Spring breaks on the ground offer opportunities to fully explore seasonal renewal beyond the famed cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. (its annual festival March 20 to April 11 will be adjusted for safety, including no parade). About 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, a seasonal explosion of orange poppies and lavender lupine paint the nearly 250,000-acre grassland preserve Carizzo Plain National Monument (there is camping in the park, or accommodations from $139 at the 21-room Cuyama Buckhorn resort in New Cuyama).
Spring is also a season of bird migrations. In central Nebraska every March and early April, more than 600,000 sandhill cranes regularly convene in the Platte River Valley. There are virtual tours as well as in-person visits to viewing blinds with restrictions this year that include reduced capacity ($50 a person, reservations required).
Look for migrations of shorebirds in the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in southern New Mexico. Some 500 species have been recorded in the nine sites that comprise the World Birding Center in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Waterbirds, raptors and warblers are among the great diversity of birds migrating through the Point Reyes National Seashore, about 40 miles north of San Francisco.
For those with just a day off, a public mural tour combines culture and outdoor recreation. Wynwood Walls in Miami, featuring over 80,000 square feet of artwork by Shepard Fairey and other well-known artists in the genre, went to timed admission ($5 to $10) during the pandemic as a way to control capacity.
Denver’s walkable RiNo district is festooned with murals. In New York City, take a socially distanced, three-hour private guided tour of the street art and its role in gentrification in Dumbo and Bushwick with Levy’s Unique New York ($300).
Whether it’s a trip of a day or a week, caution is the theme of spring break 2021.
“For travelers, the experience will be totally different,” said Rodrigo Esponda, the managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, which wants to be known for its safety protocols this year, rather than its parties.