Itching to get away in April? The door has finally slammed shut on winter, and many of us are itching to get away and dust off the cold-weather cobwebs. April is shoulder season for many North American destinations, so this can also be a wonderfully affordable time for a carpe diem-inspired break. Here are five great family destinations that beckon in April.
Washington, DC. The nation's capital is worthy of a trip any time of year, but right now -- when temperatures can hit the low 70s -- the city emerges as its most stunning. Every year from late March to mid-April, millions of visitors make the pilgrimage to Washington, DC during the Cherry Blossom Festival to witness the spectacle of thousands of cherry trees in bloom along the tidal basin.
Texas Hill Country. Every spring, bluebonnets run riot across the landscape of Texas Hill Country--a large central swath of the Lone Star State comprising Austin and San Antonio as well as smaller towns such as Bandera and Fredericksburg. A road trip this time of year is guaranteed to reveal the Texas state flower growing wild in fields and along roadsides far as the eye can see.
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New Orleans, Louisiana. A jam-packed calendar and ideal weather make April a fantastic time to visit New Orleans. The city stays hopping all month long thanks to a quartet of popular events: the French Quarter Festival (April 9-12, 2014), Pirate Week (March 27 - April 5), New Orleans Jazz Festival (April 24 - May 3), and the family-focused New Orleans Giant Puppet Festival.
Sailing in the Key West (Flickr: Serge Mashtakoff)
Key West, Florida. A road trip to the southernmost point of the continental U.S. has long lured travelers with the promise of a great escape. By mid-April the winter crowds finally begin to thin, yet temperatures remain blissfully in the 70s and 80s. Fly into Miami and rent a car for the iconic three-hour island-skipping drive through the Florida Keys. Happily, the end of the road rewards with stunning beaches, myriad water sports, and a storied town that can be easily explored on foot.
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Death Valley National Park, California. The hottest and driest place in North America is too harsh for most folks to visit comfortably during the summer. Yet it can be an entirely different story in April, when the temperatures are mild and the desert valley dons a cloak of spring wildflowers.
Suzanne Rowan Kelleher contributed this to MiniTime.