Best Spring Vacations
Spring is the ideal time to visit many of the world's most popular vacation destinations. Before the peak summer crowds roll in, travelers can often find pleasant temperatures, fewer tourists and affordable lodging and airfare rates. Based on traveler votes and editor analysis, U.S. News assembled a list of the top escapes for the spring season. Explore our best spring vacations and vote for your favorite spots below. Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and State Department before traveling.
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London is always crowded, so you might as well visit when the trees and plants within the city's many beautiful parks and gardens are evergreen and blooming. Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park, Kew Gardens and St James's Park (to name a few) will be unforgettably lush during spring. For a one-of-a-kind seasonal experience, get tickets to the incredibly eye-catching RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place every May.
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Avoid Sydney's peak summer season (from December through February) by booking a vacation in March, April or May. During these months, which comprise Sydney's autumn season, you'll enjoy more elbow room while checking out iconic sights like Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House, as well as the city's incredible beaches. Plus, you won't have to sacrifice too much temperature-wise; highs are normally in the 60s and 70s.
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Skip the crowds you'll encounter in summer in favor of visiting this phenomenal natural wonder in spring. You'll have easier access to stunning lookout points along the South Rim, plus hiking will be more enjoyable with average daytime temperatures in the 50s to 70s. (Keep in mind, though, that exact temperatures vary depending on where you are in the canyon.) For a discounted visit, plan your trip in April during National Park Week, when admission fees are waived at every national park in the country.
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Sedona's red rocks and colorful desert vegetation are most vibrant in spring. Plus, this Arizona destination's more than 100 hiking trails become more comfortable to traverse during this time of year thanks to average daytime temperatures hovering in the mid-60s to high 80s. Because spring is Sedona's peak travel season, you'll want to make reservations well in advance. Arrive in March to take advantage of a handful of local festivals, including the Sedona Yoga Festival.
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Although Brussels is still pretty chilly in spring (think: highs in the 40s, 50s or 60s, depending on when you visit), its more manageable spring crowds make this shoulder season an ideal time to visit. You'll enjoy more breathing room at this Belgium city's major attractions, including the Grand-Place and Manneken-Pis. And because there are fewer visitors in spring, you'll improve your chances of scoring airfare and accommodation deals.
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San Diego's top sights shine during the springtime. The weather is mild and blooms are on display at the more than 50-acre Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. Plus, green spaces like those found at Balboa Park are especially enjoyable to explore in spring. Outdoor attractions abound, too, but do note that if you visit in early spring, ocean temperatures won't be warm enough for swimming. Meanwhile, late spring visits will likely mean encountering San Diego's "May Gray."
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Springtime ushers in plenty of tourists to our nation's capital thanks to its pleasant temperatures and beautiful flowers. As such, affordable lodging may be hard to find, though the city's monuments, its budding cherry blossom trees and many of its museums are free to enjoy. Daytime temperatures range from the 40s to 80s and rainfall is very likely, so be sure to pack a jacket and an umbrella.
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Spring brings bright, sunny days, and Athenians have yet to flee from imposing summer tourists. You'll find shorter lines at must-see archaeological sites like the Acropolis and Ancient Agora, but the seaside city does experience winds that the Greeks describe as "having teeth," so pack a jacket. Also save time for admiring the stunning blooms around Athens' ancient landmarks, plazas and streets.
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This year-round destination on the California-Nevada border is at its quietest in spring. Skiers have left Lake Tahoe's slopes and the summer boating crowd hasn't arrived yet, making it the perfect place to get some peace and quiet. But remember, spring here is cooler than what you'll experience in other destinations (think: highs in the 40s, 50s or 60s, depending on the month), so be sure to bring cold-weather attire with you.
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Lisbon's striking architecture and colorful neighborhoods are best beheld in spring. You may deal with the occasional rain shower during this season, but you'll find lower hotel rates and encounter comfortable daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Plus, this Portuguese city welcomes fewer tourists in spring than in the busy summer months. Nearby destinations like Sintra (which is home to the vivid Pena National Palace) and the beach-filled Cascais are equally enjoyable come spring.
