March is so fickle. A string of warm, sunny days gets you in the mood for spring and summer and then BAM! The next day is a snow day — it's icy cold with heavy rains, gale-force winds and even snow and ice storms. If you’re fed up already, we don’t blame you.
Wanting to get away from March’s tease is a wonderful excuse for a long weekend or even a full-blown vacation, especially if you couldn't escape February’s chill. Luckily, there are places where March weather is a bit more stable and a whole lot warmer. So, if you want to blow off March’s unpredictable temperament where you live, we have some great ideas for you.
Now, you may not be able to jet away to an international destination in the next few weeks (unless you’ve got some serious airline miles piled up), so we’ve offered up some stateside locales all the way to far-flung trips of a lifetime in case you can really get away. The following destinations are simply beautiful in March.
Note: We recognize these locations may be easier for some people to get to than others, depending on where you live.
Sanibel Island, Florida
Before your spring break alarm bells go off and you scream “Whaaaaaaaat? Florida?” at us, keep in mind that Sanibel is a little more expensive than some other Florida beach destinations, so it doesn’t attract a lot of college students looking for cheap hotels and free beer. In fact, you may not notice any college students at all while you’re here.
Why go? Stunning white-sand beaches, shelling, birding at J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge, fishing adventures, a small-town feel, beautiful sunsets and great seafood.
What it will cost: The nearest airport is Southwest Florida International Airport. You can hire a car or cab to get to Sanibel, or rent a car if you want to do some driving. Hotels start around $180 per night
The weather: Highs average in the upper 70s to lower 80s in March, and there’s a monthly rainfall possibility of just 13%.
The self-proclaimed Live Music Capital hosts the SXSW conference and festivals during March each year. There’s pretty much something for everyone, which is why it is probably the most crowded part of the year for the Texas capital.
Why go? If you can handle the crowds (and the traffic) SXSW’s film, gaming, comedy, music and interactive festivals draw some of the best creators and performers. If festivals aren’t for you, there’s still plenty of unassociated live music to be found, loads of great restaurants, craft breweries and outdoor activities. Oh, and did we mention barbecue? Austin is home to some of the very best barbecue in the country. It’s downright pilgrimage worthy.
What it will cost: There are plenty of direct flights from many cities around the country, and Southwest Airlines frequently offers getaway rates. You’ll find that even affordable hotels charge a premium during the SXSW conference and festivals, so expect prices to start around $250 a night. To defray these costs, consider staying outside the central business district. Surrounding small towns also offer much more cost-effective options, and car services like Uber and Lyft are readily available.
The weather: Austin still gets some nippy days during March, but on average, much of March is warm and sunny, with highs in the mid-70s to low 80s. Cold snaps do happen, but typically last only a couple of days, so pack your shorts and T-shirts.
A Bit of Planning
Once a destination primarily for Americans wanting to turn on, tune in and drop out, Tulum is now a popular destination with many international travelers. It’s hard not to love the laid-back vibe, unique, rustic architecture and friendly locals. An abundance of fresh local produce and seafood also turned it into a hotspot for foodies – so much so that renowned Copenhagen restaurant Noma did a pop-up restaurant here in 2016 and one of its chefs decided to open a new restaurant.
Why go? The beaches are lovely, the food is exceptional, there’s an abundance of yoga, meditation and massage options and the prices are quite reasonable. You’ll also find plenty of outdoor activities such as snorkeling the many nearby cenotes, diving at the nearby reef, fishing, sailing and dozens of other options. The Mayan ruins at Tulum are also a worthwhile cultural experience, and the views are breathtaking.
What it will cost: There is a small airport in Tulum, but most visitors hire a van (private or shared) to drive them the roughly two hours south from Cancun. Tulum offers a wide variety of lodging options that can accommodate almost any traveler’s budget, including hostels and private room rentals starting at as little as $25 a night. Food costs also run the gamut, so thrifty travelers can easily get by on as little as $10 a day and still eat well.
The weather: Warm and humid with highs in the mid-70s to low 80s, and very little chance for rain.
There are many choices when it comes to visiting the Caribbean, but Barbados is considered one of the most beautiful. Situated in the eastern Caribbean, Barbados is an independent British Commonwealth nation, so you’ll find Queen Elizabeth’s photo a fairly common site around the island. You’ll also find Barbados a bit more tidy than some other Caribbean islands.
Why go? Obviously the beaches, with Bottom Bay being one of the most popular (and most beautiful). And when you’re tired of sun and sand, there’s plenty of exploring to be done at Animal Flower Cave. There are guided tours and swimming is allowed most days in the cave’s rock pool, so take your swimsuit.
What it will cost: Hotels start at less than $100 a night for the most basic accommodations. You’ll also find food prices to be fairly reasonable by Caribbean standards.
The weather: Warm with highs in the mid-80s and very little rain if any at all.
Trips of a Lifetime
It’s the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, so the days are still warm and the nights are starting to cool a bit. That makes it one of the loveliest times to visit Australia. Now, obviously, it takes a long time to get there – as much as 24 hours from some U.S. locations – and it’s a big country, so you’re going to want to spend some time. We recommend a minimum of 10 days to get a good taste of Oz.
Why go? Kangaroos, koalas, marsupials in general. Gorgeous landscapes (Ularu, the Blue Mountains, the Twelve Apostles, the beaches, the beaches, the beaches) the Great Barrier Reef and a unique and vibrant culture that doesn’t feel like anywhere else.
What it will cost: Getting there is the biggest expense — expect a minimum of about $1,300 for a flight from Los Angeles to Sydney in coach. (Genius tip: fly a carrier like Qantas that provides snacks and meals throughout the trip, even in coach). Costs for hotels and other accommodations vary by region, but expect prices in Sydney, Melbourne and other major urban areas to be on par with New York and other major American cities.
The weather: It’s a big country, but in general, you’ll find milder temperatures in March than in January or February, with highs in the 70s and 80s along the coasts, but much hotter in the “red center” where highs can still approach 100 degrees.
If getting away from it all – really, really away from it all – sounds like your ideal, the Galapagos Islands offer an almost unparalleled departure from your everyday world. Travel to these remote islands is limited for ecological purposes, so it's ideal to plan several months in advance. But if you didn't plan for this March, you may still be able to find a deal to get here.
Why go? The Galapagos Islands are home to some amazing wildlife, and March’s warmer weather means it’s breeding and nesting season for many of the birds, sea lions, turtles and tortoises found there. You’ll most likely find a blanket of spring flowers everywhere you go.
What it will cost: Flights to the nearest international airport in Quito, Ecuador, are fairly reasonable from much of the U.S. Likewise, accommodations on the islands tend to be fairly reasonable, with some rooms costing as little as $100 a night. But because of the remoteness of the islands and the required flight to them, and boat travel between them, booking a tour can eliminate some of the planning headaches (prices start at around $2,000 per person, including flights to and from Quito).
The weather: It’s the peak of the rainy season, so expect it to be hot, humid and cloudy. This is not the place to go if you’re looking for a sunny holiday, but if up-close encounters with wildlife sounds appealing, this is a great time of year to do it.