In the same way that spring breaks eagerly through layers of snow and frost, travelers who have spent the winter at home are itching to burst outside — and onto the first flight out of town.
To help you find the absolute best places to travel in the United States this month, we looked at popular (and seriously underrated) annual events, noteworthy hotel and restaurant openings, sought out exceptional weather, and considered destinations on our list of the 50 Best Places to Travel in 2018.
From picking wildflowers in Texas Hill Country to a deliciously rowdy bacon festival in North Dakota, this is a month for reawakening the senses, and for rediscovering some of America’s most beautiful sights. Think: low-key golf resorts on the St. Petersburg coast, or the remote forests of Maine.
Whatever your preference, we’ve got the perfect trip to get you back on the road this March.
The food and cocktail scene in Honolulu has been off the charts lately, and this month, Hawaii’s bustling capital is set to get even tastier with the opening of a new restaurant by celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto. Located inside the newly opened Alohilani Resort, Morimoto Asia Waikiki will bolster the Iron Chef’s Hawaiian presence with his signature Asian fusion dishes, including Peking duck, sticky ribs, Korean kalbi, and dim sum. Shortly after, the chef’s Momosan Waikiki will open on the hotel’s ground floor, with an all-day menu of noodles, gyoza, and yakitori.
Black Hills, South Dakota
Not many people associate end-of-winter travel with fat bike racing, but that’s exactly what makes the annual 28 Below race in the Black Hills of South Dakota (home to Mount Rushmore) so unique. The event kicks off on March 17 in the town of Spearfish — a destination that’s ideal for travelers with a taste for adventure — and the unspoiled landscape features snowy trails dotted with birch trees and two of the highest peaks east of the Rockies. When it’s all over, you can cozy up with a mug of hot chocolate in an Old West-style cabin at Spearfish Canyon Lodge.
Las Vegas, Nevada
With a new zip line set to debut outside Caesar’s Palace, 2018 promises plenty of excitement on The Strip. But it’s United Airlines’ decision to expand service between Las Vegas and west coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco that will have travelers booking their next adults-only weekend of mischief. With roundtrip fares as low as $132, the increased service means greater booking flexibility — and more spending money at the blackjack table.
Fargo, North Dakota
These days, everyone’s a bacon connoisseur. But if you want to put your pork proficiency to the test, head to Fargo’s annual Bacon & Beer Festival, which takes place at the Fargodome on March 10. While local chefs compete for approval with dozens of bacon dishes (attendees can also ride a mechanical pig), the event is a good excuse to explore some of the city’s newest food and drink offerings, like Wild Terra, a new bar offering hard cider and kombucha on tap, and Wurst Bier Hall, which serves rattlesnake and rabbit bratwurst.
Napa Valley is bouncing back strong after wildfires swept across wine country in October. With the exception of several estates that suffered significant damage, travelers can expect to enjoy the same rolling green hills and cozy tasting rooms they’ve come to know and love. And the region could use some love. At the Tuscan-inspired Napa Valley Lodge, a 55-room boutique hotel that opens onto the countryside, a brand new lobby will debut this month, with rustic Italian interiors and artwork by local artists.
This month is a great time to wander around the wildly popular, European-style food hall known as The Source before the opening of a new 100-room hotel on the premises (also named The Source). Located in the heart of Denver’s buzzy RiNo arts district, the multifaceted market is known for hosting various pop-up events and art exhibits. But the true draw is its 25 vendors, which include a taqueria, a sustainable butcher shop, a French bakery, craft brewery, and a florist.
Grand Island, Nebraska
There’s a good chance you’ve gazed down on Nebraska’s notorious flat farmlands during a cross-country flight. But this month, travelers to the ‘Cornhusker State’ should look up. Birdwatching is a little-known pleasure in central Nebraska, and in late March, more than 80 percent of the world’s sandhill crane population (around 600,000 birds) converge on the Platte River. It’s quite a sight to behold.
Wildflowers will be coming into bloom in Texas Hill Country this month, which is home to the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. With the season extending from March all the way through April, it’s a great opportunity to spend a weekend exploring country roads and hiking. For a well-deserved picnic break, stop in at Wildseed’s wine tasting room, where you can sample Texas-made wine while overlooking fields of cosmos and zinnia.
It’s maple season in Maine, and fans of the sticky sweet pancake topper can plan a whole trip around the state’s famous sugar houses. Scattered throughout the woods are small cabins, where farmers spend days boiling down raw tree sap to produce the beloved syrup (in 2016, Maine produced nearly 700,000 gallons of the stuff). The fourth Sunday in March (March 26) is designated as “Maine Maple Sunday,” and it’s your chance to visit the sugarhouses for free tastings. The sugar high alone should carry you well into spring.
Scottsdale, known for its blissful desert sunshine and high-end resorts, is also home to the annual Major League Baseball spring training. Nearly two million fans show up at the end of February to watch 15 MLB teams prepare for the upcoming season under the warm Arizona sun. This month, Scottsdale welcomes players from the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks, with games taking place in 10 different stadiums. Once you’ve purchased tickets, consider making the most of your surroundings with an exhilarating hot air balloon ride, or a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden.
Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls, New York prompted a new wave of tourism last December when they upgraded the famous waterfall with a brand new $4 million color LED lighting system. This month, the city unveils its new Underground Railroad Heritage Center, a compelling collection of exhibits that illustrate the region’s role as an important border crossing for freedom seekers in the 19th century — all housed on the first floor of an 1863 post office.