March marks the end of winter and the beginning of springtime in the U.S. Between spring break for students and the changing weather, March can be one of the best times to get some traveling in. But what destinations around the U.S. are finally warming back up as early as March? Between the desert, incredible big beach cities, and the rich culture of the south, there are lots of destinations that might spark interest for anyone trying to take advantage of springtime to get in some travel and adventure.
San Diego, California
There is no better warm-weather destination any time of year than Southern California, and if you’re looking for a classic California beach vacation, look no further than the bustling beach city of San Diego. Due to its proximity to Mexico, the ocean, and the desert, by March, San Diego is already fairly warm, inviting beachgoers, surfers, artists, and everyone in between to come and explore the stunning coastline of California.
If you’re looking for a truly unique beach destination within San Diego, La Jolla Coves is going to be a top recommendation from locals. With an absolutely stunning beach walk, sea lions, blooming local plants, and bright blue water, this is easily one of the most famous beaches in San Diego. This is a great place to soak up some spring sunshine, explore the California coastline, and enjoy the warmer temperatures before the summer heat sets in.
If you’re more of a culture-focused traveler, check out Balboa Park, a gorgeous destination home to museums, gardens, and restaurants. This is also a great place to base your travels out of, and there are many hotels in the area. Balboa Park is close to Sunset Cliffs Natural Area and Cabrillo National Monument—two other incredible destinations you just have to see during your time in this Southern California city.
Some of the most popular areas to stay in San Diego are Ocean Beach and Pacific Beach, which both offer a fun environment and nearby beach access. These are both great options for a home base during your trip, especially if you’ve never visited San Diego before, because they give you easy access to a lot of the major attractions, restaurants, and nature throughout the city.
Getting to San Diego is easy. There is a major airport and many major highways that lead to San Diego. It is only a few hours drive from Los Angeles, making it easy to link the two cities into one trip. It is basically a necessity to have a car during your time in San Diego, though. Many destinations are not reachable via public transit only, and having a rental car will make your trip far less stressful.
Key West, Florida
For travelers looking for a beautiful place to visit that’s warm pretty much year-round, look no further than the tropical Florida Keys. Key West is easily the most popular destination within the Florida Keys, and spring is a perfect time to visit, because it will allow you to experience beautiful warm temperatures without the threat of summer hurricanes.
If you love traveling to be social, visiting Key West in March is a great idea. March is one of the busiest months for this Florida destination, due to the perfect weather, with temperatures around 75 degrees Fahrenheit most of the month. This is also one of the top spring break destinations, so a beach party is never far away when you visit Key West.
Partying isn’t for everyone, though, and Key West is also home to some amazing adventures you can do during your time here. Go snorkeling, parasailing, or visit the southernmost point in the continental U.S. Catch golden hour at one of the many tropical beaches and keep an eye out for dolphins and other local wildlife. This place is known for its natural beauty, but that’s not all. Foodies can take a food tour and experience local seafood and key lime pie—there’s truly something for everyone.
While Key West International Airport is located in New Town and will likely be where you start your travels, if you want to be close to many of the best things to do in Key West, stay in Old Town. If you stay in Old Town, you likely won’t need to rent a car during your trip to Key West. Most people simply rent bikes or scooters to get around town.
For the city traveler, Austin, Texas is one of the best destinations to visit in March. Texas is known for being very hot most of the year, but when you’re trying to escape the cold, you can’t go wrong with Austin, where March temperatures are between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are mostly sunny skies throughout the city.
Austin is Texas’ capital city, and it attracts travelers of all ages. Peak season for visitation in Austin is in the summer, so March is a great time to visit where you’ll be able to experience temperate weather and fewer crowds while exploring this beautiful and artistic city.
Austin is the live music capital of the world, with hundreds of places to go see live music throughout the city. It’s also home to amazing food and unique art at the Blanton Museum of Art, and it draws in travelers from all over the world to experience its culture.
For foodies traveling to try new cuisines, Austin is one of the best destinations to visit for fun and authentic Tex-Mex. You’ll also find amazing barbeque, bars, and endless taco shops and food trucks throughout the city. This place is absolutely bursting with flavor.
If you’re more of an outdoor adventurer, Austin is close to many different outdoor recreational activities. Within the city, check out the Zilker Botanical Garden and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Outside the city, visit the nearby McKinney Falls State Park to experience the best of nature in the heart of Texas.
