April is one of the best months to explore USA, to find a bit of early sun and shake off those winter blues. Springtime is also one of the most beautiful times to travel, the weather is getting warmer and flowers are coming into bloom. Whether you fancy a balmy city break or a hot beach vacation, here are the best places to visit in April in USA…
1. Naples, Florida – one of the best April destinations in the USA
Strategically placed along the Gulf of Mexico, Southwest Florida richly deserves its nickname of the “Paradise Coast”. When this town was founded in the nineteenth century, it was compared to the Bay of Naples, from whence comes its name. Naples is ideally situated to laze on the beach, escape to the wilderness of the Everglades or Ten Thousand Islands, or watch the Chubb Classic, one of the PGA events, happening during April. The weather during April is warming up (around 20 degrees), but has not hit the extremes of summer, with low rainfall, and accommodation rates are off-peak, so it is a good time to visit.
In addition to the attractions of tranquil white beaches and adventures in the adjoining nature preserves, there is great shopping and dining to be had. Naples is easily accessible from Miami, along the famous Tamiami Trail. It is also a quieter and more laid-back place to stay after the non-stop activity of Miami.
2. Texas Hill Country – for beautiful spring flowers and countryside scenery
The Texas Hill Country, just west of Austin, with its dramatic limestone and granite hills, is a scenic destination at any time of year, but late March and April are the must-go times, for this is when the area comes alive with carpets of wildflowers, especially Texas’ State flower, the bluebonnet, as well as primroses and Indian paintbrush. It is a time of celebration when you can explore the unique food of the region, which has a strong German heritage, as well as Spanish influences, which can also be seen in the architecture and heard in the local music.
What is not so well known is that this is a key wine region, with over 80 wineries, covering over 9 million acres. Although many of them were started by German settlers, the climate is not ideal for German cultivars, such as Riesling, so the main cultivars are French, Portuguese and Italian varietals, such as Pinot Noir, Touriga Nacional and Sangiovese; the Bell Mountain region specializes in white wines such as Colombard and Chardonnay.
So, if you are a foodie, a wine connoisseur, a rockhound or a nature lover, the Hill Country is one of the best places to visit in the USA in April!
3. Sedona – April is a great month to visit this outdoorsy US destination
As you would expect of a city-based in Arizona, the climate can be extreme, so April is a good time to visit as temperatures hover around 25 degrees in this month. Desert flowers are in bloom and the hills resound with spring birdsong, making it a special time for hikers and bikers. The red sandstone rocks pick up the rays of the rising and setting sun and glow as if they were on fire. Sedona itself is situated in the Coconino National Forest, which contains many ecosystems, ranging from deserts to pine forests and alpine tundra. The legendary Oak Tree Canyon meanders between Sedona and Flagstaff and is a very popular touring and hiking destination.
The town is not only known for its natural wonders; it is a favorite artist’s location, some of whom conduct workshops, where you can learn to express your inner artist. It also has many spas and retreats, where you can restore and revive yourself, surrounded by the beauty of the area. So much of it may look familiar to you; this is because Sedona has provided the backdrop to at least 60 Hollywood movies in the past. New Agers believe that Sedona is a sacred spot, and you will understand why on your visit there.
4. Antelope Valley, California – a springtime poppy paradise
Many of us cultivate California poppies in our gardens, with their brilliant orange flowers. Here is a chance to see them in the wild, growing as they have always grown, blooming in the springtime. Like all wildflowers, their floral show is determined by a number of factors, from rainfall to temperature, so it is difficult to guarantee when they will be on display.
However, April is a pretty good bet if you want to see the poppies in Antelope Valley, as they bloom somewhere between March and May. The state flower is celebrated in a Spring Festival, and the best time to view the miles of brilliant color is mid-morning when the flowers have warmed up and unfolded their petals. The color as far as the eye can see is an unforgettable sight.
