Mad About March

We’re mad for March, absolutely, certifiably mad. Men’s basketball tops our list, plus spring break, a new cruise and, of course, St. Paddy’s Day. See what else we’re mad about this month!

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Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby

On your mark, get set … it’s off to Louisville for the granddaddy of all horse races. In time-honored tradition, the 140th annual Kentucky Derby -- the first leg of the Triple Crown -- kicks off the first Saturday in May. Settle into your seat at Churchill Downs racetrack on Central Avenue, sip a mint julep and enjoy the "Most Exciting 2 Minutes in Sports." 960 1280

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Mother’s Day Tea at The Plaza

Mother’s Day Tea at The Plaza

Mom is always fussing over you, now’s your chance to turn the tables -- in style. Treat Mom to afternoon tea at The Plaza’s Tea Room. A tradition since the hotel opened in 1907, tea at this NYC landmark has inspired scenes in popular films and novels, including Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Mom can enjoy a selection of sandwiches and savories from the Fitzgerald Tea for the Ages and The New Yorker menus. 960 1280

The Plaza  

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

La lumière, la caméra, l'action! Slip on some shades, and head to the French Riviera for the largest annual showcase of cinema in the world. Don’t have a ticket to events inside the Palais des Festivals et des Congres building where the festival is held? Pas de probleme! Enjoy open-air shows at the Cinema de la Plage, and for celebrity sightings show up extra-early outside the Palais. You may just spot Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman or Steven Spielberg on this year’s red carpet. 960 1280

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Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500

Rev up for the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Part of the Triple Crown of Motorsports (with the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans right behind) this annual race is quite possibly the largest single-day sporting event in the entire world, attracting roughly 400,000 spectators. Head to Indianapolis the last weekend in May, and prepare for a high-speed show around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval circuit. 960 1280

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Brighton Festival, England

Brighton Festival, England

Enjoy a 3-week celebration of music, theater, dance, art and film at the 47th annual Brighton Festival. Held each May in the southeastern English city of Brighton and Hove, the gathering is the largest multi-art form festival in all of England: More than 370 performances from artists such as Sinead O’Connor and 3-time Grammy winner Lucinda Williams, are slated for 2013. 960 1280

Brighton Festival  

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Take in the small-town charm of Winchester, VA, in this 6-day celebration of spring. First held in 1924, the annual festival packs a wallop of more than 30 events into its lineup: band competitions, dances, parades, carnival, a 10K race, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah and so much more, attracting crowds in excess of 250,000. 960 1280

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival   

Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank

Whale Watching, Stellwagen Bank

Did winter come and go without you getting a chance to see whales? There’s still time: Between May and September, more than 400 orcas swim in the waters around Canada’s Vancouver Island. Or head to the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago about 1,000 miles from Lisbon, where sperm whales gather from May to October. Closer to home, Stellwagen Bank, a submerged sandbank between Cape Cod and Cape Ann in Massachusetts, attracts the endangered North Atlantic right whale to its waters. 960 1280

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Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival

When chef Mark Abernathy of Arkansas restaurants Red Door and Loca Luna kicks the bucket, he wants to skip heaven and head straight for this food extravaganza. Such is the praise heaped on this annual fest by critically acclaimed chefs. Now in its third year, the gathering celebrates the best of Southern cuisine’s past and future, with cooking and cocktail demos, tasting tents and seminars on everything from the history of the Southern cocktail to Southern beer culture. 960 1280

AFWF/Raftermen  

National Bike Month

National Bike Month

Dust off that old bike, or buy a new one: It’s National Bike Month. Cities nationwide, including Austin, Boston, Santa Barbara, and Portland (pictured), are among the cities actively participating in the event. In San Francisco, you’ll find “energizer stations” this month, with food, drinks, red blinky lights and reflective leg bands available for bikers participating in the month-long public awareness campaign. Sounds like a great way to get free stuff -- and get in shape! 960 1280

