Travel Here for a Springtime Fling
AmsterdamBest known for its Red Light District, historic buildings and museums, Amsterdam has a lot to offer visitors, especially during the spring. At the end of April, visitors can celebrate King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) -- the largest festival in the Netherlands. Also, just a short distance from the city, Keukenhof is home to the world’s largest flower garden, which is best known for its annual flower festival and beautiful spring tulips.
CharlestonWith its rich history and Southern charm, Charleston is a perfect getaway for spring. Visitors can explore the city’s historic sites, shop on King Street, and enjoy authentic lowcountry cuisine while sipping sweet tea. Home to beautiful, waterfront Southern mansions, as well as American and Civil War history, Battery Park (pictured above) is a must-see while visiting one of the most romantic cities in America. 960 1280
Washington, DCIts abundance of museums, monuments and attractions are not the only reason people visit the nation’s capital this time of year. Each year, in March and April, millions of people flock to Washington to experience the beauty of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Visitors can enjoy beautiful weather and scenery as they stroll hand-in-hand under blooming cherry blossom trees lining the Tidal Basin. 960 1280
Tuscany, ItalyHome to some of the most exquisite art and architecture of the Italian Renaissance, Florence -- the capital of the Italian region of Tuscany -- is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year. The spring, when the weather begins to warm up and the flowers begin to bloom, is the best time to travel here -- and to avoid the summer tourists. Visitors can enjoy beautiful weather as they explore historic churches and monuments, get a taste of authentic Italian cuisine, or hop on a Vespa for a romantic ride through the Tuscan countryside, where they can tour some of Italy’s best wineries. 960 1280
US Virgin IslandsKnown as “America’s Caribbean Paradise,” the US Virgin Islands comprises 3 islands -- St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. Visitors looking to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of the islands should travel here in April and May when the peak season is over, and when airfare and hotel rates are less expensive. With miles of pristine beaches on St. John, to the rum distilleries and sugar cane plantations on St. Croix, and the famous 99 Steps on St. Thomas, each island provides visitors with something different. In April, visitors can experience the second largest cultural celebration in the Caribbean -- Carnival, a month-long event on St. Thomas that includes parades, fairs and calypso entertainment. 960 1280
St. LuciaFor travelers seeking a tropical and exotic getaway, a spring visit to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia is a must. For a spring fling, visit the most romantic spot on the island -- Soufriere Bay. Its landscape views of white sand beaches and Pitons provides visitors with some of the Caribbean’s most stunning views. In late April and early May, visitors can experience the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival -- a 12-day festival that showcases the island’s history and culture. 960 1280
TokyoAs the largest city in the world, Tokyo is chock-full of museums, monuments and attractions for visitors looking to experience the Japanese culture. In the spring, visitors can explore the 140 acres of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden or experience the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park. Located at the cultural center of Tokyo, Ueno Park has more than 1,000 cherry blossom trees and is the top destination for Hanami -- the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the blossoming of flowers. Between March and May, locals and tourists alike flock to Ueno Park to celebrate the blossoming with parties and romantic picnics.
San DiegoWith its beautiful beaches, San Diego is the perfect springtime destination for travelers wanting to experience the laidback California lifestyle without having to worry about bad weather. During the day, visitors can catch some sun (or some waves) at the city’s 2 most popular beaches -- Mission Beach and La Jolla, or tour the USS Midway aircraft carrier -- the most-visited naval ship museum in the country. Located downtown, the Gaslamp District is full of great restaurants and nightlife, and sports fanatics can attend a Padres game at Petco Park. 960 1280
MiamiThe warm sun, beautiful beaches and popular nightlife make Miami a top vacation destination no matter what time of year. In the spring, when the beaches and attractions are less crowded than in the summer, travelers can indulge their taste buds at VeritageMiami (formerly the Miami Wine and Food Festival), or participate in the Miami Beach Gay Pride celebration, the city’s largest 2-day event of the year. 960 1280
ParisEveryone dreams of spring in Paris. Each year, millions of visitors travel to the City of Light (and Love) to witness the spring blooms and elaborate gardens that grace some of the city’s most historic landmarks this time of year. Travelers can experience the beauty and romance of the city atop the Eiffel Tower, as well as during a stroll along the River Seine or through the Jardin du Luxembourg at Luxembourg Palace. 960 1280
New YorkAs the largest city in America, it’s no secret that NYC has a lot going on throughout the year. However, in the spring when the freezing winter temperatures begin to heat up, more and more people travel to the city to experience the blossoming trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, a 52-acre garden in the heart of Brooklyn. Other big draws include opening day for the Yankees and the Mets, and the annual Tribeca Film Festival. 960 1280
Puerto RicoAmericans can explore the beauty and history of Puerto Rico without having to travel too long. A few hours from Miami, Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan is chock-full of historic landmarks such as Fort San Cristobal and El Morro, exquisite beaches and various cultural experiences for springtime visitors. March’s Heineken Jazz Festival has become one of the leading festivals in Puerto Rico, showcasing traditional Latin music and Latin jazz for more than 20 years. For foodies looking to experience authentic cuisine from the island’s best restaurants, the Saborea Culinary Festival in April is a must-do. 960 1280
New OrleansFrom the French Quarter to the Garden District, the historic city of New Orleans is full of charm and soul year-round. While Mardi Gras is the city’s most well-known festival, the parties don’t stop there. In April and May, before the sticky summer temperatures set in, thousands of people flock to the Big Easy to experience other festivals, such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Festival and the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, where they can get a taste of the city’s authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine.
