Spring travel usually means getting ahead of summer vacationers and taking advantage of mild weather and attractive prices. Flowers are in bloom, with cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., azaleas in Wilmington, North Carolina, and wildflowers in Malibu.
For those who can’t wait until summer to get to the beach or pool, we suggest Hawaii, Palm Springs, Mexico, and Florida. If the travel urge will be satisfied only by an international trip, consider Paris and Vienna — lovely in April. Historic and closer to home, Astoria, Oregon is a fascinating city. Wherever you go to welcome spring, travel safely and check the latest health details at your destination.
Springtime weather is perfect in the nation’s capital with temperatures in the mid-60s, comfortable for walking among outdoor landmarks like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and newly reopened Washington Monument. The 2022 National Cherry Blossom Festival is set for March 20-April 17, but peak time for the blossoms varies each year. The parade will be Saturday, April 9, and visitors can check blossom forecasts as the date nears. Museums for every interest, memorials, gardens, restaurants, and theater performances provide plenty to see and do in Washington, D.C. Hotels throughout the district include The Jefferson, Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, InterContinental Washington, D.C., Thompson, and Riggs Washington D.C.
Located on the eastern coast of Baja California on the Sea of Cortez (also called the Gulf of California) about 230 miles north of Cabo, Loreto is one of the oldest settlements in Mexico. Loreto Bay National Marine Park, a World Heritage Site and protected area of almost 800 square miles, consists of five main volcanic islands with a wide variety of marine life, ideal for snorkeling and diving. Like many Baja areas, the environment includes mountains, desert, and sea. Stay at Villa del Palmar Loreto with spacious suites, spa, fitness center, kids’ club, pools, and access to golf at TPC Danzante Bay. In April, average high temperatures are in the mid-80s, a perfect time to enjoy this destination. Direct flights from Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, Calgary, and Tijuana make it easy to get to Loreto.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Located on the southeastern coast of North Carolina, Wilmington boasts a historic downtown, modern Riverwalk, and several stunning gardens bursting with spring color in April. The 75th annual North Carolina Azalea Festival is scheduled for April 6-10, with youth writing and art contests, chefs’ showcase, 5K run, parades, and entertainment, including a showing of “Little Shop of Horrors” (one of my all-time favorite films). Tour the Battleship North Carolina, visit the Cape Fear Museum, or shop for antiques on Castle Street. Stay at the historic Graystone Inn, a Wilmington landmark for more than a hundred years.
Humpback whales visit Hawaii’s warm waters through May, so this is a great time to see them before they head north for summer. Stay in lively Waikiki at the Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, Prince Waikiki, boutique Espacio, Ritz-Carlton Residences, or Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, named in honor of Queen Lili’uokalani, the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Learn more about Hawaiian royalty and history at the Bishop Museum in downtown Honolulu. The Four Seasons Resort Ko Olina is about 35 minutes away on Oahu’s western shore, and on the north shore, Turtle Bay Resort is set on 1,300 oceanfront acres with sandy beaches and world-famous waves. Oahu is served by major air carriers including Hawaiian Airlines, with more than 90 years of flying to the islands.
This historic city on the Columbia River near the Pacific is the oldest in the state of Oregon. Go back in history with a stroll through town or ride the restored Old 300 trolley along Astoria’s waterfront and watch fishing boats, seals, and sea lions. Visit the restored 1920s vintage Liberty Theater, and enjoy fresh seafood at one of Astoria’s excellent restaurants. For views of the four-mile long Astoria Megler Bridge that connects Washington and Oregon, stay at the luxurious boutique Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, built on a pier extending into the Columbia River and featuring private balconies, gas fireplaces, and cozy Pendleton blankets in every room. Extensive renovations will be completed by late March with enhancements to the spa, exercise room, guest rooms, and public spaces. Be among the first to visit the transformed property, and don’t miss the expanded Cannery Pier Museum with exhibits on Astoria’s history as the former salmon cannery capital of the world.