Portland  

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo (meaning "fifth of May" in Spanish) right here in the United States. Nationwide, there are more than 120 official US celebrations, spanning 21 states, in cities such as Cleveland, Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta. The holiday stretches back to the first few years of the American Civil War, when Mexican-American communities sought to commemorate the causes of freedom and democracy. Head to downtown Denver for one such celebration: Here, members of a Mexican folkloric dance academy perform at the city’s Civic Center Park. 
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Vesak (Buddha Day)

Vesak (Buddha Day)

Seeking enlightenment? Celebrate Buddha’s birthday this May. Or take in the festivities as Buddhist devotees mark the occasion in Southeast Asian countries from Nepal to the Indonesian island of Java (pictured). Here, Buddhist monks pray at Borobudur, a 9th-century temple (and UNESCO World Heritage Site) that is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction. 960 1280

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Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Head to this amphitheater at Carlsbad Caverns National Park for a grand show: Each May Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from a large, rocky passage within Carlsbad Cavern in search of a tasty mix of insects for dinner. In case you’ve happened on this wondrous sight in southeastern New Mexico with your family (and your kids have questions), a park ranger gives an informative talk as visitors wait for the bats to come out. 960 1280

carlfbagge, flickr  

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Midnight Sun, Arctic Circle

Midnight Sun, Arctic Circle

The sun shines at … midnight. Take in the magical sight of the midnight sun this June in places like Hornstrandir, Iceland’s northernmost peninsula, just a few miles from the Arctic Circle. Here, the sun is visible for 24 consecutive hours, as the sun barely disappears below the horizon. 960 1280

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Nude Bathing, Iceland

Nude Bathing, Iceland

Keep Father Time -- and maybe a few wrinkles -- at bay with a nude dip in a balmy hot spring. That personal prescription for wellness comes straight from Icelandic lore, and true to form, Icelanders take a nude dip in hot springs and the surrounding sea every June 24. They also live long lives. Coincidence? 960 1280

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Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

See the Purple People Eater, Sushi the Flying Fish and other colorful balloon characters soar through the skies of California’s wine country. Since its start 23 years ago, this annual summer event in the town of Windsor, CA, has gone on to draw balloon pilots from all over the country. You can also enjoy a tethered ride, hovering 50 feet above the ground. 960 1280

star5112, flickr  

Destination Wedding in …

Destination Wedding in …

Getting married this month? Don’t just dream of being a June bride, make it a reality in some of the most weather-perfect places to tie the knot this month. Our friends at weathertrends360 have forecasted June’s top 5 clear-sky destinations: Bar Harbor, ME (best time June 21-30); Orlando (June 1-8); NYC (June 21-30); Napa Valley (June 9-16); and San Francisco (June 10-17). 960 1280

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Summer Holiday in Newquay, UK

Summer Holiday in Newquay, UK

If you love to surf and travel, combine both passions with a trip to this seaside town in southwest England. June kicks off the best time of year to visit Newquay, widely touted as the surf capital of the UK. Situated on a gorgeous stretch of the Atlantic Coast, the town boasts 9 long and easily accessible beaches – head to Fistral Beach, home to some of the best breaks in the area. 960 1280

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Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez

If all things French are calling your name, book a trip to Saint Tropez. June is one of the best times of year to savor this glamorous seaside town on the French Riviera, home to beautiful beaches like the golden-sand stretch of Plage Port Grimaud. Plan your last-minute getaway with our travel deals experts. 960 1280

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Gay Pride Celebrations

Gay Pride Celebrations

Celebrate freedom (and some really wild getups) in month-long gay pride celebrations worldwide. LGBT pride parades from San Francisco to Sydney are the highlight of the festivities, which hearken back to the days of gay resistance to police aggression in June 1969 at NYC’s Stonewall Inn, now a National Historic Landmark. 960 1280

Reuters  

Midsummer Festival, Sweden

Midsummer Festival, Sweden

Let the sun shine in! When the summer solstice arrives … and the Earth’s semi-axis is most inclined toward the sun … head to Sweden for the country’s traditional Midsummer Day, in late June. Here, locals carry heart-shaped wreaths as part of the festivities in the Swedish town of Leksand, about 150 miles from Stockholm. 960 1280

