K.C. Dermody / Mar 14

Best Places to Travel in Spring

K.C. Dermody / Mar 14

Spring can be an ideal time for a getaway. With the weather warming, flowers blooming, and often opportunities for off-season hotel rates and airfare. When thinking about the best places to visit in April and May, you have many fabulous options. 

Whether you want to stay closer to home, venture to an enchanting European destination, or even charming Asia, there’s something for everyone on this list. You’ll find everything from bucket-list spots with botanical gardens to cities for marveling at an endless sea of pink-and-white cherry blooms, and even the desert bursting into life with colorful wildflowers. 

Best International Travel Destinations in the Spring

Lisse, Netherlands

The Netherlands is one of the best places to visit in Europe in the spring. It’s home to one of the most stunning gardens in the world: Keukenhof. Located just 40 minutes from Amsterdam, the Keukenhof is the largest flower garden on Earth. It’s open between mid-March and mid-May every year when the country’s famous tulips are in bloom. 

Not only will you see countless tulips in an array of various colors, but you’ll also see lilies, orchids, daffodils, irises, roses, hyacinths, and more. You’ll see millions of flowers here, which ought to fulfill your goals for a spring visit. 

Visitors can also enjoy the ‘whisper boat excursion’, floating along the waterways that meander through the gardens in a virtually silent vessel while taking advantage of the many Instagrammable shots.

While you’re here, you’ll find many other things to do too. Amsterdam offers a wide range of attractions, including the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and opportunities to explore its picturesque canals. There are many intriguing museums in The Hague too, including Mauritshuis which displays Ver Meer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and if you like cheese, the towns of Gouda and Alkmaar both host cheese markets from April through the summer. 

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

One of the world’s most beautiful cities, Victoria is known as the “Garden City” and it’s also home to one of the most breathtaking botanical gardens on the planet: Butchart Gardens. The best months to visit are April and May when trees, shrubs, and some 300,000 flowering bulbs burst into life. 

There are many other things to do in the British Columbia capital too, including a tour of the grand Parliament Buildings with their domes, turrets, and stained glass set along the Inner Harbour, renowned for its food and drink scene. 

Don’t miss the Royal BC Museum, often ranked the best in Canada, showcasing seven million artifacts related to natural and human history. It includes everything from collections focused on Genghis Khan and the Vikings to the RMS Titanic. 

Tokyo, Japan

Japan is world famous for its cherry blossoms, with the cherry blossom season known as the sakura season. In Tokyo, the flowering begins around the end of March and will be in full bloom during the first week of April. The hotspot is Shinjuku Gyoen, a vast park in the heart of the city. While it’s just steps from one of the world’s largest business and entertainment centers, it offers an incredible oasis with more than a thousand cherry trees, along with magnificent ancient temples. 

While you’re in Tokyo, you can also enjoy everything from endless shopping opportunities in Ginza and exploring Tsukiji Market, the world’s oldest and largest fish market, to visiting the Tokyo National Museum and immersing yourself among the endless neon lights in Akihabara, the famous electronics district.

Paris, France

Paris in the spring may be a bit of a cliche, but it’s also a classic. This season may be the very best time to visit with pink-and-white-flowered cherry trees scattered through the city creating a magical backdrop for photos. In the beautiful Parisian gardens, you’ll also see roses, banana trees, majestic sculptures, and centuries-old fountains. The Louvre not only hosts world-renowned works of art, but it has its own gardens that will be exploding with color. 

While in Paris, you won’t want to miss a day trip to Giverny, just over an hour’s drive away to see what inspired Claude Monet. Giverny Monet’s Garden includes tranquil water-lily ponds and wildflowers, with both Monet’s house and the grounds open for public visits from April through October.

Rome, Italy

If you want to join in on the best Easter celebration (the Catholic version), travel to Rome. There’s nowhere else on the planet that does it like the Eternal City, with the holiday celebrated with as much excitement as Christmas. Europe in April can be gorgeous, especially in the spring with warm weather (but not scorching). 

Easter week is usually in early April, although it’s occasionally in March, and always begins on Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. On Good Friday, mass is held at Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (a separate city-state, but in Rome) and the Pope will read in meditation in multiple languages. It’s a moving experience, even for those who aren’t religious. 

The Pope delivers a blessing to the city and the world, known as Urbi et Orbi, at the central loggia of the basilica on Easter Sunday. You will need to book tickets in advance, but they’re free.

In addition to the holiday festivities, explore iconic landmarks like the Roman Colosseum, the Ancient Forum, the Pantheon.

Best Spring Travel Destinations in the U.S. 

Washington, D.C.

If you don’t mind the crowds, the nation’s capital is one of the most popular spring destinations as it hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival. There are hundreds of cherry trees with the blossoms at their peak from around mid-March through mid-April. Some of the best viewing is enjoyed at Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, the Washington Monument Grounds, and Hains Point in East Potomac Park. 

Plus, you can take advantage of the mild temperatures to enjoy the many museums and monuments. If you want to escape the crowds, Shenandoah National Park is only an hour’s drive away, with miles and miles of scenic trails for hiking.

Skagit Valley, Washington

If traveling across the Atlantic isn’t in the cards and you want to see tulips, the best place to go is Skagit Valley in Washington State. 

Just over an hour’s drive from Seattle, it hosts the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival throughout the month of April with acres and acres of tulip fields between the towns of La Conner and Mount Vernon. It will be a kaleidoscope of color made even more magnificent with a backdrop of the Cascade Mountains, including dramatic Mount Baker. 

Trolley rides will bring you to see them and there are some fantastic places for selfies like Tulip Town which has a faded barn door that frames the fields. 

The small town of La Conner provides an idyllic base with a historic waterfront, art galleries, hot gastronomic spots, unique boutiques, museums, and opportunities for wine tasting. It’s also just a short drive from Deception Pass State Park with a saltwater shoreline, beaches, tide pools, and hiking trails.

Joshua Tree, California

If you’re thinking about taking one of the endless possible spring road trips in the U.S., heading to the desert of Southern California is a great option. The village of Joshua tree is a gateway to Joshua Tree National Park and early spring is particularly idyllic here with colorful wildflowers blanketing the landscapes. 

If there’s enough spring rain, you’ll even see the spindly vine cacti with their incredible crimson flowers. With daytime highs averaging in the low to mid-80s Fahrenheit, the park’s most popular activities, hiking and rock climbing, are especially enjoyable now, especially when compared to summer when temperatures often soar to triple digits.