Week in March: trip near great camping and great city?
February 21, 2006 8:26 PM   Subscribe

Where are some great places in the US to spend a week in late March near both spectacular natural beauty and a great city?

It might be fun to camp / cabin somewhere gorgeous for a couple of days and then spend a couple of days in a reasonably nearby big city with great nightlife and restaurants.

Any ideas on what might be a fun and unforgettable way to spend a week or so with these rough parameters? Thanks!
posted by shivohum to Travel & Transportation (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
i just spent a week in tucson. it was awesome!
posted by brandz at 8:31 PM on February 21, 2006

Not the warmest at the end of March, but how about a Seattle/San Juan Island combo? The Clipper goes in-between the two.
posted by meerkatty at 8:37 PM on February 21, 2006

Vegas + Grand Canyon or Death Valley. Not right next to each other, but Vegas is within a couple-few hours of either.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:40 PM on February 21, 2006

What kind of climate are you looking for? Up north is still going to be cold in March.
posted by smackfu at 9:10 PM on February 21, 2006

San Francisco, and Yosemite. Oh God, yes.
posted by unSane at 9:17 PM on February 21, 2006

Joshua Tree National Park and Los Angeles.
posted by firstdrop at 9:17 PM on February 21, 2006

I second the Vegas-Death Valley combo. I've done it, it's fun, and you've picked the best time of year for the latter (yes, I've been this time of year).
posted by anjamu at 9:25 PM on February 21, 2006

Vegas/Zion, Vegas/Bryce, etc.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:26 PM on February 21, 2006

If the precip is somewhat normal this year, any desert area should be beautiful that time of year.

San Francisco is surrounded by naturally beautiful areas. Point Reyes is very close to the city, and is spectacular. You will probably catch early wildflowers in coastal California at the end of March, too.

Happy Trails.
posted by shifafa at 9:48 PM on February 21, 2006

Vegas/Zion, Vegas/Bryce, etc.

Best. Advice. Evar.
posted by frogan at 10:19 PM on February 21, 2006

Vegas is one of the most depressing places on earth. SF one of the most llife-affirming. Choose wisely...
posted by unSane at 10:42 PM on February 21, 2006

Cherry blossom season in DC?
posted by bleary at 1:32 AM on February 22, 2006

What unsane said. I haven't been to Yosemite Valley in March, but I'm guessing there will still be quite a bit of snow on the ground. You can stay in the tent cabins or spring for the Awanhee Inn.
posted by Manjusri at 2:07 AM on February 22, 2006

Can I just second unSane's:

San Francisco, and Yosemite. Oh God, yes.

I was at Yosemite in late March last year, and it is probably the perfect time to go:

- the waterfalls are in all their full spring-melt glory
- the nights drop a little below freezing, but the days can get above 20C/70F (I would venture out hiking in the morning all rugged up, and eventually strip down to jeans and a T-shirt)
- the snow in the valley has melted (at least it had last year *hat-tip to Manjusri*), but there's still plenty on the cliff-tops (In fact, most of the trails up the cliffs out of the valley are still closed: I rented snow shoes for the one that was open)
- there aren't too many crowds.

Disclaimer: I was blessed by perfect weather and clear skies, so maybe Yosemite can be miserable in March too.

The day I left Yosemite, I was in SF (by bus/train) in about 6-7 hours, as I recall. YMMV. Get a car.

Stop reading. Go. Book. Now. :-)
posted by bright cold day at 4:57 AM on February 22, 2006

Cherry blossom season in DC?

Not just that but the Shenandoah will be starting to pop with spring flowers.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:25 AM on February 22, 2006

You don't say where you're coming from, but if the East coast is a possibility, try Asheville and/or Charleston, SC.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:52 AM on February 22, 2006

Response by poster: Great answers, people. Thanks!
posted by shivohum at 2:32 PM on February 22, 2006

If you do go to Yosemite, consider a rental cabin/cottage within the park, rather than staying at one of the lodges or campgrounds that are part of the park system. My wife and I stayed twice in a one-bedroom cottage not far from the south entrance, and had a wonderful time.
posted by WestCoaster at 3:04 PM on February 22, 2006

I'll third/fourth the San Francisco/Yosemite trip. I'm guessing the tourist population will be fairly low in San Francisco.

Yosemite is stunning, and even more so with snow on the ground. Waterfalls should be good, but not spectacular. Tioga Road will still be closed, so you won't be able to get to Tuolumne Meadows or over to Mono Lake. But you'll have plenty to do in the valley, Badger Pass ski area, Hetch Hetchy and Mariposa Grove. We love staying in the Curry Village tent cabins. They're fun. (Though I gotta check out WestCoaster's cabins some time).

Then again, San Fransico is surrounded by natural beauty. Point Reyes is great, or for a longer trips go up the coast to Mendocino or down to Big Sur.
posted by DakotaPaul at 3:33 PM on February 22, 2006

I'd say camping in Central Florida, this place is amazing, especially if you dive, then a drive down to Sarasota to round off the week at the beach. St. Pete beach is great too, great places to stay with good walk-in rates, great places to eat downtown, and Tampa's got a decent night life and some fantastic restaurants too.
posted by mad_little_monkey at 7:45 PM on February 22, 2006

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