If your partner or kids are not enthusiastic about gazing on the flowers, you can entice them by staying and visiting Lancaster, with its rich aviation and space travel history. It started in the 1930s with Muroc Airfield (later Edwards Air Force Base), which was used by the RAF during the Second World War as a training base.
5. Na Pali Coast, Hawaii – for a stunning and warm April vacation
April is a great time to explore the 50th State, with beautiful beaches beckoning, and the weather warm (around 28 degrees), but not summer-hot. There are only two seasons in Hawaii, summer (or Kau, from May to October) and winter (or Hooilo, from November to April). There is so much to see and do at this time of year, from watching surfing competitions to exploring the dramatic scenery.
The awe-inspiring coastline of Na Pali in north-west Kauai offers every type of traveler never-to-be-forgotten views of dramatic razor-sharp mountains and rocky terrain, with the exception of drivers, for the shore is too rugged to contemplate building a road along it. For the adventurous, there are hiking trails and kayaking tours, while there are catamaran and helicopter trips for those who are not so daring. Pristine beaches, stunning landscapes and waterfalls, and even archaeological sites are there to be explored and enjoyed.
6. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming – the perfect spring break for nature lovers
A few miles south Of Yellowstone and part of the Rockies, the Teton Range is a majestic range of mountains, separated from the plains of Jackson Hole by a dramatic fault. The Snake River meanders through the range and is fed by several of the lakes in the area. The skiing season closes towards the end of March/beginning of April, and too early for the summer crowds, so April is a good time to visit this beautiful place. There is no way a single visit will do the Park justice; there are over 300 km of hiking trails to be conquered.
The mountains are awe-inspiring: Grand Teton is the highest at 4199 meters, while the often-photographed “Cathedral Group” contains 8 peaks that are over 3700 meters. Even the valley of Jackson Hole has an average elevation of 2100 meters. The Park is not only for mountaineers and hikers, as the wildlife includes large herds of bison and other animals living in a pristine and almost untouched environment.
7. Bisti Badlands, New Mexico – for a unique April break in the USA
These rather forbidding plains, with their bizarre rocky outcrops, have been inhabited by man for at least 12 000 years, and archaeological sites of the Anasazi can be found in the area. One of the characteristic outcrops in the Badlands is the hoodoo, a distinct pillar- or totem-like rock formation with a limestone top.
The fossils here are impressive and new dinosaur species are still being unearthed. The “Bisti Beast” was discovered in 1998, a new tyrannosaurus species, and as recently as 2017, the skull of a Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus, a strange-looking duck-billed dinosaur was found, only the second of this species.
April is a good crossover time to visit; between the rigours of winter and the heat of summer, making it comfortable to hike or just wander among the rocks – temperatures hover around 19 degrees here so perfect for long hikes.
8. Tidal Basin in Washington, DC – easily one of the best places to explore in April
This is a must-see destination to visit in April and a famously beautiful one too. Head to the Tidal Basin in Washington DC and you’ll see the pretty blossom trees which were actually a gift from Japan in 1912. The historic trees signal the beginning of spring and they have an average peak bloom date which falls in April.
The trees explode into a wonderful sea of light pink and white blossoms and around 70% of the flowers of the cherry blossom trees are open around 4th April but sometimes the bloom peak occurs as late as 18th April. The bloom lasts around 14 days but is well worth a trip to see it!
9. Palm Springs – for a hot April vacation
Palm Springs is a great place for sun and hot weather in April as temperatures reach 31 degrees. It has always been famous as a retreat for showbiz stars, retirees, and snowbirds escaping cold winters. While there is entertainment and shopping aplenty, and about 100 golf courses, there are lots of other opportunities, especially for outdoor experiences.
The area is well provided with hiking trails, there are Jeep adventures to be had, and there are cultural experiences too, like visiting the Agua Caliente Cultural Museum, a tribute to the original inhabitants, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, who still live in the area. There is a great hike in Tahquitz Canyon, part of the Agua Caliente Reservation, where you can admire a spectacular seasonal 60-foot waterfall, rock art, ancient irrigation systems, native wildlife, and plants. This Canyon is sacred to the Cahuilla Indians.
