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The 8 best destinations to visit in March

Feb. 15, 2022
9 min read
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Puxatony Phil predicted six more weeks of winter, so by March you'll probably be itching to get out of town. The month will be arriving just as the omicron wave of COVID-19 wanes and more countries relax their travel restrictions.

While March can be a notoriously tricky time of year in terms of weather — and lacks many commonly observed holidays — it's also a great time to travel. You're not dealing with the April school-break crowds and temperatures are more comfortable in many destinations. Plus, there are St. Patrick's Day — and often Mardi Gras — celebrations to enjoy.

Of course, COVID-19 is still a concern, but case rates have dropped significantly since the peak in January, and children under the age of 5 could soon be getting their first vaccine doses, adding another layer of protection for worried families. Hopefully, this will also mean fewer canceled flights caused by staffing shortages.

When making any vacation plans, always review the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advice from medical experts and the specific travel guidelines for any international countries you plan to visit. That way, you're safe and prepared.

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With that said, get excited to travel to one of these top March destinations.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Atlantide Phototravel/Getty Images)

There's no question New Orleans is a top destination in March. Why? Well, Mardi Gras this year falls on March 1 — which means the city will be bustling with beads, masks, king cakes, parades and parties. While prices for hotels are likely to be higher during this time, it's a bucket list celebration that's not to be missed. Plus, you can extend the trip to check out other famous sites like Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, Café Du Monde (home to mouthwatering beignets) and Jackson Square.

TPG tip: When it comes to Mardis Gras, it's all about location. The Roosevelt New Orleans, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel (from 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night) is right on the edge of the French Quarter. If you want something close, but a bit away from the action, book a room at Hotel Indigo New Orleans Garden District (around 58,000 IHG Rewards points per night).

Related: New Orleans is more than just Bourbon Street — here’s what to see and do as a family

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Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by David Soanes Photography/Getty Images)

There's no better place to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than in the saint's home country of Ireland. The annual parade will return to Dublin for the first time in three years, and the government hopes it will bring a nice tourism boost. But it's more than just the parade on Paddy's Day: There's a five-day festival this year taking place at Festival Quarter at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin that will include music, food, crafts and beer galore.

TPG tip: Stay at the Conrad Hilton in Dublin from 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night or the Moxy Dublin City from 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: These Michelin-starred restaurants in Ireland are worth hopping on a plane for

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bob Krist/Getty Images)

If you can't make it to Ireland for St. Patrick's Day, Chicago's St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 12 is a great option. The unforgettable celebration includes the Chicago River being dyed green and the city's Irish pubs offering specials on everything from pints of Guinness and shamrock shakes to potato dishes.

March also happens to be the second-most affordable destination in terms of hotel prices, which should average about $191 per night, according to new Expedia data. Of course, you can explore other classic attractions too, as temperatures start to warm up into the mid-40s — try The Art Insitute of Chicago, Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier and The Bean in Millennium Park.

TPG tip: The InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile (from 27,000 IHG Rewards points per night) is just steps away from all the action. Or you can book the Hyatt Regency Chicago, perched right on the Chicago Riverwalk, from just 9,000 World of Hyatt points a night.

Related: 11 must-do activities when visiting Chicago

Iceland

Iceland. (Photo by © Marco Bottigelli/Getty Images)

Catch the end of northern lights season, one of the world's wonders, in Iceland this spring. Seasonally visible through March, this naturally occurring phenomenon results in beautiful colored light displays dancing across the night sky.

While it's possible to see them from anywhere in the country, it's best to find a more remote spot away from artificial light to increase your chances. That's why Hotel Ranga in Hella is one of the best places to stay to see the aurora, as its secluded location provides darker skies and minimal artificial light interference. Another great option is ION Adventure Hotel in Nesjavellir, which you can book for around 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

TPG tip: While in the southwestern part of the country you can also visit the charming capital of Reyjkavík for dining and shopping and check out area attractions like the Blue Lagoon and Caves of Hella.

Related: 9 reasons you should visit Iceland this summer

Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Phillipe TURPIN/Getty Images)

Calling all baseball and beach lovers: Fort Myers has a lot to offer on both fronts. If contract talks can be resolved, the long-awaited baseball spring training season will begin again in late February, with games for the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins taking place through March 29, 2022, at JetBlue Park and Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Meanwhile, animal lovers can enjoy the region's gentle giants in a non-captive environment as manatees flock to the warm Gulf Coast waters during winter, with peak season running from February to March. At Manatee Park, you can greet an entire aggregation (or group of manatees) from atop a boardwalk or kayak, canoe or paddleboard through mangrove estuaries alongside the gentle giants.

Of course, that's in addition to enjoying some classic sun and sand, which the area has in abundance as well.

TPG tip: According to a recent Google Flight search, you can find fares from New York City to Fort Myers for as low as $75 round trip. From Chicago, you can find flights for as little as $62, and from Seattle, it's possible to fly there for around $170 round trip.

Related: Florida’s top 10 vacation regions for different types of travelers

Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Zihuatanejo, Mexico. (Photo by Heather Paul/Getty Images)

Every March, musicians worldwide fill the streets and beaches of Zihuatanejo on Mexico's Pacific coast with their distinctive sounds and styles at the annual Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival.

The community-run music event will feature a series of concerts from March 5 to 12 at various locations in this longtime creative hideaway and sleepy fishing village, located northwest of Acapulco, Mexico. In addition to the music, Zihuatanejo is designated as an official whale watching zone. Visitors can look for the migration of humpback and gray whales returning north with their newborns in tow in March.

TPG tip: Visitors looking to hear a combination of guitar chords and lapping waves can relax at the boutique beachfront Thompson Zihuatanejo (from 25,000 World of Hyatt points per night). The hotel supports the local art scene by inviting musicians to regularly perform during dinner and hosts a Market Night offering a piece of beach where local artisans can share their wares with guests.

Related: The zero-cost vacation: 100+ all-inclusive resorts you can book with points

Aruba

Aruba. (Photo by Christopher Drost/Getty Images)

Aside from the great weather — daily high temperatures are around 87 degrees Fahrenheit — March 18 is National Flag and Anthem Day for the island of Aruba, and there are often festivals and events to celebrate.

March is one of the driest months of the year in Aruba — and, even better, the island's government just announced it is easing entry requirements for all visitors.

That makes it the perfect time to lounge on the beach, go scuba diving or learn more about the island's varied history.

TPG tip: There are many points hotels available. As examples, you can book the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort and Casino for 80,000 Hilton Honors Points per night or the Courtyard Aruba Resort for 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: Aruba drops pre-arrival testing requirement for vaccinated visitors

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas. (Photo by Kuki Bastos/500px/Getty Images)

March is an ideal time to visit Austin, thanks to South by Southwest (SXSW), the highly anticipated festival of music, technology and film, which this year is running from March 11 to March 20.

Austin also is exploding with delicious new restaurants, including the most recently opened Summer House on Music Lane at Hotel Magdalena, a local favorite featuring live-fire cooking. Or try Birdies, a popular new restaurant and wine bar recently featured in The New York Times.

TPG tip: Stay at Hotel Magdalena in the popular South Congress neighborhood, or use your points to book a room at the Hyatt House Austin/Downtown, an excellent property in the heart of downtown from just 15,000 World of Hyatt points.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

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80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

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Recommended Credit

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more