The best places to travel in April
In April, signs of spring are all around us — warmer days, daffodils poking their yellow petals through the soil, and in a few places, cherry blossoms.
The park offers hiking and mountain biking trails, camping, and the chance to see petroglyphs left by the ancient Hohokam people. Tucson’s Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum includes a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, natural history museum, and art gallery.
From April 10-21, Tucson welcomes the 28th Arizona International Film Festival to venues throughout the city. The annual event includes children’s films, documentaries, animation, and both short and feature-length movies. The Tucson International Mariachi Conference will be held from April 24-27, with workshops and three public concerts. For an authentic Old West experience with luxury amenities, a stay at Tanque Verde Ranch combines both.
Located on 60,000 acres of breathtaking desert landscape adjacent to Saguaro National Park, the Ranch offers horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, children’s activities, and LaSonora Spa. It's your last chance in 2019 to try a unique Under Canvas Tucson glamping experience at Tanque Verde Ranch before it closes on April 21. In deluxe tents with en-suite bathrooms and comfortable furnishings, guests will enjoy “camping” in style, with full access to ranch activities and amenities that include an outdoor pool, fitness center, dining, tennis, hot tubs, and more.
In Aomori Prefecture, the Hirosaki Sakura-Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival attracts visitors who enjoy the colorful blooms from boats, under tunnels of trees, or illuminated at night. The nearly 3,000 trees are pruned in a unique way that produces lush flowers whose weight causes the trees’ branches to bend gracefully. The area also includes the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins, an archaeological discovery of structures and artifacts dating back 5,500 years and the Aomori Museum of Art which features contemporary Japanese works as well as traditional international art.
The Nebuta Museum focuses on Aomori’s August Nebuta festivals, with displays of colorful floats, parade videos, and bright paintings, the next best thing to actually being at the event. For local culture, relaxation, authentic Japanese dining, and apple-scented baths fed by the Owani Hot Spring, visit Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru, a hot spring ryokan, located 50 minutes by train from Aomori Airport.
Newport Beach, California
April usually marks the last month of gray whale migration when thousands of gray whales head back to the Bering Sea after spending winter in the warm lagoons of Baja California. The gray whales, along with dolphins and other whale species, can be seen on boat trips from Newport Landing and often from the coast as they pass.
The 20th Newport Beach Film Festival is set for April 25-May 2, 2019, featuring the best of classic and contemporary films from around the world. Entertainment abounds, even while the weather may still be a bit cool for swimming at the beach. The Balboa Fun Zone is an old-fashioned amusement park with rides and games. Shopping is a favorite pastime, with Fashion Island, Crystal Cove Shopping Center, boutiques, surf shops, and more.
Lido House, Autograph Collection, on the site of the former city hall, offers a spa, pool, dining, comfortable guestrooms, suites, and private three-level cottages, each exquisitely decorated by a local designer. The newly updated waterfront Balboa Bay Resort features modern furnishings, spa, pool, and casual elegant style.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada & California
April is a season of transition with daytime temperatures reaching the 50s and chilly nights. Crowds thin as ski season draws to a close, but it’s not too late to get in a few more downhill runs or cross-country treks through the snow.
On the south shore of the lake, spring skiing at Heavenly Mountain continues until April 21, with 30 lifts, two snowboard parks, and the Heavenly Gondola which travels over two miles to an observation deck for panoramic views of the lake and mountains.
The Lodge at Edgewood Tahoe, a lakefront resort, provides a courtesy shuttle to Heavenly Mountain as well as a year-round heated pool and hot tub, spa, and luxury accommodations with fireplaces, terraces, and balconies.
On the northern end of the lake, skiing at Northstar California Resort continues until April 14. Nearby Truckee also offers dog sledding, showshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating, and tubing in addition to its historic downtown for shopping and dining. The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, located mid-mountain on Northstar, provides elegant surroundings, spa, and ski-in/ski-out convenience with mountain concierge services.
Dunedin is home to Honeymoon Island, one of Florida’s most beloved state parks, with over four miles of white sand beaches, an abundance of wildlife, and outdoor activities including fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and more. The Island even features a pet beach for you to enjoy with your four-legged friends. Guests can take the ferry from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island, another notable state park, and one of the few completely natural, untouched islands along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Have a drink at Dunedin Brewery, the state’s oldest microbrewery, to experience world-class beers, delicious food, and live entertainment.
In April, the Dunedin Blue Jays begin their season when the Toronto Blue Jays complete spring training, giving locals the chance to cheer for their team. Home to the county’s first radio station, the recently renovated Fenway Hotel is the perfect place to stay to take in the musical heritage of the jazz age and to enjoy Hi-Fi, its rooftop bar with island and sunset views. The boutique hotel also offers tai-chi programming through the Taoist Tai Chi Society’s International Center for guests and locals alike. There is something for everyone in Dunedin, but if you can’t find it there, you’re just a short ride away from Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and Tampa.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
From April 25-May 5, Toronto is home to Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary festival which includes conference sessions and educational services in addition to films from around the world. The Hot Docs Cinema, a restored century-old theater, and other downtown venues will present the films and festival events.
