The Best Places to Travel in the United States in March 2018
Napa Valley is bouncing back strong after wildfires swept across wine country in October. With the exception of several estates that suffered significant damage, travelers can expect to enjoy the same rolling green hills and cozy tasting rooms they’ve come to know and love. And the region could use some love. At the Tuscan-inspired Napa Valley Lodge, a 55-room boutique hotel that opens onto the countryside, a brand new lobby will debut this month, with rustic Italian interiors and artwork by local artists.
The food and cocktail scene in Honolulu has been off the charts lately, and this month, Hawaii’s bustling capital is set to get even tastier with the opening of a new restaurant by celebrity chef Masaharu Morimoto. Located inside the newly opened Alohilani Resort, Morimoto Asia Waikiki will bolster the Iron Chef’s Hawaiian presence with his signature Asian fusion dishes, including Peking duck, sticky ribs, Korean kalbi, and dim sum. Shortly after, the chef’s Momosan Waikiki will open on the hotel’s ground floor, with an all-day menu of noodles, gyoza, and yakitori.
Black Hills, South Dakota
Not many people associate end-of-winter travel with fat bike racing, but that’s exactly what makes the annual 28 Below race in the Black Hills of South Dakota (home to Mount Rushmore) so unique. The event kicks off on March 17 in the town of Spearfish — a destination that’s ideal for travelers with a taste for adventure — and the unspoiled landscape features snowy trails dotted with birch trees and two of the highest peaks east of the Rockies. When it’s all over, you can cozy up with a mug of hot chocolate in an Old West-style cabin at Spearfish Canyon Lodge.
Las Vegas, Nevada
With a new zip line set to debut outside Caesar’s Palace, 2018 promises plenty of excitement on The Strip. But it’s United Airlines’ decision to expand service between Las Vegas and west coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco that will have travelers booking their next adults-only weekend of mischief. With roundtrip fares as low as $132, the increased service means greater booking flexibility — and more spending money at the blackjack table.
Fargo, North Dakota
These days, everyone’s a bacon connoisseur. But if you want to put your pork proficiency to the test, head to Fargo’s annual Bacon & Beer Festival, which takes place at the Fargodome on March 10. While local chefs compete for approval with dozens of bacon dishes (attendees can also ride a mechanical pig), the event is a good excuse to explore some of the city’s newest food and drink offerings, like Wild Terra, a new bar offering hard cider and kombucha on tap, and Wurst Bier Hall, which serves rattlesnake and rabbit bratwurst.
This month is a great time to wander around the wildly popular, European-style food hall known as The Source before the opening of a new 100-room hotel on the premises (also named The Source). Located in the heart of Denver’s buzzy RiNo arts district, the multifaceted market is known for hosting various pop-up events and art exhibits. But the true draw is its 25 vendors, which include a taqueria, a sustainable butcher shop, a French bakery, craft brewery, and a florist.
Grand Island, Nebraska
There’s a good chance you’ve gazed down on Nebraska’s notorious flat farmlands during a cross-country flight. But this month, travelers to the ‘Cornhusker State’ should look up. Birdwatching is a little-known pleasure in central Nebraska, and in late March, more than 80 percent of the world’s sandhill crane population (around 600,000 birds) converge on the Platte River. It’s quite a sight to behold.
Wildflowers will be coming into bloom in Texas Hill Country this month, which is home to the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. With the season extending from March all the way through April, it’s a great opportunity to spend a weekend exploring country roads and hiking. For a well-deserved picnic break, stop in at Wildseed’s wine tasting room, where you can sample Texas-made wine while overlooking fields of cosmos and zinnia.
It’s maple season in Maine, and fans of the sticky sweet pancake topper can plan a whole trip around the state’s famous sugar houses. Scattered throughout the woods are small cabins, where farmers spend days boiling down raw tree sap to produce the beloved syrup (in 2016, Maine produced nearly 700,000 gallons of the stuff). The fourth Sunday in March (March 26) is designated as “Maine Maple Sunday,” and it's your chance to visit the sugarhouses for free tastings. The sugar high alone should carry you well into spring.
Scottsdale, known for its blissful desert sunshine and high-end resorts, is also home to the annual Major League Baseball spring training. Nearly two million fans show up at the end of February to watch 15 MLB teams prepare for the upcoming season under the warm Arizona sun. This month, Scottsdale welcomes players from the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks, with games taking place in 10 different stadiums. Once you’ve purchased tickets, consider making the most of your surroundings with an exhilarating hot air balloon ride, or a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden.
Niagara Falls, New York
Niagara Falls, New York prompted a new wave of tourism last December when they upgraded the famous waterfall with a brand new $4 million color LED lighting system. This month, the city unveils its new Underground Railroad Heritage Center, a compelling collection of exhibits that illustrate the region’s role as an important border crossing for freedom seekers in the 19th century — all housed on the first floor of an 1863 post office.
Santa Barbara, California
In March, off the coast of Santa Barbara, travelers can enjoy prolonged sightings of the Pacific gray whale, which makes its yearly migration south to Baja California. (Meanwhile, humpback and blue whales tend to make their appearance during summer months.) The newly rebranded Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara sits oceanfront on 78 acres, meaning guests can relax on their private balcony with a glass of wine (pulled from the hotel’s 12,000-bottle cellar) and catch glimpses of the graceful giants without even setting foot on a boat.
Raton, New Mexico
Just before summer hits, mild temperatures in March signal a sweet spot for outdoor adventurists in the rugged, beautiful state of New Mexico. While most travelers tend to focus on the always delightful Santa Fe, the shoulder season of March is ripe for venturing into more remote parts of the state, like Vermejo Park Ranch. The 585,000-acre private landscape — which has modern guesthouses and an opulent mansion that can be privately rented — guarantees quality time spent in the wilderness, whether it’s hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, or taking part in a wildlife photography tour.
Palm Harbor, Florida
Wedged near the top of the St. Petersburg coast, Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa is a favorite hideout for private yacht owners, who can dock their boats nearby and head to the resort to enjoy the property’s 11 clay tennis courts, six pools (including one with water slides), and 60 acres of fishing lakes. In March, Innisbrook is home to the PGA’s annual Valspar Championship, when golf players from around the world compete on the resort’s Copperhead course. The last three holes are considered among the most challenging holes in the sport.
If you have plans to pass through the Lonestar State this month (and are up for something a little different), head to the Houston Rodeo. The annual event consists of a 19-day tournament, during which hundreds of athletes compete in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, women’s barrel racing, and other events. It culminates with a final Super Shootout event — and the grand prize amounts to more than $2 million. If you need a place to stay, the Inn at Dos Brisas, a gorgeous Spanish hacienda-style property managed by Relais & Châteaux, secures box seating for guests throughout the event.