Travel & Food: 15 Best Places To Travel In The South This March

After the cold and gloom of January and February, March welcomes not only warmer weather but also the official start of spring. While parts of the country are still shoveling snow come March, the South is already deep in mid-thaw with flowers blooming bright and daylight hours growing ever longer. Whether you’re looking for an adult spring break or a trip to take with the entire family, there’s a Southern city or town that’s suited for your March getaway. See the cherry blossom trees spring to life in Georgia, or head to the Florida coast for a full-fledged tropical escape. Here are the 15 best places to travel in the South this March.

Macon, Georgia

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Traveling to see spring blooms is no novel idea, but chances are you glossed right over Macon in favor of Washington D.C. on the list of places to see cherry blossoms in all their whimsical glory. This March, set your sights further south and visit Macon during their annual Cherry Blossom Festival, also known as The Pinkest Party on Earth. From March 15-24 this year, the town will become a blush-colored paradise. In addition to seeing more than 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees in bloom, you can enjoy a parade, concerts, a fair, and dozens of special events as part of the festival. While you’re in town, learn more about the city’s incredible music legacy at The Big House Museum (former home of the Allman Brothers) and the Otis Redding Museum. Then, take time to explore Macon’s revitalized downtown that’s home to more than 50 restaurants, 30 bars, and two boutique hotels.

Gabrela Herman

Mild temperatures make the Lone Star State’s capital a popular year-round destination, but every March, the place that hangs its hat on being weird adds even more creative energy to its mix with the annual South by Southwest conference, which celebrates the convergence of tech, film, music, art, culture, and education. Visit Austin from March 8-16 this year, and you’ll have your pick of world-class cultural events, ranging from music and comedy shows to film screenings to tech competitions. When you’re not soaking in all the sights and sounds of South by Southwest, there’s plenty more to explore. Soak up the sun by paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake, see the famous Congress Avenue Bridge bats fly from their roost, or take yourself on a taco tour through town.

Miami, Florida

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South Florida can become pretty sweltering come summer, so beat the heat by flying south earlier in the season. With average temperatures in the 70s, you’ll be perfectly comfortable while you shop through the retro South Beach Art Deco District or wander the Wynwood Arts District to see the city’s world-famous collection of colorful murals and graffiti art. While temperatures in other beach destinations might still be too chilly for you to truly enjoy the surf and sand in March, there’s no need to hold back in Miami. Dive in and see for yourself. Botanists and plant enthusiasts should time a visit around the Orchids In Bloom Festival at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables. On March 9-10, attendees can see the majesty of rare and exotic orchids throughout the garden, learn how to care for them, and even take some home for themselves.

Robbie Caponetto

Outdoor lovers and adventurers have long flocked to Scenic City for the plethora of outdoor activities it offers in nearby mountains, ridges, valleys, and rivers. In March, the weather starts to warm up just enough that all those fabulous outdoor pursuits become available again. From mountain biking to hiking to kayaking on the Tennessee River, there’s plenty to do. For those with a less adventurous spirit, the city’s lively downtown, excellent dining scene, and longtime attractions like the Tennessee Aquarium, Lookout Mountain Incline Railway, Ruby Falls, and Rock City Gardens, are all waiting at the ready. Stay at a trendy downtown hotel or hole up in a cozy cabin in the surrounding mountains. Whatever your preference, you can find your dream springtime vacation in Chattanooga.

Courtesy of The Southernmost House

If you’re feeling a bit jealous of everyone’s dead-of-winter escapes to tropical locales, you can find your own sun-soaked getaway in the Florida Keys. Reminiscent of the Caribbean, and about as far south as you can get when it comes to the continental United States, a trip to the Keys is a one-way ticket to paradise. Book a rental car and prepare for the road trip of a lifetime along the 113-mile Overseas Highway, which connects 44 separate islands from Key Largo to Key West. With wintertime being the most popular time of the year to visit this part of Florida, March is the first month where crowds begin to diminish, and you can find a stretch of sand and shore to enjoy all for yourself. Island tiki bars, live music, and excellent seafood shacks await in colorful seaside communities like Islamorada, Marathon, and Key West.

Pine Mountain, Georgia

Callaway Gardens

The main reason to visit Pine Mountain in March is to see Callaway Resort & Gardens in all its springtime glory. The famous resort has something to see during every season (their Christmas lights are truly spectacular), but there’s no denying that spring is the beloved attraction’s best season. The 2,500-acre garden is home to one of the world’s largest azalea blooms and a field of more than 150,000 vibrant tulips, both of which spring to life in March and April. But sight isn’t the only sense you can delight at Callaway Gardens in the spring. The annual Celebrate SPRING! festival also includes organ concerts at the Ida Cason Callaway Chapel and live bands playing at Cason’s Garden. The gardens are just the tip of the iceberg at this classic Southern resort. Book a stay in the lodge, rent a private cottage or villa, then sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery.

For most of the country, March isn’t an obvious holiday month, but in Savannah, it’s on par with November and December. A significant portion of the city’s inhabitants have Irish ancestry, so celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (on March 17 each year) is not just an excuse to have a big party, but it’s also a time-honored tradition. Nicknamed the Hostess City of the South, there’s no time when Savannah is more welcoming to visitors than when its rolling out the red … or should we say green … carpet in March. While you can join a full week of festivities that includes a massive parade and the dyeing of a famous fountain, there’s plenty more to do in the city that doesn’t involve the luck of the Irish. Take a riverboat cruise, see the city’s bevy of historic gardens in full bloom, and take a long walk under the moss-laden branches at Forsyth Park. Something about Savannah in March is pure magic.

