Spring officially arrives today and, for many of us, it heralds the best time of the year to travel. The shoulder-season months before summer sets in—April and May in particular—are when popular summertime destinations in the northern hemisphere get perked up with fresh coats of paint but aren’t yet jammed with tourists. As June nears, daylight lasts later into the evening, so you get more hours for sightseeing each day. In many U.S., Mediterranean, and island destinations, the weather is more pleasant than it will be during the dog days of summer; while it’s not bikini weather yet, it’s shirt-sleeve weather suited to hikes, golf, and any number of other pursuits. Airfares and hotel rates tend to be lower than in summertime too—and you can find and book them via TripAdvisor.
Those are the more obvious reasons to travel in springtime. Here, though, are a few perhaps less top-of-mind spring things to travel for:
Wildflowers bloom in desert locales in Arizona and California that are far more pleasant to visit in April than in the dead of summer. April also brings flower celebrations to the southeast—such as Historic Garden Week in Virginia.
Snowmelt in U.S. national parks and mountain ranges—the Rockies, for instance—leads to rushing streams and thundering waterfalls, not to mention great river rafting. May is one of the best months for, say, rafting in the Grand Canyon.
In nature destinations—from national parks to the Galápagos Islands—spring is when baby animals are being born and, generally speaking, you can observe a lot of animal activity. In Yellowstone National Park, for instance, spring is a good time for spotting black bear cubs, bighorn lambs, and elk and bison calves.
Colorful springtime celebrations occur all over the U.S. and Europe—from the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which starts today in Washington, D.C., to King’s Day in Amsterdam to Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations on the island of Corfu.
What do you think: Is spring the best time of the year to travel?
You’ll find more travel tips from Wendy at WendyPerrin.com.