San AntonioBest known for the Alamo, San Antonio welcomes visitors year-round, especially during the spring months when they can enjoy the attractions before the summer heat and humidity set in. In April, Fiesta San Antonio -- one of the country’s oldest festivals -- celebrates the heroes of the Alamo with a variety of parades and free entertainment. Located a short distance from the Alamo, the River Walk is lined with restaurants, shops and entertainment, and is a great place for couples to experience the city’s history and culture. 960 1280
Austin, TXA popular destination for music fans, movie buffs and techies, Austin provides a variety of springtime activities and attractions that appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. Each March, the city hosts South by Southwest (SXSW) -- a multi-day music and film festival with more than 2,000 performers set up on stages across the city. For travelers more interested in gourmet food and wine, the Austin Food and Wine Festival takes place in April, and features top chef talent and winemakers from the local area and around the nation. 960 1280
Florence, Italy“For a taste of some serious amore, jet-set to the city of Firenze, where couples canoodle in piazzas, sharing bites of creamy gelato and soaking up the warm sunshine. Stroll across the quaint Ponte Vecchio with your someone special-- perhaps they’ll splurge on a gift from one of the iconic jewelry shops that line the bridge. Single women, beware: As you wander the streets, you’re sure to hear an Italian man call out to you, “Excuse me, I think you dropped something!” When you turn around, concerned and confused, they’ll laugh and say, ‘You dropped my heart!’” -- Allee, Producer 960 1280
Santa Monica, California“My favorite thing about spring is the changing of the weather, so I choose to be outside and by the water. My ideal spot for a spring fling would be Santa Monica, CA. I love Santa Monica’s quieter areas, away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk area, with lesser-known yet out-of-this-world restaurants that are home to memorable dishes. My first time having barbecued tofu was off the city’s Main Street. The restaurant, located behind a wooden fence, had no name on the front. Ask around. Folks will know!” -- Rani, Managing Producer 960 1280
Joe's Valley, Utah“Spring is the perfect time for a climbing adventure in Joe’s Valley, Utah. With ideal springtime temps, this is the best season to enjoy bouldering, camping and other outdoor fun. Located about 2 hours north of Moab, this is one of the world’s premier bouldering destinations, offering hundreds of sandstone boulders for climbers ranging from novice to professional. There is no better place to see the beauty of Southern Utah.” -- Arthur, Video Project Manager 960 1280
Charleston"Blooming magnolia trees and 75 to 80 degree weather make Charleston a great spring destination. You'll enjoy a mix of lowcountry culture, mouthwatering cuisine and beautiful beaches. And what could feel more like spring than strolling through garden plantations sipping on a sweet tea cocktail? It seems we aren't the only ones who have this Southern belle on our radar lately. Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards just named Charleston the 'No.1 City in America.'" -- Kathleen, Producer 960 1280
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina“When picking my perfect spring fling, my choice would have to be a road trip to Myrtle Beach. With over 100 courses, this stretch of coastal South Carolina is one of, if not the premier, destination for golf on the East Coast. Grab a few sixers, light up a couple of cigars and hit the links with some of your closest buddies -- it's the ideal mancation spring fling.” -- Ben, Producer 960 1280
Paris"I never knew the charm of spring … till April in Paris." American songwriter Vernon Duke's famous lyrics about the City of Light are so true. Paris' charm lies in its beautiful gardens, like the Jardin des Tuileries, where it's not uncommon to see couples and a group of good friends lying on the grass, chatting, sipping wine and snacking on a fresh baguette and cheese. Take a stroll by the Seine, visit the open-air market on Rue Montorgueil or people watch outside a café in Le Marais. Romance and a fun adventure are always around the corner no matter where you are in this historic city." -- Kwin, Managing Producer 960 1280
Washington, DC“Spring is a great time to visit DC’s National Mall. Enjoy a relaxing stroll along the Tidal Basin, the reservoir bordered by thousands of cherry blossoms in full bloom this time of year. Also, be sure not to miss the Tulip Library on the north side of the basin, where you’ll find nearly 100 varieties of tulips. And come nighttime, stop by the World War II Memorial, where you can sit by the edge of the cascading fountain at its center, resting your head on the shoulder of your evening date … who may just turn into more than a spring fling.” -- Lisa, Producer 960 1280
