Easter arrived early this year, firing the starting gun for spring by the end of March. Why not try to squeeze in an extra trip this month before the summer rush, making the most of still-affordable shoulder season rates in many destinations.
Whether you want see a solar eclipse stateside or see the world’s most precious rose crop bloom in the unlikeliest of locales—or even catch up on some cherry blossom–watching if you missed it last month—these are the 10 best places to travel this April.
1. Venice, Italy
April is great for: seeing the city celebrating itself
San Marco is more than just the name of Venice’s most famous square and church; it’s the name of the patron saint of the city. San Marco’s feast day, April 25, is also a local public holiday. There will be a boat race between the gondoliers who compete while still punting passengers, and a regatta that runs between the island of Sant’Elena and the Punta della Dogana—for the best views, perch along the Viale Giardini Pubblici.
The festivities don’t end there. On that same April day, Venetians commemorate the tragic love story of Tancredi and the doge’s daughter, as charted in Rossini’s opera. Couples of all sorts exchange bocolo, or a red rosebud—even local children who gift one to their mother.
Where to stay: Violino d’Oro
- Book now: Violino d’Oro
Tuscan hotelier Sara Maestrelli just expanded the footprint of her exquisitely designed chainlet of boutique hotels to this new 32-room property in the heart of Venice, an ultra-luxe hideout close to San Marco that’s carved out of three properties she’s painstakingly combined.
How to get to Venice
Pick from the likes of American’s service from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Delta’s connections to New York City’s JFK and Atlanta’s ATL, or a United flight from Newark, New Jersey’s EWR.
2. Prince Edward Island, Canada
April is great for: eclipse-spotting and nostalgic reading
This eastern slice of Canada, its smallest province, is usually considered a summertime destination. But this year, the season kicks off much earlier: On April 8, 2024, it will be the first time a total solar eclipse is visible from major Canadian hubs for five decades. The path of totality, or the regions where that eclipse will be visible to its fullest, will pass over the western reaches of the island, so come to this rugged outpost for the chance to spend a few minutes in total darkness in the middle of the day.
The year 2024 is also the 150th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birth, the PEI-born author behind Anne of Green Gables. Anne’s home, Avonlea, may be a fiction, but it’s based on Cavendish on PEI’s north shore, where you can visit the Anne of Green Gables Museum. Mark this milestone with a visit on Canada Book Day, which is held alongside World Book Day on April 23—all the bookstores on the island will be celebrating the local author that day.
Where to stay: The Holman Grand Hotel
- Book now: The Holman Grand Hotel
The 80-room property in downtown Charlottetown is connected to the Confederation Centre for the Arts, which has an eclectic program of events this month, including a West African dance workshop and a one-woman show from Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell.
How to get to Prince Edward Island
The best option is to connect to Charlottetown Airport (YYG) via Toronto; Air Canada flies to the latter from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Houston, among other cities.
April is great for: waking up and smelling the roses—somewhere new
This Gulf State is renowned for a luxury crop: damask roses. These flowers, highly prized among the world’s perfumers, are grown in one place, mostly: the Al Hajar mountain range. The blooms flourish typically through the end of this month on 90 or so smallholder farms. They transform the landscape, too, turning the arid countryside into a carpet of bright pink blooms.
Beyond the rose harvesting, head to the abandoned village of Wadi Bani Habib for an atmospheric glimpse at the area’s past—and take a snap from Diana’s Point, too. It’s where the late Princess of Wales apparently spent an entire afternoon soaking up the view, a reminder of the country’s close links with the United Kingdom.
Where to stay: Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
- Book now: Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
The best luxe perch within easy reach of the rose fields is this five-star hotel, which sits dramatically on the rim of a vast canyon, more than 6,500 feet above sea level.
How to get to Oman
There are no direct nonstop flights to Oman from the United States, so the best option is flying with one of the carriers that specializes in long-haul connections: Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul, for example, or Emirates.
4. Istanbul, Türkiye
April is great for: seeing the tulip in its original setting
This month, Istanbul takes a leaf—well, more like a petal—out of Amsterdam’s book and celebrates its own extraordinary flower bash: the Tulip Festival, or Lale Festivali in Turkish. It was established barely 20 years ago by the Istanbul authorities, which resolved to reclaim the bulb from its European associations; in fact, tulips were first grown here.