April in Paris must be perfect — there’s even a movie (“April in Paris,” 1952) and a song about it. Museums, hotels, and restaurants are anticipating the travel season, and it’s time to enjoy the iconic European city. Shop at the elegant Galeries Lafayette and La Samaritaine, visit the Louvre and Bourse du Commerce, and have some fun with a retro tour, food tour, or cruise along the Seine. For an elegant experience, stay at the Ritz Paris, sip a cocktail at Bar Hemingway or the new Ritz Bar, and enjoy something sweet from Le Comptoir. The charming Hôtel Maison Mère and Hotel Barriere Le Fouquet’s are other great options. Look into a flight on low-cost French bee with non-stops from New York, San Francisco, and starting in April, Los Angeles.
West Palm Beach, Florida
Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast about 70 miles north of Miami, West Palm Beach is home to white-sand beaches, upscale shopping, dining, art, and entertainment. This year, SunFest, Florida’s largest waterfront music festival, is set for April 28-May 1. Art is a focus of the event as well as the city, with the Norton Museum of Art and The Square, a 72-acre district and one of the nation’s fastest-growing destinations for design, art, retail, and dining. The West Palm Beach Art Festival will take place April 2-3, with sculptures, paintings, photography, ceramics, and more. Visit the Downtown Arts & Entertainment District, and for vintage shopping, there’s Antique Row, with more than 40 shops. Stay at The Ben, Autograph Collection, a luxury boutique hotel, conveniently located minutes from The Square and Clematis Street.
Spring is a lovely time to visit Vienna, with mild, dry weather in the high 50s. Known for its beloved Christmas markets in December, Vienna also features charming Easter markets with colorfully decorated eggs, spring flowers, and gifts. At Schönbrunn Palace, a market will be held from April 2-19 with music, food, and handmade items. The Am Hof Easter Market is planned for April 1-18. Viennese coffee house culture is part of a visit to the city, and a stop at one of the many coffee houses is the perfect excuse to indulge in a delicious pastry. Classical music, museums, wine, and wienerschnitzel are a few more reasons to plan a visit to Austria’s capital.
Palm Springs, California
While many visitors will be passing through Palm Springs on their way to the Coachella Music Festival and Stagecoach in April, there’s much going on throughout Greater Palm Springs. The LPGA ANA Inspiration Tournament will be played at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, the last time the top women golfers will play in the desert, with the tournament moving to Texas next year. April temperatures reach into the low 80s, so relaxing poolside is an option, but hiking the Indian Canyons or strolling along Palm Canyon Drive are great ways to spend a day as well. You might still find some snow on Mt. San Jacinto, but even if not, the ride to the top on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is always thrilling. Stay downtown at the Kimpton Rowan, or choose the boutique Casa Cody, Les Cactus, or Dive. The new Margaritaville Resort Palm Springs offers a tropical island vibe.
Located on the Mississippi River, Memphis is called “Home of the Blues and the Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.” A visit to the Memphis Rock ‘n Soul Museum tells the story of how the music began, and a trip to Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Sun Studio, and Beale Street will continue the immersion in music history. The annual Beale Street Music Festival returns from April 29-May 1, featuring world-class entertainment. There’s more than music in Memphis, with the National Civil Rights Museum, built at the site where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Big Cypress Lodge is located downtown inside the pyramid that was originally built in 1991. Unique accommodations, dining options, and shopping create an adventure for visitors to the wilderness-themed hotel.
Spring is arriving on the Southern California coast, with clear days, wildflowers, and mild weather. Nearing the end of whale watching season, gray whales can often be seen from the coast as they head north after their winter sojourn in Mexico. Visit the historic Malibu Pier, stroll on the beach, drive along Pacific Coast Highway, or stay a while at one of Malibu’s hotels. In the Santa Monica Mountains, Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club offers luxury rustic surroundings on a 250-acre ranch. On the coast, Nobu Ryokan is a traditional Japanese adult retreat for a serene experience. The new Hotel June features cozy mid-century bungalows. At the five-star boutique Malibu Beach Inn, guests have panoramic ocean views, CURE Daily Spa, and dining at CBC Restaurant, specializing in fresh local cuisine overlooking the Pacific.