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Spring is in the air, and that means one thing to many of us: travel. As in, cool springtime getaways.
Sure, you can always do the beach, or hit the Big Apple. But if you’re looking for something a little less well-worn, Travel + Leisure’s travel director, Jacqui Gifford, is here to point you in some unexpected directions. So get ready to hit the road.
St. Augustine, Florida
This coastal locale claims to be the oldest city in the country.
St. Augustine's Spanish roots are evident immediately upon arrival. It's also known for its pristine beaches. And of course, there's the Anastasia State Park, which features 1,600 acres of ecosystems and wildlife, plus gorgeous Crescent Beach.
Stay at the Hilton St. Augustine, a hotel with charming design that reflects the surrounding Spanish architecture.
Visit the Castillo de San Marcos, which is hailed as the oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. and occupies 20.5 acres.
Swing by the St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum, which is jammed with authentic artifacts like Captain Kidd's actual journal and a stunning outdoor deck overlooking the Matanzas River.
Whether you visit Sedona for the art, hiking or its famous red rocks, this Arizona town has an undeniable magical quality.
The Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is the perfect destination for a mix of activities; there's an on-site golf course and heated outdoor pool, and the concierge can organize horseback riding and many other activities
Arizona is a hiker's paradise. Some things you definitely won't want to miss here are the red rock buttes, Oak Creek Canyon, shopping at the Tlaquepaque arts and crafts village, and browsing the galleries and shops along Highway 89A.
Long before the small West Texas town became famous for its fake Prada store (which is actually located some 37 miles northwest of Marfa near a town called Valentine), it was known for its offbeat charm. And even with a total population hovering around 2,000, Marfa is part small-town, part world-class art destination thanks to the ubiquitous footprint of the late Donald Judd, the minimalist artist who settled here in the 1970s.
Stay at the Hotel Saint George, with its sleek modern lines and easily accessible location, which will make you feel right at home in Marfa. Or, check into the El Cosmico for a vintage trailer experience.
While here, don't miss the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum founded by Judd. And film buffs, take note: This is where "Giant," "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" were filmed.
The nation's capital has become a hot destination for more than just its politics and history. The dining scene is well worth a visit, and the famed cherry blossoms start to bloom in March. The famous festival kicks off March 20.
Bed down at the Kimpton Carlyle for easy access to vibrant flag-lined Embassy Row, visit a weekend farmers market in Dupont Circle or swing by the Phillips Collection, to see works by Honoré Daumier, Paul Klee, John Marin and Alfred Stieglitz, among many others.
And don't miss the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which showcases a Bible belonging to Nat Turner and a dress sewn by Rosa Parks, among many, many other treasures.
Already a haven for foodies, Portland blooms with cherry trees, azaleas, rhododendrons and more in the springtime. Warmer temperatures mean you can enjoy the various food trucks and breweries in comfort.
Stay at the Hi-Lo Hotel, Autograph Collection, which is located in prime downtown Portland, a close walk from parks and the waterfront
Be sure to check out the Pearl District, in what was once Portland's abandoned railway and warehouse area but today is a bustling, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood lined with retailers, homegrown restaurants, boutiques, bookstores, international retailers and more. And the Portland Museum of Art is worth a stop for its Winslow Homer etching alone. And oenophiles can drive out to Willamette Valley, for some serious wine tastings.