traders who built huge plantations, meaning that the Isles are still a melting pot of cultures. In March gentle breezes and spring sunshine make it the perfect time to get out and explore nature before it becomes too hot and crowded. Stroll through shady woodland, picnic on sandy beaches, and watch the sun sink over the horizon.
Go nature spotting for rare Leatherback turtles, a plethora of birds, and leaping dolphins, or relax and enjoy some boutique shopping in pier village or fine dining in the quaint village of Redfern. For original Victorian architecture and specialty shopping and dining don’t miss historic downtown Brunswick, where brownstone townhouses and bright colored awnings lend an olde worlde vintage feel.
Philadelphia – beautiful blossoms and beer in the spring sunshine
It’s not always sunny in Philadelphia but in March there’s a good chance it will be bright and fresh, in fact March is the perfect time to visit the city! Probably one of the loveliest sights this time of year is the swathes of cherry blossoms in West Fairmount Park. You can enjoy a picnic and admire the manicured lawns, or stroll around the tranquil Japanese House and whimsical ponds and waterfalls, all under a fragrant canopy of blossom trees.
March is also a great time to enjoy a craft beer in the sunshine at one of the city’s many breweries and take in some of the lovely historical streets in neighborhoods like Spring Gardens. It’s also a great time to enjoy some local artist’s work in progress at Cherry Street Pier and hang out with arty types along the wonderful waterfront. Drive-in movies are also a big thing in Philly and the milder temperatures mean lots of opportunities to see cool films old and new in this classic American way!
Fairbanks, Alaska – for a unique March break with endless sunsets and Northern Lights
Fairbanks is a truly vibrant river city in the very North of Alaska and serves as the perfect base camp for the wilderness of Denali National Park… 6 million acres of alpine forests, snow-capped mountains, and untouched nature. It is a rare opportunity to go somewhere really remote and still enjoy the rich culture, heritage, and amenities of a city. The Icy temperatures mean the crowds tend to come here in the summer months but in spring, specifically March you can see the city and surroundings at their finest, under the breathtaking colors of The Northern Lights! March is the prime time to see the legendary Aurora Borealis.
It is also the season of midnight sun and endless sunsets and sunrises and of the World Ice Art Competition. You can enjoy the ice museum, hot springs, hot coffee, and a multitude of unique adventure sports! Try your hand at Ice Skating, Cross Country Skiing or safely spotting wildlife out in the wilderness. If you are lucky you might see Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Wolves, Moose and Caribou, and maybe even a golden eagle!
Texas Hill Country – one of the best places to explore in the USA in March
The Hill Country stretches splendidly between San Antonio and Austin and encompasses beautiful landscapes, historic towns and villages, natural wonders, and amazing wineries. March is the best time to visit as the temperatures are pleasant and the wildflowers are in full and resplendent bloom, especially the Texas Bluebonnets, lupin-like and a stunning shade of electric blue they are the official state flower. Nestled amongst meadows of wildflowers and gentle hills are several stunning historical towns of German heritage.
There are many to choose from depending on your preferences; Boerne is a great town with a wonderful cavern at its center and lots of quaint boutique shops and cafes lining its Main Street. The very German city of Fredericksburg oozes Bavarian charm, Kerville is one of the oldest settlements in Texas and perfect for history buffs. Finally don’t miss Lake McQueeney, not German but with its beautiful lake and babbling waters perfect for swimming you don’t want to miss it! The Texans love spring so as you travel through Hill Country expect to find plenty of cook-offs, festivals and cultural events to keep you entertained!
Nantucket and Martha’s Vinyard, Cape Cod – for a pretty March vacation with whale spotting and harbor towns
Avoid the hordes of deep-pocketed tourists and visit this iconic destination in the springtime! March is a wonderful time to visit Cape Cod as it is when the majestic humpback whales take up residence in the blue waters around the islands. Averaging between 40 and 50 ft long, seeing these amazing creatures propel themselves out of the water is something you’ll never forget.
It’s not going to be hot but that’s the trade-off for having the place virtually to yourself. Aside from the whales, you can enjoy the idyllic beaches, quaint fishing villages, sun-bleached harbor towns, historic lighthouses, and amazing seafood for a much more reasonable price than during peak season. You can also check out some of the legendary filming locations for Jaws on Martha’s Vinyard and get a glimpse of some of the crazy multi-million dollar summer estates of the rich and famous, all without battling through the crowds!