Reuters  

Kamehameha Day

Kamehameha Day

Get out your grass skirt out … and get ready to hula! It’s Kamehameha Day! Each June, Hawaii honors the monarch -- depicted here in a towering bronze statue in downtown Honolulu -- who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaii and brought coffee and pineapple to its shores. Plan your Hawaii getaway with our Big Island Weekend Guide. 960 1280

Daniel Ramirez, flickr   

Philippines Independence Day

Philippines Independence Day

Head to this archipelago of 7,107 islands in the western Pacific for the country’s national holiday marking its call for independence, first proclaimed in June 1898, and finally realized in 1946. Relax in a hillside villa on the small island of Boracay, or book a stay at El Nido Resorts, located on various islands in the area. 960 1280

REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo  

Katmai National Park, Alaska

Katmai National Park, Alaska

There’s only 1 place in the world to see this iconic image: Southern Alaska. And there’s only 1 time of year to see it: Late June through the end of July. Head to Katmai National Park to see some very hungry brown bears enjoy a feast of sockeye salmon that make their annual migratory run from the northern Pacific Ocean into park waters -- Brooks Camp is the place to the see this unrivaled nature show. 960 1280

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South Florida’s Summer Savings

South Florida’s Summer Savings

You can’t jump into June without jumping into South Florida. Seriously, now is the time to enjoy discounted rates (in some cases, up to 50%) at area hotels and resorts. See how to do Miami and Fort Lauderdale on a budget, and for popular, family-friendly beach vibes, check out our Delray Beach Guide. 960 1280

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National Caribbean-American Heritage Month

National Caribbean-American Heritage Month

June kicks off hurricane season in the Caribbean, but don’t let that stop you from savoring Caribbean heritage … right here in America. President Obama has named it National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, and among the festivities happening nationwide is the DC Caribbean Carnival, an annual parade and festival held in late June. 960 1280

Alex Barth, flickr  

Queenstown Winter Festival

Queenstown Winter Festival

If you’re hungry for snow, hightail it to this annual festival in New Zealand, which attracts thousands of skiers and snowboarders to the blindingly white slopes surrounding the resort town of Queenstown. A big draw is Coronet Peak, located 12 miles north of town, where powdery terrain comes courtesy of some of the country’s best snowmaking facilities. 960 1280

Queenstown Winter Festival  

Spoleto Festival, Charleston

Spoleto Festival, Charleston

Enjoy one of the world’s major performing arts festivals this June in Charleston, SC. Founded in 1977, the Spoleto Festival was the brainchild of Pulitzer Prize-winning Italian-American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. The 17-day-long fest, named in honor of the ancient Italian city of Spoleto, showcases established and emerging artists through more than 150 performances of jazz, theater, dance, opera and classical music. 960 1280

Julia Lynn  

Lollapalooza (Chicago)

Lollapalooza (Chicago)

Head to Chicago's historic Grant Park for a 3-day, ultimate jam session featuring artists from a variety of genres, including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip-hop. Past performances have included Charlie XCX, Tyler the Creator, Kings of Leon, Eminem and Lorde.   960 1280

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La Tomatina (Bunol, Spain)

La Tomatina (Bunol, Spain)

Tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes are the star of this annual tomato-throwing festival. La Tomatina, possibly the world's biggest food fight, has been held in the town of Bunol in the Valencia region of Spain since 1945. Let loose and start throwing, just make sure to bring a pair of goggles -- more than 100 tons of over-ripe tomatoes will be thrown into the streets! 
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PGA Championship (Kohler, WI)

PGA Championship (Kohler, WI)

Love golf? Tee up and head to this annual golf tournament, one of the 4 major championships in pro golf. This year's PGA Championship takes center stage at Whistling Straits in Kohler, WI. 960 1280

Kohler  

Happy Birthday, Hawaii!

Happy Birthday, Hawaii!

