By Elizabeth Hey
From the rainbow of springtime wildflowers to the blaze of fall foliage and the beauty of the holiday lights, changing seasons make some of the best times to travel.
As one season gives way to the next, groups will want to get out and experience the evolving colors, sights and sounds to be found around North America. Many destinations take on a special flavor during certain seasons of the year, and Travel Alliance Partners offers tours that take advantage of seasonal attractions.
Take your group on some of these seasonal tours to make the most of every time of year.
San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country
Each spring, native Texas wildflowers colorfully blanket highways, country roads and lush city fields throughout the central part of the state. San Antonio and the surrounding Hill Country burst into color with bluebonnets, buttercups, prairie verbena, Mexican hat and Indian blanket.
The ideal time to spot wildflowers in San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country is late March and early April.
“Groups coming to San Antonio can enjoy the city’s natural beauty and charm, where native Texas wildflowers can be seen across fields, parks and along roads,” said Eva Aivaliotis, brand manager for marketing and public relations at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Driving north to Fredericksburg, in the heart of the Hill Country, visitors can see bluebonnets, our state flower, and Indian paintbrushes.”
The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Texas Native Trail showcases the diverse plant communities of the Hill County, East Texas Pineywoods and South Texas. These three distinctive and diverse ecological regions vary in soil, plant life, topography and weather. The setting is enhanced by several early Texas houses that have been reconstructed on-site.
In Fredericksburg, groups can tour Wildseed Farms, the nation’s largest working wildflower farm. The farm produces 88 varieties of wildflower seeds. A visit to the farm affords opportunities to explore walking trails, interact with the farm staff and take photos of the blooming flowers. Visitors can create bouquets in pick-your-own fields or relax with a glass of wine or beer at the Brewbonnet Biergarten.
Lincoln, New Hampshire
Maples, birches and poplars burst into riotous color during autumn in Lincoln and the western White Mountains of New Hampshire. Bright reds, oranges and yellows dot the mountaintops and along the picturesque Pemigewassett River.
“Beginning in early September, our foliage reports detail the location of peak foliage and are updated each Wednesday during the season,” said Alyssa Yolda, assistant director of the Lincoln Woodstock Chamber of Commerce. “With our quintessential Main Street shops and scenic drives in all directions, there is no better place to experience fall then here.”
Colorful scenery abounds on a ride aboard the Hobo Railroad or the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train. New Hampshire’s longest gondola ride to the top of Loon Mountain gives bird’s-eye views of the foliage.
Groups can avoid the fall crowds by taking the road less traveled: Route 112 through Kinsman Notch. A trip down this highway includes a stop at the scenic Beaver Ponds, Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves. During a side trip to Windy Ridge Orchard in North Haverhill, groups can enjoy lunch at the Cider House Cafe, pick apples, tour the winery or browse the gift shop.
Nature-lovers will enjoy soaking in the fall colors at Franconia Notch State Park. The park’s Flume Gorge displays historical artifacts from the logging days and the era of grand hotels in the White Mountains. A movie explains the geology, history and attractions within the park.
Hiking through the Flume Gorge takes about one hour. The two-mile loop sends trekkers along a series of boardwalks and paths through the gorge and over a covered bridge. Back in the motorcoach, groups can continue north on Interstate 93 through the park, making stops at the Basin, the Old Man of the Mountain Historic Site and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tram.