Petit Jean State Park Arkansas – for pleasant temperatures and no crowds
Well, you know I love a good story and the one behind Petit Jean, the oldest State Park in Arkansas is no exception. Legend has it that Petit Jean was a beautiful young French woman, who upon discovering her beloved meant to set sail for the Louisiana Territory, disguised herself as a boy and joined him on the ship. Surviving the journey the expedition arrived at the mountain where Jean fell ill and just before she died she revealed her true identity to her fiancé who buried her at the foot of the mountain in a grave marked ‘Little John’.
The park is now a beautiful expanse of unique landscapes carved out by Cedar Creek and packed with unusual bluffs and canyons and an impressive 95 ft waterfall that tumbles from the 100 acres Lake Bailey, created by Damming the creek. In March the weather is temperate, the trees are blooming and the sunsets are spectacular. There are several rustic cabins and the central Mather Lodge, all built in the ’30s and available for accommodation, as well as designated camping and glamping. Many gorgeous trails traverse the park and there is boating and Kayaking on Bailey lake as well as two outdoor pools. It’s the perfect accessible spring escape for lovers of the outdoors who find bigger parks daunting.
The Tidal Basin, Washington, D.C. – arguably one of the most popular flower festivals in the world
Each Spring Washington D.C’s tidal basin is transformed by acres of pink and white cherry blossoms. Thousands of tourists are drawn to the nation’s capital each year to witness the spectacle! Usually, the tree’s peak bloom is late March through early April but the unconventionally warm temperatures this year have experts anticipating an early bloom. In order to avoid heavy crowds and maximize beautiful photo opportunities, it is wise to visit the Tidal Basin in the early morning and catch the sun rising over D.C’s iconic marbled monuments under blankets of fragrant petals.
Use the rest of the day to explore the amazing city which is full of green spaces, awe-inspiring architecture, and wonderful museums and sculpture gardens. If you have limited time I recommend an open-top bus from beautiful Washington Union station which will take you around all the famous presidential monuments and Arlington Cemetary. If you have a bit longer be sure to take the train out of the center and visit some other historic districts such as Georgetown, with its famous university and the atmospheric steps used in The Exorcist, and DuPont Circle for eclectic nightlife exciting dining, and wonderful art in The Phillips Collection.
Kauai, Hawaii – for a warm March vacation in the USA
March is the perfect time to enjoy Kauai’s lush vegetation and beautiful beaches without the summer crowds. Although Kauai is the wettest of the Hawaiian islands and March is still considered the rainy season, the rain typically comes in short bursts and the sun quickly returns.
If you aim for the end of the month you will likely experience little rain, warm temperatures, and lower prices as peak season begins in April. Although Kauai is small it is not called’ The Garden Island’ for nothing and its abundance of colorful blooms will not fail to delight! Expect palm-fringed beaches, crystal clear waters, unique multi-colored canyons, rare wildlife, and plunging waterfalls… a little slice of paradise infused with the famed ‘Aloha’ spirit.
Fontainebleau State Park Louisiana – warm temperatures, sandy beaches and lovely scenery in March
Treat yourself to a stay in an iconic wooden cabin on stilts in this beautiful State Park that stretches for 2,800-acres along the crystal shores of Lake Pontchartrain. Historically a sugar plantation, Fontainebleau was named after the forest near Paris, the place of choice for centuries of french kings in their leisure time. Of course, we commoners can enjoy the many peaceful pastimes on offer in the Louisiana version, it’s a popular spot for all things aquatic; boating, canoeing, swimming, and of course sunbathing on the unspoilt sandy beaches.
Visitors can stroll beneath the centuries-old oak trees and native cypresses, or head out along the wooden pier and admire the crystal waters of the lake. In March the temperature is warm and the humidity fairly low, which makes it the perfect time to explore the 27 miles of hiking and biking trails along the Tammany Chase, which follows the route of the old railroad tracks. Bring a picnic and set forth for a beautiful, tranquil day in idyllic surroundings, unbelievably less than an hour away from New Orleans!
