If you’re itching to escape the winter cold and simply can’t wait until summer, there is no better time to travel than now. Known as spring shoulder season, the months of March, April, and May represent the period between peak and off-peak seasons when hotels and destinations welcome a significantly smaller number of tourists while still boasting beautifully mild weather and plenty of things to do.
Here are seven of our top vacation picks, each with its own unique offerings that make them must-visit locales.
Palm Springs, CA
Average High Temperatures: 81-95°F
The desert hot spot is so much more than a weekend LA escape and home base for Coachella—it’s a hub for world-renowned art, cuisine, and outdoor activities. Nosh on fresh crudo at dog-friendly Boozehounds, peruse colorful apparel at Destination PSP, or book a mid-century modern architecture tour to gain a deeper appreciation for the homes that make Palm Springs so timeless.
Where to Stay: Fleur Noire Hotel
Everything’s coming up roses—literally—at this 21-room beauty that blooms with graphic floral murals on practically every wall.
Average High Temperatures: 81-86°F
Located 30 miles West of Nassau, the Bahamas’ largest island is famous for its 300,000 acres of reefs and wetlands. This includes over 300 blue holes that are home to some of the world’s rarest species. It goes without saying that a trip to Andros should and will revolve around nature, both on land and at sea, with hikes, excursions, boat trips, and swims.
Where to Stay: Kamalame Cay
The private island resort provides direct access to the aforementioned scenic highlights through snorkeling and diving, paddleboarding, bonefishing, and even a picnic drop-off that takes guests to a secluded island for a day of sunbathing, eating, and imbibing.
Average High Temperatures: 66-82°F
Striking a harmonious balance between picturesque wine country and bustling metropolis, trendy Mendoza has quickly emerged as Argentina’s most popular destination outside of Buenos Aires. Wander around its focal point of Parque General San Martin or venture to its shared border with Chile to catch a glimpse of Aconcagua: the highest mountain outside of Asia.
Where to Stay: SB Winemaker’s House
Famed winemaker Susana Balbo had wellness on the brain as she designed this seven-suite stunner with in-room saunas and oversized tubs made from concrete wine fermentation tanks.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Average High Temperatures: 77-84°F
For those seeking a trip that’s off the beaten path, explore the archipelago of Australia’s famed Great Barrier Reef. Its 900 islands are surrounded by postcard-worthy turquoise water, unexplored cays, and patches of lush greenery that will give any tropical paradise a run for its money.
Where to Stay: Orpheus Island Lodge
All-inclusive Orpheus Island Lodge (which can only be accessed via boat or helicopter) is luxury embodied with beachfront villas, an infinity pool, boardwalk dining, and a spa.
Mexico City, Mexico
Average High Temperatures: 79-81°F
A mecca of rich history, cultural traditions, and award-winning gastronomy, Mexico City has lured tourists from beach towns like Cancun and Cabo to experience the pulse of a capital city. Gain an appreciation for Mayan artwork at Museo Nacional de Antropologia, float down the tree-canopied canals of Xochimilco, and nab a coveted seat at Pujol, which tops nearly every “best of” list when it comes to authentic Mexican cuisine.
Where to Stay: Casa Cleo
The charming hotel feels more like a home with sleek amenities accented by regional paintings and sculptures that emit a welcomed sense of tranquility.
Average High Temperatures: 62-72°F
Mallorca’s diversity of landscape makes it an ideal getaway for the indecisive traveler who enjoys both the beach and mountains. Make a trek to one of its dozens of fincas and explore the village of Fornalutx, arguably one of the most beautiful parts of the island, which connects to the coastal town of Sóller through a series of alluring paths.
Where to Stay: Hotel Can Mostatxins
Nestled within the fortress walls of historic Alcüdia, the boutique hotel’s crown jewel is a pool constructed within a preserved cavern.
Anna Maria Island, FL
Average High Temperatures: 77-86°F
Florida’s not-so-hidden gem boasts some of the state’s best beaches with ample opportunity to spot dolphins, and deep sea fish and bird-watch at Leffis Key Preserve. It’s also ripe with Native American history, which can be explored in detail at its much buzzed-about historical society.
Where to Stay: Anna Maria Beach Resort
Renovated Anna Maria Beach Resort is a gulf-side oasis with a private beach, oversized pool, and hordes of cabanas waiting to accommodate sun-seeking guests.