There's good reason that there are scores of songs and movies about Paris in the springtime -- it's one of the most magical times to visit the City of Light. It's also become one of the most affordable European destinations in recent years. Parisians are ready to enjoy the sunshine after the winter rains and can be found lounging in beautiful parks, bustling cafés, and rooftop bars. Flowers are in bloom everywhere you look from small neighborhood parks to the grand Tuileries Garden, and May brings the Saint-Germain Jazz Festival and Nuit Européenne des Musées (European Night of the Museums), which offers free access to exhibitions and performances around the city. The city also has numerous other free attractions, too.
16 Cheap Destinations to Visit This Spring
The arrival of spring often inspires wanderlust as we shake off the chill of winter -- but finding an affordable destination to plan an escape can sometimes be a challenge. Thankfully there are some prime spots both in the U.S. and abroad where you can avoid the crowds and oppressive heat that summer travel often brings. From beautiful escapes where spring is the off-season to under-the-radar getaways, here are the best cheap destinations to visit this spring.
While San Antonio is a popular spring break destination, once April and May roll around, you'll steer clear of the crowds and avoid the scorching heat of the summer as pleasant temperatures and affordable prices prevail. The extensive River Walk with its cyprus-lined paved pathways and charming stone bridges offers a wide range of activities from dining, shopping, and nightlife, as well as museums, leisurely boat cruises, and bike paths. Check out free guided tours of the nearby historic missions, and save on local attractions with an Explorer Pass.
Spring is one of the best times to visit Amsterdam for plenty of reasons, not least of which are the spectacular blooms of the legendary Dutch tulips. A visit to the nearby Keukenhof flower gardens is essential -- accessible by boat, bus or train and only open from March to May -- where you'll encounter the dazzling array of tulips and other bulb flowers. April is the second driest month (after February), perfect for enjoying canal tours, outdoor cafés, bicycle rides, and the King's Day festival at the end of the month. Meanwhile, May brings warmer temperatures, as well as the festival season for music, film, and culinary events. And be sure to check out the free performances at Vondelpark Open Air Theatre, which start in May.
April and May offer the perfect window for visiting Tucson as the snowbirds have flown away, temperatures haven't reached scorching triple digits, and you can find reasonable hotel rates. Warm temperatures make for perfect hiking conditions to witness beautiful wildflower blooms in Saguaro National Park, as well as comfortable weather for spotting wildlife at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and historic "aircraft boneyard" of the Pima Air and Space Museum. In late April, catch the Arizona International Film Festival, while music lovers will want to catch the Tucson Folk Festival in early May.
Colombia's proximity to the equator makes for warm weather most of the year, and while April through July can bring intermittent rainy weather, it offers better deals in between the busier holiday months and the vacation months of July and August. Medellín -- also known as the "City of Eternal Spring" thanks to its temperate climate -- has worked hard to shed its notorious crime-filled past and now offers a delightful destination with excellent public transportation (don't miss the cable cars), colorful streets full of music and food, public art, parks and museums, and more. All set against the stunning backdrop of two Andean mountain ranges. Be sure to make time to visit the surrounding coffee plantations, as well.
The gateway to Arches and Canyonland National Parks, Moab is a must for outdoor enthusiasts, and in April and May you can avoid the crowds and excessive heat that are to come. You'll find that camping options abound, as well as inexpensive Airbnbs, cabins, and hotels if you book early. In addition to exploring the national parks and other stunning scenery like Corona and Bowtie Arch, be sure to take a cruise along the scenic byway of Route 128. For the kids, don't miss Moab Giants dinosaur museum. And if you're up for more adventure, consider a rafting or kayaking trip on the Colorado River with Canyon Voyages.
This April, the Light City festival illuminates Charm City with colorful, interactive outdoor light installations, live music and performances, public art and educational programming. Spring also offers plenty more to do in Baltimore, including visiting the re-opened farmers markets, catching an Orioles game at Camden Yards, or cheering on the horses during the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. April also brings blue crab season to Maryland, so don't forget to tie on a bib and get cracking.
While Hurricane Irma battered much of this Caribbean island last year, most businesses have rebuilt and reopened, and rates are still low following the storm -- and April through June is typically less expensive and not as busy. Water sports abound from boat excursions to snorkeling, or you could always just relax on the beach and enjoy views of crystal clear water. Nature lovers will definitely want to visit The Butterfly Farm, while thrillseekers will want to catch the views from the various ziplines around the island. By visiting this spring, you'll not only avoid the crowds, but also help the local economy rebuild.
