Spring Travel

5 Easy Weekend March Escapes

March 1st can only mean one thing: spring is just around the corner and we. can’t. wait. After three months of grueling cold and hibernation, this month signals the start of alfresco concerts, green foliage and outdoor diversions guaranteed to cure your winter blahs. So where exactly are the best early springtime destinations for eager jetsetters? Check out our top picks for March travel within the USA, here.

Nikki has been writing about travel for more than a decade, covering everywhere from England to Russia to tiny Pacific Ocean archipelagos. Now with a junior Jetsetter in tow, she's all about upstate New York escapes and Euro city breaks. Nikki is a former Jetsetter senior editor and writes for Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, the Sunday Times Travel Magazine and more.

See recent posts by Nikki Ridgeway

Wine glasses and a bottle containing Cabernet wine
flower display at the International Orchid Show in Santa Barbara
moored recreational boats; California marina scene; safe harbor; Southern California recreation; Santa Barbara Harbor, mountain range, leisure boats, water reflections, clear sky, still water, breakwater

Santa Barbara, California

OK, Santa Barbara might just be the perfect year-round destination. However, for pre-summer feels without the summer heat (and crowds!), March is your best bet. Clocking in at a comfortable 67 degree average daytime high, Santa Barbara’s sunny days and ‘sweater weather’ evenings are ideal for lovers of the Pacific Coast, fresh seafood, and locally produced wine. Tour the city’s streets via bike or trolley, go for a run along the salty ocean coastline, or visit one of the city’s many wineries for an indulgent afternoon break. The March event lineup includes Santa Barbara Restaurant Week (through March 6) and the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show (March 13-15).

Book Hotels in Santa Barbara
Royal and St Peter streets in French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter, New Orleans



New Orleans, Louisiana

The key to a successful NOLA trip is avoiding the swampy summer months, and if you're looking for a booze and bead filled vacay, March is the time to go (Mardi Gras falls on February 25 but celebrations last well into March). For those hoping to avoid the craziness, plan to visit the city later in March. Don't miss Wednesday at the Square concert series (March 11-May 13) and the Spring Fiesta Historic Home Tours (March 21-22 and 28-29).

RELATED: The 12 BEST Hotels in NOLA Right Now

Book Hotels in New Orleans
Enjoy the sunset of the Gulf of Mexico while havin' an ice-cold Caipirinha in your hand. I took this picture while drinking on a rooftop bar at the Mallory Square in Key West, Florida.
View of the street in the historical district of Key West, USA
Palm trees, ocean and blue sky on a tropical beach in Florida keys near famous tourist destination Key West

Key West, Florida

If you're chasing the sun but you want to skip the spring break madness, look no further than the tranquil islands of Key West. With average daytime highs of 79 degrees, it's optimal sunbathing weather and there's plenty to do beyond the beach. Sign up for the House and Garden Walking Tours and don't miss Tennessee Williams’ Birthday Celebration, with events taking place throughout the month.

RELATED: 8 Stylish Hotels in Key West We Love

Book Hotels in Key West
Rays of sunlight after a rain in the Shenandoah Valley
As the inaugural Carol Troxell Reader, Lisa Ko (The Leavers) gave a solo reading at New Dominion Bookshop, sharing her story of a mother and son, their heartrending separation, and the choices they each make in attempts to belong, to find love, to create a family at New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville on Thursday, 3/22/18.
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA - June 7, 2012: Pedestrians enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon in downtown Charlottesville.

Charlottesville, Virginia

At the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Virginia is the perfect long weekend escape. There's something for everyone here: for active travelers, the Charlottesville 10-Miler is a no-brainer (March 28); literary types will love the Virginia Festival of the Book (March 18-22); and foodies can have their pick of brewery tastings, food crawls, and up-and-coming wineries just outside the city. Two worth a visit: Early Mountain Vineyards and King Family Vineyards.

Book Hotel in Charlottesville, VA
Bagpipers marching in a parade

Savannah, Georgia

For a serious dose of southern hospitality, make your way to Savannah, Georgia. It's all about the city's seasonal fests this month, from the Savannah Boat show (March 20-22) to the Spring Celebration and Sheep Shearing (March 9) to the Savannah Music Festival (beginning March 26). Added bonus: the city's avenues are full of blooming azaleas.  

Book Hotels in Savannah, Georgia

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