San Francisco"My latest spring fling took me to San Francisco -- a city ideal for any gastronomically-inclined couple, thanks to its plethora of great dinner date spots. From the hole-in-the-wall Ramen Underground to the farm-to-table-fresh Super Duper Burger, you'll indulge in basically the best food ever. After stopping for tea and cookies at the picturesque Japanese Tea Garden and a scoop of "Chocolate Smoked Sea Salt" ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, go for a bike ride down the Embarcadero or head back across the Golden Gate Bridge for a hike through the Marin Headlands to work off your week of foodie fun." -- Amanda, Producer 960 1280
Charlottesville, Virginia"I've heralded Charlottesville's charms before, but hear me out on why this college town is the perfect springtime getaway. Starting in April, you can catch the free concert series, Fridays After Five, and then dine alfresco on the Historic Downtown Mall. Round out the weekend with a bagel at Bodo's, a historic tour of Monticello and a drink on the patio of Blue Mountain Brewery or glass of wine at King Family Vineyards, with the Blue Ridge Mountains just beyond." - Sara, Producer 960 1280
Our Spring Vacations 9 Photos
Missouri Botanical Garden - St. LouisFrom its summer music fest to its holiday flower and train shows, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis hosts many annual events. But the garden easily stands on its own, with 79 acres of beautiful displays that include a 14-acre Japanese garden, the garden founder Henry Shaw's original 1850 estate home, and one of the world's largest collections of rare and endangered orchids. 960 1280
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden - Richmond, VirginiaSouthern charm abounds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. Its stunning classical domed conservatory houses an orchid collection as well as an annual butterfly exhibit (Memorial Day Weekend through mid-October). A giant accessible treehouse is part of the garden’s interactive children’s area. And in the winter, the garden dazzles with an annual display of more than half a million lights. 960 1280
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - Columbus, OhioLarge greenhouses make visiting Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, OH, easy year-round. The conservatory houses over 400 species of plants, in environments that include desert and rainforest habitats. Seasonal displays of blooms, from colorful bulbs to varieties of conifers and grasses, span the outdoor gardens. There is also a unique glassblowing pavilion for demos and classes. 960 1280
Desert Botanical Garden - PhoenixYou’ll quickly dispel any notion of a lifeless and colorless desert landscape when visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. With a distinct mission of focusing solely on desert plants, the garden’s 145 acres showcase over 50,000 plants, including a unique collection of cacti. The garden is great to explore year-round, but spring is especially popular for the annual butterfly exhibit and wildflower blooms. 960 1280
ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden - Albuquerque, New MexicoLocated in Albuquerque on the banks of the Rio Grande River, the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden has 36 acres of gardens to explore along more than one and a half miles of paths. Two popular exhibits are a Japanese garden designed by noted landscape architect Toru Tanaka and a children’s garden guarded by a 14-foot topiary dragon. The BioPark also includes a zoo and aquarium. 960 1280
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DCOne of the oldest botanic gardens in North America, the United States Botanical Garden was established by Congress in 1820. Located adjacent to the Capitol, this small garden packs a big punch. A conservatory and 2 outdoor areas display the garden’s collection of some 65,000 plants, including rare plants such as ferns that date nearly as far back as the garden’s founding. Like the nearby Smithsonian Museums, admission is free. 960 1280
San Francisco Botanical Garden - San FranciscoIt’s all about San Francisco Botanical Garden’s magnolias from mid-January through March. During this time, nearly 100 rare magnolias erupt in vibrant pink and white flowers. If you miss the garden’s magnolias, you can still feast your eyes on a towering redwood grove and rare cloud forest plants. The garden is located in Golden Gate Park, which is also home to a Japanese garden and flower conservatory. 960 1280
Atlanta Botanical Garden - AtlantaTake a 600 foot-long canopy walk among the branches of oaks, hickories and poplars, while looking down on native azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, perennials and bulbs. That’s just one of the fantastic ways to experience Atlanta Botanical Garden. There is also an orchid center with the largest collection of species orchids on permanent display in the US, a garden pond filled with aquatic plants, and a children’s garden with fountains, sculptures and fun exhibits on botany and ecology. 960 1280
New York Botanical Garden - New York CityYou’ll find this 250-acre oasis in the middle of the Big Apple. The New York Botanical Garden’s historic Victorian-style glasshouse provides a world tour of 11 distinct plant habitats, including a tropical rainforest and desert environments of the Americas and Africa. Two of the garden’s major events are its spring orchid exhibit and winter train show. 960 1280
