Top 10 Quick Spring Getaways

by Christine Dayao

Top 10 Quick Spring Getaways

by Christine Dayao

Spring is in the air and you know what that means: Blooming buds, warm weather, and most important, the will to finally leave the house for a weekend jaunt. If you're in the mood for a no-muss, no-fuss weekend escape, you're in luck, because we've rounded up 10 quick spring getaways sure to put some spring in your step. Whether your ideal vacation is soaking up the sun or schussing down the slopes, we've found locales just a quick flight from many U.S. cities.

Spring is in the air and you know what that means: Blooming buds, warm weather, and most important, the will to finally leave the house for a weekend jaunt. If you're in the mood for a no-muss, no-fuss weekend escape, you're in luck, because we've rounded up 10 quick spring getaways sure to put some spring in your step. Whether your ideal vacation is soaking up the sun or schussing down the slopes, we've found locales just a quick flight from many U.S. cities.

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Charleston, South Carolina / iStock / SeanPavonePhoto
Asheville, North Carolina
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Asheville, North Carolina

Nestled in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains region, Asheville is on travelers’ radars thanks to its dynamic downtown area, lively cultural offerings, thriving arts scene, New Age nuances, and breathtaking mountain scenery. Architecture buffs love the town's Art Deco-influenced buildings, as well as the Biltmore Estate. Modeled after a French castle, it ranks as the largest private residence in North America. Shoppers can scoop up fine arts and crafts at local artisan galleries, while nature enthusiasts can foray into the surrounding mountain preserves that burst with colorful wildflowers when spring comes around.

Read More: Asheville, NC: The Coolest Town You've Not Visited

Nestled in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains region, Asheville is on travelers’ radars thanks to its dynamic downtown area, lively cultural offerings, thriving arts scene, New Age nuances, and breathtaking mountain scenery. Architecture buffs love the town's Art Deco-influenced buildings, as well as the Biltmore Estate. Modeled after a French castle, it ranks as the largest private residence in North America. Shoppers can scoop up fine arts and crafts at local artisan galleries, while nature enthusiasts can foray into the surrounding mountain preserves that burst with colorful wildflowers when spring comes around.

Read More: Asheville, NC: The Coolest Town You've Not Visited

Austin, Texas
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Austin, Texas

Music lovers would be remiss to overlook a visit to Austin, the "Live Music Capital of the World." With nearly 200 venues where you can tap your toes, Texas's capital is also the state's most culturally rich city, with museums and art galleries galore. Austin's laid-back vibe means it's a haven for musicians, artists, and performers who live and thrive there; for visitors interested in the arts, the possibilities for enrichment are endless. Trips in the spring are ideal, with temperatures averaging in the low 80s. It's also when bat-viewing is at its best – yes, you can watch up to 1.5 million bats (considered the largest urban bat colony in North America) take off every night from Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge in search of food.

Read More: The Sweet Spot: Austin, Texas
 

Music lovers would be remiss to overlook a visit to Austin, the "Live Music Capital of the World." With nearly 200 venues where you can tap your toes, Texas's capital is also the state's most culturally rich city, with museums and art galleries galore. Austin's laid-back vibe means it's a haven for musicians, artists, and performers who live and thrive there; for visitors interested in the arts, the possibilities for enrichment are endless. Trips in the spring are ideal, with temperatures averaging in the low 80s. It's also when bat-viewing is at its best – yes, you can watch up to 1.5 million bats (considered the largest urban bat colony in North America) take off every night from Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge in search of food.

Read More: The Sweet Spot: Austin, Texas

Charleston, South Carolina
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Charleston, South Carolina

Few cities are more lovely, genteel, and downright Southern than Charleston. What’s not to love about a picturesque place full of historic landmarks, gracious homes, and charming inns? Visiting here in the spring is best, with the temperatures warm but bearable, perfect for a walking tour or a carriage ride through the city. You’ll notice the pace is a little slower and the people are a little nicer than what you're probably used to; combine that with the blooming flowers, fantastic restaurants, upscale shopping, and a plethora of beach and golf options nearby and chances are you’ll wish your weekend break was a lot longer.