While the rest of the Bay Area is still shaking off the fog of winter, Oakland offers an affordable, and underrated destination for spring with plenty of options for all stripes. The area's food renaissance continues to expand with buzzy new spots like Craft & Spoon along with comfort classics like Brown Sugar Kitchen. Sip local vintages on the Urban Wine Trail, beer on the Ale Trail, and spirits at nearby St. George Spirits. Outdoor enthusiasts should visit Redwood Regional Park, Morcom Rose Garden, or take a hike around nearby Lake Chabot.
After the rowdy Mardi Gras tourists have left town and before the muggy heat of summer arrives, New Orleans is an excellent destination for a spring getaway. Music fans will want to catch the New Orleans Jazz Festival, (April 27 - May 6) which features top performers from around the world playing everything from blues, jazz and zydeco to rap and country. The warmer weather is also ideal for strolling through the city's Botanical Garden, and numerous parks, dining and drinking in courtyards and on patios (spring is peak crawfish season), learning about the city on historical and haunted walking tours, along with plenty of other fun and inexpensive activities.
While many travelers have shied away from Puerto Rico following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria last September, the island is gradually recovering and could use the support of visitors. Plus you'll save a bundle on travel and accommodations -- and you don't even need to pack your passport. Spring also offers prime weather conditions, typically in the mid-80s and dry before the summer rains. Although electricity is still being restored some regions, San Juan is in much better shape, and many of the hotels and other businesses there, and in other select areas, have extensively remodeled following the storm.
There are plenty of ways to save money on a vacation to Hawaii, and visiting in the spring when airfare and hotel rates are low and the weather is beautiful following the rainy season is one good option. Kauai, nicknamed the "Garden Island," offers even more of an escape with fewer crowds and its stunning coastlines, rainforest, waterfalls, and beaches. Must-see highlights include Waimea Canyon -- known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" -- Wailua Falls, Na 'Aina Kai botanical garden, and the Na' Pali coast, which can be seen from hikes, by boat, or by helicopter. Fans of pineapple, rum, and history will want to take a train tour at Kilohana Plantation, where you can also catch dinner and a show with Luau Kalamaku.
Spring is one of the best times to visit Italy, before the crowds and heat of summer arrive, and when hotel rates are lower. While there are plenty of great options throughout the country, Sorrento should be toward the top of your list, where you can savor the spectacular coastline dotted with blossoming gardens. Meander through the charming streets, sip the region's renowned limoncello, and feast on local seafood. Spring is also the season for artichokes and asparagus in Italy, so don't miss those on the menu. Sorrento is also a great jumping off point to explore nearby Capri, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast.
By late spring, the snowbirds and spring breakers have departed Florida, and the high heat, crowds, and higher hotel rates have yet to arrive. Clearwater offers spectacular white sand beaches, great boating and water sports, hiking and biking, as well as shopping and dining options in the Cleveland District. Other highlights include the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, easy and inexpensive transportation on the Jolly Trolley, and performances at the historic Capitol Theatre. If you're visiting in late April, you'll also see the incredible sand sculptures of the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival.
Springtime in Vancouver offers warmer weather and lower hotel rates in between the busier summer and winter months. In April, admire the cherry blossoms at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden, or take a stroll through the Stanley Park Rose Garden and the VanDusen Botanical Garden. Whale watching also kicks off in April when you can begin to see migrating orcas and gray whales, or you can kayak to see otters, seals and more wildlife. And beginning in May, don't miss the Shipyards Night Market on Friday evenings, where you'll catch live music, great food, art, and more.
As the frost of winter fades from memory, Maine reemerges with warmer weather, blooming flowers, and fresh batches of maple syrup are ready to pour. Whale-watching season begins when you can spot humpback, finback, minke, and right whales along with other marine life. You can also go sailing on Windjammer cruises, or take a boat trip to see the Atlantic puffin colonies, not to mention lots of great hiking and fishing. You'll also want to take a harborside stroll, visit the area's quaint lighthouses, and take a trip on the historic Maine Narrow Gauge railroad. Art enthusiasts will want to venture off on the Maine Art Museum Trail, and craft beer lovers should explore the Maine Beer Trail.
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