Another attraction you might enjoy is the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which rotates on its short journey to the Monte San Jacinto State Park. The Tramway Mountain Station is much cooler than the valley and has 2 restaurants. You can reserve a camping site there too if you want to get an early start on some of the adjacent hikes.
10. Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs – a beautiful place to go in April
A major attraction in Colorado Springs is the Garden of the Gods, with its scenic sandstone rocks. In April, the snow may not have melted on Pikes Peak, which overlooks the Park, adding more impact to the dramatic scenery.
Your first stop should be the Visitor and Nature Centre, which includes an interactive museum. There is a documentary on how the rocks were formed and information about all the activities available in the Park. There are several trails of about 20 km in total, including the Perkins Central Garden Trail, which is accessible for wheelchairs and prams. You can walk, horse-ride, cycle (or Segway) or even take a Jeep ride, and afterward you can refresh yourself in the cafeteria. For those of you traveling with furry friends, they are welcome on leads, and there are even some areas where they can walk off-leash. This is a very popular and challenging spot for rock climbing, but permits are required.
Many First Nations have a spiritual connection to the Garden of the Gods. There are petroglyphs to be found in the Park that are attributed to the Utes, but the Comanche, Apache, Lakota, and Cheyenne are also some of the tribes that revere this area.
11. Miami – makes the perfect beach/city break in springtime
Miami is the world’s playground, with something for everyone, from nature lovers and golfers to compulsive shoppers and disco addicts. It is always hot and humid, but April is a great time to visit because it is somewhat cooler and there is less rainfall – temperatures can reach around 26 degrees. Its proximity to Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean gives in a tropical and exotic flavor quite different from much of the United States. The contrast starts when you arrive at Miami Airport, where the customs forms are in English and Spanish, and there are districts like Little Havana and Little Haiti for you to explore.
And there is so much to see and do, from celebrity spotting around South Beach (or in their hideouts in Coral Gables), to nature watching in the Everglades or the other preserves, like Big Cypress. South Beach is also a must-visit for Art Deco aficionados, after which you can visit the trendy beach or head off for the relative quiet of other beaches such as Bal Harbour or North Beach. There are so many attractions around Miami to visit too, like Naples and the Keys.
12. Flint Hills, Kansas – the last remaining area of tallgrass prairie in the world
This is a special place to visit in the USA as all over the world, grasslands are shrinking, mainly because they provide excellent land for cultivation. We are waking up to the importance of the grasslands and the biodiversity they protect. The prairies of North America and the life they support are steadily being restored and protected, but have mainly been converted to farmland. April/spring brings a mix of warmer weather, rain, and sunshine, so it’s a vibrant and verdant time to visit.
Elks are now extinct in the area, but the bison herds are starting to make a comeback, although nothing like the millions that originally grazed the prairies.
There is a Discovery Centre in Manhattan, Kansas, which is worth a visit to explore the history and science of the prairies, dating back to fossils 250 million years old. However, there is nothing to beat standing on the slopes and realizing that these grasslands have looked exactly like this for thousands of years, and are still home to birds and animals that thrive in the prairie.
13. San Diego – for beaches and sunshine in April
April is a great time to visit San Diego as it’s much less crowded, there is still plenty of sun and temperatures hover around 20 degrees.
Most people flock to “Beach City” for family fun on the beaches. Mission Beach is a good swimming beach, with a boardwalk and rollercoaster, or you can investigate the tidal pools at La Jolla, when the tide is low, and snorkel at La Jolla Cove, part of the Underwater Park.
