Spring is a fantastic time to take a vacation. Whether you need a change of scene to shake off your winter blues, or you just want to get off the beaten track and reset, North America has a number of beautiful places to visit. North to South, East to West, the US is blessed with spectacular scenery and local charm that lets you get away from it all while staying fairly close to home. Here are three of the best places in the US to visit this spring—no passport required!
The Southeast Coast
Florida may take all the credit for summer beach destinations, but there’s plenty of beautiful coastline all over the Southeast. The coasts of Georgia and South Carolina in particular are remarkable for their combination of gorgeous nature and genteel southern charm. You can go swimming at the beach, yes, but you can also kayak through tidal marshes, stroll along wide boulevards lined with moss-covered oaks, tour stately antebellum mansions, and marvel over Civil War history sites as well. In a city like Charleston, you can stroll through the vibrant Historic District and see where the present meets the past. In Savannah, take a charming carriage ride around town, or visit the sites outlined in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The best time to visit the South is in the spring and early summer, March through June. The weather will be balmy but not too hot, and there will be plenty of activity and life. Pack your swimsuit, your binoculars for wildlife spotting, plenty of sunscreen, and an appetite for good Southern cooking.
The Southwest Desert
Particularly after a long, snowy winter, visiting a beautiful warm desert does good things for the soul. Arizona and New Mexico form the heart of this region, and both have a plethora of sights and activities to make even the most seasoned traveler gasp in awe. Most famous, of course, is the incomparable Grand Canyon, which stretches for 277 miles through the heart of the desert and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to hiking around the canyon, you can explore incredible Anasazi ruins and other Native American sites. If cities are more your speed, you’ll love Santa Fe, with its beautiful adobe houses and vibrant art scene. Nearby, you can visit the studio of renowned artist Georgia O’Keefe. The Southwest Desert is a beautiful place to visit year round, but spring and early summer are the best options for beating the late summertime heat. Pack hiking clothes, a camera, and a sense of adventure to make the most of this stunning destination.
The Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is renowned for its majestic coastline and incredible forests. The city of Seattle is famous for beatnik culture and a thriving arts scene, as well as the first-ever Starbucks coffee shop. Outside the city are fabulous natural wonders, including the spectacular San Juan Islands. Get up close and personal with orca on a sea kayaking adventure, hike up Mt. Constitution, or zipline through the forest canopy. You can even cross the Haro Strait into Canada and visit beautiful historic Victoria! The best time to visit the Pacific Northwest is late spring all the way through summer, May through August, partly because the weather is warm and temperate, and partly because this is also the best time to see whales. Pack layers to accommodate the different weather possibilities, a waterproof camera for ocean kayaking, and a thirst for the area’s famous coffee and microbrewed beer.
With all these incredible options, you’ll have no shortage of great destinations for planning your spring travel. And with all these wildly different places inside the US, it’s clear that you don’t need to go far to find yourself someplace completely new. The only difficult decision now is choosing which destination to visit first!
Caitlin Hubbard is a writer and travel enthusiast who writes for an adventure travel company called Classic Journeys.