The Getaway
The Best Places to Be in America in March

March is a time for rebirth and celebration. Melting snow descends to the valleys and rivers, and life returns to the landscape. Some communities observe religious or cultural traditions in March, while others take advantage of warmer weather to enjoy the outdoors. America reveals its true colors in the spring. With the start of another travel season, why not kick off your adventures with a hyperlocal experience? Whether you're in the mood for independent music, local and exotic cuisines, or cultural happenings, hit the American road in March and head for one of these destinations.

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01 Chicago, Illinois

Downtown Chicago is a modern urban center representing many cultures, but on March 17, everyone in town is Irish. The Windy City celebrates St. Patrick's Day in style with two parades: one in Downtown, and the South Side Parade, which is more local-oriented. Check out each part of town at your own pace since festivities continue for about two weeks. The city's dyeing of the Chicago River is one of the most well-known St. Patrick's day traditions in America. The Saturday before the holiday, a retired police officer tints the water a vibrant emerald using a vegetable-based dye. It's a big deal to the community.

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02 Savannah, Georgia

Every year, Savannah hosts one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the world — and it's not just on Saint Patrick's Day. The annual festival begins on the weekend before the holiday. A parade featuring traditional Irish music and dancing leads to the Greening of the Fountain in Forsyth Park. Whether you're in town for the holiday or the highly-anticipated Savannah Music Festival, don't miss out on seeing the azaleas. The city is awash in color from the thousands of vibrant flower shrubs in full bloom from mid-March through April. Even the city's most stunning sites, such as the Bonaventure Cemetery, are picture-perfect during this time of year. Though the weather isn't quite warm enough for sunbathing on the beach, the pristine coastline is likely free from visitors. Head to the oceanfront for relaxing views and to see the wildlife.

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03 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Long Exposure photography of surf and clouds at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina during winter morning. Rod Vamosi / Getty Images

Spring is a perfect time to hit the beautiful sands of Myrtle Beach. With the weather just starting to warm up, you can venture out on a stroll along the boardwalk or hit the hiking trails. If you prefer a social scene, schedule your visit in time for the annual Canadian-American Days Festival. The weeklong celebrations feature free music, sports entertainment, and lots of fun along the coastline. The event began as a way to attract Canadian families on spring break. Nowadays, it's one of the top events in the Southeastern United States and the best excuse to indulge in various southern and international cuisines. Fill up on comfort foods, then lace up your running shoes for the Myrtle Beach Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5K. The annual races take place on the first Saturday in March.

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04 Washington, DC

Every March, the blooming of hundreds of cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC, transforms the National Mall into a mesmerizing scenery of pink and white foliage. The best time to view this gorgeous seasonal occurrence is during the peak bloom period and in the days following. These dates vary from year to year, and while it's impossible to predict the exact time frame, checking with the National Park Service can help you choose the right schedule. Travelers from all over the world visit the National Cherry Blossom Festival to see the stunning display. Wander over to the Tidal Basin, where photographers can score phenomenal shots of the Jefferson and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials.

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05 New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is in full bloom in March and not just because of the flowers. The party doesn't end after Mardi Gras. With the warmer temperatures come cultural celebrations, sumptuous foods, and endless good music. March kicks off with the St. Patrick's Day Irish Channel Parade and block parties in neighborhoods all over the city. St. Joseph's Day is another notable date for Irish Catholics, and they pay their respects with festivities every March 21. Fans of the literary arts can check out The Tennesse Williams New Orleans Literary Festival. The five-day event celebrates one of New Orleans' most esteemed residents as well as the city's magical culture. Panel discussions, stage performances, and workshops await eager learners, or you can browse the book fair and take a walking tour.

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06 Highway 341, Georgia

Ocmulgee National Monument

Georgia in the springtime is a lovely place to spend your spring vacation. In addition to the big cities, the Peach State also has some unique ongoings in small towns. Every second Friday and Saturday in March, bargain hunters unite in Georgia. The Peaches to the Beaches Yard Sale is one of the longest in America, traveling along Highway 341 for over 200 miles. From Barnesville to Brunswick, shoppers can keep an eye out for official vendors selling everything from precious antiques and secondhand goods to handmade crafts and delicious foods. Vendors work hard to keep this annual yard sale running, so make sure to pick up a vendor map and spend your tourist dollars at their locations. Take a break from shopping with a hike at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park in Macon, or head to the coast for views of the marina and the Atlantic Ocean.

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07 Spanish Fork, Utah

The Hindu Festival of Colors, Holi, is a vibrant and beautifully chaotic holiday celebrated in March. The largest Holi festival in America happens in Spanish Fork, Utah, at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple. The festival isn't strictly religious, but organizers cultivate an experience that treats the holiday with reverence and not just as a photo opportunity. Attendees learn about Holi, a tale of good triumphing over evil, through Indian music and dance. Brightly colored powdered dyes fill the air and coat celebrants from head to toe to drive away harmful spirits. While the event sounds like a good time, the celebrations have significant meaning for Indians. During the festivities, the boundaries between family members and social classes become blurred, and everyone shares in the joy of the moment together. It's a beautiful tradition to welcome the springtime.