If you have maybe had a bit too much sun, head for Balboa Park, which you would need at least a week to explore, taking in the 18 diverse museums or some of the cultural events happening there. On Sunday, listen to the concert on the Spreckels Organ, the world’s largest outdoor pipe organ. The Air and Space Museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian and has something for kids of all ages, including the actual Apollo 9 Command Module, and flight simulators, plus a Kid’s Aviation Action Hangar. The Museum of Us, a tribute to California’s human diversity, is housed in the California Building with its iconic tower, across the Cabrillo Bridge, another San Diego landmark.
Finally, at the end of the day, tuck the kids in bed, taste some Baja cuisine, dance the night away in one of the nightclubs or view one of the many shows on offer.
14. Nantucket Island – fewer crowds and beautiful scenery
Nantucket was a thriving whaling center in days gone by and it remained something of a ghost town until the 1950s when people started buying up the 18th and 19th-century houses that make it a National Historic Landmark District. Although the total population is only 11 000, it can swell into 50 000 during peak tourist season, so the shoulder months are a good time to visit.
Nantucket is reached by ferry from Cape Cod, a 30-mile trip. We recommend April, firstly because it is off-peak and accommodation prices are more affordable and secondly because it is daffodil season, and the flowers are growing everywhere and the locals go daffodil-crazy for the whole month, with car parades, picnics, and daffodil dress-up competitions.
There are plenty of other diversions too; visit the Whaling Museum; although thankfully most people are against the cruelty of catching whales now, the history and how it shaped the island is stirring. You can walk, cycle or even catch a bus to view the historic buildings dotted around the island, although there are also guided tours. If you have children with you, there are plenty of activities for them, from the beaches to boat rides.
15. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – perfect for a springtime family vacation
Myrtle Beach is a small, but a fast-growing city on the South Carolina coast that attracts around 20 million tourists a year, seeking the warm climate and welcoming beaches. April is a great time to visit, as it is a bit quieter than March, which is when Ontarians flock to Myrtle Beach to escape their weather and they are cordially welcomed. It is also the time when the “Coastal Uncorked” festival of food and drink is held. Temperatures hover around 22 degrees.
The resort is popular with golfers, and has 80 golf courses on offer. It also has a vibrant nightlife, with nightclubs, theatres and concerts offering a wide range of entertainment. However, it is the warmth and the beaches which bring most tourists to Myrtle Beach again and again. The Boardwalk is one of the best in the US, great for a stroll along the coastline, or, if you need a rest, hop on to the SkyWheel, and view the beaches and the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a water park and an amusement park for the kids.
16. Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia – for an awesome outdoor break in April
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia is relatively small by US standards, but the dramatic gorge is home to 6 waterfalls along its course. The canyon is two miles long and 1000 foot deep, and there are walking and cycling trails along the rim where one can marvel at the spectacular scenery. There is also a trail along the gorge floor, for which permits have to be obtained (a limited number are issued, subject to certain conditions).
One of the best reasons for adrenaline junkies to visit the Gorge in April is that on the first two weekends, water is released from the Tallulah Falls Dam, upstream from the gorge, making the river a paradise for whitewater rafting and kayaking. This is also when the gorge trail is not accessible. There are other weekend releases during the year, in November and during spring. They also allow the less intrepid tourist to get a glimpse of what the river looked like before the dam was constructed.
17. Blue Ridge Parkway National Park, North Carolina – a beauty spot to explore in springtime
If you are planning a road trip in April or springtime, The Blue Ridge Parkway, all 755 kilometers of it, should definitely be on your list. Firstly, it travels through scenic areas of North Carolina and Virginia, and secondly, it is not a commercial route, with a maximum speed limit of 70 km or less throughout, so you will not be competing with trucks and drivers in a hurry to get somewhere. The parkway is closed during winter, but opens in spring again, and, despite the closure, has been one of the US’ most visited parks since 1946.