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Arguably one of the South’s most beloved beach towns, Hilton Head Island is one of those places that people return to year after year. Whether to splash around in the surf on 12 miles of shoreline, bike through town, or play a round of championship golf, Hilton Head has always been a beacon for vacationers. Visit in March to attend the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival (March 24-30), a multi-day event that gives folks the chance to get a true taste of the Lowcountry and to help raise money for college scholarships. In addition to a Public Tasting, which will be held at Celebration Park across from Coligny Beach, the festival also includes wine dinners, a wine competition, and special parties.

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Nothing says spring break like a beach trip, but if you’re looking to avoid the hordes of college students who annually descend on the Florida coast come March, this under-the-radar seaside town might be just the spot. Located across the Sanibel Causeway from Fort Myers, this teeny tiny island is the kind of place you go when you just want to get away. Spend your days shelling and swimming on the uncrowded white-sand shores of Captiva or charter a boat to visit surrounding barrier islands. No matter what your day brings, end the evening at The Mucky Duck, a local watering hole where the seafood is fresh, the drinks are cold, and the view of the sunset is best shared among friends—both the ones you bring along and the ones you’ll meet that night.


March Madness is big time in this part of the South, which means the state as a whole comes alive during spring. Raleigh has experienced significant growth over the past few years, which means there are more new places than ever before to explore, from fine dining restaurants and swanky cocktail bars to museums and gardens. From March 13-17, the North Carolina Museum of Art hosts the ultimate spring celebration with Art in Bloom, a five-day festival featuring unbelievably imaginative floral arrangements—some up to 10 feet tall—created by world-class florists and floral designers. This year’s festival will be particularly spectacular as it will celebrate the museums’ 100th anniversary and the festival’s 10th.  This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Raleigh’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade that includes floats, dancers, bagpipers, and lots of Irish-inspired fun.

Peter Frank Edwards

There’s no denying Southerners love to visit this classic destination during any time of year, but we’ve got a soft spot for the Holy City in March. After all, there’s no better time to appreciate the pastel-colored architecture on Rainbow Row than during the height of spring. While Charleston can be downright sticky once June and July arrive, March sees average highs in the mid-60s, which is coincidentally an ideal temperature for favorite vacation activities like shopping on King Street and enjoying lunch on a sunny restaurant patio. Another reason to visit in March? Charleston Wine + Food Festival takes place from March 6-10. The annual showcase of food and culture will include several days of tastings at the grand culinary village, as well as a full schedule of special dinners, parties, experiences, and classes all focused on the delights of food and wine.

John Davidson

The Texas Hill Country is wildflower central in the spring. Peak out your window while driving along the highway, and chances are you’ll see the cheery blooms smiling back at you. Fiery red Indian paintbrushes, bright yellow coreopsis, and the famous bluebonnet can be found all over the state, but nowhere are they more abundant than in the Hill Country. While Fredericksburg has become widely known for its charming wineries and German heritage, there are several smaller Hill Country towns that are just as worthy of a visit. Boerne (pronounced BUR-nee) is the type of nostalgic destination that’s perfect for a weekend girl’s trip or mother-daughter getaway. Shop Main Street’s dozens of antique shops and specialty stores, indulge in real-deal Southern comfort food, and book a stay at a charming inn.

Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

Seeing the cherry blossoms in D.C. is (and always will be) a Southern bucket list item, but there are dozens of other reasons to visit our nation’s capital in March. Walking the National Mall—with its many monuments, museums, and memorials—is an experience that shouldn’t be rushed. But in the heat of summer, with the sun beating down on your back and no shade in sight, it can be easy to speed through each stop. In March, that’s hardly a problem. March also brings the perfect weather for exploring each of D.C.’s unique neighborhoods on foot. If you visit around St. Patrick’s Day, attend Shamrock Fest for great live music performances and head to the The Wharf to experience a waterfront celebration of all things Irish, complete with free-flowing Guinness, Irish dancing, and bagpipers.

Art Meripol

This tiny mountain town nestled in the Ouachita Mountains has long drawn visitors looking to experience the restorative powers of its thermal hot springs. Today, the natural wonder is preserved as a national park, where vacationers can see the historic bathhouses, hike through the forested trails, and get a taste of small-town life. The weather in March is ideal for spending the majority of your day outdoors, with highs in the mid-60s and evenings giving just a hint of that refreshingly crisp mountain air. March visitors should be sure to include Garvan Woodland Gardens, a 210-acre wooded botanical garden situated along Lake Hamilton, in their plans. Stop at the famous wood-and-glass Anthony Chapel, and enjoy the extravaganza of tulips that spring up during this time of year.

Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches & Neighborhoods

If you’re a baseball fan, plan a March trip to sunny Fort Myers in Southwest Florida for spring training. Each year, teams fly south in February to train at JetBlue Park and Hammond Stadium for a couple of months. Fans can snag cheap tickets to see their team play and even get the opportunity to grab autographs and interact with players. Round out your trip by seeing all Fort Myers has to offer. Hike and search for wildlife at the JN “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge. Explore the former winter homes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Just be sure to leave plenty of time to soak up the sun at the town’s many beaches.

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