Time for a spring jaunt? Embrace a new season and satisfy spring wanderlust with a city escape that takes full advantage of the great outdoors.
After what feels like a particularly long winter, spring is finally here and there’s no better time to get outside and do some exploring on a spring jaunt. Shorter city breaks offer an easy way to satisfy your wanderlust when you’re short on time or just want a quick break from regular routine. These five cities are ideal spring jaunt destinations, brimming with things to see and do outdoors and on the water, as well as great food and unique attractions.
On the water: Anyone interested in spending some tranquil time on the water should head to Washington Square Park. Take in the surrounding mountain views as you glide on the lake with a pedal boat, kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Rentals are available from Wheel Fun Rentals, located right in the park.
Get moving: Stretch your legs in City Park, the largest in Denver. Hit the jogging/hiking trail or stroll among the flower gardens.The park is also home to Denver Zoo and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Depending on how long you’re in Denver, spectacular Rocky Mountain National Park is just a 90-minute drive from the city featuring well over 500 kilometres of hiking trails.
Foodie finds: On Sundays from May-November (rain or shine), South Pearl Street transforms into a farmers’ market with dozens of booths selling seasonal produce and locally-produced goods. You’re also likely to find some food trucks on site.
Garden party: Visit the Denver Botanic Gardens to experience an oasis in the city spread across 24 acres. The extensive collection here covers everything from native Colorado species to internationally-inspired gardens.
On the water: One of the best ways to see Nashville’s stunning skyline and get a real feel for the city is from the water. River Queen Voyages offer several tours that allow for a leisurely but scenic paddle. They range from 90 minutes to over three hours.
Get moving: Edwin and Percy Warner Parks, collectively known as “The Warner Parks,” together span more than 3,100 acres of scenic roadways and overlooks, hiking trails, mountain bike trails, cross country running courses, golf courses and athletic fields.
Foodie finds: If you happen to be in town on a Saturday between the end of March and June 18, don’t miss the Music City Food Truck Park & Flea Market. Up to 10 food trucks are on site to sample from and beer and cocktails are available for purchase. There’s also live music and a weekly flea market to shop.
Garden party: Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum that includes 12 distinct gardens and a 2.4-kilometre woodland trail featuring modern and contemporary outdoor sculpture. In the spring there are a whopping 250,000 blooming bulbs.
On the water: A fun way to explore the city, one ticket on the Baltimore Water Taxi gets you unlimited on-off service to more than 30 attractions and neighbourhoods. If you prefer something a little more athletic, guided kayak tours by Waterfront Partnership depart from the Maryland Science Center in the Inner Harbor on Sundays at 9 a.m.and 1 p.m. from April to October (advanced reservation required).
Get moving: Whether jogging, walking or strolling as you take in the sights, Inner Harbor Promenade winds around Baltimore’s scenic Inner Harbor from Locust Point to historic Fell’s Point. The 11-kilometre paved promenade makes it easy to enjoy the waterfront and the many charming neighbourhoods that surround it at your own pace.
Foodie finds: Stop by Lexington Market (the oldest continually running market in America) to browse over 100 food vendors selling everything from fresh produce to baked goods. A stop at Faidley’s while you’re there is essential, famous for their jumbo lump crab cakes. They also do crab soup, oysters and fried fish.
Garden party: Spring is the ideal time to visit Sherwood Gardens when 80,000 tulips are in bloom. Even if you miss the tulips, there are still six acres of manicured gardens to explore as well as ample space for a picnic.
On the water: If you feel like taking a break from the city, not far from downtown Montréal you’ll find the five islands of the Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville. The scenic channels here are brimming with wildlife and perfect for paddling.
Get moving: Lace up your walking shoes and head to pretty Mount Royal. Climb the 256-step staircase to the top of the park for epic views of the city. Pack a simple picnic and find a patch of grass to call your own after the climb.
Foodie finds: Stock up on local goodies like artisan cheese, fresh bread, sweet treats and seasonal produce from one of the city’s public markets. Explore Jean-Talon Market, Atwater Market, or the much smaller but equally impressive Maisonneuve Market.
Garden party: Don’t miss a chance to visit one of the world’s biggest botanical gardens. The Montréal Botanical Garden is home to 10 exhibition greenhouses. It also contains a diverse range of thematic gardens, from Japanese to alpine to Chinese.
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On the water: Victoria Harbour Ferry offers comprehensive tours of various lengths. Water taxis can easily be used to travel to more than 15 locations around the harbour too. In addition, whales can be spotted in the area from May to October. Many tour companies offer whale watching excursions.
Get moving: Beacon Hill Park in downtown Victoria offers 200 acres to explore. Discover flower beds, natural areas, meandering footpaths, tennis courts, ponds and playgrounds.
Foodie finds: Foodies will want to head straight for Victoria Public Market. It’s located in the historic Hudson building in downtown Victoria. Here you’ll find locally-produced cheese, farm-fresh produce, a French bakery and much more. If you’re a beer fan, check out “Brewery Bay,” a walkable ring of brewpubs and breweries surrounding the Upper Harbour.
Garden party: Spring is the ideal time to soak up the scenic surroundings at world-renowned Butchart Gardens, started in 1904. During the spring months, you’ll see vibrant tulip displays, as well as a whole host of other gardens in bloom. Starting June 1, the gardens are illuminated with coloured lights in the evenings.
Where will you go on your spring jaunt?
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