15 great escapes in March
Winter's not over till it's over. Meanwhile, here's where to go for fun.
© Beth Gauper
In March, slabs of blue ice pile up along the Lake Superior shore in Duluth.
March can be a cruel month. We're tired of the cold, and it's tempting to sit tight and wait for spring.
But don't do it. This is the best time of the year for a lot of things, including eagle-watching, expos, ice-exploring and, of course, St. Patrick's Day parties.
We offer you three options for March getaways: outdoors, indoors and outdoors/indoors. Enjoy!
A lot of people think March is the best month for winter sports, with its long, sunny days and ample snow (at least up in the north woods). Here's where to go.
Wabasha. Anyone up for some eagle watching? In March, the eagles that flew south start to return along the Mississippi River flyway, right past this southeast Minnesota town.
Every weekend in March, the National Eagle Center hosts a Soar With the Eagles festival, with live-bird programs and family activities.
And not far away in Houston, Minn., see all kinds of owls at the International Festival of Owls.
This is where you go when you want to be around a lot of
reliable, long-lasting snow.
Along this 57-mile road in far northeast Minnesota, you'll find great skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sleigh rides and dog-sled mushing all the way to Easter.
With its longer days and warmer temps, March is also the best month to mush your own dog sled.
Cross-country skiers can glide for miles at ABR, and there’s excellent alpine skiing at four hills — Whitecap near Hurley and Big Powderhorn, Blackjack and Indianhead near Ironwood.
© Riveredge Center
Visits to the sugarbush nearly always end with pancakes and pure maple syrup.
At Wild River, stay in one of six camper cabins or a guesthouse; Whitewater has four camper cabins.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Icefalls are gorgeous on the cliffs of this Lake Superior park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
And many people like to trek to the Eben Ice Caves in the Rock River Canyon. They're southwest of Au Train, about six miles from Lake Superior. The walk is a mile round-trip on well-packed snow.
Sure, a lot of people are dying for warm weather. If you can't go south, you can at least find warm temperatures in water parks, skyways, shops and exposition halls.
© Beth Gauper
In the Wisconsin Dells, families find a "beach'' vacation in water parks.
Madison. In addition to high-school tournaments, March is the time for expositions in the Wisconsin capital. It's your ticket to dream about the coming summer.
At the Kids Expo, let children play, explore and run off steam. At Canoecopia, the world's largest paddle-sports expo, parents can watch demos, buy gear and plan trips. And Bike-O-Rama is right next door.
Minneapolis. One word: skyways. They link nearly 80 blocks downtown, so you can book a hotel and scurry from your room to great restaurants, shops and the grand Hennepin Avenue theaters without putting on a coat.
What's the big event in March? St. Patrick's Day — unless you follow high-school sports, in which case it's tournaments. You have to watch the big parades outdoors, but then you'll get to duck inside for some green beer.
For more Irish food and music, stay at the County Clare Irish inn. For more beer, visit some of the many craft breweries.
Across the street, tour the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Paul, commissioned by Archbishop John Ireland, then gawk at the mansions on Summit Avenue, one of the nation's best-preserved streets of Victorian architecture.
In Chicago, they dye the river green before the big St. Pat's Day parade.
Chicago. In March, they really do dye the river green. Watch the dye job from the east side of the bridge at Columbus Drive or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.
Then watch the St. Pat's Day parade along Columbus Drive past Grant Park.
For more fun, stay at the Irish Cottage Boutique Hotel, which includes Frank O'Dowd's Irish Pub & Grill. It celebrates St. Pat's Day with Irish dancers and music.
Duluth. In this usually frigid Minnesota town, you can spend the whole weekend under one roof, if you like — the Fitger's complex includes a hotel, spa salon, nightclub, brewpub, restaurants and shops.
But also plenty to do outside, including skiing at Spirit Mountain. And in March, the blue ice piles up on Lake Superior's shores, creating a photographer's dream and a fun place for families to climb around.
Stroll along the riverfront if the weather is fine. If not, retreat to the many shops, restaurants, wine bars and boutique hotels.
Last updated on March 2, 2021