Read More: Charleston’s Favorite Local Restaurants
 

Few cities are more lovely, genteel, and downright Southern than Charleston. What’s not to love about a picturesque place full of historic landmarks, gracious homes, and charming inns? Visiting here in the spring is best, with the temperatures warm but bearable, perfect for a walking tour or a carriage ride through the city. You’ll notice the pace is a little slower and the people are a little nicer than what you're probably used to; combine that with the blooming flowers, fantastic restaurants, upscale shopping, and a plethora of beach and golf options nearby and chances are you’ll wish your weekend break was a lot longer.

Read More: Charleston’s Favorite Local Restaurants

Death Valley, California
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Death Valley, California

We would never recommend hopping over to the Sahara for a quick spring getaway – nor would we suggest rocketing to Mars anytime soon. And we don't have to, since you can practically experience both by spending a couple of days exploring the vast open spaces, arid mountains, rolling sand dunes, old ghost towns, and barren salt pans of Death Valley. Despite its macabre moniker, this national park comes alive with wildflowers through mid-April, and with summer highs soaring above 120 degrees and winter lows dropping below freezing, spring is the prime season to discover this 3.3-million-acre park’s many wonders: Hike the lowest place in North America (almost 300 feet below sea level), surf a sand dune, visit a Moorish-style castle, and cool down at the top-notch Inn at Death Valley.

We would never recommend hopping over to the Sahara for a quick spring getaway – nor would we suggest rocketing to Mars anytime soon. And we don't have to, since you can practically experience both by spending a couple of days exploring the vast open spaces, arid mountains, rolling sand dunes, old ghost towns, and barren salt pans of Death Valley. Despite its macabre moniker, this national park comes alive with wildflowers through mid-April, and with summer highs soaring above 120 degrees and winter lows dropping below freezing, spring is the prime season to discover this 3.3-million-acre park’s many wonders: Hike the lowest place in North America (almost 300 feet below sea level), surf a sand dune, visit a Moorish-style castle, and cool down at the top-notch Inn at Death Valley.

 

New Orleans, Louisiana
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New Orleans, Louisiana

Down by the bayou come spring, the avenues of New Orleans are full of rhythm. Always colorful, chaotic, and soulful, there’s no better way to discover the city where jazz was born than by attending its crowning fête, Jazz Fest. The cultural event gathers musical acts from across the globe to perform on multiple local stages, while Louisiana cuisine and crafts are showcased at the Fair Grounds Race Course. 

Read More: Planning Your Trip to New Orleans
 

Down by the bayou come spring, the avenues of New Orleans are full of rhythm. Always colorful, chaotic, and soulful, there’s no better way to discover the city where jazz was born than by attending its crowning fête, Jazz Fest. The cultural event gathers musical acts from across the globe to perform on multiple local stages, while Louisiana cuisine and crafts are showcased at the Fair Grounds Race Course. 

Read More: Planning Your Trip to New Orleans

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Situated on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, just 42 miles south of Cancun, Playa del Carmen is a long way from the hard-partying ways of its northerly neighbor. That’s not to say that there’s no fun to be had here, where white-sand beaches, eco-parks, and nearby Mayan ruins are abundant. Spring getaways reign supreme, with tropical breezes and temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. Mayan monuments at Chichén Itzá are close enough for a day trip – and what better way to welcome spring than at the site’s spring equinox festival, when the shadows cast by the sun resemble a serpent slithering its way down the main pyramid’s ancient steps.

Read More: Which Vacation: Cancun, Cozumel, or Playa?
 

Situated on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, just 42 miles south of Cancun, Playa del Carmen is a long way from the hard-partying ways of its northerly neighbor. That’s not to say that there’s no fun to be had here, where white-sand beaches, eco-parks, and nearby Mayan ruins are abundant. Spring getaways reign supreme, with tropical breezes and temperatures hovering around 80 degrees. Mayan monuments at Chichén Itzá are close enough for a day trip – and what better way to welcome spring than at the site’s spring equinox festival, when the shadows cast by the sun resemble a serpent slithering its way down the main pyramid’s ancient steps.

Read More: Which Vacation: Cancun, Cozumel, or Playa?

