Flower Power

Marvel at gardens, festivals and landscapes where you can see flowers in full bloom.

Where: Provence, France
When to Go: Mid-June through August
What You’ll See: The beautiful village of Sault sits on the edge of a plateau and boasts views of intensely hued lavender fields; another vast expanse of lavender lies on the Valensole plateau. You’ll also find fields of bright yellow sunflowers on the Valensole plateau; in spring, you’ll see wild red poppies in full bloom.

Where: Kauai, Hawaii
When to Go: Year-round
What You’ll See: Kauai is known as the Garden Isle. At Allerton Garden and McBryde Garden, two botanical gardens in the south shore’s Lawai Valley, you can wander through fields of endangered tropical blossoms native to the island, like coral trees, hibiscus, heliconias, ginger and orchids. On the north shore, visit the Limahuli Garden and Preserve, where you can also see lava-rock terraces built nearly a thousand years ago to cultivate taro.

Cape Floral Region, South Africa

Photo: Getty

Where: Cape Floral Region, South Africa
When to Go: September and October
What You’ll See: On Table Mountain, which overlooks Cape Town, you can ride a cable car to slopes covered in rich fynbos vegetation, including proteas, vivid red ericas, restios, orchids and many more wildflowers not found anywhere else. Fynbos blooms in harsh conditions and needs regular burning to thrive.

Where: Washington, D.C.
When to Go: The end of March through April
What You’ll See: In 1912, Japan gave more than 3,000 cherry trees to our nation’s capital. Today, approximately 3,750 trees bloom over two weeks, with the peak usually coming in early April. The 2019 National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held March 21 through April 14; the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade is on April 14. Don’t miss the blossoms reflected in the Tidal Basin, fluttering in the breeze by the Washington Monument or in East Potomac Park.

Keukenhof flower park in The Netherlands

Photo: iStock

Where: The Netherlands
When to Go: Mid-March to May
What You’ll See: Tulips, of course! About 40 minutes outside Amsterdam is the Keukenhof, one of the world’s largest flower parks; its centerpiece is a checkerboard of tulip beds in every shade imaginable, plus hyacinths, daffodils and even roses. In the city, don’t miss the Bloemgracht canal; crisscrossed with quaint bridges and lined with multicolored boats, the flower canal is one of Amsterdam’s prettiest, especially when the tulips are in full bloom.

Where: London, England
When to Go: May
What You’ll See: A bit of everything. The Chelsea Flower Show, held nearly every year since 1913, is Britain’s most prestigious flower show. The nearly 3-acre Great Pavilion exhibits flowers from more than 100 of the world’s best nurseries, growers and florists. The Show, Fresh and Artisan gardens showcase a range of design styles and themes utilizing everything from royal ferns and agave to azaleas and camellias.

Where: Canberra, Australia
When to Go: September to October
What You’ll See: Established in 1988 to honor Canberra’s 75th birthday, the Floriade is a monthlong celebration of flowers modeled after Holland’s Keukenhof, but with Aussie spirits, food and entertainment.

Where: Japan
When to Go: March through April for cherry blossoms; April through May for wisteria
What You’ll See: Cherry blossoms—called sakura—are deep in Japan’s soul; they’re the country’s national flower. In Tokyo, you’ll see some 1,500 trees in full bloom in Shinjuku Gyoen National Park in March and April; check back in October for vibrant autumn leaves. There’s always something blooming two hours outside Tokyo at the Ashikaga Flower Park, but it’s world-renowned for its wildly aromatic and abundant wisteria, which blooms in April and May.

Plan your trip with help from the experts at AAA. Call 877-396-7159 or contact a AAA Travel Counselor.

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Marco Ruiz, AAA Travel Counselor, Monterey, Calif.

I love to suggest Italy and Spain because of the culture and the flair of the people–their fashions, language and way of life. They take time to enjoy life's pleasures. When you're there, you feel it, too.

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