The Best Places to Travel in March
These are the top places to visit this shoulder season.
March is a month of transition—to spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn south of the equator. It’s not too late to find snow for some late-winter skiing or snowboarding, and in Manchester, Vermont, you can enjoy winter sports along with local maple syrup, made from sap gathered in early spring. If you can’t wait for summer weather, head to the Caribbean for warm tropical beaches.
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You’ll also find warm temperatures in Florida, and with Ponte Vedra as your home base, you can enjoy the beach, America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, and a PGA TOUR professional golf tournament. March is ideal in Death Valley, where wildflowers may be blooming and the weather is comfortable for exploring. In New Orleans and New York City, March brings St. Patrick’s Day festivities, but you can also enjoy the many museums and great restaurants these cities offer. A spring visit to Washington, D.C. for the National Cherry Blossom Festival is a lovely experience, and there’s plenty to see in the nation’s capital. Austin, Texas is the perfect destination for music, nightlife, breweries, and the annual rodeo.
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If a trip to Europe is your idea of a perfect spring vacation, visit San Sebastian to enjoy its scenery, seaside location, and marvelous dining, ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to casual pintxos. Australia is experiencing tragic bushfires, but tourism to unaffected areas continues, and visitors are welcome. Check with your airline and specific destinations as you plan to visit Travel + Leisure’s 2020 Destination of the Year.
These are the best places to travel this March.
Death Valley, California
March is a popular month to visit Death Valley, with good reason. Temperatures are climbing well into the 70’s, with nights still in the 50’s. Death Valley National Park, located more than 200 feet below sea level, is the lowest place in North America, with weather extremes during the year ranging from lows in the 30’s to summer highs nearing 120 degrees. Wildflowers may appear in late March (depending on the winter weather), and there’s so much to explore. Your first stop should be the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to plan your visit and learn about the region’s history. Watching the sunrise at Zabriskie Point makes an early wakeup worthwhile, and the dark night sky, especially during the new moon, provides spectacular views of stars you’ve probably never seen before.
In the valley’s oldest structure (dating back to 1883), the Borax Museum displays historic mining equipment, wagons, and locomotives, highlighting the area’s history as a mining capital for borax, a commonly used laundry product. Gold was also mined in Death Valley, and the Keane Wonder Mine allows visitors to see the gold mining operation dating to the early 1900’s. Oasis at Death Valley offers several kinds of accommodations for any type of traveler. Try the family-focused Ranch at Death Valley, complete with a general store, restaurant, ice cream and coffee bar, and Last Kind Words Saloon, or stay at the historic four-diamond Inn, offering classic hotel rooms, new casitas, a spring-fed pool, and an intimate dining room. Golfers will enjoy playing the lowest elevation course in the world, Furnace Creek Golf Course.
New Orleans, Louisiana
There are so many reasons to visit NOLA in March, although there’s something to enjoy at any time of year. One of the best things about this southern city is the food — ranging from simple dishes like beignets, po’ boys, and muffalettas to upscale cuisine. The New Orleans Bourbon Festival from March 11-14 will feature tastings, bourbon pairing dinners, a burlesque show, and more, in festive speakeasy style. From March 18-22, the annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience will give visitors the opportunity to indulge in delicious food and wine alongside music and entertainment. St. Patrick’s Day, on March 17, is a big event in New Orleans, with parades, block parties, and celebrations lasting more than a week.
In its 34th year, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival from March 25-29 honors the American playwright with readings, classes, panel discussions, theater events, writing competitions, walking tours, and the closing night “Stella and Stanley Shouting Contest,” with participants calling Stella as Stanley does in the film based on Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. While you’re in NOLA, visit the National WWII Museum and stay at the new, 1940’s-inspired Higgins Hotel. In the French Quarter, enjoy the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans set in a 1908 Beaux Arts building.
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
The capital of South Australia, Adelaide should be on the itinerary of anyone visiting Australia, Travel + Leisure’s 2020 Destination of the Year. March is an ideal time to visit, with dry weather and temperatures in the 70’s as they head into autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The annual Fringe Festival is in full swing, covering February 14-March 15 with entertainment of all kinds, including comedy, theater, circus, cabaret, magic, music, dance, and more. Shows are at venues throughout the city, giving visitors the opportunity to experience Adelaide’s lively food, wine, and bar scene. Public transportation is readily available, and the airport is just a 15-minute drive from the city. Visit the 150-year old Central Market for seasonal produce, meats, seafood, cheese, and baked goods, or stop at a cafe for a bite to eat. Take a morning walking tour for an overview of the stalls and tastings of their products.
