The world is your oyster this March, but how will you decide on where to go? Springtime is just starting in the Northern Hemisphere, while temperatures are dropping during early fall in the Southern Hemisphere. That means less extreme temperatures worldwide, with plenty of places in their shoulder season for tourism. March is also a time of celebration, with St. Patrick’s Day in the US and Ireland and Holi in India and Nepal.
We love giving you a variety of places to choose from, so as you decide where to go in March, here’s a list with a little bit of everything:
1. Coron, The Philippines
Located in the province of Palawan, Coron is a limestone island best known for its crystal-clear lagoons, dramatic cliffs, and some of the world’s softest white-sand beaches. One of the absolute best ways to get the most out of your visit is by booking a tour through Big Dream Boat Man Expeditions, which takes you island-hopping, on a highlight reel of the absolute best places in Coron. You can’t get any better than that!
So, why March? First of all, the weather is ideal this time of year. March is one of the driest months in the Philippines, so you can expect loads of sunshine. You won’t be the only one who has caught on to Coron’s lovely weather, so there will be plenty of other travelers there enjoying it. Most people don’t seem to mind, though, as the influx of tourism doesn’t totally put a damper on the experience.
2. Tulum, Mexico
If there’s one place that has completely exploded in popularity in the last five years, it’s Tulum. Don’t let that discourage you from visiting, though. Tulum is still full of hidden gems, and some cenotes (swimming holes) are still relatively unknown. Plus, there’s plenty of beachfront to enjoy, even during the peak season in March. The public beaches are quite crowded, but all you have to do is walk in either direction to find some peace and quiet.
The biggest benefit of visiting Tulum in March is the exquisite weather. It’s the dry season, meaning sunny days and less humidity. It’s also less crowded than January and February (as long as you avoid spring break).
Looking for a stellar place to stay? Check out this list of the best boutique hotels in Tulum and get to planning your tropical dream vacation!
3. Fairbanks, Alaska
If catching the northern lights has been at the top of your travel bucket list, this is your sign to venture to Fairbanks this March. Since it’s the peak of aurora borealis season, you’ll surely be able to see the dazzling green, yellow, and blue hues light up the night sky. There’s no wonder why Fairbanks is on our list of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights.
Although plenty of travelers go to Fairbanks this time of year, it’s not as crowded as in the summer months. Plus, there are still plenty of awesome snowy activities if you’re not ready to let go of winter.
4. California Deserts Road Trip, USA
We always recommend visiting places like Death Valley and Anza Borrego in the late fall to early spring because some of them are simply too hot to visit in the summer months. If you’ve been longing for a road trip through California’s deserts, this March is a fabulous time to do it. Temperatures are mild this time of year, with warm sunny days and chilly nights. It’s also a great time to camp, especially in Death Valley, because it’s relatively uncrowded, and the nights aren’t unbearably cold like they are in the wintertime.
5. Mystic Hot Springs, Utah
Why not pamper yourself a little bit this March? At Mystic Hot Springs in Utah, you can soak in steamy natural pools or even in a vintage bathtub with hot spring water. This quirky spot is perfect for travelers who love getting off the beaten path and don’t mind a more rustic experience. Visiting Mystic Hot Springs in March also means having the ideal weather for a warm soak: chilly spring temperatures and plenty of sunshine.
Go to Mystic Hot Springs on its own, or add it to your Utah road trip. Beautiful rolling hills and red rocks await you!
6. Berlin, Germany
Moody gray skies with near-constant drizzling rain might not sound like a springtime paradise to some travelers, but it passes the vibe check for others. Winters are freezing cold in Berlin, and although March is still chilly, it’s much more bearable. The best part? There are far fewer tourists this time of year, yet just as much to do as in the winter or summer. It’s warm enough for a boat cruise, but you can also have a fantastic time indoors, hitting up the city’s best museums and enjoying shorter lines. The ideas are endless for your killer Berlin itinerary this March!
7. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Does skipping through tulip fields sound like a dream come true? Amsterdam definitely deserves a spot on your March bucket list then. Tulip season starts at the end of the month, but you can see blooms as early as mid-March. Why not see the tulips during peak season in April? You certainly can, but the hype around the flowers is pretty grandiose, so catching them early is a great way to beat the crowds.
After seeing a rainbow of tulips at the Keukenhof, spend the rest of your days wandering through charming streets, taking a boat ride through the canals, or doing what the Dutch do, by exploring Amsterdam via bicycle. March temperatures are brisk, but chances are you’ll hardly notice, because you’ll be too busy admiring the city’s beauty.
8. Nusa Penida, Indonesia
If you’re craving a tropical getaway this March, Nusa Penida is the perfect alternative to overtouristed Bali. It’s part of the Nusa Islands, just off Bali’s coast. Many people even say that Nusa Penida is what Bali was twenty years ago, full of beauty but few foreign tourists.
