Spring has just about sprung, which means it’s about time we all start daydreaming about getting away to finally relish in those warmer temps. So what fuels your fancy? Perhaps witnessing artists transform a mere pile of sand into a work of sculptural art in Clearwater Beach? Or savoring the bounty of scallop season on the Midcoast of Maine? We dug deep into all Opal destinations to build this list of top events and activities you can only take advantage of during these select spring months.
Watch Young Birds of Prey Take to the Sky
Bald eagles fledge their young from late February to the beginning of April (fledging is a process that prepares a young bird to be able to fly). Ospreys then follow suit in March, with most of their young leaving the nest by May. The best place to see them make their first attempts at flight is along the aptly named Hawks Bluff Trail, a one-mile loop at Savannas Preserve State Park in Port St. Lucie.
Where to Stay Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa
Savor Scallop Season
The Maine Department of Marine Resources allows divers and draggers to forage for scallops only from December to April, and this year, with some areas shut down early to protect the harvest, Penobscot remains one of the bays whose bounty is fair game. Not ready to dive into 35-degree waters? Splurge on a stew of coastal shellfish – featuring day-boat scallops, in addition to mussels, clams, Maine Lobster, shrimp, and haddock – at Samoset’s Italian-inspired restaurant, La Bella Vita.
Where to Stay Samoset Resort
See Sand Take Amazing Shapes [Clearwater Beach, FL]
For 10 days each April, Clearwater pays tribute to the two things that have brought it renown: the sugar sand beaches and the sunsets. Pier 60’s Sugar & Sand Festival is a beach-wide celebration that offers free activities for all ages, including a children’s play area, street performers, live music and entertainment, artisans and crafters, and even fireworks. But the main attraction is The Sugar Sand Walk Exhibit. A 21,000-square-foot tent is filled with sculpted sand art crafted by world-class sculptors, seen only once a year (just go before noon or after 8 p.m. to avoid the majority of crowds). And if the sand art inspires you, sit in on one of the sand sculpting classes, speed sand demonstrations, or the master sand sculpting competition.
Shell Sanibel Island
It’s called the “Sanibel Stoop” – the hunched-over position showcased by thousands of shell seekers, aged 2 to 102, as they stroll the brown sugar sands in search of the perfect whelk, conch, and tulip. To increase your chances of discovering some of the best prizes delivered by the most fruitful tides of February, March, and April plan a pre-dawn outing timed with low tide, walk west along the barrier islands, and reward your efforts with breakfast at the Lighthouse Café.
Where to Stay Edgewater Beach Hotel
Eat Your Way through Lake Placid and Beyond [Lake Placid, NY]
For seven days in early May, the third-annual EAT ADK Restaurant Week celebrates the Tri-Lakes’ best restaurants, while giving you the chance to sample numerous local eateries at affordable prices (some three-course fixed-price menus start as low as $15), before the busy summer season starts. Some 40 establishments across Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid will be participating, including Lake Placid’s Top of the Park, known for its tapas, craft cocktails, and amazing view overlooking Mirror Lake, and Liquids and Solids at the Handlebar, serving the area’s most expansive craft beer selection and specializing in house-made charcuterie.
Where to Stay Lake Placid Lodge
Sip Through Southern Florida’s Craft Beverage Scene [Delray Beach, FL]
Now in its seventh year, the Delray Craft Beer Fest boasts more alcoholic diversity than ever: More than 100 varieties of local craft beer, wine, and ciders, converge in 54 tents within Old School Square, including cult favorites Funky Buddha, Concrete Beach, Devour, Wynwood, J. Wakefield, and Saltwater (Delray Beach’s own craft microbrewery). Not only does your ticket get you unlimited beer samplings, but local restaurants are on hand to serve signature bar bites while guests play giant Jenga, jumbo beer pong, or jam out to the live deejay spinning tunes on the lawn facing Atlantic Avenue.
Find the Freshest Fruits [Sarasota, FL]
The Sarasota Farmers Market has grown to be one of the largest in the state, with over 80 vendors lining Lemon Avenue in downtown Sarasota. During these peak summer months, the best time to hit the market is between 7 a.m. (when it opens) and 10 a.m. Coming in early allows you to beat both the heat and the crowds and the vendors will still be in full supply. Not to mention, May and June are the peak season for cantaloupes, watermelons, and fava beans, though you can also find home made jams, fresh honey, and baked goods among the downtown stalls.