From music and food festivals to sailing regattas to goat races (yes, really!), here are the best places to travel in April.
April is all about sailing. First up is Classic Yacht Regatta, a chance to drool over traditional beauties. (“They don’t build ’em like they used to” takes on new meaning here.) Stay on for Antigua Sailing Week, when modern high-performance sailboats move in. Together, they deliver two weeks of serious racing — with great looks for spectators shoreside and on the water. Serious parties, too.
You have to move fast for this one: Last year, the 1,500 slots for the 7-Mile Bridge Run, across the longest of the Florida Keys‘ 43 bridges, were snapped up in a mere 10 minutes. (If you’re skunked, you can bid for one of 10 additional slots on eBay.) Not up for a quarter-plus marathon? The Cow Key Channel Bridge Run, across one of the Keys’ shortest bridges, claims to be the world’s only Zero K run. A crazy costume is de rigueur, one of the heats features pets with humans, and there’s a bar at the finish line.
Finish off Easter weekend by cheering on your favorites at the Buccoo Goat Races. Seriously: These goats have trainers and jockeys. (They run alongside.) And stay on for the Tobago Jazz Experience. Headliners have included Earth, Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan, Janelle Monae and D’Angelo, and events are held in picturesque spots around the island like Pigeon Point Heritage Park.
No ball drops in Thailand to announce the New Year celebrations happening April 13 through 15; instead, it’s thousands of buckets of water. The Songkran festival happens amid the shoulder season with hotter, drier temperatures — perfect weather for the in-street water fights that happen to wash away the previous year’s sins. Phuket, the jumping-off point for many island locales, is a prime spot for the festivities.
Miami Beach, Florida
Did someone say rum cocktails? Yes, please! The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is the perfect excuse to plan your trip to Miami Beach. Sample rums from around the globe and learn more about the spirit through seminars, lectures and master classes. The event kicks off with the Rum Fest Tiki Night at The Mai-Kai Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, a retro kitschy tiki bar built in 1956.
Calling all foodies: sample the best that Indonesia has to offer at the Ubud Food Festival. During the three-day event, expect food and wine tastings and culinary markets, along with special events highlighting the best of Bali (think lunches overlooking the rice paddies). Southeast Asia’s most prominent chefs go head-to-head in cooking competitions, and lead master classes on topics like the power of coconut, Indonesia’s forgotten flavors and the secrets of Masala.
San Juan’s Escambron Beach becomes more than just a spot to park a beach towel and swim in crystal-clear water when it sprouts a “tasting village” and transforms into the foodie fest Saborea. Celeb chefs, cooking demos, and lots of tastings (food and drink), with a kick-off party called “Bubbles and Bites”: Champagne paired with Puerto Rican chefs’ creations. We’ll drink to that.
St. Croix, USVI
Raise a glass the second week of April to the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience. The weeklong festival includes a series of events including wine tastings, gourmet dinners and a sunset barbecue.
Neither getting to Vanuatu’s remote Pentecost Island nor watching Naghol Land Diving is for the faint of heart. To appease the gods and ensure a successful yam harvest, men of the Sa tribe build a 98-foot-high tower in a jungle clearing and jump from it, tethered by vines tied to their ankles. Think bungee-jumping, with a much-higher risk factor.
Celebrate all things reggae at the weeklong Barbados Reggae Festival. Djs and live performances from local and international artists (Shaggy and Wyclef Jean have headlined in the past) take place over four main events including a beach party, vintage reggae night, a party cruise and a concert at Farley Hill National Park.
South Walton, Florida
Florida’s Panhandle beaches are some of the prettiest in the state and the weather is a near-perfect 70 degrees in April. Plan your getaway the same weekend as the Sandestin Wine Festival to try hundreds of domestic and international wines, and sample local restaurants at the Savor South Walton food tents.
Grand Bahama Island
Compete in coconut bowling and coconut-tart-eating contests at the Pelican Point Coconut Festival. Or just chill with a Gully Wash (a killer combo of coconut water, gin, and condensed milk) while you feast on coconut fried shrimp.