Santa Catalina Island, California
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Santa Catalina Island, California

Though its heyday as a stomping ground for movie stars passed with Hollywood’s golden age, Catalina Island, 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, is still an idyllic seaside escape with a year-round Mediterranean climate (and nary a freeway in sight). Avalon, the only real city on this 75-square-mile isle, is a striking place where the preferred mode of transport is by golf cart, not car. Check out the Art Deco mermaid murals adorning the grand 1920s circular dance hall known as the Casino – then sprout your own fins and scuba dive in the crystal-clear Pacific. Inland, you'll discover indigenous foxes, bald eagles, and the offspring of a bison herd brought to the island for a silent-screen-era movie shoot.

Read More: 25 Islands in the U.S. for an Affordable Getaway
 

Though its heyday as a stomping ground for movie stars passed with Hollywood’s golden age, Catalina Island, 22 miles off the coast of Long Beach, California, is still an idyllic seaside escape with a year-round Mediterranean climate (and nary a freeway in sight). Avalon, the only real city on this 75-square-mile isle, is a striking place where the preferred mode of transport is by golf cart, not car. Check out the Art Deco mermaid murals adorning the grand 1920s circular dance hall known as the Casino – then sprout your own fins and scuba dive in the crystal-clear Pacific. Inland, you'll discover indigenous foxes, bald eagles, and the offspring of a bison herd brought to the island for a silent-screen-era movie shoot.

Read More: 25 Islands in the U.S. for an Affordable Getaway

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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Santa Fe, New Mexico

Harmonious Santa Fe lives up to its moniker, “the City Different,” thanks to its combination of surreal desert landscapes, sprawling adobe architecture, and the third-largest art market in the United States. Though summer typically draws the largest crowds, spring outings are primed for visiting this city in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, when crowds are fewer, prices are lower, and yucca flowers are in full bloom. Sample the best of native cuisine; shop for eclectic pottery, jewelry, sculptures and paintings; or take a leisurely stroll down popular Canyon Road.

Read More: Luxury for Less in Artsy and Historic Santa Fe
 

Harmonious Santa Fe, New Mexico lives up to its moniker, “the City Different,” thanks to its combination of surreal desert landscapes, sprawling adobe architecture, and the third-largest art market in the United States. Though summer typically draws the largest crowds, spring outings are primed for visiting this city in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, when crowds are fewer, prices are lower, and yucca flowers are in full bloom. Sample the best of native cuisine; shop for eclectic pottery, jewelry, sculptures and paintings; or take a leisurely stroll down popular Canyon Road.

Read More: Luxury for Less in Artsy and Historic Santa Fe

Whistler, British Columbia
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Whistler, British Columbia

If your idea of a great spring getaway involves snow instead of sand, head to Whistler, where one of the longest ski seasons in North America keeps snow bunnies schussing as late as early June. Whistler boasts over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, 12 alpine bowls on three glaciers, and more than 200 marked trails. As an added bonus, the beautiful village has enough shops, nightlife, restaurants, and events to keep even non-skiers happy – and plenty of shiny new Olympic-legacy attractions (from 2010's Winter Games) worthy of exploration.

If your idea of a great spring getaway involves snow instead of sand, head to Whistler, where one of the longest ski seasons in North America keeps snow bunnies schussing as late as early June. Whistler boasts over 8,000 acres of skiable terrain, 12 alpine bowls on three glaciers, and more than 200 marked trails. As an added bonus, the beautiful village has enough shops, nightlife, restaurants, and events to keep even non-skiers happy – and plenty of shiny new Olympic-legacy attractions (from 2010's Winter Games) worthy of exploration.

Antigua
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Antigua and Barbuda

Spring getaways to Antigua and its smaller sister island, Barbuda, offer plenty of appealing on-land pursuits. Enjoy 365 sugar-white-sand beaches and historical attractions on Antigua, and fabulous resorts, pink-and-white shell beaches, and untouched Caribbean life found on Barbuda.

Spring getaways to Antigua and its smaller sister island, Barbuda, offer plenty of appealing on-land pursuits. Enjoy 365 sugar-white-sand beaches and historical attractions on Antigua, and fabulous resorts, pink-and-white shell beaches, and untouched Caribbean life found on Barbuda.

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