Do your patriotic duty, and honor the Aloha State with a visit this month -- August 21 marks Hawaii?s admittance as the 50th state. Lap up the waves on Oahu's North Shore; and for culinary fare, we've got the inside scoop on 4 ways to eat like a local on Oahu. 960 1280

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Elvis Week (Memphis, TN)

Elvis Week (Memphis, TN)

Shake, rattle and roll! Memphis, TN, marks its annual Elvis Week celebration each August. There's always something for Elvis fans, including the big draw each year, the annual Elvis Tribute Artists contest. Who will be crowned the King? 960 1280

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Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, ME)

Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland, ME)

The annual Maine Lobster Festival kicks off this month, and you won't want to miss a moment of it! Over the course of the 5-day festival, more than 20,000 lbs. of lobster will be served -- lobster rolls, lobster wraps, lobster Caesar salad? Did we say lobster? Plus, see the annual Lobster Crate Race, cooking contest and the Maine Sea Goddess coronation! 960 1280

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Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival (Seattle)

Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival (Seattle)

Get a full dose of culture during Labor Day weekend. Head to Seattle for this music and arts fest -- it's one of the largest in North America. Bumbershoot began in 1971; today the annual gathering draws artists in film, music, spoken word, theater, dance, visual arts and more. Like we said, it's big. 960 1280

Christopher Nelson  

US Open Tennis Tournament (Queens, NY)

US Open Tennis Tournament (Queens, NY)

The stars of tennis hit the court for one of the oldest tennis championships in the world. First held in 1881, the US Open is the fourth and final tennis major of the year’s Grand Slam tournaments -- and the only one held in North America. The cash prize can has been more than $24 million. See the high-stakes action in Flushing Meadows, Queens, NY. 
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AFP / Getty Images  

Cowal Highland Gathering (Dunoon, Scotland)

Cowal Highland Gathering (Dunoon, Scotland)

Nice legs! See big, brawny men in flowing Scottish skirts compete in the largest Highland games in the world -- the Cowal Highland Gathering. Also known as the Cowal Games, the annual event is held in the Scottish town of Dunoon, attracting more than 23,000 spectators to celebrate Scottish and Celtic culture. 960 1280

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images  

Hatch Chile Festival (Hatch, NM)

Hatch Chile Festival (Hatch, NM)

Chile aficionados, get your peppery fix at the Hatch Chile Festival. The annual fest kicks off at the end of August, and showcases mouthwatering (and burning) chile-packed dishes such as creamed corn, burritos and cheeseburgers. Thank Hatch Valley?s volcanic soil, plentiful sun and 4,000-foot elevation for their chiles' tasty perfection. 960 1280

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Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, NV)

Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, NV)

Imagine spending a week in a remote desert, cut off from the outside world, to experience and celebrate life. Get your chance at Burning Man -- the largest outdoor festival in North America. Each year, the annual event, held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, welcomes more than 60,000 people. You might want to switch your cell phone to airplane mode for this one. 960 1280

REUTERS/Jim Urquhart   

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Sturgis, SD)

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Sturgis, SD)

Drive through South Dakota?s famed Black Hills, and meet 400,000 hardcore bikers and babes at the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The annual event takes place the first week of August, with the usual motor-roarin? fanfare and bad-ass leather. But what we want to know is: Do you have what it takes to win this year's Best Redneck Tattoo Contest? 960 1280

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State Fair Season

State Fair Season

State fair season kicks off in August; see the stars of the season like the Orange County Fair (pictured), which draws more than 1.5 million fairgoers, or the Minnesota State Fair, which Andrew Zimmern calls his own slice of heavenly obsession. With state fair staples like ice-cold lemonade and fried treats, we can see why. 960 1280

Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

World’s Longest Yard Sale! (127 Corridor Sale)

World’s Longest Yard Sale! (127 Corridor Sale)

Proving one man's trash is another man's treasure grab a wad of cash for the World's Longest Yard Sale! Held the first or second week in August, this frugal-shopper's dream stretches more than 690 miles -- from its birthplace in Jamestown, TN, all the way north to Addison, MI, and south to Gadsden, AL. 960 1280

Stephen Digges/Getty Images  

August Doins Rodeo (Payson, AZ)

August Doins Rodeo (Payson, AZ)

Slip on a pair of boots, and head to the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo. First held in 1884, the August Doins Rodeo takes place each August in Arizona’s cool mountain town of Payson. Hold on to your hats, you’re in for some heart-stopping action! 960 1280

Andy Towle/Roundup  

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