How to Spend Spring in the Southeast

Celebrate spring at a spectacular destination in the Southeastern United States. From flower gardens bursting with spring color and tranquil mountain retreats to several of America's top golf courses, beach resorts, and vibrant cities, these spring trip ideas offer several options for fun, including wonderful Easter celebrations, Memorial Day weekend getaways, annual spring festivals, and more.

01 of 09

Charleston, South Carolina

Springtime azalea (Rhododendron) blooming in Middleton Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
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The BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival kicks off in March with an array of deliciously fun events. Mid-March brings the peak blooming season and the annual Festival of Houses and Gardens, plus the prestigious Charleston International Antiques Show. In late March, visitors may enjoy Charleston Fashion Week.

The annual Festival of Houses and Gardens continues into April, while food lovers may enjoy the yearly one-day Lowcountry Cajun Festival. Also, in early April, the popular annual Cooper River Bridge Run attracts a diverse crowd from across South Carolina and beyond.

Mexico comes to downtown Charleston in May during the Cinco de Mayo Festival. Beginning in late May and leading into June, Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston's most popular festival and established as one of the world's major arts festivals, fills historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with more than 120 performances by renowned artists as well as emerging performers in an array of disciplines.

02 of 09

Callaway Gardens, Georgia

Yellow fruited holly berries with a defocused blurry background with red fruited hollies provide copy space. This image was shot at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain Georgia USA
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Callaway Gardens, a secluded all-season resort, is spectacular during the spring featuring a stunning collection of azaleas, mountain laurel, dogwoods, daffodils, and daisies. A wonderful choice for both family and romantic getaways, an array of activities includes options for exploring nature, enjoying wholesome outdoor activities, and much more.

The annual Spring Celebration at Callaway Gardens offers a number of special events including hands-on activities, educational experiences and stimulating guided hikes. While the vibrant display of springtime azaleas is an annual Callaway Gardens highlight, visitors can enjoy many other blossoms and activities as well. A sampling of special spring events includes The Annual Callaway Gardens Plant Fair and Sale, Callaway Gardening School, Vegetable Gardening School, Spring Farmers Market, Plein Air Paint Out, Art Show and Sale, Symphony on the Sand featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Spring Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, and Special Celebrate Spring! Overnight Packages.

Easter at Callaway Gardens is always special, offering a weekend of family activities in a spectacular setting. Easter celebrations include:

  • The ever-popular Easter "Eggstravaganza" Egg Hunt for candy and prize eggs takes place on Saturday. Hunts are divided into age groups. The Easter Bunny visits during specified hours for Easter photo ops.
  • A non-denominational Easter Sunrise Service starts the day on Easter Sunday, and the popular annual Easter Brunch Buffet is served (reservations suggested).
03 of 09

Louisville, Kentucky

USA, Kentucky, Churchill Downs, Kentucky Derby
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Home of the time-honored Kentucky Derby, held each year on the first Saturday in May, Louisville is a great springtime destination. In addition to the actual race, Louisville bursts into celebration during the weeks preceding the Derby with the annual Kentucky Derby Festival, which offers something for everyone with over 70 events, including Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks spectacular in North America.

A few other fun spring events in Louisville include the Humana Festival of New American Plays in March and April, the annual Cherokee Triangle Art Fair in April and, in May, Abbey Road on the River, the largest Beatles tribute festival in America.

04 of 09

Asheville, North Carolina

Biltmore Estate Gardens
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Spring is spectacular at Biltmore Estate, where thousands of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowers take center stage. The warming temperatures of the season are ideal for enjoying a full schedule of special springtime activities and exploring the 8,000 acres of this magnificent estate. On-site activities include float trips, carriage rides, horseback riding, off-road Land Rover adventures, kayaking, hiking and much more.

From March to May, Biltmore Blooms offers a variety of events for all ages featuring exquisite floral displays of tulips, azaleas, and other spring flowers in a beautiful setting surrounded by the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. Estate restaurants feature special menu items, and the Winery offers wine seminars.

On Easter Sunday, families are able to enjoy visits and photos with the Easter Bunny, Easter egg hunts on Biltmore House front lawn (registration required and be sure to take along a basket), and other themed activities.

Asheville is also a great town for art-lovers and adventure-seekers.

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05 of 09

Alexandria and Mount Vernon, Virginia

Mount Vernon, Home of George Washington
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Steeped in history and charm, Old Town is a wonderful destination with each season offering something unique. Equally appealing to couples, families and even pet lovers, Alexandria is an ideal home base while exploring the many sights of the area. The King Street Metro Station provides convenient Metro service to Washington, D.C., Arlington National Cemetery, and more.