Come this month to wander around the streets of Istanbul, and you’ll see millions of tulips planted in parks, public spaces, and gardens; among the most impressive will be Gülhane Park, Yıldız Park, and Sultanahmet Square. Even better, this is a shoulder season month for the city, before the scorching heat of summertime arrives, so walking around is pleasant. Expect average temperatures to hover in the low 60s during the day (though it gets chillier after dark, so bring a warm coat).
Where to stay: Ciragan Palace Kempinski
- Book now: Ciragan Palace Kempinski
Staying in Istanbul offers a plethora of one-time palaces rebooted as hotels—ornate, beautiful buildings suffused with history. The Ciragan Palace Kempinski is one such property, which overlooks the Bosphorus and just underwent a thorough renovation.
How to get to Istanbul
Turkish Airlines is determined to rival nearby carriers in the Gulf as a carrier renowned for its far-reaching network—and, as a result, it flies direct nonstop to 13 cities stateside, including Detroit and Boston.
5. Mallorca, Spain
April is great for: sporting excellence in the middle of the Med
This month, there’s the Palma International Boat Show, which runs from April 25 to 28 and is a chance to rub shoulders with the super-yachting types who are increasingly the island’s main audience—the coastal hub of Andratx is where you’ll find most of them. Expect to see about 600 boats bobbing in the waters here, with the biggest vessels (more than 24 meters long, or about 79 feet) together in a special Superyacht Village.
Mallorca’s also renowned among cyclists as one of the best places to ride, as many pros spend the offseason training on the winding, steep hills of the Tramuntana range. This month is one of the highlights of the biking calendar on the island, the Mallorca 312—named after the 312-kilometer track (about 194 miles) that includes more than 16,000 feet of climbing. The race takes place on Saturday, April 27, and roads around the island are closed for the occasion, so expect a festive vibe wherever you go. The little town of Arta is an ideal place to stay up north and to watch the athletes push themselves to the limit on steep ascents like Puig Major or Col de Feminina.
Where to stay: Castell Son Claret
- Book now: Castell Son Claret
Hide out in Castell Son Claret, a 43-room hotel that used to be a 19th-century castle. It’s anchored by superb high-end restaurant Sa Clastra, helmed by Jordi Cantó, a Michelin-baiting local-born chef.
How to get to Mallorca
The best way to reach the island is via Madrid: Iberia, the national flag carrier, is a One World partner with American Airlines, so has an extensive direct, nonstop network stateside from its hubs.
6. San Antonio, Texas
April is great for: touting Texan culture through the decades
It was in 1891 when San Antonio first celebrated Fiesta, a festival earmarked to champion the arrival of Europeans here 200 years earlier (the city was formally founded a few decades later). Today, it’s evolved into an 11-day bash, running in 2024 from April 18 to 28.
Fiesta is a mammoth undertaking that incorporates the entire city into a program of parades, rodeos, art shows, and concerts. The Texas Cavaliers River Parade is a costumed flotilla inspired by the flower-wreathed barges of Mexico City, and the Battle of Flowers Parade is one of the headliners, an Alamo-commemorating event that’s since evolved into a march that attracts more than half a million people.
This month, San Antonio is also a domestic alternative to Canada’s Maritimes region for eclipse-spotting. It’s the largest U.S. city that’s within the path of totality, but only from the western districts will the blackout be complete (so avoid downtown River Walk and around that area).
Where to stay: Hotel Emma
- Book now: Hotel Emma
A former brewhouse from the 1800s, the riverfront boutique hotel is now a funky spot at the heart of the Pearl district, the 18-acre erstwhile industrial area in downtown’s River Walk that’s now a strollable hub for cafés and boutiques.
How to get to San Antonio
There are direct, nonstop flights from several cities: Try JetBlue from JFK, Delta and America from Los Angeles’ LAX, or Delta from Salt Lake City’s SLC. Southwest has multiple routes in operation, including from St. Louis, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
7. St. Kitts and Nevis
April is great for: taking the plunge
Rum-loving globe-trotters may already have this island on their radars, but everyone else should consider this month’s additional incentives to visit St. Kitts and Nevis—which have distinct cultures, despite having ended up together as a sovereign federation in 1983, when Anguilla flounced out of the three-island alignment that had existed in the wake of British colonial rule.
The Cross Channel Swim on April 6 is a chance to swim across the Narrows between them, a strait that’s not only a domestic dividing line but also the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The 2.5-mile open-water event starts at Oualie Beach on northwest Nevis and finishes on the southeastern tip of St. Kitts at Cockleshell Bay. Since the waters here are so shallow, swimmers can see the seabed for the entire passage, which is teeming with turtles, fish, and rays.