There are many places to stay throughout Austin, Texas, but hands down, the best place to stay is East Austin, especially if you’re visiting for the bars and food scene.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Sticking with the city theme, you can’t go wrong with New Orleans in March. While it might not be quite as warm as some of the other destinations on this list, you’ll be met with highs in the upper 60s during your time in Louisiana. New Orleans is a cultural hub, with endless museums, restaurants, bars, and live music throughout the city.
March is an exceptionally fun month to visit New Orleans, with tons of events happening. Visit in mid-March for the New Orleans Book Festival at Tulane University. Foodies can gather at the NOLA Food Fight the same week, which is an all-you-can-eat food festival. There’s also no better place in the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. With tons of bars and festivities happening around the city, this is bound to be a very lucky warm destination to visit this March.
If you’re not much of an event person, but you still want to visit New Orleans this spring, do not fret—there are plenty of other activities you can do to experience the deep culture of this unique city. For instance, go on a cemetery tour of the city or take a steamboat cruise and float down the Mississippi. Visit one of the many museums throughout New Orleans, such as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, Mardi Gras World, or the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum.
If you’re trying to stay right in the heart of New Orleans culture, basing your trip out of the French Quarter is going to give you the easiest access to food, bars, music, and museums nearby. There is often live music at night, and most things are walking distance within the French Quarter, so no need to worry about finding parking at the bars.
New Orleans is also an incredible destination for foodies looking for a warm destination to visit this March. While you’re in town, make sure you try traditional gumbo, jambalaya, Po-Boys, and beignets for a taste of southern culture.
Big Bend National Park, Texas
Taking it back to Texas for a moment, let’s explore a warm and sunny destination for the outdoor adventure traveler. Lots of national parks are still too cold to visit during the early springtime, but there is truly no better time to visit Big Bend National Park than March. In the summers, Big Bend is home to extreme temperatures, sometimes staying in the upper 90s and low 100s overnight, but in spring, you’ll be met with mild temperatures, so that you can explore some of the park’s many hiking trails safely during your visit.
Big Bend National Park is located in southern Texas, right on the Mexican border, along the Rio Grande River. It’s a large park, full of interesting geology, wildlife, and plants. While March is during the busier time of the year for Big Bend, it is the better time to visit if you’re a fan of outdoor activities. Experience the Texas desert on the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, the Chimneys Trail, or in Dog Canyon. Head up to the Chisos Mountains and hike the Chisos Basin Loop Trail or hike to the top of Emory Peak. You can also hike along the Rio Grande and enjoy views of Mexico on the Boquillas Canyon Trail.
Other activities that Big Bend is known for include camping, rafting, and hot springs. Yes, hot springs. Hike the short Hot Springs Historic Trail to the Rio Grande River and sit in a beautiful hot spring, right on the side of the river.
The best way to truly experience the magic of Big Bend is to go camping. Big Bend is known for incredibly clear skies at night, making this an ideal location for stargazing. Camp at Rio Grande Campground or Chisos Basin Campground, pitch a tent, and enjoy the stars.
This is a spring destination that you’re definitely going to need a car to explore. It is extremely difficult to access this park and all of its most popular destinations without a private vehicle. If you’re interested in experiencing the beauty of the Texas desert in springtime and feel intimidated by the park’s size, think about booking a guided tour so that you stay safe on your desert adventure.
For a little something different, think about visiting Puerto Rico in March. This is Puerto Rico’s least humid month; however, temperatures tend to be borderline hot. On its warmest spring days, Puerto Rico can reach about 86 degrees Fahrenheit, making this a beautiful destination to visit in the springtime.
Visit Puerto Rico to be immersed in culture, sunny skies, and beautiful views during your springtime vacation. Puerto Rico is known for amazing architecture. Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro or Castillo San Cristobal to experience the local architecture. This amazing springtime destination is also known for its incredible natural beauty. Outdoor adventurers on a Puerto Rico adventure should explore the San Juan National Historic Site and El Yunque National Forest and take in the incredible natural landscapes.
Of course, you can’t visit Puerto Rico without spending time at some of the picturesque beaches. The water here is bright blue, and with warm temperatures in the high 80s, you’ll be able to enjoy a beach vacation even in the early springtime. Some of the most popular beaches are Flamenco Beach, Crash Boat Beach, and Playa Sucia.
