With the pandemic putting many people’s travel plans on hold throughout 2020, there is optimism ahead that soon we will all be able to satisfy our wanderlust once again. With that in mind, we have put together a calendar of reasons to visit our destinations, that can be used any year, any time, that can not only serve as inspiration for future travel, but also show that options are limitless across our clients, no matter the time of year you decide to travel.
Beginning on Twelfth Night (January 6th) Mardi Gras season kicks off in New Orleans! Although the big day isn’t until the following month, the city becomes obsessed with eating, costuming and bead-tossing that increases in intensity as Shrove Tuesday nears. Stunning Mardi Gras decorations line the streets and houses in every historic neighbourhood. Locals feast on oysters and king cakes alike, and in a usual year would watch the parades throughout the season roll down St. Charles Avenue and tag along with marching krewes.
This is the perfect time for snow lovers to head to Maine and New Hampshire for adventure. There is winter fun for skiers and non-skiers alike, with winter activities on offer including ziplining, snow tubing, snowshoeing, ice skating, mountain coasters, ice climbing, sleigh rides and more. Many of the ski resorts are under a 4-hour drive from Boston and offer a mix from black runs to beginner slopes, so the whole family can get involved! For more winter activities in New England, head to Connecticut, where visitors can even take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through snow-covered fields and country paths for a memorable, quintessentially Connecticut experience.
Mardi Gras day will fall on February 16th 2021 and while things will certainly be quieter this year, preparations for 2022 will be well underway, so it’s worth planning now! Mardi Gras takes place all over Louisiana, where every community has their own spin on the celebrations. Why not grab an RV and experience celebrations in Lake Charles, Shreveport or Cajun Country? You might end up dancing for a chicken or joining a krewe!
In 2019, a state statute passed designating the last full week of February each year as Tennessee Songwriters Week, to celebrate the foundation of the craft, recognise legendary songwriters and pave the way for future artists. Across the state, visitors can catch showcases in Franklin, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg and Johnson City. In 2020, more than 1,000 songwriters performed in 39 qualifying rounds, six showcase events and special events on stages from Memphis to Mountain City. 2021 events may be in-person or virtual, and music fans can already look ahead to 2022.
Hawaii is an enviably warm location year-round, so there is no wonder why so many viist these islands during the colder months for some winter sun. The stunning islands of Kauai and Maui in particular boast pristine coastlines, tropical rainforests and evergreen isles. However, with much of the landscape inaccessible by road, there really is only one way to take in the scenery – an aerial adventure with Maverick Helicopters. Maverick offer tours around both Kauai and Maui on their award-winning ECO-star helicopters. Guests will feel the magnitude of the Na Pali Coast from the air, Kauai’s 17-mile coastline known for its emerald-hued cliffs with razor-sharp ridges above the Pacific Ocean. Those taking the Maui experience will enjoy breath-taking views of sea cliffs and cascading waterfalls before heading down to an exclusive landing destination deep in the Hawaiian rainforest!
In Louisiana, March signals the height of the iconic crawfish season. Here, crawfish is more than a local delicacy—it’s a dedicated food group and residents mark its season on their calendars. It is the centrepiece of springtime birthday parties, graduation celebrations and family gatherings and it is the culinary highlight for many visitors. To experience a crawfish boil is to experience everything that makes Louisiana a traveller’s delight: the authenticity of the culture, the joie de vivre of the locals and the most delicious and varied food. There are even crawfish festivals such as the official Louisiana Crawfish Festival and the World Championship Crawfish Etouffee Cook-Off
As winter ends and spring begins, New England enjoys its sweetest — and shortest — season: the maple sugaring season, when maple syrup is made. From late February through early April, New England farmers are out in the woods with their buckets, miles of plastic tubing and special drills to “tap” maple trees for their sap. This “sugaring” is often visible from the road. What looks like smoke rising from the woods is sweet-scented steam rising from decades-old wooden shacks, or sugarhouses, where sap is boiled down for hours. It takes up to 40 gallons of sap from a tree to make just one gallon of the highly prized syrup. See the sugaring process and taste “sugar on snow,” hot, thick syrup dribbled onto the snow to make instant maple taffy.
March sees the beginning of MLS Soccer season. Affectionately known as “the Other Football”, soccer is one of the most rapidly growing sports in the US, and as such, teams have been able to attract star players such as David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Thierry Henry in the past few seasons. You will be able to catch games across nearly all of destinations, from the New England Revolution who play in Massachusetts, to the newly formed Nashville SC, who started play in 2020 and will open their new stadium at The Nashville Fairgrounds in 2022. To see a full list of teams across our clients, visit the MLS Website.