Providence Canyon, Georgia – a wonderful natural beauty spot to visit in March
Georgia gets very hot in peak summer season and as it is not a massive park it can also get very crowded. For easier hiking temperatures and uncluttered photographs of the beautiful ‘little grand canyon’ March is the perfect month for a visit. The park’s namesake is the canyon which plunges 150 ft at its deepest and is unusual as it is not completely natural but was partially formed by bad farming practice in the 1800s.
The park’s rock faces are especially spectacular due to the 143 varied shades that range from orange and red hues to pure white, catching the sun sinking behind them is a really special sight. Visitors can enjoy 10 miles of trails that circumnavigate the canyon rim and take in some of the park’s other wonders such as the cascading Providence waterfalls and the strange shells of old 1950’s automobiles that are relics of another era. For perfect clear night skies camp out in one of the areas around the canyons and witness the wonder of the stars without any light pollution to obscure them.
Atlanta – makes a perfect March city break
Summer temperatures in Atlanta are pretty intense, so Early Spring is the perfect time to take advantage of this southern gem. As the Southeast’s cultural hub Atlanta is positively teeming with creativity, arts, and mind-blowing history, it’s also a foodie heaven! As the historic epicenter of the Black Civil Rights movement and the birthplace of Martin Luther King, there are many iconic places to visit around the city, including the house where he grew up in and the Ebenezer Baptist Church where his father preached. Both buildings are now part of The Martin Luther King JR National Historical Park, a great place to take a stroll in springtime!
Another beautiful place to admire March in bloom is The Atlanta Botanical Gardens, whose landscaped grounds are budding with color in early spring. During the Jim Crow era restaurants played an integral role, becoming meeting places for activists and sometimes the center of disputes. The foodie scene in Atlanta reflects this passion and fusion of cultures and the famous southern hospitality, you can find delicious and innovative food at every turn. Be sure to leave space for some Georgia Bourbon Pecan Pie from Pie Shop in Downtown.
Saguaro National Park, Arizona – a wonderful springtime destination
Saguaro National Park is named for the iconic giant cactuses that have been known to grow up to 78ft tall, although the average height is about 40ft. Walking amidst these giants, especially as the sun sinks below the horizon is an eerie and wonderful experience. For a great view of the Saugaruo Forest hike up to the Valley View Overlook which offers an amazing panoramic vista of the Cacti.
If you really want to get in amongst them, try the Mica View Loop which takes you right through the middle of these amazing plants. In March you have the added bonus of all the beautiful wildflowers in bloom, splashing the desert landscape with color. You’ll also find ancient petroglyphs and an array of wildlife from bobcats to venomous Gila Monsters…I’d suggest giving both a respectably wide berth! Remember the park covers almost 100,000 acres and is split in two by the city of Tucson, for the best cactus action head for the smaller western portion.
Little Jerusalem Badlands State Park, Kansas – temperate geology without the crowds
The badlands are a vast acreage of ancient wilderness that will take you back to earlier times when the lands were occupied by the Oglala Sioux tribe. The landscape is arid and strange with rare Niobrara Chalk outcrops rising up out of flat prairies like temples. The name ‘Little Jerusalem’ refers to a mile-long collection of these white rocks that rise in awe-inspiring 100 ft spires and cliffs, bringing to mind the ancient city.
In March the temperature is mild and humidity low so it’s a great time hike one of the two permanent trails and treat yourself to the best views without navigating summer crowds. Aside from Little Jerusalem, there’s been traces of life dating back as far as 85 million years found here, so look out for amazing fossils of ancient giant clams and oysters!
San Diego – a balmy early spring break with laid back beach vibes and wildflowers
San Diego is awesome for many reasons, it’s beautiful, laid back, rich in maritime history, and surrounded by gorgeous swathes of ocean and parkland! In March you can catch some amazing festivals such as Paddy’s Day and The Annual San Diego Latino Film Festival as well as enjoy the many outdoor delights the city has to offer in the sunshine. You’ll also get better rates on flights and accommodation by avoiding peak season. History buffs will love the floating Maritime Museum whose large collection of historic vessels includes the Star Of India, the world’s oldest active ship! Art lovers can enjoy a tour of The Murals of La Jolla, an impressive contemporary outdoor gallery displayed throughout the village of ‘La Jolla’.