Wine lovers will want to spend some time in the Adelaide Hills wine region, home to more than 60 wineries specializing in sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. Take a 45-minute drive to the McLaren Vale wine region, best known for Shiraz and some of Australia’s oldest grape vines. While there, check out the beaches, hiking trails, and country farmers’ markets. Australia’s animals are always an attraction, and Cleland Conservation Park is the place to see kangaroos, wombats, bush babies, and koalas. Sadly, Australia has endured bushfires that have caused extensive damage and loss of human and animal life. Before planning your trip, be sure to learn whether your desired destinations are accessible and open. If they are, they will likely welcome visitors.
Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis
The two islands of Saint Kitts and Nevis (pronounced NEE-vis) make up this eastern Caribbean nation, an independent member of the British Commonwealth. St. Kitts is the larger island, and Nevis is smaller and more tranquil. Nevis Peak, a dormant volcano in the middle of the island, attracts hikers who challenge themselves to reach the summit, as well as others who enjoy walking the trails on the lower slopes. Along the coast, secluded sandy beaches are perfect for swimming, diving, or just relaxing. The natural volcanic hot springs have been an attraction since the 18th century when the historic Bath Hotel was originally built.
Other historic buildings, including the remains of sugar mills, plantations, and churches can be seen throughout the island. Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis and spent his early years in a home set on Charlestown Harbor. Wildlife includes sea turtles, tropical birds, and green vervet monkeys. Stay on the slopes of Nevis Peak at the Golden Rock Inn among tropical gardens in one of the historic Inn’s eleven rooms. On Pinney’s Beach, The Four Seasons Nevis offers newly renovated guest rooms, private villas, luxurious amenities, boating, a spa, tennis, and golf. Guests can participate in a favorite Nevis pastime —kite flying — and make their own kite with the help of a Four Seasons experience coordinator.
Set in southern Vermont between the Green Mountains and the Taconic Range, Manchester is about 200 miles from New York City and 165 miles from Boston. Late-season skiing usually continues through March at nearby Stratton Mountain, Bromley Mountain, and Mount Snow. Here, you can find snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, dog sledding, ice skating, and all the winter sports you might be after. The local maple sugarmakers gather sap from thousands of Vermont’s maple trees to begin the process of making maple syrup from late February through early April. Vermont is the largest producer of everyone’s favorite pancake topping, and visitors can see local sugar shacks and learn about the process of turning tree sap into delicious maple syrup.
The charming New England town is fun to explore, with art galleries, shops, local specialty foods, and a designer outlet mall. A stay at The Equinox Golf Resort and Spa would make a perfect March getaway, whether you’re seeking a final winter trip or anticipating spring. The historic inn dates to the American Revolution, but it was known by different names through the years, and it evolved into its present state after major renovations and the addition of the golf course during the 1990s. Dining venues include the Chop House and Marsh Tavern, and the Falcon Bar features an outdoor fire pit and live music on weekends. The spa offers a heated indoor pool, fitness center, and a range of services, including the popular Maple Scrub.
New York, New York
March is a great time to be in the Big Apple, with so much going on as spring arrives. Art fans will enjoy the annual Armory Show from March 5-8 on Piers 90 and 94, a premier art fair with exhibitors from around the world. At the Whitney Museum, a special exhibit of Mexican muralists and their influence on American art will be held from February 17-May 17. The Museum of the City of New York will showcase basketball’s development along with the city’s culture, music, fashion, and history in a special exhibit opening February 14. The annual New York International Children’s Film Festival, from February 21-March 15, presents new feature films, short programs, documentaries, and animation from more than 30 countries.
Be the first to see the new Broadway productions opening in March, including American Buffalo, Diana, Mrs. Doubtfire, Company, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Plaza Suite. If you haven’t seen the new Hudson Yards development with its shops, hotels, residences, restaurants, and the unique centerpiece, the Vessel, it’s time for a visit. In March, the highest sky deck in the western hemisphere, Edge, will open at Hudson Yards, for thrilling views of the city through its glass floor. The St. Patrick’s Day parade on Tuesday, March 17 is another reason to be in the city mid-month, and the festivities continue after the marching ends. The annual Macy’s Flower Show takes place in March at the famed Herald Square store, with dates to be announced soon. New York’s hotels, restaurants, entertainment, museums, and shops make a visit at any time of year an experience to remember.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival from March 20-April 12, 2020 is a perfect reason to visit the nation’s capital in spring. Events include the colorful Blossom Kite Festival on March 28, when thousands of kites will fly on the National Mall. The timing of the blossoms depends on weather conditions, and you can track predictions on Bloom Watch. There’s tons to see in Washington D.C., with the Smithsonian Institution offering something for every interest in its eleven museums and galleries on the National Mall (plus six other museums and the National Zoo). March is Women’s History Month, and several new exhibits are opening, including “Hearts of our People," featuring the work of Native American women at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and “Creating Icons: How We Remember Women’s Suffrage” at the National Museum of American History, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020.
