14 Places to Visit in Spring Before It Gets Too Hot
Take advantage of the gorgeous weather in these destinations before the summer heat sets in.
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Don’t miss the sweet spot at these locales
Planning a warm-weather vacation can be tricky: Too early and you won’t be able to go swimming; too late and you’ll be sweating when you’re not in the water. In certain destinations, spring offers a sweet spot between the sometimes chilly temperatures of winter and the high temps of summer. Although fluctuations can always happen, here are your best bets for relaxing in ideal weather from the high 70s to 80s. For some of these spots, this means that spring is the high season. For others, spring has the added benefit of being less crowded after a busy winter season. Check them out, along with these spring break destinations you haven’t thought of yet.
The weather in Orlando is notoriously unreliable: In winter, it can be in the 40s one day and in the 70s the next. Then when June rolls around, temperatures rising into the 90s make walking around the parks of Disney World—Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom—nearly unbearable. Wait until late April or May for a little pocket of dependable Florida weather that’s warm enough for a post-park dip in the hotel pool, as well as a slight reduction in crowds once spring break is over but before Memorial Day weekend begins. As always when visiting Disney World, though, expect to walk up to 10 miles a day, so stay hydrated. Plus, here’s how to save serious money on your next Disney World vacation.
With 15 Major League Baseball teams participating in spring training in the Phoenix area, the city makes a great spring escape for baseball fans. Visitors to Phoenix can also enjoy top-notch golf and spa resorts, and the lovely Desert Botanical Gardens and Phoenix Zoo. Outdoor enthusiasts can also venture outside the city to see the spring cactus wildflowers in bloom, as well as for hiking opportunities that might be unsafe in summer’s high heat, which can reach over 100 degrees starting in June. Average Phoenix temperatures are 76 degrees in March and 85 in April, with hardly any rain. Stay at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix in the downtown shopping and entertainment complex CityScape, and enjoy the rooftop pool and bar. Phoenix has the added benefit of having the most reliable airport in the United States.
Charleston, South Carolina
Take it from someone who once tried to enjoy traditional she-crab soup while sitting al fresco at famed Charleston restaurant 82 Queen in July: This Southern city is hot, hot, hot in the summer. Spring is a much more comfortable time to stroll the cobblestone streets, and the season also brings blooms to the flowers that pervade Charleston. Take a carriage ride to view the historic architecture of this lovely city, or get an inside look with the annual springtime Festival of Houses & Gardens. April and May offer temperatures in the 70s; by June, though, expect them to creep up to the mid-80s, plus more humidity. Enjoy Low Country eats, including the aforementioned she-crab soup, in the city’s vibrant food scene, then rest your head at a charming bed and breakfast like the Meeting Street Inn. Charleston is also one of America’s most beautiful places in the spring.
For a more exotic spring vacation, head to the northern African country of Morocco. Even though it’s on the edge of the Sahara desert, Morocco does experience a drop in temperatures in winter before they rise to over 90 degrees in June, reaching 100 in the height of summer. From March through May, you’ll experience more comfortable temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. The desert oasis city of Marrakesh is the country’s hottest—figuratively speaking—tourist spot, and so although the ancient sites and marketplaces (souks) of the medina, or old city, are impressive, visitors might also consider a less popular spot like the well-preserved old city of Fes (also called Fez) or the coastal city of Tangier. If you’re heading to Marrakesh, stay in the medina in a traditional riad, a building with a center courtyard and fountain, such as the Riad Bamaga Hotel. Here are more of the most popular travel destinations in Africa.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Another desert destination makes for one of the hottest spots—literally—in the United States in the height of summer. Average winter temps can be a bit chilly, but early- to mid-spring in Vegas offers comfortable weather in the 70s and low 80s before spiking up to 90 in May and well over 100 in summer. Visit in springtime so that you might actually be able to venture out of your air-conditioned hotel to explore the other properties on the strip and the outdoor adventures beyond. Besides the draw of the casinos, shows, and restaurants, visitors to Vegas can also check out the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon outside the city. Don’t miss these other things to do in Las Vegas that don’t involve casinos.
This coastal city can reach into the high 80s in summer, so if you’d prefer to explore in milder weather, visit in springtime when the heat and humidity aren’t so oppressive. Often overlooked for Barcelona or Madrid, Spain’s third-largest city stands out not just for the historic sites of its old town but also for the science fiction-like architecture of its City of Arts and Sciences. The complex hosts an opera house—one of the most beautiful opera houses in the world—science museum, and aquarium. Spring travelers to Valencia can also enjoy the gorgeous urban green space of the Turia Garden, which runs along the former riverbed of the Turia River for more than five miles. In addition, Valencia has top-notch beaches for those warmer days, which will be uncrowded in spring before the summer rush. Check out the Las Arenas Balneario Resort for the perfect oceanside stay.
