Good news! Grand Isle, a part of southeast Louisiana that bore the brunt of Hurricane Ida’s impact last summer, is making great strides toward recovery. The famed Grand Isle State Park remains closed, but beaches and trails around the island are open, as is the shuttle boat that takes visitors to Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge. This is all wonderful news not only for the residents of this little island but also for fans of ecotourism.
Grand Isle is a haven for birdwatchers, who gather here each spring to welcome the hundreds of species of birds that touch down here after their long flights over the Gulf of Mexico to fuel up before continuing their migration north. The island residents have worked hard over the past few months to ensure that human visitors have places to stay (cabins and homes are available to rent, plus there are plenty of RV sites on the island) and great food to eat (the seafood in this area can’t be beat!).
Swooping Into Spring
From Alabama to Louisiana, myriad coastal destinations welcome flocks of both birds and human visitors for the spring migration season. Though birds stop along these areas in both the spring and fall, this is the more impressive migration time because thousands of species come to rest and recharge at around the same time as they all make their way north. If the timing is right – like when there are strong storms associated with a front – conditions are prime for what birders call a “fallout,” which occurs when thousands of birds drop from the sky at the same time to escape severe weather and refuel.
They gather in trees and shrubs, adorning them in a fashion that can be compared to looking at thousands of ornaments on colorful Christmas trees. This is a birder’s dream come true because you can see many species in a short amount of time, and spring is the best time for witnessing this spectacular event. To get an inside look at the best places to see migrating species this spring, click here
If you find yourself in the Mid-Atlantic or along the Gulf Coast this spring, we’re sharing two can’t-miss floral experiences for your itinerary (or future bucket list)! In Greater Wilmington & The Brandywine Valley, five spectacular properties await exploration in this season of renewal. Among them, Hagley Museum and Library, Longwood Gardens, Mt. Cuba Center, Nemours Estate, and Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.
In Mobile, where blooms burst year-round, a special reason to visit each March is to see just how Mobile earned the nickname “Azalea City.” Two prime locations to experience the bounty of azalea blooms are Mobile Botanical Gardens and Bellingrath Gardens & Home. For a more in-depth look at spring offerings at these gardens and estates, click here
Doggone Egg Hunt in Mountain Maryland
Has Easter gone to the dogs? Seems that way consider that on April 9, Rocky Gap State Park in Allegany County, The Mountain Side of Maryland, is hosting its annual Doggone Egg Hunt. The state park is accessible to all members of the family — four-legged ones included. Visitors can bring their pups (costumes encouraged and welcome) for their own free Easter egg hunt. Eggs will contain prizes ranging from dog treats to toys and supplies. The ulti-mutt prize for all attendees includes getting to meet the Easter bunny! The two-legged members of the family will have the opportunity to meet with local vets and dog trainers and sample local food trucks. It’s promised to be a paws-itively good time for both dogs and humans.
Spring Theme Park Festivals in Missouri and Tennessee
Starting in April, springtime festivals burst into the season at Dollywood and Silver Dollar City. Street Fest at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, is likened to a colorful street carnival with performers, stilt-walkers, live musical performances and menus featuring unique food items from around the world. Beginning April 14 and continuing through May 1, the Living Garden’s new aerialists, statue illusionists and giant moving topiaries all come to life on the streets of The City. Check out a sneak peek of the park’s annual calendar of events here.
Meanwhile, in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, Dollywood’s Flower & Food Festival has become a beloved springtime tradition. From April 22 to June 5, visitors to the park are sure to be delighted by the displays made up of thousands of brilliant flowers.
Returning guest favorites include the butterfly umbrella and Dolly’s mother sewing together the Coat of Many Colors. The “Food” part of the festival is also a showstopper, with a full menu of items inspired by spring in the Smokies. A roundup of Dollywood’s seasonal celebrations can be found here. .
Back in Bloom Special at The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown
The season of spring brings a breath of fresh air and a feeling of “new.” Flowers bloom, grass grows and baby animals start to make their appearances. The Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown, New York, follows suit with a new spring special designed to encourage guests to take in the natural beauty of Cooperstown and breathe new life into their upcoming getaways.
The Otesaga’s Back in Bloom Special offers guests their choice of tickets for either the Fenimore Art Museum or The Farmers’ Museum when they book a midweek (Sunday – Thursday) stay from April 3 through May 26, 2022. Rates start at $243, based on availability*. Both museums, which are closed during the winter months, will reopen on Friday, April 1 and this special launches just two days later. To get more details on this refreshing special, click here.