Some people like to go wherever their whims take them, while others map out their itinerary more carefully. Almost every community has fun and festive annual events. Many of them are interesting enough to draw many visitors from other places. They happen every year, so you can make plans to attend well in advance.
We like to plan a fun event to attend as an anchor point in our travels, then take our time getting there. Let’s dive into these amazing events.
11 Unique Events You Should Add to Your Travel Calendar
Let’s get our calendars out and fill in some squares with these unique events around the country. Many are terrific and unusual ways to mark the changing seasons. Got your pen ready? Let’s go!
1. Springtime Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC
This famous rite of spring is timed to accompany a natural explosion of vibrant color in our nation’s capital. It also commemorates our enduring relationship with Japan, which gifted the U.S. 3,000 cherry trees in 1912. The festival has blossomed into a four-week celebration in March and April. Events include a lavish opening ceremony, a kite festival, a 10-mile road race, and a festive parade.
2. Skagit Valley, Washington Tulip Blooms and Festival
Across the country, in Washington state, 300 acres of colorful tulips will trap your attention. With hundreds of thousands of people coming to take a look, it’s the biggest annual event in northwestern Washington State. Again, the exact date depends on Mother Nature, but you can expect the blooms to peak sometime in early to mid-April. This tulip (and daffodil) paradise is 70 miles north of Seattle.
3. Spring Wildflower Blooms in Death Valley
Flowers in the desert? You betcha. Death Valley comes alive in the spring with spectacularly colorful wildflower displays despite the harsh, hot climate. For lower elevations, the peak time for blooms starts in February and lasts a couple of months. In mountainous regions, you can enjoy varieties like verbena, desert star, paintbrush, and Panamint daisies throughout spring and into summer.
Pro Tip: Don’t know where to stay while exploring all these special experiences? Use these Best Boondocking Apps and Websites for Amazing Free Camping.
4. Fall Tarantula Migration in Colorado
If you like big, hairy spiders, you might want to head to southeastern Colorado in the fall. That’s the time of year that male tarantulas are on the move looking for a mate. Their creepy crawl starts in the second half of September and lumbers into October. You might even spot them alongside the highway, but Comanche National Grassland is a better place for viewing.
5. Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska
Around-the-clock daylight is cause for celebration in Alaska. Because of its latitude, “the land of the midnight sun” has earlier sunrises and later sunsets than most other places. At the height of the summer, you can enjoy sun-lit hiking, golfing, or even lawn mowing at 3 a.m. Better yet, you can attend a free street festival commemorating the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.
Pro Tip: Want to explore Fairbanks by RV? This is Your Complete Guide to Alaska RV Rentals.
6. Bridge Day Festival at New River Gorge in West Virginia
Standing nearly 900ft tall, this 3,000ft-long steel bridge has become a ground zero of sorts for certain kinds of daredevils. It’s the third-highest vehicular bridge in the U.S., and it opened in 1977. Extreme sports like BASE jumping and rappelling are usually illegal, but they’re fair game on Bridge Day. This makes for quite a spectacle on the third Saturday in October.
7. Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico
Kick off October by gazing at the colorfully painted desert skies over the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. The event has attracted hot-air balloon riders and fans since 1972. These days, you can look up to see a thousand of these gently hovering aircraft every year. Find your way there by trailing those floating balloons or following the inviting aroma of roasting Hatch chile peppers.
8. Carlsbad Caverns Bat Flights (May-October) in New Mexico
These incredible caverns are more than just a big hole in the ground. They’re also home to thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats for part of the year. Once they return from their winter migration, you can watch them take flight around sunset to do their nightly feeding. Park rangers prep you with a brief informational program at the amphitheater built for this purpose.
9. Chincoteague Pony Swim and Carnival in Virginia
Have you ever watched a pack of wild horses swim? In a tradition that’s almost a century old, a group of “saltwater cowboys” rounds up ponies offshore. The horses, called Chincoteague ponies, swim from one island to another before being paraded to auction. This unusual heritage event is called the Pony Penning. It’s a traditional part of the annual Chincoteague Carnival and takes place the last Friday in July.
10. EAA Airventure Airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
The last week in July is also a good time to head to Wisconsin to see the amazing EAA Airventure Air show. The event is so big it needs two airports. One is in Oshkosh and the other is in neighboring Nekimi. If you’re not already an avid aviation enthusiast, this is a good time to earn your wings.
As a side note, EAA means Experimental Aircraft Association, and their event first took off in 1953.
11. February Firefall in Yosemite National Park
When the conditions are just right, a particular peak at Yosemite looks like it’s dripping fire. This natural phenomenon, called the “firefall,” will most likely happen around sunset in mid-to-late-February. At just the right angle, the upper part of Horsetail Falls appears to be in fiery freefall. This eye-catching cascade is a backlight effect that happens only when the waterfall is flowing and skies are clear.
Would You Travel to Any of These Unique Events?
RVing has enabled us to see these events and we like to think our list offers something for everyone, but maybe these unique events don’t interest you. Perhaps you’ll pencil a few of them in on your calendar, or you’ll use a Sharpie to mark must-visit events.
Are you likely to make any of these unique events part of your travel plans? Tell us where you want to go in the comments below!
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