Springtime and the Kentucky Derby go hand in hand, so it’s the perfect time to visit the horse race’s hometown of Louisville before the temperatures in the city climb to a muggy 90 degrees in July. Held the first weekend in May, the race does make hotel prices soar, so either splurge for the bucket-list experience of Derby Day in Louisville or avoid it altogether. (You can always tour Churchill Downs through the Kentucky Derby Museum when the race isn’t on.) Louisville is also home to gorgeous architecture in various styles, bourbon on Whiskey Row, and two more museums for sports lovers, the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center. Stay downtown at the stunning 1920s landmark Brown Hotel. Here are some fascinating facts you never knew about the Kentucky Derby.
Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is lovely, but not when it’s 107 degrees, the average temperature in July. The springtime offers more pleasant temps in the high 70s to mid-80s—perfect for lounging by the pool of your mid-century modern accommodations, such as the Desert Riviera Hotel. Spring visitors can also comfortably enjoy outdoor activities in nearby Joshua Tree National Park; plus, its namesake trees are in bloom in springtime. The young—or young at heart—can rock out to the music scene at the annual spring Coachella festival just outside Palm Springs. Visit before May, though, if you want to avoid those climbing temperatures. If you like it hot, you’ll also love the most stunning desert destinations in the United States.
Winter is peak travel season to the lush Caribbean island of Jamaica, but after March, the spring shoulder season offers lower prices without the nearly 90-degree temperatures of summer (not to mention that season’s risk of hurricanes). From March to May, expect temperatures in the mid-80s, perfect for refreshing dips in the crystal-clear ocean. Spring is also a pleasant time for hiking Jamaica’s mountains, golfing, and partaking in other inland adventures such as zip-lining. Many all-inclusive resorts offer package deals; some à la carte hotels, such as the new S Hotel Jamaica in Montego Bay, also have an all-inclusive option. Jamaica is one of the affordable spring break vacations to start planning now.
Springtime visitors to this charming city experience comfortable temperatures in the 70s; by June, the average temps are in the 90s. But little-known Macon offers another nice spring surprise: You might think that Washington, D.C., boasts the nation’s best cherry blossoms and is the only city to rival those of Japan. But with 350,000 trees, Macon is actually the cherry blossom capital of the world. A spring trip to the city is worth taking for its International Cherry Blossom Festival, in addition to Macon’s Southern architecture, lovely parks, and unique sites like the Native American Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park. Enjoy true Southern hospitality at the bed and breakfast 1842 Inn. Speaking of cherry blossoms, check out these jaw-dropping pictures of the world’s most amazing trees.
The country’s largest island is well known for its miles of coastline, but late spring (May into June) offers beach weather in the high 70s and low 80s without the high temperatures—and high crowds—of summer. Sea swimming might be a bit brisk, but the ocean will start to warm up during this period. In addition to Instagram-worthy shores like the pink sands of Elafonisi beach, Crete offers visitors ancient ruins like Knossos Palace, the canyons of Samaria Gorge National Park, and the historic Old Town of Rethymnon—all pleasantly explored in mild spring temps. But because Crete is quite large (160 miles wide), you’ll likely have to pick which of the spread-out sites you want to see. Stay in a renovated Venetian medieval manor in Rethymnon’s Old Town, Avli Lounge Apartments. Along with Elafonisi, here are the most gorgeous pink sand beaches in the world.
This arts hub makes a great base for exploring Far West Texas, nearly on the border with Mexico. The high-90s temperatures of summer, starting in June, mean springtime is the last chance to venture into the stunning mountains of Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park before the heat sets in. Marfa itself is an art lover’s paradise, with museums, galleries, studios, and spaces supporting the town’s thriving cultural scene. Plus, April brings the Marfa Invitational art exhibition. The town has also become a thriving foodie spot, with restaurants drawing top-notch chefs. Stay downtown at the Hotel Saint George. Or, if glamping’s more your style, check out El Cosmico, one of the world’s strangest and most unique hotels.
Flights to St. Thomas are super cheap right now—hovering around $200 from New York—which makes it another great Caribbean destination to hit up after the winter high season and before summer’s high temperatures, which can reach into the 90s in July and August. Spring offers temperatures in the mid-80s, the perfect beach weather for lounging on the white sands and snorkeling in the calm, turquoise water. After the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, St. Thomas tourism didn’t get totally back on its feet until last year, but now most hotels are open for business and eager to welcome tourists. Enjoy the spectacular ocean view from Mafolie Hotel in the capital city of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie. Because it’s a U.S. territory, St. Thomas is one of the U.S. islands you can visit without a passport.
They don’t call the city’s basketball team the Miami “Heat” for nothing. If you want to avoid the grueling humidity and searing near-90-degree temperatures of July and August, visit in spring. March to May offer temperatures in the high 70s and low 80s, making it a much more pleasant trip for strolling along South Beach or enjoying one of Ocean Drive’s art deco bars and eateries. Visitors can also head to the colorful shops and restaurants of Bayside Marketplace. Plus, after the snowbirds have gone back up north, hotel rates go down; just avoid spring break. Stay right on the ocean at the Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel, and book with your girlfriends: Miami happens to be one of the best girls’ weekend getaways across America.