The Best Places to Travel in April
Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
It's time to enjoy everything that comes along with the spring season, and depending on where you are, that could mean warmer weather, flowers, melting snow, or April showers. If you're ready to enjoy fresh air and outdoors with a hike or bike ride, consider a visit to Santa Barbara — when the day is done, restaurants and wine tastings await. For gorgeous scenery, Lake Powell, North Carolina, and Montana have it all, from mountains to canyons, lakes, and waterfalls. Skiers might be glad to know that Big Sky, Montana will be open for late winter skiing until the middle of April. Some travelers just can't wait for summer, and for them, a trip to Key West or the Caribbean for sunshine and beaches will fit the bill. This April, a vacation getaway or even a staycation near home will help shake off that last bit of winter blahs.
Here are six of the best places to travel in April.
Related: More trip ideas
Lake Powell, Utah
One of the country's most popular recreation areas is located in south central Utah. Created artificially about 50 years ago by the Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River, Lake Powell is a favorite destination for houseboat vacations, camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, whitewater rafting, and visiting ancient ruins of the Anasazi civilization. Four marinas make renting a houseboat convenient, and vacationers can also stay in nearby lodging or choose from a variety of campgrounds. For a luxurious camping experience, consider a stay in one of the Under Canvas Lake Powell-Grand Staircase safari-style canvas tents. Set on elevated decks with private ensuite bathrooms, the tents are perched on the edge of Canyon Rim Plateau, offering stunning views.
Largest of the eight Rocky Mountain states and fourth largest of the 50 states, Montana offers year-round recreation, national parks, state parks, history, and culture. Late winter skiing is available until April 18 at Big Sky Resort, where an average of 400 inches of snow falls every year. There's terrain for every type of skier, from expert runs off Lone Peak to a variety of offerings for beginner and intermediate skiers. Big Sky Resort is less than an hour from Bozeman International Airport, with direct flights from 18 cities, and later this year, Montage Big Sky will arrive on the scene. Across the state, about 78 miles from Missoula International Airport, luxury all-inclusive Triple Creek Ranch offers cozy cabins, gourmet cuisine, fly fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and a special April event especially for jigsaw puzzle fans. The annual Stave Puzzle Weekend from April 22-27 will let guests test their puzzling skills with Stave's beautifully designed, hand-carved creations. Accommodations range from one-bedroom cabins to luxury ranch homes.
Santa Barbara, California
Spring brings temperatures in the low 70s to the American Riviera, and it's a beautiful time to be outdoors hiking among scenic trails, bicycling along the beach, or taking a road trip to admire the area. The new Santa Barbara BCycle lets members of the public rent electric bikes, which they can unlock from and return to 30 locations. The temporary State Street pedestrian promenade creates a festive atmosphere, and visitors have many dining options with new restaurants and favorite spots on Victoria Street, Funk Zone, and Coast Village Road near Montecito. New hotels are arriving and classics are reopening. San Ysidro Ranch, the romantic spot that hosted the honeymoon of President John F. Kennedy and Jackie, offers 41 intimate cottages set in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The boutique downtown Santa Barbara Upham Hotel, the oldest continuously operating hotel in Southern California, will celebrate its 150th anniversary this year. Debuting in March, the Palihouse Santa Barbara is a 24-room coastal hideaway in the downtown Historic Presidio Neighborhood. Belmond El Encanto offers plush bungalows in a garden setting, and in April, the Taste of El Encanto, Chandon Experience, with the first of the series taking place April 18-20.
Asheville, North Carolina
Spring is a wonderful time in western North Carolina, with trees and flowers in bloom, the Blue Ridge Parkway a bit less crowded, and the waterfalls flowing. The weather is ideal for a hike along one of many trails near Asheville or in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Biltmore Estate, Asheville's prime attraction, offers hiking trails for all fitness levels, bike paths, and horseback riding. The Estate's gardens, the work of Frederick Law Olmsted (who also designed New York's Central Park), are in bloom with bright yellow forsythia, tulips, azaleas, flowering dogwoods, cherry trees, and magnolias. Enjoy the flowers at your own pace with a self-guided tour. A stay at The Foundry Hotel, a restored steel factory, provides stately accommodations along with local culture and history. For fascinating background on George Vanderbilt's creation of the Biltmore Estate, read "The Last Castle" by Denise Kiernan.
Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
This 35-square-mile island is unique in that it's shared by two nations, France and Netherlands, hence the two spellings. (St. Maarten is an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.) The French side of the island is larger, and there's no real border, so visitors can enjoy the island's beaches, coves, mountains, casinos, and resorts as well as the Caribbean culture. Belmond La Samanna on the island's French side offers crisp white villas along the coast, two restaurants, a spa, fitness center, and pools. In April, the resort will launch a turtle conservation experience where guests can watch baby turtles hatch and head out to sea, with most of the proceeds supporting marine life in St. Martin. Sonesta Ocean Point Resort in St. Maarten is an adults-only, all-inclusive 130-suite vacation property featuring three pools, four bars, and three restaurants. Travelers to the island must complete an Electronic Health Authorization and should check current COVID-19 related guidelines.
Key West, Florida
April weather is perfect in Key West, with temperatures reaching the low 80s.There's much to do and see, but the best option might be relaxing on the beach, sipping a rum runner, and watching the world go by. A sunset cruise or a stroll down Duval Street checking out the shops during the day or the nightlife after dark would give a perfect taste of Key West. From April 27-May 1, the Mile 0 Festival will feature country, roots rock, folk, and bluegrass music with headliners like Lucinda Williams. Lodging ranges from guest houses to resorts, and for casual luxury consider The Reach Resort, set on a private sandy beach. A few blocks from Duval Street, The Marker offers 96 elegant rooms, two acres of tropical gardens, three pools, and suites with private balconies. Parrot Key Hotel & Villas, minutes away from Old Town Key West, is set on five lush acres with four pools, all day dining, and luxe amenities. At Ocean Key Resort & Spa adjacent to Mallory Square, every room comes with a view of the Gulf of Mexico.