Old Town gets a jump on St. Patrick's Day with a fun-filled parade and events, usually held a week or two before St. Paddy's Day.

Celebrating Virginia Garden Week, Alexandria offers tours of privately owned homes, gardens and historic properties in mid-April. George Washington's Mount Vernon features several events throughout the spring.

During the spring, two of only three annual public memorial services take place at Arlington National Cemetery, including an Easter Sunrise Service and a Memorial Day Service.

The nearby nation's capital offers fantastic sightseeing and wonderful spring events, including the National Cherry Blossom Festival, White House Garden Tours, and the White House Easter Egg Roll.

06 of 09

Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

Stone Mountain Cherokee Trail
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Spring Fun Break, an annual event at Georgia's popular Stone Mountain Park, features kids' activities galore and great family fun for all ages.

On Easter Sunday, many visitors enjoy attending the annual Easter Sunrise Services.

Stone Mountain Park celebrates American spirit with entertainment, music, activities, the popular Lasershow Spectacular, and more during Memorial Day weekend. Find other spring events at Stone Mountain Park.

07 of 09

Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia Cityscape
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Richmond offers a convenient Virginia location near many popular attractions and gardens. Kings Dominion theme park is just north of Richmond, while Colonial Williamsburg and America's Historic Triangle are about an hour's drive to the southeast.

A few popular Richmond Easter weekend celebrations are:

  • Family Easter at Maymont: On the Saturday of Easter weekend, Maymont is filled with holiday activities for children, including an Egg-cellent Egg Hunt, bonnet making, storytelling, carriage rides, baby animals, and visits with the Easter Bunny.
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens: Easter weekend activities at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens include special appearances by and photo ops with Peter Rabbit, storytelling, Easter Sunday brunch in the Tea House, a concert performed by the Richmond Concert Band, plus more.
  • Easter on Parade: One of Richmond's most popular annual celebrations, this Easter festival along Monument Avenue on Easter Sunday brings an array of Easter bonnets plus live music, clowns, crafts, and food vendors.
08 of 09

Savannah, Georgia

Spanish Moss, Street, Savannah, Georgia, America
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A city of historic park squares, elegant fountains, and moss-draped live oaks, Savannah welcomes spring with several traditions. From March until May, visitors can enjoy an array of events, beginning with Savannah's St. Patrick's Day Celebration, the city's largest annual celebration and the second largest in the nation.

Other fun spring events include: an annual spring tour of homes in late March, which features a different historic neighborhood each day of the tour; the Savannah Music Festival from late March into early April, one of the largest music festivals in the Southeast; and the NOGS Tour of Homes and Gardens in mid April, sponsored by the Garden Club of Savannah.

Beginning in March, many visitors enjoy First Saturday on the River each month along historic River Street featuring arts and crafts, entertainment, and fun for all ages. More River Street fun takes place on the first Friday of each month during First Friday Fireworks on the River.

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09 of 09

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Sea oats and small beach fences are illuminated at sunrise on a beach on Hilton Head Island, SC
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Hilton Head is world-renowned for its pristine beaches, abundant golf courses, superb tennis facilities, and picturesque seascapes, salt marshes, lagoons, tall pine forests, magnolias, and majestic moss-draped oaks.  Hilton Head Island attracts approximately 2.5 million annual visitors. A wonderful spring destination, before the crowds and humidity of summer arrive, spring visitors can enjoy comfortable daytime temperatures and cool nights, usually ideal for brisk walks on the beach, golf, and tennis, bike- or horseback riding, and many other outdoor activities. 

A few fun annual spring festivals and special events include:

  • Hilton Head Island Wine and Food Festival: One of the largest outdoor wine-tasting events on the East Coast, featuring a Grand Wine Tasting Event and popular Public Wine Tasting and Auction, held each year in March
  • The RBC Heritage: South Carolina’s only PGA Tour event, played at the world renowned Harbour Town Golf Links in The Sea Pines Resort each year
  • Local Food Festivals: Including a Wingfest in March and the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival in April
  • Hilton Head Island International Piano Competition: An annual highlight for music lovers in March
  • Easter Egg Eggstravaganza: An annual celebration at Shelter Cove Park with lots of activities for families
  • HarbourFest: Events begin and continue throughout the summer at Shelter Cove Harbour in mid-June, annually
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