A trip to East Tennessee wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Dollywood. The amusement park in Pigeon Forge is owned by famed Country Singer Dolly Parton, who attends the opening of the park in late March every year. The theme park is the anchor of the destination, but also on site are 35-acre water park (Dollywood’s Splash Country) and the 20-acre Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. Dollywood consistently ranks in the top amusement parks in the US and is worth a visit for thrill-seekers and country music fans alike!
If you’re a connoisseur of craft beers, consider the facts: North Carolina is home to more than 300 local breweries, celebrates its own Beer Month, and has a city voted “Beer City USA” for four straight years. North Carolina just might be your “brewtopia,” which makes it ideal for a tasting tour to cities where the beer scene is a significant part of local culture. Asheville has been the recipient of many interesting recognitions and top rankings, including being voted one of the happiest places in America and “Beer City USA” for four consecutive years – a combination the local brewing community might try to convince you makes perfect sense.
Listen to Jazz in New Orleans and if we are lucky – attend the coveted Jazz & Heritage Festival. The weather in New Orleans is beautiful in the spring, warm and sunny. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors, and to listen to live music, in a restaurant courtyard, at a festival or an impromptu street entertainer on Royal Street or Frenchmen Street.
April also means the start of the Major League Baseball season, so why not take a trip to the home of one of the most famous baseball teams in the world – the Boston Red Sox. Fenway Park on game day is an absolute must do in Massachusetts and the opening game of the season is always a fan favourite. Enjoy the stadium grub, free foam fingers and zany crowd antics in one of baseball’s most iconic venues. You can even tour the stadium before the match for an even more immersive experience!
The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world and a bucket list classic. One of the best times to visit the phenomenon is March through to May, when daytime temperatures are cooler and the crowds are thinner. For a truly unique experience of the Grand Canyon why not go on one of Maverick Helicopters jaw-dropping tours? Not only will you get to see a bird’s eye view of one of natural world’s biggest attractions but guests also descend 3,500 ft into the rim on the canyon for lunch and champagne in a private landing space. As you fly back through the Grand Canyon, you’ll view the red rock formations of the Bowl of Fire and conclude your adventure with an exciting flight over Downtown Las Vegas.
Taking place at the end of May is one of NASCAR’s most premier races, the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Making Memorial Day weekend a fantastic time to visit the state! North Carolina is the spiritual home of America’s favourite past time, stock racing. Evolving from moonshine bootleggers in the mountains into the adrenaline sport we all know today. Plus you can even go one further and take to the track in a car yourself with the Richard Petty Driving Experience – how’s that for a day out?
Celebrated every May, The Cape Cod Maritime Days pays homage to the Cape’s rich maritime history. One of the best ways to be truly immersed in Cape Cod Maritime Days is to check out the Maritime Meandering Tours of Cape Cod: four self-guided maritime itineraries that you can download for each region of the Cape.
There are many unique species of animals that call the Great Smoky Mountains home, but the synchronous fireflies might be the most unique of all. Synchronous fireflies are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. The Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world renowned for being home to the magnificent display of this unique species of firefly. Anywhere from late May to early June these fireflies can be seen nightly lighting up the dark hollows of the mountains. Make the most of any experience by following various trails around the Smokies, which are easily accessible by hiking or biking.
June sees the blooming of the beautiful lupine fields in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Tour the fields by foot or horse-drawn wagon and visit the many museums and attractions. Sugar Hill Historic Museum, New England Ski Museum, Franconia Heritage Museum, The Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, and the Frost Place are some of the attractions that can be enjoyed, while festival events include art exhibits, concerts, walking tours, an open-air market and special dinners at local inns.
The mansions of Newport, Rhode Island — originally called “cottages” — were built as summer homes in the 1850s to 1900 by wealthy tycoons of New York and Philadelphia. Now, these massive houses, including the spectacular Rosecliff, Marble House, the Breakers, the Elms, Rough Point, and more, are open to the public, offering fascinating and informative tours. Special events, parties, balls, and performances are presented during summer, fall, and the Christmas season. In June, the magnificent Newport Flower Show takes place at Roseclilff.
June 5th is America’s national Moonshine Day and one of the best places to celebrate this tipple is in North Carolina. Industry opportunities for bootleggers soared when North Carolina became the first Southern state to enact prohibition. Bootlegging – selling spirits without taxation or government permits – immediately became a means for financial stability. While national prohibition ended in 1933, North Carolina remained a dry state until 1935, the heyday of hooch, eventually giving birth to the firewater-fuelled sport of NASCAR. While moonshine once lost its lustre with cheaper and more accessible liquor, it truly never died. As the farm-to-fork movement continues to grow in North Carolina, the grain-to-glass movement is not far behind. New small batch micro-distilleries are opening every year, crafting gin, rum, whiskey, vodka – and, of course, moonshine.