There are attractions en route, such as a visitor center, but what makes the Parkway unique and special is its amazing biodiversity. Whether it is the 4000 species of plants, over 250 bird species, 80 of which migrate through the park, or the chance of spotting black bears ambling along, this is a nature watcher’s hotspot. During April, Robinia trees brighten the landscape with their copious cream blossoms and watch out for peregrine falcons, which have been reintroduced and now breed here.
18. Florida Keys – one of the warmest places to visit in April in the USA
The Florida Keys must be on everyone’s bucket list for places to visit. A string of coral islands cascading south of Miami, reaching almost to Cuba, the Keys, especially Key West has been a favorite spot for writers and artists to retreat to and be at their best creatively. April is a great time to visit – the winter crowds have gone, the hotel rates have become cheaper and temperatures hover around 27 degrees.
You can visit Tennessee Williams’ and Ernest Hemingway’s houses, enjoy the numerous art galleries on the main islands, as well as even taking in the outdoor art when driving down the highway. The Overseas Highway, linking all the islands, is an experience in itself. If you are feeling exceptionally energetic, you can do the bike trail from Key Largo to Key West. Still a work in progress, it is about a 3-day cycle.
For those who enjoy nature, both on land and in the water, there are many habitats to explore, from Key Largo’s John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, to the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. Reduced to less than 30 deer in the 1950s, the population has recovered to 800 plus animals today. You can also swim with dolphins and birdwatch to your heart’s content.
19. Natchez – for history, culture and walking trails
If you’re looking for a charming springtime break filled with history, culture and some great walks then opt for Natchez. The temperatures hover around 25 degrees so April is a very pleasant time to visit.
The town has a very varied history altogether, with occupation by the French and as a center of the slave trade for the cotton plantations in the area. This dark past is remembered by commemorative plaques at the Forks of the Road Slave Market site and at the African American History and Culture Museum. There are also many formidable Antebellum homes that can be visited – Longwood is interesting because the upper stories were never completed. Auburn and Choctaw Hall should definitely be on your list.
When you have spent a busy day exploring the town and need a rest, take a stroll to Bluff Park and gaze on the Mississippi as it passes the town. This is a wonderful spot to watch the sunset on Natchez before you hit the restaurants and nightspots.
20. Moab, Utah – perfect for a small town break in April
If you are planning on visiting the Arches or Canyonlands National Parks, chances are, you will be staying in Moab. However, Moab is much more than a place to stay while visiting the parks, it has events all year-round and restaurants serving cosmopolitan cuisines as well as local specialties. The temperate climate makes it a year-round destination, with April being the start of the tourist season, so the town is not too crowded.
People come to Moab to enjoy the great outdoors, and you can pick from whitewater rafting, mountain biking, offroad driving, rock climbing, and hiking, to name a few activities. If you have not brought your own bike or four-wheel drive, there are plenty of hire shops to accommodate you. For hiking, there are lots of trails around Moab among the red rocks and canyons, outside the national parks. At the end of your fun-filled day, chill over a glass of beer from one of the microbreweries, or go shopping for local arts and crafts, before deciding which eatery to patronise.
21. Arches National Park, Utah – more pleasant temperatures and less crowds
Arches National Park, located right next to Moab, is well-named: it contains over 2000 sandstone arches, the most arches to be found in one spot globally. The best time to visit is outside summer, as the heat can be debilitating, so April and October are good months. Rain is never an issue; the annual rainfall is about 250mm. Despite the low rainfall, this area has been occupied continuously since the Ice Age, by a succession of communities, including Pueblans, the Ute, and Paiute First Nations, and early Mormon settlers. It was in the 1920s that the outstanding beauty of the landscape was contemplated to be a tourist attraction and was declared as a national monument, later becoming a National Park.
There are many activities available, from hiking to cycling and self-driving. Due to the fragility of some of the rock arches and pillars, there are strict rules about climbing, especially famous arches such as Delicate Arch. It is possible to camp overnight, with a permit, which gives you the opportunity for stargazing, and there are astronomy excursions as well. Enjoy!
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