Chicago Botanic Garden - ChicagoSpanning 26 gardens and 4 natural areas, the Chicago Botanic Garden draws about a million people annually. At nearly 400 acres, it is one of the largest botanical gardens in the US. And its collection of 185 bonsai is one of the best public displays of miniature masterpieces, with works by bonsai master Susumu Nakamura. Considered a living museum, the garden also does groundbreaking plant conservation research. 960 1280
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden - Coral Gables, FloridaSouthern Florida’s climate makes for year-round growing at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden located near Miami. Among its gems are rare exotic fruit species, including mangosteens, cacao and vanilla orchids. The 83-acre garden also has a butterfly conservatory that showcases almost 3,000 exotic butterflies. Visitors can watch butterflies hatch and be released into the conservatory. 960 1280
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden - DallasDallas is known as the city that does it big, and the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden doesn’t hold back. Its spring flower fest is the largest in the Southwest, featuring over 500,000 blooms, and in the fall, the garden becomes a pumpkin village, with over 50,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The 8-acre children’s area includes more than 150 interactive games and a 20 foot-high waterfall. 960 1280
Scarborough Renaissance FestivalTravel back to the 16th century at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. This annual fest in Waxahachie, TX, kicks off the first weekend in April, drawing crowds upwards of 200,000 to view some 200 performances, like this round of jousting and horsemanship. See more ideas for where to travel in April. 960 1280
The Final Four ChampionshipSee the best in college basketball face-off on the court at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. Hundreds of spectators will converge on the stadium to watch the Final Four Championship. Who will be crowned 2015’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Champs? 960 1280
King’s Day in AmsterdamEnjoy a ride along Amsterdam’s canals, and don your brightest orange, for the Netherlands’ annual King’s Day. The national holiday celebrates the Dutch royal house (and current King Willem-Alexander) with plenty of “orange madness,” in keeping with the Dutch national colors. 960 1280
Boston MarathonShow your Boston pride, and find something for everyone to enjoy. The annual Boston Marathon kicks off with a fitness expo featuring more than 200 exhibitors, followed by a 5K set to draw an estimated 10,000 participants as well as a relay challenge -- all topped by the grand celebration of city spirit on Patriot’s Day. 960 1280
Masters Golf TournamentTee up for the granddaddy of all golf tournaments. The 78th Masters Tournament kicks off the first of 4 major championships, with plenty of betting odds. Will Tiger Woods beat out Rory McIlroy for the green jacket? Head to Augusta, GA the first week in April to find out! 960 1280
CoachellaGet your music fill at the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. The annual 2-weekend, 3-day fest kicks off in Indio, CA, with more than 150 performances set for 2014. OutKast, Muse and Arcade Fire headline this year’s show. 960 1280
Alaska's Arctic ManGo fast, or go home! Prepare for the ultimate adrenaline rush at Alaska’s Arctic Man -- one of the world's toughest downhill ski races, and an exciting snowmobile race, all in one. Skiers begin at a summit elevation of 5,800 feet and drop 1,700 feet to the bottom of a narrow canyon where they’re met by their snowmobiling partner. 960 1280
Annular Solar EclipseGet out some cool solar shades, and head to the Land Down Under for an unforgettable show: In late April, the Moon passes between the Earth and the sun, creating a sight you don’t see every day. View the solar eclipse across Australia, in between checking out these equally exceptional Australia world heritage sites. 960 1280
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage FestivalLove jazz? Join fellow music lovers at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Held every year since 1970, the annual Jazz Fest, as it’s called, showcases nearly every music genre, from blues to R&B, and everything else in between. It’s all performed across 12 stages during the last weekend in April. 960 1280
Redneck Yacht ClubWanna channel your inner redneck? Head to Daytona, FL, for the Redneck Yacht Club’s downhome, rowdy roundup of fun: The Daytona Tune-Up Jeep and ATV Weekend features obstacle courses, mud holes and winding trails and hills, and, for the kids, an ATV challenge track, across hundreds of acres of trails. 960 1280
Marriott's Aruba Surf ClubThere are few hotels this nice on Aruba, with immaculate rooms, a large beach with water sports and a modern fitness center. And the Surf Club has family-style figured out: ping pong tables by the pool, a Nintendo Wii lounge for teens and a Lazy River -- a long, slow-flowing pool that carries rafters from one side of the property to the other.