In Boston, where American Revolution history is bursting at every corner, the Fourth of July celebration is the largest event of the year, after the Boston Marathon and the “First Night” New Year’s celebration. While a variety of patriotic events are held across town, most of the city heads to the shores of the Charles River, near the Esplanade’s Hatch Shell, for the famous “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular.” It’s also where you’ll find the Boston Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile-long that passes by 16 locations significant to the history of the United States including the State House and the site of the Boston Massacre.
The summer is the best time to view the wild horses in North Carolina. Descended from the Spanish Mustangs brought to the Outer Banks by early explorers, the Corolla Wild Horses have roamed across the Currituck Outer Banks for approximately 400 years. These wild horses roam freely in Corolla and can be appreciated from a distance on a wild horse tour. There are several tour companies that can get you within picture-taking distance while also giving you a great history lesson about the horses and the area itself.
More than 50,000 miles of winding, enchanting rivers and streams – along with more than a half-million acres of pristine lakes and eco-diverse marshes – make Tennessee a paradise for those drawn to the wonders of water. The Tennessee Waterways make for a great way to relax and cool off in the heat of the US Summer. Some picks of the abundant waterways include the scenic Reelfoot Lake, which is nestled in the northwest corner of the state and is famous for its year-round fishing, wildlife watching (including eagle-viewing excursions) and lakeside dining. The Ocoee and Pigeon rivers are two of the region’s premier waterways for white-water rafting, with stretches of rapids suited to every skill level. Meanwhile, Tennessee is home to some towering, tumbling, mist-spraying, magnificent waterfalls. From the churning Bald River Falls to the relatively placid Crockett Falls in David Crockett State Park, the state has numerous beauties to be discovered.
Each day from May through August, volunteers walk and survey the 26 miles of coastline on North Carolina’s Topsail Island looking for the tell-tale tracks of sea turtles coming onto the beach. According to the Karen Beasley Center: “In North Carolina the nesting season is mid-May through August. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle comes ashore to nest 3 to 5 times during a nesting year. She deposits an average of 120 eggs per nest.” Visitors to North Carolina can volunteer through the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center to watch nests.
The ocean waters off New England offer one of the best places in the world for a whale watch tour. From May through to October, many species of whales including Humpback, Finback, Right, and Minke whales migrate to rich feeding grounds off the New England coast to dine on mackerel, herring, krill and other schooling fish. There is nothing quite like heading out to sea on a whale watch tour to observe the world’s largest creatures feeding or playing up close. Some days, lucky observers will see the theatrical Humpback whales breeching (jumping) right in front of the boat or feeding in large groups. While in New England, there is also the annual Hampton Beach Children’s Festival which takes place in Mid-August, and the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair, which showcases artistic and handyman’s creations throughout the state.
Autumn sees the optimal time for leaf peeping across the USA. New England’s dramatic explosion of colour each autumn starts in the northern New England states of Maine and New Hampshire typically in late September and moves down to the southern New England states, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, around late October. New England is famous for its glorious foliage as billions of leaves change from green to a kaleidoscope of colours. The air is crisp and cool — perfect for hiking, biking or a classic fly-drive break along back roads, where farm stands are piled high with crunchy apples and orange pumpkins.
September also coincides with the start of NFL Season in the US. America’s number 1 sport, 32 teams compete with the aim of reaching the Super Bowl, the most watching sporting event across the globe. Going to an NFL game is more than just watching the team’s take to the field, with Tailgating a large part of the spectacle. Mountains of food and drink often in the car parks of the stadiums provide the warm-up to the game and is a must-do for anyone wanting the full NFL experience. Our clients are home to some of the most competitive teams in the NFL, including the team with the most Super Bowl appearances, the New England Patriots. Nashville is home to the Tennessee Titans, while the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers do battle and are great rivals in the sport.
If bluegrass is your scene then North Carolina is the place to be in September, with not one but two of its biggest music festivals taking place. MerleFest in Wilkesboro, which usually takes place in April has been rescheduled to take place September in 2021 and will be back stronger than ever after having to cancel in 2020. Then there is IBMA Bluegrass Live! – the largest bluegrass festival in the world taking place, with the 2021 event being on September 28th with The Travelin’ McCourys and Jerry Douglas already announced!
