Escape from Boston in March?
February 6, 2018 8:02 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a place to travel to from Boston for a week or so in March. Warm, easy and fun. Details inside.

Would like to get away. There will be three of us, including a picky, sometimes sullen teenager. Leaving from Boston in mid-March.

Easy, cheap-ish flights from Boston or Providence.
Warm, or at least not too cold
Beaches and/or light hiking. Pretty stuff to look at.
Good food
Reasonably safe.
Not recently hit by a natural disaster.
Readily available lodging with WiFi.

We have passports if we need them.

We were originally looking into Costa Rica but it seems like March would be way too hot and humid and we also don't really have enough time to get our shit together for it.
posted by bondcliff to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Aruba? Depends on your definition of cheap-ish flights, but I think it checks off all your other boxes. It's hot, but dry with a constant breeze.
posted by neilbert at 8:16 AM on February 6, 2018

My usual go to is Puerto Rico/Vieques (easy Jet Blue flights) but probably not this time. Would suggest the British Virgin Islands if you are at all into snorkeling/scuba. Take a day trip to the Virgin Islands National Park but stay in the British side of the VI to get a more "vacation" type of experience, probably Tortola. They are still recovering somewhat, so if that's a key part of your desires, avoid them but I feel like it might be 1) worth it 2) maybe a little empty?

Otherwise I am super partial in a weird way to the Florida panhandle? The Destin area has fairly cheap places to stay and a lot of beachy stuff that includes nature walks and not just "sit around and read trashy novels" Gulf Islands National Seashore and Grayton Beach state park. Florida is not my jam most of the time but for some reason I'm sort of in love with this weird part of it.
posted by jessamyn at 8:40 AM on February 6, 2018

I second Aruba. We bought a trip through a bunch of years ago and it was a great deal. Definitely checks all of your boxes. It's dry and super windy and hot. We flew direct from Boston and were able to use US money.

You'll quickly realize it's an easy trip b/c you'll see lots of New Englanders with Red Sox caps on the beach and there's even a Dunkin Donuts.
posted by jdl at 9:21 AM on February 6, 2018

Memphis, Tennessee. March is beautiful then, and the Mississippi is close by, I bet there are some paddlewheel boat excursions. I bet there are walks, hikes, rivers and places nearby. I bet hotels are full range of choices, and rental cars galore.
posted by Oyéah at 9:23 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

jessamyn's weird part of Florida is where my people come from. Other interesting things there include the Gulfarium, the Zoo in Gulf Breeze, lots of antique malls, and, inland, the Old Brick Road in Milton (also home to river stuff). I have been wanting to stay here but haven't yet.
posted by JanetLand at 9:27 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Check Norwegian Airlines flights from Providence, RI to French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe & Martinique. Flights can be very cheap outside of school vacation weeks.
posted by zeikka at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

As someone who recently stopped in Aruba on their way to Bonaire, only go to Aruba if you want FIVE Dunkins (on a not very big island!), many Wendy's/KFCs/Starbucks/TGIFridays/Hooters. Also, every Pats fan you couldn't find at home, drunkenly singing Sweet Caroline (definitely saw that).

The National Park was beautiful, there are probably other trails, and we enjoyed climbing Hooiberg (but there were stairs the whole way up, it's definitely not the Whites). The rest of the island is very developed with things like cruise ship shopping of the Gucci/Cartier variety, though, so you could make it work? But you'd have to go actively planning hikes and snorkeling away from the madding crowds.

We liked Bonaire a lot more, and it's similarly dry with an even more amazing National Park, but there aren't the easy direct flights like PR/DR/USVI. A colleague went to PR last week and said it was nice, with people eager for tourism dollars. If we hadn't had snorkeling and friend reasons for choosing Bonaire, I was pretty tempted by Florida (though I'd always avoided it before).
posted by ldthomps at 9:56 AM on February 6, 2018

Best answer: Miami.
posted by Toddles at 1:55 PM on February 6, 2018

We flew to Belize from Boston pretty cheaply recently. It was great fun...Mayan ruins + awesome diving/snorkeling + the absolute best rice/beans/hot sauce I've ever had. If you're into mostly beach lounging, there are probably better places (Belize's beaches mostly have sea grass, so you can't just walk into clear have to go by boat), but if you're looking for activity, Belize is pretty great (and cheap). They didn't get hit by the hurricanes last year, either.

If you decide to go for it, memail me for recommendations!
posted by nosila at 1:59 PM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m about to head to Tulum via Cancun. It’s supposed to be beautiful and the flight from Boston was super cheap.
posted by woodvine at 5:40 AM on February 7, 2018

Best answer: Bimini, Bahamas. It's 50 miles from South Florida and meets all your criteria. They did get hit by Irma but are pretty much back up and running. Bimini is part of the Out Islands - there's enough to keep you busy but none of the cruise ship/drunken tourist vibe you'll get in some of the more mainstream Bahamian islands.

There are cheap flights from Ft. Lauderdale (commercial and charter) and a ferry from Miami.

Average low/high in March is 64°F/79°F.

Beaches include:

- Radio Beach
- Spook Hill Beach
- Honeymoon Harbour/Gun Cay which has a "traditional" beach, as well as an incredible sandbar beach at low tide (Cay accessible only by boat, resorts + locals offer cheap water taxis)

Some of the beaches are comprised of white oolitic sand - weathered spherical grains that feel super soft and silky underfoot!

Some hiking, particularly if you charter a local to take you around to the many uninhabited small islands and cays. Lots of shallow water snorkeling (no SCUBA needed):

- Bimini Road, purported to be remnants of Atlantis or an underwater geological formation, depending on who you're talking to
- The Dolphin House, made entirely of recycled and found materials
- The Sapona shipwreck
- Swim (humanely) with wild dolphins
- Kayak up a mangrove river
- Deep sea fishing (Ernest Hemingway used to live here, sadly his bar burned down a few years ago)
- Tour the Sharklab field station
- Visit the Fountain of Youth

Food is mostly fish + conch based. Some restaurants and food stands, all pretty good. Very safe.

Several resorts and many AirBnB rentals.

It's off the beaten path (unless you're from Ft. Lauderdale) and well worth a trip.
posted by muirne81 at 10:04 AM on February 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Follow up questions, for anyone still here. Otherwise I'll make a new question.

So think we're going to end up in Florida, possibly flying into JAX and driving down to the Keys, stopping to see things on the way. NASA, beaches, etc.

Any recommendations for anything along the East coast of Florida?

Will cities be insane during spring break? I think we're going to be there the week of March 19th.

I love the idea of popping over to Bimini for a day or two, if we can swing that.
posted by bondcliff at 8:33 AM on February 8, 2018

I stayed at Club Continental when I was doing work in Jacksonville. Weird, lovely, unlikely to be mobbed by spring breakers. Daytona Beach is really one of the Spring Break Ground Zero locations so you might want to take a different driving trip south than down the east coast.
posted by jessamyn at 12:45 PM on February 8, 2018

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