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- Traveling in March can mean big savings for those comfortable with hitting the road right now.
- With safety in mind, these spots have fantastic outdoor activities and socially distant dining options.
- We found top US vacations for March, from mountains for the end of ski season to warm getaways.
With the ongoing pandemic, most travelers are still turning to domestic destinations, road trips, and locations that offer easy social distancing and access to the outdoors. As we approach the one-year mark of many of the early shutdowns, and with spring breaks for kids quickly approaching, many travelers and families are seeking safe vacation options for a change of scenery.
Below, we highlight some of the best places to travel in March, whether it’s to take advantage of savings, catch the tail end of ski season, or warm up with some sun. All of our choices are domestic options that offer plenty to do outdoors, which we detail below, along with socially distant dining options and top hotels to stay at.
However, you may also want to consider booking an Airbnb, since most are offering contactless check-in and experts and the CDC have noted private vacation rentals are often a safer option than hotels due to limiting contact with others.
It’s also worth noting that traveling at all during this time comes with inherent risks, and every traveler needs to evaluate these at a personal level for themselves and their loved ones. We always recommend following guidelines from the CDC, wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands frequently.
That said, if you do decide to travel, March proves itself as an especially great time to get in on deals, especially in destinations where the month is considered shoulder season. In popular mountain towns, where prime ski season conditions with warmer days on the slopes are a possibility, many rates are below their January and February peak. Plus, there’s plenty of savings to be found in coastal retreats and sun-filled destinations.
Across the US, these are some of the best places to travel in March, including top hotels to stay in for each destination.
Already bought your EPIC ski pass this season? You’re in luck, as Sun Valley Resort, which is celebrating its 85th season, won’t require reservations here if you have one, making this the ultimate destination for that last-minute ski trip. Those with Epic passes can also save 20% on lodging at Sun Valley Resort through the end of the 2021 ski season.
If you’re not into downhill skiing, Sun Valley also has impressive cross-country skiing, which you can take on solo or with a guide from Sawtooth Mountain Guides. Starting from the snow-dusted Galena Lodge, you can access the North Valley Trail System for snowshoeing and over 25 kilometers of packed trails that are right for every experience level.
And if you’re wondering if skiing is safe right now, the good news is that experts say the answer is largely yes, as long as proper precautions are taken.
Other highlights in Sun Valley include Sun Valley Lodge’s outdoor ice rink, a postcard-worthy scene with snowy mountain peaks in the backdrop, as well as nighttime stargazing at Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, the only recognized International Dark Sky Reserve in the US.
For those who are seeking some urban glamour and shopping, head downtown to unique storefronts. Visit Earl’s Authentic Clothing for quality men’s woven shirts and denim, Gilman Contemporary Gallery for art and exhibitions of established and up-and-coming artists, Independent Goods for hand-crafted pieces, and Silver Creek Outfitters for gear and mountain-inspired decor.
Where to stay in Sun Valley
The Sun Valley Lodge is somewhat of a cult classic. Dubbed America’s first ski resort, its charming history that dates back to 1936 is well preserved, even if today the rooms are comfortable, contemporary, and alpine-inspired. Rates start from $297.
Trendy and with plenty of perks, the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum offers guests dedicated shuttles to Sun Valley Ski Resort as well as around town, has outdoor hot tubs and fire pits, and is filled with outdoor spaces. It’s also pet-friendly, so you can bring along your furry friends. Rates start from $227.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is most alive in the summer, but the late winter and early spring season in this seaside town should not be overlooked. The many historic hotels have deeply discounted rates at this time, and there are fewer crowds to deal with. Pair that with the fact that this New England destination is within driving distance to many major Northeastern metropolitan areas, and it’s hard to resist.
With temps in the mid-40s this time of year, you can bundle up and spend an ideal day outdoors by simply window shopping (or actually shopping) Thames St, which is brimming with decor, clothing, gift, and specialty shops, like Rhode Island Reef, a stylish CBD store.
A walk along Cliff Walk which backs up to the glittering Gilded Age mansions this town is famous for is also an enjoyable way to spend time, and really a must for any Newport itinerary. You can watch the Atlantic Ocean waves crash from the upper loggia at The Breakers, the grandiose display of Vanderbilt prosperity that is just one of the many homes open for tours in town. Its massive size at over 125,000 square feet makes it pretty easy to spread out even though you’ll be indoors most of the time. However, a walk around the estate’s grounds proves just as memorable if that’s more comfortable.
