I LOVE Memorial Day weekend! To me this three-day weekend signifies the unofficial kickoff to…
4 Incredible destinations to consider in April
It’s April. Let’s go somewhere!
There is so much talk about eating seasonally. Why not take that same approach to travel? Just like tomatoes taste better in August, destinations simply shine at certain times of the year. And it’s not always the places you think! I love to take advantage of great weather and events, all while trying to avoid crazy crowds (and the price hikes that go with them!). With that in mind, here are a few destinations you should consider right now.
Welcome to the heart of Cajun Country. It’s a place where you’re never far from a good dance, fantastic live music, great food, and one of America’s best-preserved and most unique cultures. Cajun Country clearly moves to its own beat. Here, hospitality isn’t a travel buzzword, but a way of life.
Why go now? The weather! It’s perfect in the spring– warm, but not oppressively humid. It’s also prime crawfish season. Need I say more?
What to eat: Those crawfish aren’t going to eat themselves! Visit Dwight’s Restaurant for an excellent crawfish boil.
Where to mingle with the locals: Every April, Lafayette hosts the Festival International de Louisiane, the largest non-ticketed outdoor Francophone festival in the country. Bands from over 20 countries play this iconic festival, now in its 33rd year.
Where to stay: Book at Mrs. Rose’s Bed and Breakfast, where you not only eat crawfish but fish for them yourself.
No one really wants a crummy T-shirt: I love bringing home a little something from a trip, and finding a one-of-a-kind piece is way more memorable than a shot glass or T-shirt. Check Sans Souci Fine Crafts Gallery for something locally made.
Fresh air alert! Lafayette’s Lake Martin is home to a swampy ecosystem that supports water birds, native plants, and gators. Explore via kayak, canoe, or on foot.
Intrigued? Read about my favorite places in Lafayette here.
I love the coast of Maine. The ice cream is creamier, the beaches more Idyllic, and the locals have a salty-but-heartfelt demeanor. It also has a food scene that goes beyond boiled lobster and popcorn shrimp. However, once school lets out it becomes busy! Even though there’s always room for your blanket on the beach, the time between April to June is a perfect, crowd-free time to go.
Why go now? Long walks on the beach (while cozied up in a sweater). Warm locals. Fewer crowds.
What to eat: Lobster is the obvious answer, but you’d be a fool to skip Flo’s Hotdogs.
Where to stay: Book at the Cottages at Cabot Cove and act out your own Beach House in Maine fantasies. Located nearby (& charming) Kennebunkport.
Fresh air alert! April means the start of whale watching season. Learn more here.
Here are a few more of my springtime favorites in Maine.
Baltimore is more than a city. It’s a tapestry of tight neighborhoods, giving travelers an exceptional diversity of experiences. This city boasts resilience and a DIY spirit that’s infectious. Yes, Baltimore has overcome incredible challenges, but what should be more well-known and revered is its place in American history and its unique brand of easy-going urban hospitality.
Why go now? Baltimore is a lovely, walkable city that is a bit under the radar. There’s tons of history here, and if you go in April, you’ll wedge your trip between spring break and summer, thus missing prime travel season.
What to eat: Hello, creole food! Visit Ethel’s Creole Kitchen for the flavors of the bayou and all the goodness it offers, like Gumbo and Jambalaya. Chefs Ed Bloom and Nick Creamer use the best that Maryland has to serve with a spin on New Orleans classics (think fried Chesapeake oysters served with remoulade) to honor both cuisines in one special place.
Where to mingle with the locals: At the very beginning of April, the local community gathers at Southeast Baltimore’s Patterson Park for The Big Baltimore Kite Festival. During this festival, the sky is filled with vibrant colors and celebrates the broad spectrum of cultures that make up Baltimore! Bring a picnic blanket and a kite to join in on the fun!
Check out local restaurants for picnic specials you can bring to the park!
If you are in the area later in the summer, check out The Columbia Festival of the Arts which takes place in June! Just a few miles southwest of Baltimore, you’ll find this annual celebration of the arts and entertainment.
Where to stay: The Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is certainly a splurge but puts you in the center of it all– walking distance to Fells Point, South Broadway, and right on the river. You can walk everywhere! Think of what you’ll save on Ubers.
Souvenirs with a story: The creative spirit is alive and thriving in Charm City. Why not bring a piece of that home? Check out Made in Baltimore, a network showcasing local artists and entrepreneurs.
Fresh air alert! The Baltimore Orioles have one of the most underrated ballparks in the nation, and there are roughly a bazillion games every season. Even if you don’t love baseball, it’s a great opportunity to sit outside and drink a beer. See the schedule here.
Are you mentally packing your bags? Me too! Learn more about why I love Baltimore here.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Charleston is a city known for its carriage rides, cobblestone streets, and southern charm. It possesses a beauty that makes it a rare jewel, not just in the United States, but the world. This city’s uniqueness comes from its physical beauty, as well as its people – like the Gullah, a people with their own arts, language, and song. Add in great food, music, and cocktails best sipped outdoors and it’s easy to fall in love with this town.
Why go now? Sundress in the day, jean jacket at night. More flowers. Fewer crowds. Brunch al fresco.
What to eat: No shortage of great options– Charleston is truly a gastronomic Mecca. But since you’re here, you have to visit Rodney Scott’s BBQ, the only pitmaster to ever win a James Beard Award.
Where to stay: Live out your Downton Abbey dreams here. Looking for a furnished house or apartment? These guys have you covered.
Attention fellow snoopers! Whenever I see big, beautiful houses, I always wish I could go inside. Say hello to the Festival of Houses and Gardens. From mid-March through mid-April, we regular folks can step inside Charleston’s most opulent homes and gardens.
For more of my favorite Charleston spots, go here!
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Fantastic articles, Sam – Charleston, SC; Baltimore, MD and Lafayatte, LA. Great pictures. We’re snowbirds from Manhattan and we always stop in Charleston enroute to New Smyrna Beach, FL every winter for an overnight stay. Heading home to NYC on I-95 North – in April, the Inner Harbor in Baltimore is a pit stop for lunch. We’ll have to put Lafayette on our travel list next time we hit the road south. Thanks, for all the info.
I totally agree Samantha!
One of my fav’s is Charleston! What a great walking town with all the history, shops, and restaurants. Not to mention one of the places I have visited with the friendliest most polite people! Love the partial open air market where you can find trinkets you just can’t find anywhere else! A must buy- hand made Gullah Sweet Grass Baskets! I hope your readers do visit the Boone Hall Plantation. A destination that will open their minds and hearts to the Gullah people! Not to mention the beauty of the Plantation with an endless tree lined road, tree’s romantically draped with delicate lace-like Spanish Moss.
Charleston and Boone Hall Plantation are not just travel destinations but enrichment for the soul!
And next door is Magnolia Gardens and Plantations, another enchanting place that’s not to be missed! Gorgeous gardens, a petting zoo and the historic Rice Plantation home and environs all on the beautiful Ashley River. The cypress swamp and river provide resources for a rich bird and animal life including many gators! Highly recommend this!
Wait,isn’t Cabot Cove where Jessica Fletcher solved all those murder mysteries?
Exterior shots of Cabot Cove were filmed in Mendocino, California. The fictional “Cabot Cove” name for the series’ coastal town was derived from the name of an actual bay harbor inlet in Kennebunkport, Maine, located near the town’s center, on the road where motels and lobster shack dives are located.
I love Charleston! I am sorry that I’ll be missing that home tour. I won’t be arriving in town for a visit until May. Darn!