With October being prime road-trip weather, Tennessee have specially created music pathways that enable visitors to go musical journeys throughout the state. Tennessee Music Pathways connects visitors to the people, places and genres that make Tennessee the Soundtrack of America. The Pathways represent hundreds of landmarks across the state and spans seven genres of music: blues, bluegrass, country, gospel, soul, rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll. From the largest cities to the smallest communities, Tennessee Music Pathways identifies and preserves the unique musical history throughout all 95 counties of the state. More than 500 possible locations for markers have been identified including birthplaces, resting places, hometowns, high schools, churches and locations of first-known recordings or performances of the musical pioneers and legends influenced and shaped by Tennessee.
From mid-October to early November, Eastern Tennessee is also home to some of the most spectacular autumn colours across the USA. Across Tennessee there are scenic viewfinders outfitted with colour vision deficiency technology in 12 of the most beautiful lookouts across the state, enabling people who have never seen the full spectrum of Tennessee colour to experience the beauty.
Halloween is widely celebrated with almost as much vigour as Christmas in the US, and there is no better place to indulge in spooky activities than in New England. The witch trials of 1692 cast a shadow over Salem, Massachusetts, that has spanned centuries, seeping into the city’s collective consciousness, and shaping its character. Since 1982, Salem Haunted Happenings has evolved into a month-long celebration encompassing everything from family-friendly magic shows, to costume balls, psychic readings, haunted harbour cruises, ghost tours, and more.
Thanksgiving in America is one of the biggest holidays of the year. It is traditionally a celebration of the harvest and other blessings of the past year. While celebrated all over the country, Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modelled on the 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the native Wampanoag people. So, there is no surprise that the home of the first ever Thanksgiving is a fantastic place to be in November. You can explore Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum where costumed actors depict how the early colonists lived in the year 1627. At the waterfront, you can go onboard the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the original Mayflower, and visit the Wampanoag Homesite, an outdoor living history exhibit of a 17th-century Native American settlement. Plus the weekend before Thanksgiving is Plymouth’s annual Thanksgiving celebration – three days of activities include a parade, concerts, waterfront activities, and a food festival focused on the best dishes of New England.
Las Vegas isn’t just famous for its casinos and nightlife, millions of tourists travel to the city to shop too! With flagship designer stores as well as bargain-filled outlets, Las Vegas is a world-class shopping destination sure to fulfil every shopaholic’s desire. In November especially, deals that can be found through the infamous Black Friday sales are astonishing. With all the shopping experiences that are on offer, it can be hard to find the time to see the city during the day! Fortunately Maverick Helicopters offer an award-winning night time flight of the entertainment capital of the world! Soar high above the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and witness iconic landmarks such as Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the Eiffel Tower.
For those that need to get into the festive spirit, we recommend a visit to the town of Natchitoches to take part in one of Louisiana’s longest-running Christmas traditions – the Natchitoches Christmas Festival, where the town transforms into a holiday wonderland with millions of coloured lights and set pieces. There are also some more unusual holiday traditions in the state, thanks to its Cajun heritage. The lighting of the bonfires along the Mississippi River on Christmas Eve dates back to the earliest settlers and are intended to light the way for “Papa Noël,” the Cajun Santa Claus.
If in New Orleans for the festive period, make sure you check out the Celebration in the Oaks where City Park is transformed into 25 acres of dazzling Christmas fun. The Park and gardens are loaded with hundreds of thousands of lights to create a drive-through winter wonderland in the Big Easy.
December is the perfect time of year to unbuckle your belt and overindulge in the food and drinks you love, many of which have come from the Tar Heel State. So many iconic brands such as Pepsi, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Mt Olive pickles were concocted in North Carolina. In fact, if you hang around long enough, you can ring in the new year with the New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop in Mount Olive! However, it’s the food you can’t get in the UK that really makes a trip to North Carolina worthwhile. Across its diverse landscape you will find incredible food driven cities like Charlotte, Asheville and Raleigh all boasting their own range of award-winning restaurants, trendy food markets and famous chefs – you will be hard pushed to find a better culinary scene in the United States. During the holiday season, increasing numbers of street vendors appear offering everything from classic state BBQ to home-made sweet potato casserole, perfect for those chilly evenings!
For further inspiration, please visit our client’s websites or social media channels:
Discover New England: @NewEnglandVisit #VisitNE
Louisiana Office of Tourism: @LouisianaTravel #OnlyLouisiana
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism: @VisitMA #VisitMA
Maverick Helicopters: @MaverickHelicopters #FlyMaverick
Tennessee Tourism: @TNVacation #MadeInTN
Visit North Carolina: @VisitNC #VisitNC
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Kirsty Dillury, PR and Communications Director: email@example.com
Anna Watt- Senior PR Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alex Keelan – Communications Executive for Louisiana Office of Tourism, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, Maverick Helicopters, Visit North Carolina: email@example.com
David Venables – Communications Executive for Discover New England, Tennessee Tourism: firstname.lastname@example.org