Two of Newport’s best-kept secrets include the Newport Car Museum, a fantastic collection of pristine vehicles, and Aardvark Antiques, where estate and collectible treasures of every variety can be found. If you’re not shopping indoors at this time, they have plenty of outdoor and garden pieces to peruse, too.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, the private Snowfish igloos at Gurney’s Newport will make you feel like you’re having lunch outside in the summertime, especially on a sunnier day. Drivable from Newport, Ocean House in Westerly, Rhode Island also has an incredible fondue village eating option with private gondolas for those diners that appreciate a good theme.
Where to stay in Newport
If you’re looking to have that hotel experience in the most socially distanced of ways, consider booking a beach cottage at Castle Hill Inn. Detached from the main inn, you’ll have a private hideaway with a comfy bed and sitting area to unwind and many of the cottages feature whirlpool tubs or cozy fireplaces to keep you warm.
The main draw, though, is the panoramic view of Castle Hill Inn’s private beach, sand dunes and coastline, not to mention the fancy homes that make up Newport’s famed Ocean Avenue drive. It can all be seen from the private deck of your cottage, whether there’s snow or a sunbather on the sand. Rooms start from $575 per night.
Discover more of the best Newport hotels and Rhode Island Airbnbs
Not only is March a great time to visit Orlando according to Priceline (which is reporting that the cost of visiting is down 31.76% during this time), there are some exciting activities you won’t want to miss. The Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Show begins on March 3, with plenty of outdoor kitchens serving food directly from the garden, plus beautiful topiary displays and those popular sculptures of your family’s favorite Disney characters.
While there is an obvious risk to visiting a theme park at this time, the Orlando parks have strict new COVID-19 protocols in place, with social distancing enforced and capacities extremely reduced. This means a more enjoyable experience for visitors, too, with wait times at rides and attractions much shorter than pre-pandemic times.
Beyond the parks, you can also enjoy the pleasurable March climate at one of the city’s many other outdoor attractions, which include picking oranges at Showcase of Citrus, riding 200 acres of ATV trails at Revolution Off Road, and exploring charming and oft-overlooked Winter Park by an open-air boat tour across three tranquil lakes.
The city has always had plenty of al fresco dining options, and many of the restaurants at Disney Springs and Universal’s CityWalk have or recently adopted their outdoor dining offerings. Pro tip: To avoid crowds, look into restaurants outside the parks, including The Osprey, a Baldwin Park eatery focused on seasonal ingredients with an attractive open kitchen and bar.
While you can’t travel to Japan at the moment, you can head to Kabooki Sushi in Sand Lake, just a few minutes from Universal’s gates, for grade-A quality sushi dishes. The Stubborn Mule is also a popular option for a delicious weekend brunch or American fare that will leave you wanting more.
Where to stay in Orlando
The quiet, comfortable boutique Alfond Inn would be our top choice this March. The hotel serves guests breakfast in a beautiful courtyard, complete with chirping birds and the sound of a soft fountain, and has a fantastic outdoor rooftop pool. Midweek rates at the end of March can be found for as low as $212 per night.
Orlando, of course, is jam-packed with hotels for any personality, and there are a few running discounts during the month of March. The Rosen Plaza Hotel is offering rates starting at $89 per night through March 14; meanwhile, the Caribe Royale has a buy two-nights, get one free Winter Escape package that is valid through April 30.
Find more of the best Orlando hotels, Disney World resorts, and Orlando Airbnbs
New York, New York
Seeing “the city” in its most innovative and resilient form, as it rehabs itself and starts to attract tourists again, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and your support of its businesses will go a long way.
Recently opened in New York and accepting visitors with 75% reduced capacity is Edge, where it’s wise to book ahead to experience this stunning outdoor observation deck with panoramic skyline views. Just around the corner, you can also snap photos in front of The Vessel, despite the attraction being closed to explore at the moment.
With fewer crowds than normal, you can also be the first to set your eyes on the recently renovated Moynihan Station, especially if you decide to arrive by train. The modern, light, and bright new commuter hall is currently attracting architecture buffs as it attempts to restore some of Penn Station’s former glory.
Tolerable winter conditions in March mean you should pack a warm coat so you can explore Central Park, which, if you’re lucky, may get a picturesque dusting of snow this time of year. It’s also where you’ll spot New Yorkers of all kinds, getting some much-needed exercise in socially distanced ways.
