It’s almost spring. You can just feel it… kind of. If winter weather has officially got you down for the third consecutive month in a row, that means it’s time to get out of town. We’ve scoped out the best opportunities to ditch the purgatory that is March and eat, drink and soak up some sun — or some culture — which should have you in better spirits in no time. Here, our five favorite places to travel this month.
1. Miami, Florida
Miami is obviously a top vacation destination year-round, and it’s easy to see why: the weather, the beaches, the architecture, the nightlife. Even if the beach isn’t your thing, you can spend your time visiting the famed Wynwood Walls and the nearby restaurants and shops of this artsy neighborhood hot spot. Or, head to Little Havana for a dose of Cuban culture by stopping by the famed Versailles Café for coffee and croquetas.
Why you should go in March: While the rest of the country is starting to thaw from winter’s chill, Miami is heating up. It’s not peak season, so you can find favorable, relatively cheap flights into Miami or Fort Lauderdale, according to Skyscanner. Plus, the beach weather is amazing—some of South Florida’s finest—with sunny skies, moderate temperatures and less humidity than in the summer.
Where to stay: Betsy South Beach, a renovated Art Deco jewel on Ocean Drive has a stylish rooftop pool and deck, tasty dining options and incredible ocean views in the heart of lively SoBe. At the posh Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, it’s all about comfort and relaxation — the hotel sits on a more idyllic and quiet stretch of the beach, with huge oceanfront terraces attached to its rooms and soaking tubs in the bathrooms. Meanwhile, budget-conscious guests can always score a Miami deal on cute apartment-style accommodations on Airbnb.
2. Charleston, South Carolina
This seaport city on South Carolina’s coast oozes Southern charm. Its palmetto-lined streets, waterfront promenades, historic mansions and cobblestone streets will draw you in, but its exciting art and culinary scene and its Southern hospitality will make it one hell of a vacation. Our perfect day? Brunch at Hominy Grill, a visit to nearby Boone Hall Plantation — where countless movies have been filmed and where Blake Lively tied the knot with Ryan Reynolds — followed by an afternoon or happy hour brew at the Bay Street Biergarten and a fancy dinner at a Charleston institution like FIG or the Charleston Grill.
Why you should go in March: Mild temps make Chuck Town pleasant this time of year. And it’s the start for springtime blooms with colorful camellias, pink tulip trees and wisteria vines blossoming throughout downtown and inside city parks. Plus, the Charleston Wine+Food Festival and Charleston Fashion Week both take place in March.
Where to stay: Belmond Charleston Place. This elegant hotel in the heart of downtown was built to fit in among the 18th-century buildings that surround it in the city’s historic district. With the City Market steps from the lobby and tourist attractions, antique stores and galleries nearby, not to mention an upscale mall attached to the Belmond and shopping mecca King St. just steps away, it’s the ideal location for sightseers. While the Belmond is certainly worth the splurge, if you’re on a budget, stay at the all-suite-style Springhill Suites by Marriott Charleston, which overlooks a marina and is a short (and cheap!) Uber ride away from all the action.
3. Punta Mita, Mexico
On Mexico’s gorgeous Riviera Nayarit, about 30 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, you’ll find Punta Mita, a relaxed Pacific beach town on Banderas Bay known as a haven for both surfers and fisherman alike. It’s also a top draw for its spa scene and golf options. Just north of Punta Mita is the more laid-back, boho village of Sayulita. Home to charming and popular boutiques — La Hamaca, Manyana and Revolución del Sueño — and some of the area’s most popular beaches, the quaint surf town is a must-see.
Why you should go in March: Temps are always high in Punta Mita, but March is its coolest month, so guests can expect pleasant, warm weather. Plus, the official whale watching season runs through the end of March, so your chances of seeing humpbacks as they migrate back to warmer waters ain’t bad.
Where to stay: W Punta de Mita. Situated on one of the best surf breaks in Riviera Nayarit, this colorful and chic beach resort is stylish — each of its 119 guest villas features artisanal Mexican tiled floors, festive furnishings and surf-inspired local artwork — with top-notch amenities, an amazing beach and excellent dining options. Bonus: If your visit happens to fall on March 8, the resort is offering its female visitors free surf lessons taught by local pros in celebration of International Women’s Day.
4. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Our favorite part of Puerto Rico’s capital city is Old San Juan’s cobblestone streets and colorful colonial architecture. Of course we love the beach — and the food — too! The island’s recovery from last year’s Hurricane Maria has been notably slow and complicated but San Juan’s hotels are welcoming visitors again and tourism officials want travelers to know that the city is open for business. So, hit the beach, grab a bite and dance the night away at one of the many salsa clubs in town.
Why you should go in March: Prices are low as the island continues its recovery. Visiting the island, staying in hotels, eating at restaurants and buying from local businesses is the best way travelers can help the island bounce back.
Where to stay: Hotel El Convento. This historic hotel is in a renovated 17th-century convent (hence the name) in Old San Juan’s cathedral square. Guests will also love the boutique hotel’s old world charm, its Spanish colonial decor and its rooftop terrace — complete with a hot tub and a plunge pool.
5. Columbus, Ohio
It’s definitely not the warmest destination on our list, but Columbus is having a moment. What it lacks in weather, it’s certainly making up for in culture. More than just home to Ohio State and its Buckeyes, the capital city has an unexpectedly diverse restaurant and bar scene, charming and walkable historic districts, and an exciting arts scene. These are must-tries for foodies: The Pearl, The Gild House, Katalina’s, Fox in the Snow and Skillet. For beer lovers, it’s also overflowing with new breweries.
Why you should go in March: There is plenty to do in Columbus itself — the Columbus Museum of Art, an architecture bus tour, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens—but in March nearby, the aptly named Dublin, Ohio, goes all out for St. Patrick’s Day with one of the best celebrations of the Irish holiday in the U.S.
Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Columbus. The best part about this contemporary, downtown Columbus hotel built in an atrium style is its location. It’s a short walk to the trendy and popular Short North Arts District, the lifeblood of Columbus’s cool. The 633-room hotel also gets high marks for value and service.