- Travelers are already making plans for their March vacations.
- Business Insider looked at airfare trends, climate data, and peak travel times to find the best places to visit in March 2018.
- The travel destinations include tropical beaches, energetic festivals, and natural wonders.
We’ve just kicked off a new year, but forward-thinking travelers are already planning their springtime vacations.
March offers an array of great travel experiences around the world, from breathtaking glimpses of flourishing nature on the Galapagos Islands to the colorful celebration of Holi in Mumbai.
Best yet, in many places March is the start of “shoulder season” — the period between the high and low seasons of a vacation destination — meaning you’ll be able to find an affordable vacation no matter your travel style.
Business Insider looked at airfare trends, climate data, and peak travel times to figure out which vacation spots should be on your radar.
Read on to find 13 destinations you won’t want to miss in March:
March is the perfect time to travel to Texas’s quirky capital. The weather’s balmy, flights are cheap, and you can catch two decidedly Texan events: the Star of Texas Fair & Rodeo and the world-famous South by Southwest music and media festivals.
Palm Springs, California
The desert resort city of Palm Springs, California, is another American hotspot that’s ideal to visit in March.
Temperatures in the 70s and low 80s Fahrenheit make for perfect hiking conditions on the numerous trails — just two months later and the mercury will reach triple digits. Nearby Joshua Tree National Park offers some of the most rugged, spectacular views of nature and wildlife you’ll see in the United States.
And if you’re not the outdoorsy type, you’re sure to find comfort cooling off by the pool or pampering yourself in a spa.
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Mild weather and low rainfall make March the optimal time to visit this Caribbean gem with an affinity for rum.
Indulge in the island’s stunning tropical beaches, go whale-watching on the north shore, and be sure to check out historical sites like the Columbus Landing Site, the only known location where members of a Christopher Columbus expedition set foot on what is now US soil.
And if you plan your trip right, you can take part in the raucous St. Patrick’s Day parade in Christiansted — one of the only celebrations of the Irish holiday you’ll find in all the Caribbean.
The coastal Colombian city of Cartagena offers beautiful beaches, traditional food, and some of the best nightlife in Latin America. Take advantage of the nice weather and go handgliding or kitesurfing, and for a relaxing day trip, head to the white sand beaches on Isla Barú.
There’s a reason nature lovers flock to the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Between active volcanoes, idyllic beaches, and some of the most exotic and rare animals on the planet, the Pacific archipelago provides countless opportunities to witness something you’ve never seen before.
March happens to be the rainiest month on the islands, which means they will be less crowded with tourists. But don’t let the rain discourage you — the showers are brief, and locals say they make the water even clearer. On top of that, March is the beginning of mating season for birds there, and if you’re lucky you’ll get a glimpse of baby sea lions and turtles on the shore.
Amsterdam is best enjoyed away from the throngs of tourists that tend to overrun the city in the summertime. March in the Dutch capital is a little chilly, with temperatures around 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you don’t mind the cold, it’s well worth the extra room to breathe and the money you’ll save on airfare.
You’ll have plenty of space to admire the colorful, off-kilter houses along the Amstel River, as well as other attractions like the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. And if you like electronic music, the Five Days Off festival in March is a must-do.
The winter sports haven of Chamonix is still going strong in March, so if you feel the urge to hit the slopes on your European adventure, this resort town should be on your list.
Even if you’re not an avid skiier, you’ll find plenty of active pursuits in Chamonix, from ice climbing and dogsledding to snow-shoeing and hiking. When the day’s done, you can cozy up in your cabin and enjoy some fine food and French wine.
March is shoulder season in Cairo, meaning the winter crowds start to thin out, airfare dips, and the weather is exquisite.
The legendary Pyramids of Giza and Great Sphinx lie right on the outskirts of the city, and archaelogical sites at Dahshur, Memphis, and Saqqara will intrigue history buffs. When you’re done sightseeing, head to Al Azhar Park or barter for goods at the Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
Travelers fall in love with Tasmania’s rugged wildnerness and picturesque landscapes, which feature everything from beaches, rainforests, mountains, and more.
March is right on the tail end of tourist season in Tasmania, and the island benefits from breezy late-summer temperatures in the low 70s Fahrenheit. Take your time exploring the different regions of the island, and get up close in personal with the local wildlife, including wallabies, wombats, and fairy penguins.
The vibrant Hindu holiday of Holi begins on March 1 this year, and Mumbai is one of the best cities in India to celebrate it.
The peak of the holiday is a free-for-all festival of colors, in which revelers take to the streets and hurl colored powder and spray colored water at one another, turning people into walking rainbow canvases.
March is one of the best times of year to visit Kathmandu, the home of holy sites, incredible views of the Himalaya mountains, and frenetic street life.
Kathmandu is also host to one of the greatest Holi celebrations outside India — a raucous all-morning celebration of color that culminates in historic Durbar Square.
The weather this time of year is mild and perfect for strolls around the city or day treks through the mountains.
March is one of the best months climate-wise to visit Southeast Asia, and Vietnam is no exception.
In Hanoi, you could spend days roaming the energetic and mazelike Old Quarter, packed to the brim with street vendors, open-air eateries and whizzing motorbikes. Hoan Kiem Lake provides a peaceful respite from the frenzy, as do numerous Buddhist temples and pagodas.
When you need a break from the city, stunning views of the rock formations of Halong Bay and the verdant rice terraces of Sa Pa are just short trips away.
Traveling to the coldest continent on Earth is only possible between October and late March, but there are a few reasons why holding out until the end of tourist season is a good idea.
For one, although traveling to Antarctica is never cheap, you’ll save a lot of money on cruise tickets by booking for March. Most cruises to Antarctica leave from Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina, and some companies in the town even offer last-minute deals that you can buy on the spot. However, be prepared — even the cheapest, shortest trips to Antarctica can cost around $5,000.
March also happens to be a prime month for whale sightings, including humpback whales, sperm whales, and orcas. Fledgling penguins and sea birds are still hanging around as well, providing for a once-in-a-lifetime excursion to the edge of the planet.