While indoor dining has just reopened in New York, the hospitality industry there has been no stranger to shutdowns and, therefore, figuring out innovative ways to serve outdoor diners. Some of the best right now include Scarpetta‘s dreamy, private dining chalets; Sola Pasta Bar’s private cottages filled with gorgeous Floratorium silk flowers and small firefly lamps; and Crown Shy‘s individual yurts. Double Chicken Please, a quirky Lower East Side bar that opened during the pandemic, is also serving quirky hot dogs and drinks from a classic frankfurter cart.
Where to stay in New York
With average daily hotel rates in the city under $150 in March, according to Priceline, the once-cost prohibitive metropolis is within better reach than ever. We found rates from $90 to $191 for mid-month weekend dates at Gild Hall, Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, and Nomo Soho. Even posher, trendier hotel players including The High Line Hotel, The Ludlow, and The Knickerbocker Hotel can be secured for under $250 per night.
Visitors looking for a little more privacy and less interaction in New York will want to browse the current deals on Airbnb, which include this attractive studio with rotating artwork and furnishings that has birds-eye views.
Whether or not you’ve visited DC before, you haven’t seen it in its glory until you’ve experienced the cherry blossoms while they’re in bloom. Be warned though, this is technically high season in DC, and even during the pandemic, hotels might be busy, especially mid-month and afterward. According to STR, a hotel market data company, average daily rates for hotels are technically down 20 to 30% in DC depending on the week, but you should still expect crowds around the pretty, pink trees that line the Tidal Basin when the city is most abuzz.
Pro tip: Even with social distancing in place, The Tidal Basin is usually the busiest spot to see the cherry blossoms, but there are also picture-perfect scenes with fewer crowds in East Potomac Park which extends to Hains Point.
In addition to flower-gazing, there are other outdoor activities to enjoy, like hopping over to the fabulous gardens at the Smithsonian. The museum itself is currently closed, which means it’s the perfect time to enjoy the attractive but often overlooked outdoor spaces here (free of charge) that feature seasonal plants, a pollination garden, a World War II vegetable garden, and more.
Discerning foodies will also want to check out the city’s food scene, which is finally receiving the accolades it deserves. Head to The Wharf, which is within walking distance from the cherry blossoms, where you can enjoy numerous shops and restaurants, many with outdoor seating. Delicious dining options here include the Vietnamese Moon Rabbit and old-fashioned-style (and highly Instagrammable) treats from the Southwest Soda Pop Shop.
Where to stay in DC
The recently-opened Rosewood Washington, DC is the city’s finest choice for accommodations right now. Featuring 55 rooms, including 12 suites and six townhouses, the plush, contemporary furnishings throughout are ideal for stretching out and relaxing. Rooms start at $250 per night, a good value for this luxury offering, and feature something unique in the city: stunning, nature-centric views.
Park City, Utah
A quintessential US destination for skiers, there’s something in this mountain-adjacent town for everyone. The slopes are the obvious draw here, but you can snowmobile in the majestic Uintas, hop on a dog sled or even take a horse-drawn sleigh ride if you please. For those who prefer shopping and a more apres experience, the shops and restaurants that pack Main Street and all their small Western town charm can easily fill an afternoon.
Those comfortable with beauty and spa services at the moment should consider all the R&R opportunities available to them in Park City as well. Whether you need a massage or not, the heated outdoor infinity pool at the Stein Eriksen Residences’s Silver Aspen Spa is worth checking out.
In order to offer guests a safer, outdoor dining experience this season, the St. Regis Deer Valley has set up yurts that seat up to eight. Each of the yurts are based on three skiing disciplines—slalom, moguls and aerials—and feature constantly-rotating menu items for lunch, après and dinner seatings. For a small town, Park City is also filled to the brim with extraordinary restaurants and bars. Treat yourself to award-winning Italian fare at the Cena Restaurant, or head to Yuki Yama Sushi for a world-class experience.
Where to stay in Park City
No hotel is more synonymous with abundance and luxury than the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. In addition to their divine on-site restaurant, The 7880 Club, this splurge-worthy hotel offers exquisite on-mountain dining experiences. Room types range from standard deluxe rooms to expansive and immaculately-designed homes available through Stein Eriksen Residences, which are ideal for families or those looking to spend an extended stay slopeside. Rates start from $696.
Meanwhile, even in a resort town like Park City, weekend rates as low as $236 can be found in the month of March at Treasure Mountain Inn, which is notable for its close-to-the-action location at the top of Main Street.