Award-winning restaurants and casual cafes make dining in Washington, D.C. part of the experience, with something for everyone. Stay at the Thompson Washington, D.C. in the Navy Yard neighborhood — this hotel has dining options including Roman-style trattoria Maialino Mare and rooftop Anchovy Social, which offers 360 degree views of the city and waterfront. Or choose the Marriott Marquis Washington, D.C., which spans nearly a city block near the Convention Center.
Ideal weather and lots going on make March a great time to visit Austin. Its Rodeo Austin happens March 14-28, and there’s a carnival, petting zoo, Wild West show, music, pig races, food vendors, livestock show, and of course, rodeo competitions like steer wrestling, roping, bull riding, and barrel racing. From March 13-22, the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals (SXSW) celebrate film, music, comedy, and creativity with notable keynote speakers, exhibitions, events, and gatherings. Austin Country Club will host the PGA TOUR’s 2020 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play from March 25-29. Known for music and live entertainment, Austin’s neighborhoods offer a variety of styles, restaurants, shops, and venues. That creativity carries over to art, with museums like the Contemporary at the Jones Center and the Blanton Museum of Art.
Dining ranges from upscale to casual with BBQ, Mexican cuisine, and more. Venture out to Texas Hill Country for wineries, or visit Austin’s wine bars and tasting rooms to sample local products. Taste the spirits made in Austin’s distilleries, including Garrison Brothers, the state’s oldest whiskey distillery producing Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Beer fans will love Austin’s craft breweries. Places to stay include downtown’s Hotel ZaZa, the East Austin Hotel, and the Austin Proper Hotel. Set on a hilltop overlooking Lake Travis about 20 miles from downtown, Miraval Austin offers a retreat and an assortment of unique treatments and activities.
San Sebastian, Spain
Set on the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s Basque Country, San Sebastian is called Donostia in the Basque language. In summer, Playa de la Concha, San Sebastian’s popular beach, attracts visitors from around the world, and it’s just as gorgeous in March, although a bit chilly for swimming with temperatures in the high 60’s. Stroll along Concha Promenade for views of the sea and stay for sunset or an after-dinner stroll. Dining in San Sebastian is an attraction any time of year, whether you enjoy dinner at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants or go for the pintxos, miniature tasty bites served in a casual atmosphere with a beverage. Standard pintxos include mushroom tartlets, codfish fritters, prawns with bacon, or any number of delicious tastes, originally served on a slice of bread. Be sure to taste txakoli, a local white wine, and if time allows, take a day trip to the wineries in Getaria. Or enjoy cider, made from fermented apples in one of the many nearby cider houses.
From March 9-12, dFeria will celebrate the performing arts as one of several cultural festivals held throughout the year. The Tabakalera, formerly a cigarette factory, was refurbished in 2015 and is now known as the International Centre for Contemporary Culture, presenting film, contemporary art, music, and performing arts. Visit the Old Town to experience San Sebastian’s social center, with bars, historic buildings, churches, and more pintxos. Lodging ranges from campsites to five-star hotels, and San Sebastian is located about 65 miles from Bilbao Airport, with connections from many European cities.
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
Early spring is an ideal time in Ponte Vedra, with temperatures in the low 70s, little humidity, and sunny skies. Once the home of Timucua Indians, the area was visited by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon when he landed in 1513 on what is believed to be present-day Ponte Vedra Beach. The area’s history also includes time as a mining center, and its name was changed from Mineral City to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1928. Today, white sand beaches, luxurious resorts, golf courses, and residences line the shores of Ponte Vedra Beach, conveniently located just 22 miles from Jacksonville and 26 miles from St. Augustine. The oldest city in the nation, St. Augustine was founded in 1565, and its centuries-old buildings and horse-drawn carriages blend with art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
Among attractions, the Lightner Museum, housed in the former 1888 Alcazar Hotel, is home to a collection of fine and decorative 19th century art. A tour of Flagler College, a National Historic Landmark, highlights the Spanish Renaissance architecture of the former Hotel Ponce de Leon. The World Golf Hall of Fame and PGA TOUR Golf Academy at World Golf Village attract golf fans from around the world to play and to improve their skills. From March 10-15, the annual Players Championship will take place in Ponte Vedra at the challenging TPC Sawgrass course. Stay at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa or at one of the Ponte Vedra Beach Resorts for easy access to the shore, restaurants, and local attractions.