March is a wonderful time to enjoy Nusa Penida’s white-sand beaches and gorgeous jungle scenery in peace, because it’s the low season on this already-quiet island. The end of the month sees a beautiful Balinese New Year celebration, which is a serene day of silence. Expect some wet days during your stay, though it usually only rains for a few hours at a time.
9. Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Lake Atitlán in Guatemala is one of my favorite places to relax and rejuvenate in nature. According to Mayan legend, this spiritually charged lake is believed to be the belly button of the earth. Makes sense, considering it’s the deepest lake in Central America. Here you can hop from town to town via boat, observing quotidian life, in which women still wear traditional Guatemalan clothing and farmers sell their daily harvests at small market stalls.
March sees warm and sunny weather, making it the perfect time to go for a swim in the lake, rent a paddleboard, or hike up one of the volcanoes (if you dare!). It’s cooler here than in other parts of Guatemala because of the high altitude, but don’t be fooled — the sun is just as intense, so make sure to bring plenty of protection!
10. Istanbul, Turkey
Istanbul is an architecture enthusiast’s dream. The mix of old and new, Middle Eastern and European creates a fascinating backdrop to the sights, sounds, and tastes. You can get lost in the famous Grand Bazaar before scoring a delicious meal (my favorite dish is lahmacun, aka Turkish “pizza”).
Although Istanbul is a bustling metropolis and therefore quite crowded any time of year, March is a great time to avoid the surges of tourism the city sees in the summer months. The weather is also on point in March, with comfortable springtime temperatures that will make exploring Istanbul on foot enjoyable.
11. Chicago, Illinois
Is it weird that Chicago ends up on so many of our “where to go in” posts? Sorry not sorry, because Chi is my hometown, and I think it’s fabulous to visit any time of year.
See that bright green river? If you want to see it in person, you’ll have to visit in March during St. Patrick’s Day. This holiday is the biggest of its kind and even rivals Ireland’s own celebration, thanks to the impressive number of Irish immigrants, who brought it to Chicago.
Beyond St. Paddy’s Day, March is a fantastic time in Chicago. The weather is finally warm enough to enjoy a long walk outside to admire the gorgeous architecture or take a boat cruise. You can also grab a slice (or two or three) of deep-dish pizza (Peqoud’s or bust!) or browse famous masterpieces at the Art Institute. However you build your Chicago itinerary, you’re bound to fall in love with the Windy City.
If you’re committed to experiencing the real-deal St. Patrick’s Day celebration, nothing compares to seeing it in Ireland. For starters, March 17 is a national holiday, and almost everyone has the day off. Unlike Chicago, you won’t see any rivers dyed green here, and the parades are actually smaller in comparison, but you’ll find a much more authentic celebration, along with plenty to do before and after the big day.
Take a scenic road trip along the Atlantic Way or find the Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland. March temperatures are chilly here, but the misty rain gives it a moody feel that makes road-tripping here even more magical.
13. Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá is the first city I visited outside of the US, so it holds a special place in my traveling heart. Having gone there in the month of March, I think it’s one of the best times to go, because of the drier weather and low tourist numbers. So much of the city is easily walkable; my favorite thing to do there is the Bogotá Graffiti Tour, which is run by local street artists.
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of huge cities, Bogotá might surprise you with how laid-back it is. Downtown you’ll find the historic Candelaria neighborhood (my favorite!), which is full of quaint shops, small colonial buildings, and colorful murals.
14. Monteverde, Costa Rica
After reading this post about Monteverde’s cloud forest, chances are you’re wondering when the best time to visit is. I went in July, which is during the rainy season, and didn’t mind the dampness. However, if you’re dying to visit but want to avoid the rain, I recommend going in March. It’s the driest month of the year, and it’s also not as crowded. You’ll be able to see tons of wildlife, as many species of animals (particularly sloths) are more out and about during this drier time of year.
Hiking is the name of the game in Monteverde, with hundreds of miles of trails to choose from. Since it won’t be as wet, you’ll be able to hit the trails all day without worrying about a random heavy rainstorm putting a damper on your hike.
15. Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Angkor Wat ruins near Siem Reap in Cambodia blew my mind when I visited in 2016. I couldn’t believe that a place so ancient could still exist, and the history behind the ruins fascinated me.
Beyond being uber-popular among history buffs, Siem Reap is a backpacker’s paradise because of how affordable it is. There’s a reason why Cambodia made our list of the cheapest places to visit in the world, after all.
Going in March is ideal if you want to avoid the crowds at the ruins, as it’s shoulder season. Temperatures are quite warm, but not as sweltering as the summer months. Plus, it’s much drier in March, making it more enjoyable to spend time outside exploring.
16. Cusco, Peru
For many travelers, Peru’s natural beauty and rich history is unparalleled. Cusco is the country’s most popular tourist destination, as it’s the launching pad for visiting Machu Picchu (which definitely lives up to the hype), though that’s not the only reason to check it out. There are plenty of places nearby that are worth your time, such as the salt flats at Salinas de Maras and the colorful hills of Rainbow Mountain.
