Ready for Spring break? Here are some picks voted by National Geographic!
National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, D.C.
Blooming pink and white blossoms have heralded spring’s arrival in the nation’s capital since 1912 when the people of Tokyo gifted Washington, D.C., with 3,000 ornamental cherry trees. The living gift spawned the nation’s signature springtime celebration called the cherry blossing festival which extends for five weeks (March 20 to April 27) for the 2012 centennial edition
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina
Over 800 square miles of terrain and more than 800 miles of hiking trails spread across some of the oldest mountains on Earth, there is plenty of room for everyone to roam and explore! Spring is prime wildlife and wildflower viewing season in this international biosphere reserve. Spot wild turkey, deer, black bear, and elk in one of the park’s least visited areas in western North Carolina’s Cataloochee Valley.
Temps de Flors Festival, Girona, Spain
Spring paints Catalonia’s sunshine-laced Costa Brava region in vibrant colors: Bright umbrellas shading café patios in seaside Calella de Palafrugell, turquoise waves lapping white pebble beaches in Cap de Creus Natural Park, and flowers cascading down cathedral steps during Girona’s annual Temps de Flors festival, May 12-20.
Wander the old city’s labyrinth network of steep, cobbled lanes where unexpected urban gardens and bloom-inspired art installations adorn monuments, stone-walled courtyards, and city squares. Beyond the festival, hike along Girona’s ancient Roman walls, explore Europe’s best preserved Jewish quarter, and indulge in the experiential cuisine of El Celler de Can Roca, named the second best restaurant in the world in 2011 by Restaurant magazine.
From Girona, hop an early train to Figueres, where native son Salvador Dalí conceived or designed every aspect—from the giant white rooftop eggs to the geodesic dome of the Dalí Theater-Museum. The surrealist masterpiece houses the world’s single largest and most diverse Dalí collection, as well as the artist’s crypt.