BEST SPRING TRIPS 2016

Whether you're looking to relax by nature or indulge your inner history buff, check out our list of ten incredible locations to see this season. (Full story: http://on.natgeo.com/1VWLO8B)
  1. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Washington State
    While parents focus on the millions of tulips in bloom, kids will delight in marching in the wacky Not So Impromptu Kiwanis Tulip Parade (April 9), visiting an alpaca farm, and participating in other hands-on activities at the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. (Photo by Greg Vaughn, VWPICS/REDUX)
  2. Sicily, Italy
    Sicily packs an impressive seven UNESCO World Heritage sites into an area roughly the size of Vermont. The newest entry: the Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale inscribed in July 2015. Spring—before the summer crowds and hot summer weather arrives—is a good time to visit any of the sites. And May is one of the best months of the year to see Val di Noto (Noto Valley), eight late baroque towns in southeastern Sicily. (Photo by Monica Gumm, LAIF/REDUX)
  3. Falkland Islands
    The wild and windswept Falkland Islands archipelago is home to more than 227 species of identified birds, herds of fur and elephant seals, hundreds of thousands of penguins, and the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world. From mid- to late April, it’s possible to spot fledgling black-browed albatross chicks in remote nesting colonies on Beauchêne Island, the mountain Steeple Jason, and Westpoint Island. (Photo by Steve Bloom Images, Alamy Stock Photo)
  4. Anguilla, British West Indies
    Anguilla ticks all the right spring break boxes: more than 33 sugar-white-sand public beaches; a thriving live-music scene; and miles of coral-filled, turquoise waters. What’s not here—high-rise hotels, megaresorts, and hordes of partying college kids—keeps the sun-bleached island blissfully low-key and off the list of typical Caribbean spring break hot spots. (Photo by MacDuff Everton, Corbis)
  5. Tea Plantations, Jingmai Mountain, Yunnan, China
    Collectively, the ancient tea plantations of Jingmai Mountain in Pu’er form the largest cultivated tea plantation in the world. More than a million ancient tea trees—some more than a thousand years old and most between ten and 30 feet tall—grow in the understory of the rain forest. Jingmai’s tea plantations are under consideration for inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage list, and there is a fledgling tea tourism industry. (Photo by Xinhua/Alamy Stock Photo)
  6. Onbashira Festival, Suwa, Nagano, Japan
    Suwa’s Onbashira Festival takes place only once every six years. So if you miss 2016’s event, you’ll have to wait until 2022. Celebrated for more than 1,200 years, Onbashira (“the honored pillars”) involves replacing the sacred pillars at the four shrines (two Upper and two Lower) of Suwa-Taisha, Suwa’s Grand Shrine. The DIY pillar project—done entirely by hand—begins with the felling of massive fir trees. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshida, Getty Images)
  7. San Sebastián, Spain
    San Sebastián (or Donostia in Basque), the unofficial Basque culinary capital, is a European Capital of Culture 2016 (referred to as “DSS2016EU”), along with Wrocław, Poland. San Sebastián’s location on the Bay of Biscay provides a steady stream of fresh fish and seafood for chefs in the city’s impressive Michelin-starred restaurants and for the chefs-in-training at the world’s only Basque Culinary Center. (Photo by James Sturcke, Alamy Stock Photo)
  8. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
    Remote Great Basin is one of the lesser known national parks, yet it is among the most diverse in terms of its natural features, making it a prime spot to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. Within the isolated park are deserts and playas, the marble Lehman Cave ecosystem, fossils and rock formations, creeks and springs, Nevada’s only glacier, and, in spring, snowcapped mountain peaks. (Photo by Bill Hatcher, National Geographic Creative)
  9. National Blues Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
    Be among the first to “Become a Legend” at the new National Blues Museum (opens April 2). The highly interactive format leads museumgoers through the blues experience, beginning with creating a stage name and including writing songs, playing instruments, recording and mixing music, and creating audio files to play, save, and share on social media. Repeat visitors can add more layers to their songs on subsequent trips. (Photo by V-3 Studios/National Blues Museum)
  10. Futaleufú River Rafting, Patagonia, Chile
    Thundering out of the Andes and across Patagonia is one the world’s last great white-water wilderness rivers: Chile’s Futaleufú, or Fu. The Fu’s clear turquoise-to-teal waters rumble more than 120 miles through Chile. Each bend in the river seems to reveal a new awe-inspiring vista—steep canyon walls, giant granite boulders, Andean glaciers, snowcapped mountains, and primeval forests. (Photo by Leon Werdinger, Alamy Stock Photo)