Where to stay: Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour
- Book now: Park Hyatt St. Kitts Christophe Harbour
This luxe 124-room hotel in the island’s south—overlooking Nevis—just added several amenities, including a Topgolf Swing Suite, where devotees can practice with the simulator right in their room.
How to get to St. Kitts and Nevis
JetBlue commenced year-round service from JFK late last year, unlocking access to the northeast. There’s also daily service on American Airlines to Miami and service on Delta to Atlanta.https://www.youtube.com/embed/qr3Go_FqEHI?enablejsapi=1
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
April is great for: seeing into the soul of the Crescent City
Two words: Jazz Fest. Sure, New Orleans is a city with a soundtrack year-round, but its love of music has no bounds this month for the 53rd year of what’s officially known as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It’s hosted here because NOLA is where jazz was born, its mash-up musicianship a reflection of the unique cultural influences in its history, from Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean.
There are a dozen stages with more than 500 performance slots over a week of festivities starting April 25; it usually draws around a half million people to the Crescent City. There are big headliners, of course: The Rolling Stones to Hozier are performing this year, to name two. But what helps give this bash its distinctive appeal is the emphasis on local performers, whose musicality is world-class—indeed, anyone can apply to be selected to perform. Look for brass musicians from local marching bands or keyboard players who usually riff at the back of the bar but can claim the spotlight for a moment or two now.
Where to stay: Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans
- Book now: Hyatt Centric French Quarter New Orleans
A relatively affordable option in the heart of the French Quarter that’s carved out of a historic department store—hence the soaring 12-foot ceilings of most rooms—this 254-room property has an outdoor pool for a little R&R in between gigs.
How to get to New Orleans
It cost more than a billion bucks to create New Orleans’ MSY airport in 2019, and it has made transiting here a pleasure at last. The airport is served by countless airlines, including Southwest, Spirit, Delta, and JetBlue.
9. Tuscon, Arizona
April is great for: all things agave
Tucson was the first stateside city to become a UNESCO World City of Gastronomy, an accolade that nods to its more than four millennia of food culture that merges the tastes of many different groups, including Native American and modern Mexican.
Come experience one aspect of its food culture via the four-day Agave Heritage Festival this month, running from April 18 to 21. It’s an exploration and celebration of agave, a succulent that flourishes in desert environments like the Sonora. This event celebrates the plant through seminars and tastings—showing visitors that agave makes far more than tequila, which derives from the core of the plant, and other spirits like raicilla. Expect luminaries from the tequila world to stop by, too, as in past years when producers like David Suro-Piñera, the brains behind Siembra Azul, hosted panel discussions.
Where to stay: Hotel Congress
- Book now: Hotel Congress
Stay at this hotel built in 1919 and experience the city’s history firsthand: The Tap Room here is the first bar that opened in Tucson after Prohibition, and the reason there’s no longer a third floor is thanks to a fire in the 1930s that both wrecked that level and led to the capture of the Dillinger Gang, who was staying there.
How to get to Tuscon
Reaching Tucson is easy, with more than a dozen cities connected direct, nonstop: Try Sun Country from Minneapolis, Alaska from Portland, Oregon, and Southwest from San Diego.
10. Vancouver, British Columbia
April is great for: squeezing in a bonus blossom fest after most blooms finish in March
Vancouver’s cherry blossom fest runs through April 25 this year, offering a chance to stretch out the bloom-peeping for another month, thanks to its northerly latitude. The first 500 cherry trees to be planted here arrived in the 1930s as a gift to the city from the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama in Japan to honor the Japanese Canadians who had fought in the First World War; there’s a formal memorial to them in Stanley Park near rows of blossoming trees. More have arrived since then, and you can view them in various sites around the city: Standout locations include the Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC Botanical Garden, the SkyTrain Burrard station downtown and, of course, the VanDusen Botanical Garden, with its more than two dozen varieties.
The festival includes various events around town, all nodding to Japan, from sake tasting to taiko drumming and kimono-tying demonstrations, as well as ikebana, or flower-arranging, classes.
Where to stay: Azur Legacy Collection Hotel
- Book now: Azur Legacy Collection Hotel
This 104-room property downtown opened barely six months ago. It has a lush, art deco–inflected aesthetic across 13 floors—think backlit mirrors and marble-clad bathrooms.
How to get to Vancouver
Among several options, Canada’s bargain carrier WestJet connects the city with Nashville and Las Vegas with nonstop, direct flights, while Air Canada has service from Sacramento; Delta runs a flight from its Minneapolis hub.