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After the influx of winter skiers have departed, you'll practically have this quaint Austrian city to yourself, meaning you'll have access to more affordable lodging rates. But keep in mind that temperatures can still be pretty low (highs rarely climb above 60 degrees before mid-April), so be sure to pack appropriately. Innsbruck's cooler mountain climate is ideal for spring hikes through the area's dramatic Austrian Alps.
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If you're keen on visiting Florida but want to stray far, far away from spring breakers, Naples is a fantastic option. This laid-back city overlooking the Gulf of Mexico offers dreamy beaches with few tourists and luxurious digs that are more affordable come spring. What's more, the season brings cooler temps and little rain compared to summer, so you can comfortably enjoy outdoor attractions like the Naples Zoo and Naples Botanical Garden.
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Madrid gets extremely hot every summer, so much so that residents often vacation for months away from the city to beat the heat. As such, spring is the best time to visit if you're looking to experience Spain's capital while it's comfortably warm. You can walk to and from the city's striking architectural attractions, including El Retiro Park and Plaza Mayor, without breaking a major sweat. If you don't want to rub elbows with lots of people, avoid visiting during Semana Santa (Holy Week) in March or April.
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By mid-spring, Montreal's snow has melted and daytime temperatures hover in the 50s, making this season the perfect time to stroll up and down Old Montreal's cobblestone streets. You'll also want to see the blooming flowers in Mount Royal Park and the Montreal Botanical Garden. The city hosts a handful of spring events as well, including Montreal Museums Day, when admission into participating museums is free.
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From Stanley Park to Grouse Mountain, Vancouver's natural attractions are its biggest draws, regardless of the season. But if you don't want to deal with hordes of tourists and don't mind cool temperatures, then you should plan on visiting this Canadian destination in spring. During this time of year, you can take advantage of travel deals and admire the city's 40,000 cherry blossom trees, which feature beautiful pink and white blooms. You'll find the trees scattered throughout Vancouver's parks, Nitobe Memorial Garden and VanDusen Botanical Garden.
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Prime skiing conditions may be Jackson Hole's claim to fame, but you'd be remiss if you didn't vacation here in spring. This shoulder season is when you'll find lower room rates and far fewer visitors. Plus, spring is an especially good time to see this Wyoming valley's wildlife, as many animals come out of hibernation. Visit the National Elk Refuge to look for elk shedding their antlers before they leave the refuge in April and May. If you want to venture to nearby national parks like Grand Teton and Yellowstone, arrive in May to avoid most seasonal road closures.
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Monaco boasts year-round appeal, but for pleasant temperatures and thinned crowds, come in spring before visitors arrive for the Monaco Grand Prix (held annually in May). Test Lady Luck at the elegant Monte Carlo Casino, or head to Larvotto Beach to relax and soak up some sun. Before you leave, catch a Spring Arts Festival performance and check out the blooming flowers at the Princess Grace Rose Garden and the Exotic Garden.
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Glasgow's live music and expanding arts scene bring a unique atmosphere to the Scottish city's charming cobblestone streets and art nouveau architecture. Plus, a spring visit means you won't have to compete with tourist crowds and you'll enjoy longer daylight hours. Keep in mind, though, that Glasgow's location in the upper part of the Northern Hemisphere means springtime temps can feel pretty chilly at times, so you'll want to dress accordingly.
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Unlike other destinations on this list, Hawaii's third-largest island is best experienced during its peak travel season. The reason for this is simply the weather. In spring, daytime temperatures comfortably sit in the 70s. What's more, the island hosts a variety of fun festivals in spring. Arrive in March to enjoy the Honolulu Festival's cultural events, or plan a May vacation to attend traditional festivities like the Lei Day Celebration and Lantern Floating Hawaii.
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Asheville offers something for every kind of traveler, whether you want to go hiking or see stunning estates. In spring, daytime averages comfortably sit in the 50s, 60s and 70s, making hikes in and around must-see areas like Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway especially pleasant. Plus, blooming wildflowers add extra dashes of color to this North Carolina city's surrounding mountains. For more blossoms, visit the Biltmore Estate in April or May when it hosts its annual Biltmore Blooms festival.
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