March is one of the best times to vacation. The March equinox, which occurs around March 20, marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of fall in the Southern Hemisphere. For this reason, March tends to be a mild time of year, warmer than the winter months and cooler than the summer months.
March also sees significant celebrations that center on rebirth and growth, like Carnivale, Holi, and Easter. Additionally, flight and accommodation costs tend to be lower between peak winter season and summer travel season. And since it’s a quarter of the way into the year, March is the perfect time for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Here are 12 wonderfully warm places to visit in the month of March.
1. Destin, Florida
A beach town on the Florida Panhandle, Destin is renowned in the South for its beautiful beaches, warm water, and marine wildlife. At Destin Harbor, you can feed dolphins, take an ocean tour, or lounge on the Crab Island sandbar.
Although peak season in Destin begins on Memorial Day weekend and runs through the summer, college students descend on the town during Spring Break, so you’d be better off traveling to the beach town before or after this time. Fewer students and tourists mean you get the crystal blue water and white sand all to yourself! Enjoy warm days on the beach and cozy up near a heater in the evening at HarborWalk Village.
2. Cancún, Mexico
Cancún’s year-round warm weather attracts many visitors seeking to fly south for the winter. While winter is peak travel season and the summer months are too hot and humid, March is just right, with temperatures fluctuating daily between the low 70s and high 80s.
One of the biggest spring equinox celebrations on Earth occurs at Chichen Itza, one of the great wonders of the world. The Mayans, the ancient civilization that built the city of Chichen Itza, also studied the stars and planets, and the information they gleaned informed their construction. During the equinox, the light shining on the Pyramid of Kukulcan looks like a snake slithering down the temple steps.
Just a 2-hour drive from Cancún, Chichen Itza is an easy day trip that allows tourists to view this phenomenon and to partake in the equinox celebration.
3. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio is a small beachside town with gorgeous luxury condos and hotels. It’s close to the beach and provides easy access to Manuel Antonio Park, one of the most popular parks in Costa Rica. Although it’s far from the largest national park in the country, it’s known for its biodiversity, which makes it the main attraction in this region.
Since March is the area’s dry season, you’ll be able to participate in many outdoor activities in the park, including swimming, snorkeling, and hiking. March's daily temperatures fall in the pleasant range of 62 to 84 degrees, and there’s not much rain. In this mild weather, you’ll be able to see an incredible variety of plants and animals on the trails, including two-toed sloths, squirrel monkeys, and agoutis, among others.
4. Cartagena, Colombia
Colombia has recently made many travel bucket lists, and for good reason! With temperatures hovering between the mid-70s and high 80s in March, the tropical climate of Cartagena is ideal for those seeking to thaw after a long winter.
Rich in history, culture, and colonial architecture, Cartagena’s Old Town streets are full of charm. Since March is Cartagena’s dry season, you’ll have plenty of time to explore city landmarks like Plaza de la Aduana, San Felipe de Barajas Castle, and the Palace of the Inquisition. Since Cartagena is a port city, it’s also close to several spectacular islands and beaches, including Playa Blanca, Isla Tierrabomba, and Playa de Bocagrande.
5. Lima, Peru
Although Cusco, Peru, is the closest city to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu, Lima is just as worthy of visiting. Lima is not only the capital city but also the largest city in Peru, with 10 million people.
Although March is part of peak tourist season in Peru, the warm weather along the coast creates the perfect conditions to explore the City of Kings. The sprawling urban center is home to a growing entrepreneurship scene, Michelin-star restaurants, and famous museums and art galleries. Modern buildings and trendy neighborhoods like Miraflores stand alongside the historic center recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
6. Buenos Aires, Argentina
March’s mild fall weather is a relief after the hot and humid Argentine summer. Buenos Aires is known as the Paris of South America for its European-style monuments and architecture, international fare, and arts scene. The sexy Argentine tango originated in Buenos Aires, and can still be seen danced in the streets -- especially during the mild-weather months! The city’s historic center is brimming with iconic landmarks such as the Teatro Colón opera house, Plaza de Mayo, and Recoleta Cemetery (which contains the tombs of famous Argentinians like Eva Perón, the wife of Argentine President Juan Perón and the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her untimely death in 1952).
7. Dublin, Ireland
It’s a completely different experience celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day in the country where it originated. The patron saint of Ireland, known for bringing Catholicism to the island, receives five days of celebration during mid-March. The holiday may draw crowds, but there are still fewer people than there are during the summer months.
In between the Celtic festivities, enjoy the medieval architecture, cobblestone streets, and the rich history of Dublin. Wander through the streets during the day and visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the National Gallery of Ireland, and Trinity College. In the evening, the temperatures drop, but that’s nothing a silky Guinness stout can’t fix!
8. Venice, Italy
One of Italy’s most notable cities celebrates Carnevale, or Mardi Gras, in grand style. During several weeks in late February or early March, Venice’s city center is transformed with exquisite costumes, masks, and parades. It’s one of the most joyful, festive times of the year to visit Venice.
March is a great time to visit Venice before the massive crowds of tourists arrive in the summer. The spring weather, however, is rather unpredictable; temperatures are usually in the 60s, and you might encounter rain or even flooding due to rising tides and sinking land.
9. Melbourne, Australia
In March, the tail end of summer in Melbourne, the city experiences highs in the mid-70s to the 80s. It’s the perfect time to explore one of the largest cities in Australia. Modern buildings stand next to beautiful historic structures including Flinders Street Station, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and State Library Victoria.
Not only is the climate great for exploring the coffee, food, and art scenes, but it’s also good for getting outside of the city. Spectacular beaches and coastline await along all 150 miles of the Great Ocean Road.
The mild, dry climate is also perfect for growing grapes. Spend time in Yarra Valley, just an hour outside Melbourne, drinking local wine, eating on green terraces, and shopping. The area is especially known for its flavorful pinot noir!
10. Cape Town, South Africa
Set along a stunning coast and towering mountains, Cape Town is a lovely place to visit at any time of the year. However, the great weather and the city’s international jazz festival make Cape Town one of the best places to visit in March. The dry heat creates pleasant conditions for hiking Table Mountain, visiting penguin colonies at Boulders Beach, and learning about European colonization, apartheid, and the legacy of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island.
11. Petra, Jordan
Another wonder of the world on this list, Petra, is an ancient city located south of the Dead Sea. Inhabited for more than 200,000 years, the Rose City -- so called for the pink hue of its stone cliffs -- is best known for the carved cliff face of the Treasury, which is believed to have been a temple or tomb for a royal family.
The trek to Petra takes several hours, and it can be miserable during the sweltering summer. However, during March, temperatures are generally in the mid-70s, and the highs don’t exceed the low 80s. This weather makes for an enjoyable excursion to Petra during the day, or even at night, when you can see the Treasury lit up by thousands of candles.
12. Rishikesh, India
Known as the Yoga Capital of the World, Rishikesh is nestled in the Himalayan foothills along the Ganges River. People looking for enlightenment travel from around India and the world to Rishikesh. Ashrams are open year-round for immersive yoga experiences, but in March, Rishikesh holds an annual week-long International Yoga Festival. It includes yoga classes, cooking classes, and talks by spiritual and wellness leaders.
Already a vibrant country, India becomes even more colorful during the month of March. The famous festival of colors, Holi, symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The celebrations involve dancing, singing, and most notably, different colored powders that participants throw at each other. The celebrations occur across the country, but Rishikesh provides a more intimate place to celebrate than some of the big cities in India.