Spring break season is just starting, but if you plan well, it’s possible to find a vacation spot with great weather — and no crushing crowds.
March is when the cold starts to let up and much of the country finally gets signs of warm weather. But if you start planning a trip for the summer months, you’ll hit high season for most destinations. Instead, seek out places you can go now — an ideal combination of warm weather and no crowds.
If you’re looking for a quick jaunt, there are a plenty of exciting happenings in March in the United States in New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C. All three cities have exceptional food scenes, but they each have March-specific attractions as well, from new hotel openings to the famous cherry blossoms.
Wine lovers should head to Portugal, where the Douro River area is in full bloom and you’ll have the vineyards practically to yourself. In Reykjavík, it feels like spring but looks like winter still, due to the snow on the ground — perfect for exploring the beautiful city.
For a slightly more far-flung trip, head to south to South America. Buenos Aires is one of the cheapest place to travel this month, and you can find some incredible deals. No matter where your travels take you — and whether you want to avoid spring break destinations or embrace them — there are plenty of places to go that are both warm as well as cheap. What are you waiting for?
This is the spring retreat of choice for many Chinese, and visitors from other parts of the world are just starting to catch on. Visit the former artists’ escape (the city’s West Lake, a UNESCO Heritage Site, is the inspiration behind countless poems and paintings) in early March, when the weather is warm but spring tourists have yet to descend. Slightly later in the month is when you’ll catch the peach flower blossoms as they bloom. Make your home base the Pierre-Yves Rochon-designed Azure Qiantang, a Luxury Collection property.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Mardi Gras is over, but that’s perhaps even more of a reason to head to New Orleans now. Stay at the relatively new Roman and Williams-designed Ace Hotel, or the fashionable Pontchartrain. Given that modern cocktail culture was invented in this city (there are tons of cocktail tours you can go on), it’s no surprise that the bar scene is fantastic. The ideal place to recover is Willa Jean bakery, a bread-centric restaurant that serves breakfast all day and incredible sweets.
Douro Valley, Portugal
This region — which holds the world’s first official wine designation — has its own micro-climate, which explains why the grapes here are so spectacular. Spring comes early to Douro Valley, and in March, there’s the chance to see beautiful white and pink clouds, particularly in the hills. The wellness-focused Six Senses makes for a wonderful spa-cation, where wine permeates every aspect of your stay. Or if you prefer to fully explore the location, hop on one of the Viking Douro River ships, built specifically to navigate these waters.
Most people don’t realize that Tanzania is practically a year-round destination. There is great wildlife viewing in both the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in March, and the weather is quite optimal: the humidity drops in March, and the rainy season doesn’t start until April. At the end of last year, Tanzania welcomed the new Sanctuary Retreats Kichakani Serengeti Camp, which features luxury tents designed to follow the migrations of wildebeest and zebra. No matter where you go, maximize your wildlife sightings by working with one of our A-list agents.
The nation’s capital has become a hot destination for much more than politics and history. There’s now a significant dining scene that’s well worth a visit, including Rose’s Luxury (go early to snag a seat) and Filipino-American fare at Purple Patch. But the best reason to go in March? It’s when the city’s famed cherry blossoms, a gift from Japan in 1910, starts to bloom. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival starts on March 20.
One of the best times to visit this booming city (and dodge the peak season crowds) is the month of March. The neighborhood du jour is Chippendale — home to the Old Clare Hotel, in a former brewery and pub, as well restaurants from Jason Atherton and Clayton Wells. Bonus: For Americans, the Australian dollar is still a nice treat.
New York City
March is one of those blissful months in New York City when the weather is pleasant but the crowds have yet to descend. Fittingly, there’s a collection of new hotels worth staying at as well. Consider booking a room at the Freehand New York, in Gramercy Park (the rooftop restaurant is slated to open by the spring), or the budget-friendly Pod Times Square, in Hell’s Kitchen.
It might officially be spring, but it still looks like winter in Iceland. In March, the days and nights start to balance out again — so there are more hours of sunlight for exploring the natural attractions, but also plenty of time to spot the Northern Lights (which are in their prime viewing through mid-April). Don’t leave without taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon, or visiting the stunning black sand beaches near Vík, on the southern coast.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
You’ll get mild fall weather in Buenos Aires this time of year, which is ideal for walking around and exploring the bustling city. It’s also a fantastic place to pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs and, of course, eat steak. The best part? The city is the cheapest place to travel this month — you can find amazing hotel rooms for just $55 a night.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Go early in the month, before the spring break crowds descend, and you’ll have this beautiful stretch of the Riviera Maya all to yourself. Playa del Carmen is one of the best destinations for big group trips, due to its many all-inclusive options. And of course, the weather is near perfect all year round here. Plus, you’re only short drive away from the Tulum ruins and the surprisingly exciting restaurant scene in Cancun.
This southern region of Spain goes all out for Semana Santa (or Holy Week), which is celebrated right before Easter. The celebration happens in March, with the biggest street parties and glamorous processions in Seville and Malaga. It’s also one of Europe’s most affordable cities, with great deals to be found. Try the boutique Casa del Poeta hotel in Seville, or for a splurge, the Hotel Alfonso XIII, a Luxury Collection property in the historic Santa Cruz area.
The city’s biggest attraction this time of year is Spring Training, where 15 Major League Baseball teams gather in Scottsdale and the surrounding areas to play one another before the season officially starts. The city also has wonderful hikes and a booming art scene, so there’s no lack of entertainment even if you’re not a baseball buff. Case in point: the Celebration of Fine Art, which runs until March 25.