March Cultural Travel Guide

Austin, Texas Skyline
Austin, Texas Skyline (iStockphoto)

Bike Week, Daytona Beach, FL
The ultimate motorcycle jamboree happens every March in Daytona Beach, when hundreds of thousands of Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas, and every other cycle on the road rev up their engines at the annual Bike Week. Happening each March, the nonstop party includes pig roasts, clambakes, live music at Gilley's, the ride–in, and the Daytona 200 Superbike Championship, among many other events.

South by Southwest, Austin, TX
Merge two festivals, one dedicated to film, the other to music, and add a section devoted to interactive technology, and you create South by Southwest. Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock, director and Austin local Richard Linklater, and singer Rickie Lee Jones are just several of the big names that have been on hand. Expect to see great indie films and hear the latest bands every night of the festival. Plus, get updated on the latest buzz in the technology world.

St. Patrick's Day, Savannah, GA
Irish eyes are smiling on Savannah, Georgia, every March 17th, when some 300,000 folks fill the streets and waterfront for the St. Patrick's Day Parade. Beer is not the only thing that's colored emerald during the holiday. Every fountain within the city limits is dyed green in a ceremony that dates back more than 100 years. Green also reigns supreme on everything from hair to dogs, even green eggs and ham.

Marathon Seafood Festival in the Florida Keys
Fishermen and their catch take center stage at the annual Marathon Seafood Festival, held each March. The festivities include live music, arts and crafts, a boat show, and, of course, feasting on large quantities of fresh flounder, rock shrimp, and blue crab claws.

Chinese New Year, San Francisco, CA
Come celebrate the Chinese New Year with the largest concentration of Chinese-Americans in the country in San Francisco. Each March, Chinatown hosts the spectacular Chinese New Year Festival and Parade, featuring elaborate costumes, firecrackers, the crowning of Miss Chinatown USA, and the appearance of the 120-foot Golden Dragon.

The Cove, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas might be known as a kid–friendly hotel with its large open-air aquarium, 11 pools, and countless water slides. But this spring on Paradise Island a parents-only alternative opens, the new all-suite luxury hotel, The Cove. Leave the children back at the Atlantis with the grandparents so you and your loved one can grab a couples massage at the Mandara Spa, lounge by the pool with butler service, or dine at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill.

Negril
Come winter, the sublime seven-mile stretch of sand in Negril, Jamaica, fills up with beach loungers and the people who pamper them—ladies with baskets of tropical fruit perched on their heads, eager to sell a sugary pineapple and butter-soft papaya, or the "knotty dread" lady who will caress your temples and cornrow your hair a la Bo Derek in 10. Afterwards, head to Rick's to watch the sun set and the crazed divers jump off the cliffs. All told, a visit to this slice of paradise will replenish your cultural appetites by rekindling your affection for all things tropical.

Rock-Paper-Scissors Championship, in Hot Springs, AR
Remember that game you used to play as a kid to kill time? Rock, Paper, Scissors? Well, some marketing goofball thinks we should play it as adults and win money. Be the last one standing at the Garland County Championship in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and you'll walk away with $2,500 and a chance for the $50,000 Grand Prize in Las Vegas. What's next? Pin the Tail on the Donkey?

McMinnville Wine & Food Classic, Oregon
You haven't tasted pinot noir until you've visited Oregon's Wine Country. Unfortunately, many of the small boutique wineries from the area never make it past the state border. So go to the source. Smack dab in the middle of Willamette Valley (an hour's drive from Portland) is the town of McMinnville, host to the annual Wine and Food Classic. Watch some of the best chefs in the Northwest display their cooking skills as you sample wines from the vineyards in the region.

Kona Chocolate Festival, Hawaii
The only cacao farming that takes place in the United States happens on the Big Island of Hawaii. And each March, residents and visitors celebrate the harvest with in the Kona Chocolate Festival. The Gala Evening event includes sampling the sweet creations of local chocolatiers and fine dining from the Big Island's best chefs.


Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at farandaway@comcast.net.

Published: 5 Jan 2007 | Last Updated: 11 Feb 2013
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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