Spring is the perfect time of year to visit popular destinations before summer crowds set in, while the weather isn’t too hot, and when prices are still relatively affordable. Plus, who isn’t ready to throw off the cobwebs of winter and experience some much-needed sunshine?! Keep scrolling to find out 8 of the best spring travel destinations plus some ideas of what to pack for your trip!
First on the list of spring travel destinations is Death Valley National Park in California. Spring is the ideal time to visit desert landscapes before they begin experiencing scorching hot summer temperatures. Death Valley reaches highs of 120°F+ during summer and can also get pretty chilly during the winter months, with freezing temperatures in the higher elevated sections of the park. In contrast, spring brings warm, sunny days and the ability to comfortably cool-off at night… without freezing your butt off!
Some must-see things in the park include the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Dante’s View, and Artist Palette. It is possible to experience most of Death Valley’s highlights in one day, but I recommend a a 2-3 day trip to truly immerse yourself in the park’s wonders.
One of the best spring travel destinations is undoubtedly America’s beautiful Southwest, specifically Arizona and Utah. Both of these states are bursting with things to see and do, and spring is a wonderful time to experience them during prime weather. Keep in mind that spring is one of the peak times for travel to the Southwest so I recommend planning ahead if you want to stay in hotels or take specific tours.
Some of my favorite American Southwest destinations include Sedona, Moab, Page, Escalante, Monument Valley, and the various national parks: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef. You can choose one of these destinations for a quick weekend getaway, a few spots for a 7-10 day trip, or spend the entire season exploring the Southwest. There are endless opportunities for adventure!
Spring in the Northern Hemisphere means autumn on the opposite side of the world and the perfect time to travel to the South Island of New Zealand. Not only is New Zealand absolutely stunning during autumn, but March–May are considered relatively off-peak months for travel. You will find smaller crowds, cool but manageable temperatures, beautiful conditions for hiking, and epic golden foliage all over the country. The North Island of New Zealand is another bucket list worthy travel destination… but I’m a little partial to the South’s breathtaking mountains!
Some of the best places to explore on the South Island of New Zealand include Wanaka, Queenstown, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, and Milford Sound. Some other spots worth checking out are Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo, Mount Aspiring National Park, Franz Josef Glacier, Arthur’s Pass National Park, and the Catlin’s Coast.
Next on our list of spring travel destinations is the stunning coastline of Oregon and Washington. Spring usually brings a perfect hybrid of the seasons – less marine fog, warmer days, and a greater chance of avoiding the rain. In saying that, the Pacific Northwest still definitely gets its fair share of spring rainfall so be sure to pack a waterproof jacket just in case!
It’s a great time of year to take a weekend getaway to somewhere like the Olympic Peninsula, Cannon Beach or Cape Kiwanda. Some other beautiful places you should consider are Samuel Boardman State Park and Cape Disappointment State Park (spoiler alert: it’s far from disappointing!)
Another destination to add to your spring bucket list is the beautiful West Coast of Ireland. You can certainly explore Ireland any time of the year but spring is ideal for smaller crowds, mild temperatures, great deals on accommodation and flights, and lush scenery around every corner.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a particularly scenic drive to plan your trip along. This coastal route links up countless natural and cultural sights, quaint towns, and opportunities for hitting the trails. Be sure to check out the Slieve League Cliffs, Connemara National Park, and the Fanad Peninsula.
You can also expand on this trip with a quick detour into Northern Ireland or potentially catch a short flight over to Scotland. Both are fantastic spring travel destinations!
America’s Lake Tahoe is another year-round destination, though it can get quite crowded during the peak of summer and winter. The months of April–June are particularly great for visiting during prime conditions whilst still beating summer crowds. This time of year will usually bring cooler nights and warm days, with clear skies and endless things to do!
Adventure junkies will love Lake Tahoe for its standup paddle boarding, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, boating, and even potential spring skiing. Be mindful that although the weather can get warm, the lake is still VERY cold this time of year and not so much suitable for swimming.
Next up on the list of spring travel destinations is Yosemite National Park in California. World famous for its beautiful scenery, Yosemite can get extremely busy during the summer months. Spring is far from “quiet” in the Valley, but it’s a much more ideal time to visit for smaller crowds and lush scenery.
The months of April–June are usually when you will see the park’s waterfalls at their peak flow, though the conditions vary each year depending on snowpack and weather. Spring is also known for its green meadows and opportunities to explore the lower elevated hikes and sights around the Valley. Visitors can also experience incredible sights along Glacier Point Road when it opens in April/May (varies each year). Be sure to check out Yosemite Falls, Tunnel View, Mist Trail, Taft Point, Glacier Point, and Mariposa Grove.
Last on the list of spring travel destinations (but certainly not least!) is beautiful Peru. Similar to New Zealand, Peru is situated in the Southern Hemisphere and therefore experiences autumn whilst America is enjoying spring. The months of April and May are both optimal times to visit Peru for smaller crowds, lush scenery (minus the rainfall), warmer days, and cooler nights.
Some must-see places during your visit to Peru include Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Humantay Lake, and Rainbow Mountain. The Inca Trail and the Ausangate Trek are once in a lifetime multi-day hiking trips if you are up for the challenge!
Renee Hahnel is an Australian travel photographer, blogger, and author that now calls Seattle, Washington home. You’ll usually find her hiking up a mountain or exploring some faraway place, forever in search of new adventures. Follow her on Instagram here.