The best place to base your trip out of is San Juan, Puerto Rico—this is where most tourists start their trips. San Juan is the capital city and is home to colorful architecture, stunning water, and amazing food. San Juan has some amazing food, including mofongo, pastelon, and chillo frito. There are many local food tours you can take during your time in San Juan to help you enjoy the local cuisine. Here, you’ll also have local access to snorkeling and art museums. San Juan is nearby other popular Puerto Rican attractions, such as the Jardin Botanico y Cultural William Miranda Marin, which is a stunning botanic garden that you just can’t miss.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
If you want to go to the beach in the spring, consider Gulf Shores, Alabama. March is one of the less busy months to visit Gulf Shores, which also means it’s less expensive to visit during this time, making it a great destination for travelers on a budget. Temperatures here are mild and sunny in March, and a visit to the Gulf Shores will offer amazing opportunities to swim in the Gulf of Mexico.
Gulf Shores, Alabama is genuinely one of the most underrated beach destinations in the U.S., with white sandy beaches and bright blue waters. While this isn’t a great destination for partygoers, Gulf Shores is a fantastic family-friendly March destination and a great place to visit if you’re looking for a low-key beach visit.
Gulf Shores is perfect for adventure lovers, too. Go parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, or kayaking to truly experience the beautiful coastline here in Alabama. Visit the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge and take in the local fauna. For families, check out the Gulf State Park Pier, Adventure Island, and the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo so that you can get outside and enjoy the beautiful sunny skies while entertaining your kids.
While Gulf Shores is a beach town, it’s also considered a city, which means there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. While you’re here, check out the nearby Orange Beach, another amazing beach town worth visiting in March.
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia
For nature lovers trying to explore the southeast, check out Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia. The southeast is the perfect March destination. Known for warm weather nearly all year-round, most outdoorsy travelers probably wouldn’t think of visiting Georgia, but there’s truly nowhere like Tallulah Gorge.
Located in northeastern Georgia, this underrated state park is close to other Appalachian gems, such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the perfect outdoor destination for travelers looking to spend their spring vacation on the wild side. Whether you’re a keen outdoor adventurer or a family looking to just get the kids outside, there’s something you’ll love at Tallulah Gorge State Park.
Tallulah Gorge is approximately 1,000 feet deep, and you are able to visit the Gorge Floor with a free permit from the Interpretive Center. However, going down to the bottom is not the only way to explore this unique Georgia State Park. There are various hiking trails along the rim of the gorge too. These trails allow you to catch some spectacular views along the 2-mile long gorge. Cross the suspension bridge for a truly unique experience in this gorgeous state park.
Hiking isn’t the only thing to do in Tallulah Gorge State Park during your time in Georgia. Rock climbers can obtain a permit to climb in the gorge. In late March, you can catch one of the aesthetic water releases. During this event, you can witness higher water levels in the gorge than on a normal day. Whitewater kayakers can experience this water release on the March aesthetic release day, but climbing and hiking to the Gorge Floor is not allowed during this event.
One of the best ways to experience Tallulah Gorge is to camp. Whether you have a tent, trailer, or RV, there are campsites available for you in the state park, which you can reserve in advance so that you can have a stress-free camping trip.
Palm Springs, California
Bringing it full circle back to Southern California, Palm Springs is a much different vibe than beachy San Diego. Palm Springs is located in the desert, and daily temperatures average around 80 degrees Fahrenheit in March. This makes for the perfect sunny destination for travelers looking for a unique Southern California getaway. Between amazing food, sunny weather, local golf, hot springs, and desert warmth, Palm Springs is a vacation destination like no other, attracting visitors from all walks of life.
The desert city gets its name from the local hot springs, which you can find in nearby Desert Hot Springs and Greater Palm Springs. These hot springs are unique to this area and should absolutely be on your Palm Springs vacation to-do list.
There’s a little something for everyone in beautiful Palm Springs, with lots of museums, gardens, and nearby outdoor recreational activities. Visit the Palm Springs Art Museum for a taste of the local desert culture or the Palm Springs Air Museum for some local history. The Moorten Botanical Gardens can be a great place to learn about desert flora, especially if you’re from somewhere without desert plants. If you’re into outdoor recreation or adventure sports, take a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Here, you’ll find hiking, rock climbing, or sightseeing and to become immersed in the heart of the desert itself.
Palm Springs is a vacationers’ paradise, with lots of hotels and resorts located throughout the city. Just like most California destinations, you’ll likely want to have a car to access a lot of the most popular nearby attractions, parks, gardens, and restaurants. There is an abundance of food located in this desert paradise, from vintage-style 1940s bars like the Copper Room to coffee shops like Cartel Roasting Co., you’ll find anything you could possibly want here. For a unique dining experience, check out 1501 Uptown, and if you prefer plant-based cuisine, Chef Tanya’s Kitchen is your place to dine.