Travel Tips

The Best Places to Travel in March 2019

March is the month when winter turns to spring, at least according to the calendar. In reality, it usually feels like more of the same, and many of us are ready for a change. That’s the beauty of travel — we can choose a destination based on whatever we’re longing for.

Is it a little excitement we could use at this point? A trip to Rio de Janeiro for its pre-Lenten Carnival celebration would more than satisfy, with its exuberant parades, colorful costumes, music, and crowds. In Dublin, the parties will center on St. Patrick’s Day with more extended festivities that we encounter in most towns. A few additional days to explore Ireland will show another side of the country, with its green rolling hills and rugged coast.

Continuing the festival theme, Agrigento in Sicily welcomes their blossoming almond trees, a sure sign of spring and annual renewal. Among well-preserved archaeological sites, a sunset walk opens the events that continue with singing, dancing, and traditional costumes. Spain has Las Fallas, also symbolic of spring’s rebirth, with parades, fireworks, and the fun of burning effigies of unpopular public figures in bonfires. In the southern hemisphere, Melbourne has Moomba and some unique traditions of their own.

Closer to home for most of us, Houston’s annual Livestock Show and Rodeo is another festival, with the traditions of the American West on display. In Phoenix, warm weather and the spring season arrive with America’s pastime — baseball — in full swing with Cactus League training games throughout the area. California’s San Luis Obispo welcomes visitors to its International Film Festival and vineyards.

If warm weather can’t come soon enough for you, a trip to Sarasota will make you happy. Anguilla’s beaches, balmy breezes, and tropical temperatures are enticing in March as are French Polynesia’s exotic islands and turquoise waters. A vacation or at least a long weekend in one of these destinations might be just what we need as we wait patiently for spring to arrive.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A city with tropical rainforests, stunning mountain ranges, and world famous beaches, Rio de Janeiro may have one of the most unique landscapes in the world. The bustling city is bursting with culture and the weather is warm year round, making it an ideal destination any time of year. To experience the most excitement in Rio, however, travelers should visit in March for the city’s iconic Carnival, this year from March 1-9. Carnival is celebrated in many different countries throughout the world, but Rio de Janeiro puts on arguably the biggest and best party, with 2 million people from across the globe parading the city’s streets. Dating back to 1723, Carnival is held each year before the beginning of Lent, a week-long extravaganza of music, dancing, feasting, and more. The city thrives with the energy of street parties, parades, and traditional samba dancers, dressed in their extravagant, exquisitely detailed costumes. Visitors looking for the perfect place to relax after celebrating all day can stay at Hilton Rio de Janeiro Copacabana, located on the shores of the city’s famous Copacabana Beach. With a rooftop pool that offers 360-degree views of Sugarloaf Mountain, the world-renowned Christ the Redeemer statue, and Rio’s most beautiful beaches, guests can see all of the city’s most stunning sights from the comfort of their hot tub.

Sarasota, Florida

On Florida’s Gulf Coast with temperatures in the 70s, Sarasota is a perfect destination for travelers looking for warmth and relaxation in March. There’s plenty to do, with miles of white sand beaches, lagoons and rivers for kayaking, and the Gulf of Mexico for boating. Once the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Sarasota is the beneficiary of Mr. Ringling’s bequest of his museum and collection to the people of Florida. Today, his vision has been accomplished, and the Ringling Museum of Art showcases old masters, modern art, and special exhibits. Sarasota Jungle Gardens features flamingos, parrots, crocodiles, alligators, and other wildlife along with educational animal shows. Orchid lovers will enjoy Selby Gardens, known for its collection of more than 6,000 examples of the exotic flower as well as bromeliads and air plants. March brings Major League Baseball Spring Training to Florida, and the Baltimore Orioles play their games in Sarasota’s renovated Ed Smith Stadium. The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, with its private beach club, championship golf course, spa, and waterfront dining, would make an ideal home base for exploring Sarasota. Its exclusive 8th-floor Club Lounge features beverages and culinary offerings throughout the day as well as movies, games, and spectacular views.

Agrigento, Sicily

On a hilltop overlooking the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas lies Agrigento, in the countryside near the southern coast of Sicily. Agrigento’s Valle dei Templi, or Valley of the Temples, is an incredible collection of seven Ancient Greek temples from the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions of Sicily as well as a national monument of Italy. The main site is the Temple of Concordia, the largest and best preserved Greek temple discovered to date, remaining almost entirely intact since it was built in 430 B.C. The plentiful ruins stand in contrast to the modern high-rise buildings which cover much of the city, especially the old town. Beaches lining the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea are just a short distance away, and there are endless options of shops, trattorias, and bars to choose from along Via Atenea, the town’s main strip running through its medieval core. In March, the arrival of the spring is celebrated with the Almond Blossom Festival of Agrigento. Founded in 1934, it is one of the most famous events in Sicily, celebrating the blossoming of the almond trees, which cover Agrigento’s countryside. Cheerful crowds, musical bands, and folk groups fill the streets for a week, with traditional Sicilian cart parades and live performances until the last day. Verdura Resort on the Mediterranean Sea just 30 miles away would enhance a visit to southern Sicily.

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