As the world comes to a standstill as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage all of you to hunker down right now, too. In the meantime, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to get back out there.
There are plenty of reasons to travel in March, when most places across the country begin to emerge from their winter hiatus. It’s also the month for early-season campground openings and great late-season skiing. While Spring Break will mean some fares may be pricier and some places more crowded, we’ve found some six trips that will avoid both.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
The Cheapest Flight You’ll Find to a Tropical Island
This month, you can fly roundtrip from New York’s JFK airport to St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, for around $200 with JetBlue. While it’s the most commercialized of the three islands, it’s still possible to find a slice for yourself, especially at this time when the busy peak winter season is winding down. Since Hurricane Irma hit in 2017, many hotels have undergone major restorations, including the hillside Mafolie Hotel (from $274), where the pool overlooks the main bay and harbor, and the higher-end Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas (from $685), which reopened last year. The island’s size makes it possible to hit all the main sights over the course of a long weekend: scuba dive, walk the white sand beaches of Magens Bay, paddle through a mangrove lagoon, and bike along the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie Harbor.
The Best Festivals in One City
Austin comes alive in March, when the world converges for its annual South by Southwest, or SXSW, festival. This year, the 10-day innovation event will take place March 13 to 22 and feature an interview with Judd Apatow and Stephen Colbert and a talk with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about the future of space exploration. Meanwhile don't forget about Rodeo Austin, which happens March 14 to 28, to watch bull riding, barrel racing, and live music. Cool off in between events by SUPing or kayaking the Colorado River around the edge of downtown or head three miles west to Zilker Nature Preserve, where the large swimming hole known as Barton Springs Pool attracts swimmer year-round. Stay at the new Otis Hotel (from $290), which opened in February with a massive rooftop deck, or grab a bunk or private room at Native (from $60), an upscale hostel in a historic 1890s railroader hotel.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The Most Reliable Late-Season Skiing
Jackson Hole closes for the season in mid-April. But in March? There are usually powder days aplenty. Plus, the town hosts a raucous spring party, the annual Jackson Rendezvous Festival, from March 26 to 28, which has free concerts (Bob Weir is headlining this year) and après-ski parties. Stay at the Cache House (from $45), which opened in January with shared rooms and bunks, making staying in downtown Jackson more affordable than ever.
The Coolest New Hotel
When Ronald Akili, an Indonesian art collector, launched Potato Head Beach Club on the sands of Seminyak, Bali, in 2010, he tapped into a growing desire for gathering places that went beyond lounging. At Potato Head, you can do yoga, join a cardio training session on the beach, listen to live music, view art, eat good food, take a surf lesson, and learn about woodcarving all in one place. Starting in March, the club will also offer lodging. Potato Head Studios (from $130), a hotel designed by the acclaimed Dutch architecture firm OMA, opens this month as part of the creative community with 168 rooms and a beachfront pool. The stylish spot also has an art gallery, skate park, sustainability lab, recording studio, and underground nightclub. You’ll make it right before the start of peak season in April, when flights and hotel rates surge. For now, roundtrip flights from New York to Denpasar, a city 30 minutes northeast from Seminyak, are as low as $730.
Zion National Park, Utah
The Campsite You Need to Book Now
Zion National Park opened up reservations for their popular South Campground (from $20) on February 21. These spots fill up quickly, so book now to secure a site. Located near the park’s south entrance, the 117-site campground is situated along the Virgin River and has easy access to hiking on the Watchman Trail, the Archeology Trail, and the paved Pa’rus Trail, which parallels the river. From camp, you can also easily hop aboard the Zion Canyon Shuttle System, the bus that takes you to other iconic spots around the park.
The Spot to Catch the Whale Migration
In the winter, gray whales migrate south from their feeding grounds in Alaska to mate and have babies in the warmer waters of Baja, Mexico. A mid-way spot along that route? California’s Mendocino Coast, which is such a good place for whale spotting that the area hosts a Whale Festival every March, right around the time the whales are passing through. As part of the festivities, there’s a bluegrass concert, guided whale walks at Mendocino Headlands State Park, and chowder and microbrew tastings. Stay two nights at the Little River Inn (from $195) anytime during the month of March, and you’ll score the third night free.