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08 Boston, Massachusetts

As the first American city to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you can count on Bean Town to keep the record straight. Throughout March, the Boston Irish Tourism Association organizes guided tours along the Irish Heritage Trail to educate the community. Navigating Downtown Boston and the Back Bay neighborhood, the tour's 20 stops include Boston City Hall and Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play. A St. Patrick's Day parade usually falls on the Sunday before the holiday, so don't worry about taking extra time off to join the party. If you're hoping to burn some calories before indulging in craft beers with the locals, sign up for the St. Patrick's Day Road Race, a 5K with a good cause. It's a fun event where participants dress in festive green attire to kick off the Irish-American celebrations.

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09 Arctic Circle, Alaska

Camping in the north with the northern lights overhead (Aurora Borealis) SteveMcsweeny / Getty Images

The season to enjoy the Northern Lights in Alaska runs from September to April, peaking in late March. The best place to see this natural wonder is between 65 degrees N and 70 degrees N Latitude. The closer to the Arctic Circle, the better, which makes Fairbanks a wise choice. You might still catch a show in Juneau or Anchorage, but your chances are much slimmer. Your best bet to see the otherworldly display, which is virtually impossible to predict, is to head for the more remote villages in the north, such as Coldfoot or Prudhoe Bay. Get creative with your trip, and head for the Chena Lakes Recreation Area to see the lights reflected in the water. The nearby hot springs resort is another option if you prefer to watch the show in comfort.

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10 Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country in the spring with covered wagon johnandersonphoto / Getty Images

Texas has a lot to boast about in the early spring. Big cities look forward to music festivals and heritage events, but the best experience is out in the wilderness. The Lone Star State has some of the most beautiful wildflower pastures in the country. The Texas Hill Country Wildflower Trail is an unforgettable drive with gorgeous views of the region's infamous bluebonnets in bloom. From March and into May, countless wildflowers in warm and cool tones blanket the landscape as far as the eyes can see. Drive along the back roads, stopping for a leisurely picnic, or in Fredricksburg for some German schnitzel. You can also take Highway 290, which passes several colorful fields. It also connects with local wineries, so you can enjoy a taste of Texas wine with the views.

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11 Big Sur, California

The famed Bixy Bridge in Big Sur. Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images

This Monterey treasure is perfect for downtime. Spring wildflowers such as calla lilies and wild iris come out of hiding, and the ridges turn a deep and revitalized green. Cast your eyes to the shoreline, and you might catch sight of sea otter and gray whale mothers and their offspring. The Waterfall Overlook Trail is also a great spot to look for condors.

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12 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is buzzing in spring. It's Women's Month, and there are events to highlight current issues and celebrate how far we've come. The city thaws and takes the party outdoors. Pencil the annual Philadelphia Flower Show into your calendar—it's a visual treat that smells wondrous. And if that's gotten you hungry, there's a good chance you'll enjoy the East Passyunk Restaurant Week with its killer deals.

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13 Florida Panhandle

There are many things to do and see in the Florida Panhandle this time of year. Destin hosts a Tequilas and Taco Festival that Mexican food fans are sure to devour. Check updated details before you make any plans.

Panama City Beach is now home to Swing into Spring baseball training, the Florida Luxe Arts Festival, and more. You'll also find an impressive annual Plein Air Painting Festival in Apalachicola. In Tallahassee, the entertainment includes but isn't limited to a series of open-air concerts.

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14 Colorado Springs

family on a hiking trip in Colorado Springs MargaretW / Getty Images

March is one of the best months to visit Colorado Springs, with middling temperatures, an absence of crowds, and plenty of shoulder season bargains to be had. Spring hiking conditions are good, and the snowmelt is ideal for whitewater rafting.

The city holds the longest-running annual charity wine festival in Southern Colorado. Expect wine and food pairings, well-known chefs, and world-class events in unique locations, including Garden of the Gods Club.

And, of course, there's a Paddy's Day parade that usually starts at Tejon and East St. Vrain streets. Other St. Patrick's Day events may include a Leprechaun Fun Run and bike races.

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15 US Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands sorincolac / Getty Images

Spring in the US Virgin Islands is the dry season which, rather ironically, is perfect for swimming. It's the peak season too, so expect lots of fellow tourists. Of course, crowds sometimes add to the atmosphere. You can look forward to the St. Thomas International Regatta, a Mardi Gras Parade in St. Croix, and Transfer Day on the last day of the month. The holiday commemorates the United States taking possession of the Danish West Indies in 1917. There are Danish forts and ruins to explore, and you can indulge in products from Denmark.

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