5 - CALIFORNIA WILDFLOWERS - During April and May, the Golden Sate isn't only golden...it's also purple, lavender, flaming orange, rust, deep-green, a million shades of blue, and a bunch of colors so brilliant we don't even have names for them yet. At Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, you can roam 600,000 acres of San Diego's East County, amidst a normally dry, rugged terrain that transforms into a kaleidoscope of colors after the winter rains. At Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, 75 miles north of Los Angeles, the state flower blooms bright orange, and other varieties bloom in all shades of the rainbow. And the Flower Fields of Carlsbad Ranch, in the town of Carlsbad, offer a hundred vibrant colors overlooking the deep-blue of the Pacific Ocean.
4 - TEXAS HILL COUNTRY/FREDERICKSBURG, TEXAS - Whether you thank Mother Nature or Ladybird Johnson, the Texas Hill Country is renowned for its spectacular wildflowers - over 5,000 species of them! The Gillespie County wildflower season is like a fireworks display on the ground -- filled with bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Mexican Hat and many others, running over, around and through the limestone cliffs, granite outcrops and hidden springs. At Wildseed Farms, with over 200 acres of wildflowers at its headquarters near the old German-settled town of Fredericksburg, you can buy your own seeds. And if you're here between April 2 and April 17, you can enjoy the Wildflower Celebration at Wildseed Farms, an annual rite of spring in the Hill Country.
3 - ADVENTURES ON THE GORGE, FAYETTEVILLE, WEST VIRGINIA - If you like to run the rapids, this is the place to be...because, after the snow-melt in the magnificent New River Gorge, the rapids here are more rapid than just about any place in America! This adventure resort sits right on the gorge, and near three National Parks. The wonderful resort called Adventures On the Gorge offers a variety of rustic cabins, suites and campsites, along with restaurants and bars, and trails offering stunning views of the gorge. Whitewater isn't the only Spring adventure here, though; myriad other pursuits include aerial adventures such as zip-lines and the Bridge Walk, a 24-inch catwalk hanging 876 feet above the New River.
2 - COLORADO CATTLE COMPANY & GUEST RANCH, NEW RAYMER, COLORADO - Why not usher in spring by doing something new? And unless you're a cowboy or cowgirl, everything you do here will be new! The ranch's motto is "Where the Guests are the Cowboys." This is the real deal when it comes to an adult-oriented Western working-ranch experience. With a 5:1 wrangler to guest ratio, over 800 head of cattle and 70+ well-trained and mannered quarter horses, the ranch promises to have any rider roping a live steer while on horseback in just one week's time! This ranch has won more awards than you can count. And the buttes, plateaus, mountains and wildlife will have your head spinning.
And, now, here's my pick for the Top Spring Experience of 2016!
1 - COLORADO 5-STAR WILDERNESS ADVENTURE, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO - Imagine a spring experience that offers both world-class luxury and world-class adventure. How, you ask? Well, Austin Adventures' 5-night, 6-day experience combines the best of both worlds - with separate programs for either adults or families. During the day, you'll trek by lantern-light into Manitou Grand Caverns; hike into a pristine forest; ride horseback in the shadow of Pike's Peak; and zip-line over seven waterfalls dropping down into a scenic canyon, among other activities. And at night you'll bed down in The Broadmoor Resort's two magnificent rustic lodges on Cheyenne Mountain, Cloud Camp and the Ranch at Emerald Valley, as well as the magnificent Renaissance-palace on the main resort site. Perhaps never before have the concepts of adventure and luxury been combined in such a wonderful way. This is a spring experience you'll never forget!
Well, those are my Top 5 Spring Experiences for this year. We'd love to hear yours!