In spring, many people want to beat it to the warm beaches of Florida or California, but plenty of hotspots in less traveled parts of the country can warm travelers up with great values.
Rather than fight the crowds, why not take a stroll through a coffee roaster or visit a winery in an unexpected state?
These five travel hotspots are sure to delight and surprise:
Camano Island, Wash.
A vacation in the Pacific Northwest on Puget Sound may not offer the sun and warmth of the Caribbean, but it does provide an economic alternative to the traditional seaside hotspot. Located just 25 miles from Seattle and accessible by bridge (not ferry), Camano Island is home to dozens of public free beaches and parks, art galleries and a public golf course.
Stay in an ocean side cabin at Cama Beach State Park, which starts at just $49. The cabins offer views of Whidbey Island and gorgeous mountain vistas.
During the day, you can take a tour of Camano Island Coffee Roasters and watch the sunset while trying wines at Dusty Cellars Winery.
For food, seafood is a must in the Pacific Northwest.
Kansas City, Mo.
The best part of visiting the Kansas City area is that anyone can find something to do here, plus you get to check off seeing two states, Missouri and Kansas.
If it’s architecture and shopping you're after, there’s nothing like the Country Club Plaza, modeled after an old European shopping district. Visitors tour the plaza on segways by day and on horse drawn carriage by night. Culture can also be found in Union Station, at one time the busiest train depot in the country. This spring, a special exhibit there will chronicle the life of Princess Diana and feature her wedding gown and more than 150 other items that belonged to the Princess.
For sports enthusiasts, there are the NASCAR races and T-Bones & Royals baseball games. And history buffs can check out Jesse James’ boyhood home and burial site, the National World War I Museum or the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum.
The boutique hotel, The Raphael, located on the Plaza, made the top five of 500 of Travel+ Leisure’s world’s best values. Packages, one of which includes a full picnic lunch, start at $159 per night, but remember, no visit to Kansas City will be complete without trying of the city's barbque joints.