For totally chilled-out bohemian vibes I highly recommend Ocean Beach for cheap and delicious Mexican food, killer margaritas, and a real new wave ‘summer of love’/ surfy atmosphere. Just out of the city nature lovers will delight at the carpets of wildflowers in Anza Borego Desert State Park or the flower fields at Carlsbad Ranch. It is also the perfect time to catch the immense Gray Whales on their migration back north. These splendid beasts are usually around 40-50 ft when fully grown and their gentle demeanor has earned them the accolade of World’s Friendliest Whale. Take a little drive along the historic route 101 and see how many you can spot, or take an organized tour from the marina.
Arches National Park, Utah – March is a great time to visit this unique natural beauty spot
With intolerable summer temperatures of up to 100 degrees The Arches National Park’s peak season is often unbearable for those not accustomed to the heat. Add crowds to that and no matter how fabulous the landscape is it can be a miserable experience! It is wiser instead to head to the iconic park in early March when temperatures are far more pleasant and the crowds are yet to arrive. The Arches strange prehistoric landscape has become synonymous with Utah, and the instantly recognizable ‘Delicate Arch’ is now the symbol for the whole state.
With over 2000 of these otherworldly stone arches and relics of the nomadic Ute tribe, there is plenty to explore across the 119 sq miles of the reserve. Most of the trails are short and accessible with the exception of The Devils Garden Primitive Trail, which requires a slightly more seasoned hiker. For the ultimate Arches experience try and hit the park at sunset and see the whole thing cast in an ethereal orange glow, absolutely beautiful!
Palm Springs, California – hip without the searing summer heat
If you fancy yourself a bit of a hipster you’d better get to Palm Springs, a cool and artsy city long favored by the Hollywood jet-set for its glamorous elegance, sunshine, and healing springs. The city, which is nestled in the beautiful Coachella Valley between 4 mountain ranges is particularly notable for its many examples of mid-century modern architecture, swanky boutique shopping, and world-class art….and golf of course.
Whilst you’re there don’t miss the amazing Aerial Tramway for stunning views across the entire valley and perhaps a mountaintop lunch, or the amazing Sunnylands Public Gardens and Mansion. Although much of the Mid Century Architecture belongs to private owners you can still take in some amazing examples by taking a tour through the Tennis Club and Araby Cove districts. There are so many things to do but a visit to Palm Springs would not be complete without making the most of alfresco dining in the city’s beautiful restaurants… a little tip, go for ones that are tucked away off main tourist routes and you’ll get superior quality for a fraction of the price.
Sedona Arizona – a perfect early spring vacation for outdoor lovers
The desert town of Sedona near Flagstaff, Arizona is America’s answer to Glastonbury. In March hikers will delight in the perfect temperatures, rust-colored trails, and wildflowers in full bloom. Surrounded by majestic red-rock buttes and ancient pine forests the town has become a haven for people in search of spiritual and metaphysical healing and the streets are lined with new age shops and Native American-inspired treatment centers.
Much like the Ley Lines in Glastonbury, Sedona is believed to have several ‘Vortexes’, swirling centers of energy that seem to emanate from the red-rocks, which are regarded as a cathedral without walls or a natural henge. Here you can expect to find yoga retreats, hippy rituals, and all forms of spiritual healing, it is said that no matter what brings you to Sedona you will always leave feeling lighter and brighter with your spirit soothed, uplifted, and restored!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas – warm and mild, minimal rainfall and less crowds.
A great location for hikers in March, Palo Duro Canyon on the Texas Panhandle is the second largest Canyon in the USA and well worth a visit. After seemingly endless flatlands the Earth simply sinks and you’ll find yourself gazing over this spectacular Canyon, which is a whopping 120 miles long and plunges more than 800ft at its deepest point. The park’s most iconic rock formation is called the lighthouse and it rises out of the ground in 300 ft of splendid rust-colored rock…the hugely popular lighthouse trail is the best way to view it and also get amazing views out over the canyon.
It is also worth extending your stay to an overnight in one of the camping or glamping sites as the night skies in this part of the world are truly phenomenal! Look out for the unmistakable herds of protected Texas Longhorn cattle that roam freely across the land and adventure lovers might want to try the terrifying zip line that crosses the canyon between Dallas and New Mexico.
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