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Majestic Elegance Punta Cana
Opened in late 2008, the 600-room Majestic is newer, cleaner, and more modern than most all-inclusives on the island. Its giant pool, soft-sand beach, great beds, nightly entertainment, and fun kids’ club make it a popular choice among families on spring break.
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Argonaut HotelThis nautical-themed hotel is whimsical yet elegant, with well-kept guest rooms, a restaurant that serves delicious fare and a free nightly wine reception. The hotel sits along Fisherman's Wharf, the city's family-friendly stretch of waterfront with a trolley-car terminus, the ferry to Alcatraz and plenty of shops and restaurants.
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Atlantis Paradise Island ResortBrimming with activities for kids and teens, Atlantis is a true Caribbean playground. The resort has 11 spectacular pools (including several kids' pools), a 141-acre water park, a speedway for racing remote-control cars, a rock-climbing wall and a marine habitat with sharks, stingrays and dolphins -- and that's just the beginning.
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Dreams Punta Cana ResortA megaresort with uniquely attentive service, Dreams Punta Cana will appeal to kids and adults alike: The Explorers' club offers a full schedule of activities for young children (like nature tours), and teens will love organized sporting events and the teen disco at night. A huge pool and a name-brand liquor for adults' is a really great deal.
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Hilton Hawaiian VillageThe largest resort in Hawaii, the amenity-packed Hilton Hawaiian Village has more to offer families than any other property in Hawaii: 5 pools; tons of animals on the grounds, including parrots and penguins; and calm, coral-reef-protected waters at the beach. Thanks to the Penguin Club, which plans field trips and activities for kids, you can relax sans kiddies.
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Hotel Casa Del MarOne of Los Angeles' only hotels directly on the sand, the beautiful Casa del Mar is home to spacious, luxurious guest rooms, a classy pool overlooking the ocean and an excellent spa, gym, and seafood restaurant. If that isn't enough, the amusement-filled Santa Monica pier is just a 15-minute walk away, and a 22-mile bike path passes by the hotel.
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Loews Miami Beach HotelIn a central part of South Beach and directly on the beach, the extravagant Loews boasts one of the area's biggest, best pools and a popular sushi spot as well as six other restaurants and lounges. Families will love it here: Enthusiastic counselors host beach tours and Nintendo Wii competitions at the Kids Camp, the Toy Library loans out beach shovels, and the hotel can even send DVDs and PlayStation games up to your room.
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Rose Hall Resort and SpaOne of Jamaica's best hotels, Rose Hall's modern features, professional service and huge on-site water park make this relaxed, beachside golf resort popular with families. The waterslides, waterfalls and swinging bridges of the Sugar Mill Falls water park are bound to be a hit with the kids, but a high-tech gym, a quality spa and 6 tennis courts make Rose Hall popular with parents, too.
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Trump International Beach ResortThe centerpiece of this beachside hotel may be its grotto-style pool, but the accommodating, genuine service truly adds to a stay here. And families will feel right at home: The large, family-size rooms all have kitchenettes, and many suites also include washer/dryers. Plus, unlike at other Miami hotels, the Kids Club at the Trump is free. Fees apply for meals and some art projects.
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