If you decide to visit Cusco in March, avoid the week of Easter if you want to have a laid-back trip that isn’t overly expensive. Go earlier in the month to get a head-start on perhaps the best season to travel to Peru, as you’ll catch the end of summertime, and everything will be green and lush, without the weather being super rainy.
Disclaimer: At the moment of this publishing (early 2023), Peru is under a level 3 travel advisory from the US State Department because of ongoing violent protests. Keep an eye on the situation here. Hopefully it will be safe to visit soon.
17. Ring Road, Iceland
Iceland’s scenery is dramatic, varying wildly from thundering waterfalls to otherworldly rock formations, steaming hot springs, and so much more. The absolute best way to witness this beauty is to go on a road trip, and the Ring Road is one of the best.
Parts of the Ring Road are closed in the winter months because of the harsh weather conditions and snow covering the road. By March, however, most of it should be open and ready to explore. It’s still quite cold, so make sure to check out this Iceland packing list so you can be prepared.
18. Jaipur, India
This one is for daring adventurers only!
Visiting any large city in India any time of year is going to be hectic, so prepare yourself for huge crowds and a hefty dose of chaos if you head to Jaipur this March. That’s because March 4-10 this year marks Holi, one of the biggest and most colorful celebrations in the world. Being in Jaipur during Holi is the experience of a lifetime, with elaborate parades, colorful powder and paint flying in every direction, and people joyfully dancing and playing in the streets.
After frolicking, consider joining a tour of the city to learn more about its history and culture. Since Jaipur can be overwhelming, a tour is a great way to get a lay of the land.
19. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a feast for the senses, and one that adventurous travelers aspire to witness. Known for its super friendly locals, low prices, and delicious cuisine, the country deserves a spot on your bucket list, regardless of the season.
By March, the high season is winding down, but temperatures are still stellar for a trip to the beach or an epic safari to spot elephants and other wildlife. Also don’t miss out on the Cultural Triangle or the chance to ride on one of Sri Lanka’s quintessential passenger trains through the jungle.
Want to stay a while? Find out what else there is to do in Sri Lanka in this sweet guide.
20. Kyoto, Japan
Ever wondered where Washington, DC gets its famous cherry blossoms? They were a gift from Japan. Why not see the OG blooms this March, and enjoy the gorgeous spring in Kyoto while you’re at it? This is one of Japan’s cultural capitals, and it hosts several festivals in March. Since tourism is relatively low this month, it’s a great time to take advantage of Kyoto’s many attractions without having to wait in long lines. The weather is still chilly this time of year, though, so pack plenty of layers.
21. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Forever a favorite spot among backpackers, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is one of the country’s many postcard-worthy places to visit. Here you’ll find crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches, and towering rock formations, all creating a spectacular scene.
March has the best weather of the year in this part of Vietnam. Warm temperatures with low humidity and very little rain await you, creating the ideal atmosphere for a boat cruise to see mysterious islands and caves. The best part is that Vietnam remains very affordable, even for backpackers on a shoestring budget.
22. Austin, Texas
Springtime in Texas is magical, with gorgeous blooms everywhere and perfect T-shirt weather. Austin is one of the state’s best cities, because there’s so much to do there, from kayaking on the scenic Colorado River (yes, it runs through Texas!), to hitting up 6th Street for a live music show, or perusing the Blanton Museum of Art, and so much more.
23. Porto, Portugal
This charming city looks like it’s straight out of a Southern European fairytale. Colorful buildings lined up side by side along cobblestone streets winding up steep hills give Porto its rich character. Recently, the city has even become one of the most sought-after European destinations for expats because of the stellar quality of life and low cost of living. So, why not head there this March and see what all the hype is about?
Springtime is chilly in Porto, but warm enough to enjoy breezy days outside wandering the streets. In March, you’ll see flowers blooming in quaint parks, as well as enjoy street festivals gearing up after being dormant for the winter. Since there aren’t many tourists in Porto this time of year, you’ll enjoy being mostly among locals, with very few crowds too.
24. Palermo, Italy
Oh, Sicily! There are few places in Europe that are quite as charming. Palermo is one of the island’s most beautiful cities, but it gets way too crowded in the summer months. March is the perfect time to enjoy all its beauty, without raging crowds of tourists. Plus, the weather is mildly chilly at night and warm during the day, making it a fantastic time to explore the city on foot.
25. South Island, New Zealand
A longstanding outdoor enthusiast’s dream vacation, the South Island of New Zealand is beckoning to you. With some of the country’s best hikes leading to killer views, rugged coastlines, and gorgeous lakes, your South Island itinerary is bound to be epic.
March is an awesome time to visit, as fall in the Southern Hemisphere is just starting to set in. The whole island is alive with greenery and colorful blooms, and the temperatures are comfortably mild during the day and a little chilly at night. Plus, it’s not a very popular time to visit, so you can enjoy lower prices with fewer tourists around.
Whether you’re excited about traveling during spring in the Northern Hemisphere or fall in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope this list helps you decide where to go in March.
Which destination will you choose?