Toronto’s Casa Loma, once the extravagant castle-inspired home of Sir Henry Pellatt until financial misfortunes led him to sell his ornate mansion, was the filming location for more than 20 major movies including "X-Men," "Chicago," "Cocktail," "Goosebumps," and a recent remake of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show." The restored estate is now open to the public with tours of its lavishly furnished rooms, a restaurant, and wedding venue.
Downtown Toronto’s Rogers Centre, originally called SkyDome, is home to Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays. The season will be in full swing in April following opening day on March 28. Explore Toronto’s varied food scene with a fun and friendly tour through Culinary Adventure Co. and discover different neighborhoods while sampling local specialties. Lodging in Toronto includes The Delta, with views of Lake Ontario, CN Tower, and Rogers Center as well as the luxurious Ritz-Carlton and recently renovated St. Regis.
Perth, Western Australia
Kings Park, one of the world’s largest inner city parks, would be a great place to start, with views of the skyline and Swan River. Visit the Perth Cultural Centre to learn about the area’s history, arts, and culture or explore Elizabeth Quay’s waterpark, playground, and cafes. Just about 11 miles and a ferry ride from Perth is Rottnest Island, car-free and home to 63 beaches, 20 bays, bike trails, snorkeling, coral reefs, and the island’s cute, friendly native marsupial, the quokka.
Discovery Eco Village, opening in March 2019, will offer accommodations ranging from luxury glamping to affordable family tents. A short train trip, drive, or cruise down the Swan River takes visitors to Fremantle, a vibrant, historic port city with restaurants, bars, boutiques, aboriginal art, and a carnival atmosphere on weekends. From April 19-22, the Fremantle International Street Arts Festival expands its local entertainment culture, showcasing wild and wacky open-air theater, music, and comedy along with alfresco dining and pop-up bars.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Caribbean
Grand Cayman is the largest of the three islands, boasting the award-winning Seven Mile Beach on the island’s west side. Snorkeling among the coral reefs, scuba diving, paddle boarding, fishing, kitesurfing, and boating are popular activities, and there’s history to explore as well.
The 18th-century Pedro St. James, an authentic home and the oldest building on Grand Cayman, is open for tours of its expansive grounds and cottages. The Cayman Crystal Caves will fascinate with their stalactites and stalagmite formations, and adventure seekers will find hiking, horseback riding, biking trails, and rainforests to explore.
Stingray City, where visitors can wade on sandbars among Atlantic stingrays, is a popular attraction, and for golfers, there are courses at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and the North Sound Club. About an hour by plane from Miami, Grand Cayman is served by non-stop flights from many other cities as well. The Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa on Seven Mile Beach boasts an open-air design and dazzling sunsets that inspired their name.
St. George, Utah
Just minutes from downtown St. George is Snow Canyon State Park, with its stunning red, orange, and pink rocks. Visitors to nearby Zion National Park can hike up Angels Landing, rent bikes to ride along one of the park’s many trails, and even relax and watch a movie at the Zion Canyon Theatre.
This year, the 40th annual St. George Art Festival will be held in the Town Square April 19-20. The event showcases thousands of original works of art from sculptures, to paintings, photography, and everything in between. In addition to the stunning art displays, festival goers can enjoy live musical performances and eat delicious foods from a diverse selection of vendors.
At the Kid’s Creation Station, children join in a variety of creative activities. The Red Rock Golf Trail is a golf enthusiast’s paradise, and the St. George Tourism Office has created a golf getaway trip planner with all the information needed to explore the area’s spectacular golf courses. Red Mountain Resort, ideally located among red rock cliffs and canyons, would be a perfect home base for exploring St. George as well as a place to enjoy luxury, comfort, and the resort’s wellness programs.
On April 25, Venice celebrates St. Mark’s feast day with the Festa di San Marco featuring a gondolier regatta and other festivities in St. Mark’s Square. Doges Palace on St. Mark’s Square offers not only a glimpse of the city’s fascinating history, but also its art and architecture. Museums include the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and many others. Music lovers will find church concerts and opera at famed Teatro La Fenice.
A gondola ride is traditional for most visitors, but a ride on a vaporetto, Venice’s public transportation, is a fun and economical way to get around. Strolling among the canals and small bridges, dining on cichetti, Venice’s version of small plates, and enjoying the view from the Rialto Bridge are all memorable experiences for visitors. Cruise fans aboard a Crystal Cruises ship have several Venice excursions to choose from, including a guided walking tour and a motor launch through the lagoon and islands. Aboard the Crystal Serenity, guests can board in Venice and sail to Athens or begin their cruise in Monaco and end in Venice — just a few of Crystal’s Mediterranean cruise offerings.
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