It’s happening, and we can all start to sense it. Winter is clawing, trying to hang on, but with the Spring Equinox, our world is thawing out, and spring is slowly creeping into the air. I’m sure we all loved winter, but now is the time to plan for the colorful displays and vibrant hues that will greet us as photographers in springtime.
While it’s not hard to enjoy spring in many areas around the world, here are the top 10 spring destinations for photography in 2019. We searched around the globe for the best of the best, and I’m sure any spot on this list will fulfill your longing for deep color and contrast. Here they are, soon to bloom.
Antelope Valley, California
Located north of Los Angeles, Antelope Canyon is on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert, and the San Gabriel Mountains. Due to the large amount of rainwater and runoff from the mountains in the winter, the ground becomes incredibly fertile in the spring, making way for one of the most vibrant spring scenes in America. A bright, warm blanket of orange and yellow California poppies covers the rolling hills of Antelope Valley, and the color contrast is truly remarkable to photograph. Antelope Valley is also home to many Joshua Trees and California Junipers, which allow for beautiful subjects and sharp focal points. This spot is a favorite amongst landscape, portrait, and lifestyle photographers, simply because the orange poppy color is so diverse and beautiful to shoot. It should be on the top of your list, and it’s easy to access, since it is right outside of Los Angeles.
Castelluccio, Umbria, Italy
Castelluccio is a small village in the Apennine Mountains of central Italy. It’s a quaint village on the outskirts of Mount Sibillini National Park, that is beautiful year-round. However, starting in late May, near the end of spring, the large, alpine plateau erupts in incredible color. Every stretch of the plateau is covered with a multicolor spectacle of red, yellow, white, and purple, surrounded by the lush greens of the Apennines. It’s truly incredible to photograph, and is a must for anyone looking to capture a spring show.
Cherry Blossom Festival, Japan
Arguably the greatest spring show on Earth, the Cherry Blossom Festival is a true bucket list experience for any photographer. It is also incredibly sought after, as travel prices soar during the spring months in Japan. Depending upon the year, the cherry blossoms begin to to bloom as early as January and fade in May, with the peak season hitting large destinations cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, in April.
And if you experience cherry blossom season, there simply is nothing like it. The vibrant pinks, reds, and whites light up roadways, sidewalks, and anywhere you travel. Seeing iconic temples and the legendary Mount Fuji surrounded and framed by these breathtaking flowers and trees will take your breath away, and give ample opportunity for photography, especially in the morning and evening hours when the warm light reflects the floral show brilliantly. Do yourself a favor and plan a trip to experience the Cherry Blossom Festival of Japan. You won’t regret it.
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
You’ll notice the Pacific Northwest has several spring locations on this list, and that’s for a reason. In spring, this region of the United States, due to its heavy rain and snowfall, lights up in a lush and vibrant spectacle, and the Columbia River Gorge is one of the top destinations to experience in this region in spring, for two reasons.
First, the Columbia River Gorge offers some of the best hiking and climbing in the world, with easy access to some of the most incredible waterfalls on the planet, like Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls, and Oneonta Falls. These waterfalls are beautiful, bold, and special to photograph. But what makes them so special has to do with the second reason why the Columbia Gorge is a must photograph location in spring: its lush, temperate vegetation and spring blooms.
In the spring, you don’t just get a waterfall, towering several hundred feet in the Columbia River Gorge. You get a waterfall wrapped in vibrant greens and yellows that are almost dream-like, because the colors are so vivid. Moss-covered trees, rows of textured ferns, and sections of beautiful sun flowers greet you. You’ll be hard-pressed to capture every shot you can. The photo opportunities are endless (just check out our tips for photographing this special location) and that is why then Columbia River Gorge is so highly regarded as a spring destination for photographers and content creators alike.
Hitachi Seaside Park, Hitachinaka, Japan
Another highly regarded Japanese spring destination — Hitachi Seaside Park — rests outside the city of Hitachinaka, on the eastern Pacific Ocean side of Japan’s coast. Hitachi Seaside Park is a public park with access year-round to a variety of coastal landscapes like beaches and sand dunes, and miles of biking and running trails. The park has many types of plants and flowers that bloom throughout the four seasons, but in spring, this park truly shines. Millions of baby blue eye flowers, daffodils, and tulips erupt in a beautiful color display, making Hitachi Seaside Park a unique and special place to visit and photograph in spring.
Hwasun County, South Korea
If you’re looking for one of the most peaceful and tranquil spring locations to visit and photograph this year, look to Hwasun County, South Korea. In April and May, this incredible region is a poster or print waiting to be photographed.
In spring, Seryang Je Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in Asia, can be found in the morning, with a layer of fog on its surface, surrounded by beautiful pinks and purple blooms, and dark evergreens. This lake is worth a visit to Hwasun County in itself, but add to the mix, the tea terraces that are vibrant green in spring, creating a maze of color that can be shot from the ground or above, and you have one of the most diverse and unique spring locations to photograph on the planet.
Palouse Region, Washington State, USA
Imagine a Tuscany-type scene, with rolling hills as far as the eyes can see, but situated in the United States just a few hours from Seattle. The Palouse Region in Washington has been growing in popularity over the years as a spot for photography, but in the spring, this region truly shines. The miles and miles of wheat fields ignite in color, and create and some of the most breathtaking shots, unique to the area.
In addition, Palouse is home to Palouse Falls State Park, and the massive Palouse Falls, a thunderous 200 foot-tall waterfall, carving into the large, lush, basalt canyon of the state park, that in spring, rages due to the immense runoff from the Snake River. If you’re flying into Washington State during the spring months, the Palouse Region is a must visit for any photographer.
Provence is one of the most popular regions in France, and located in the southeast of France, close to the coastal town of Nice. In the spring, the trees light up with colorful blossoms near the historic town of Ménerbes, and the vast lavender fields come alive, creating rows of bright, beautiful purple flowers, and some of the most iconic spring scenes in the world. Add in the historic castles and buildings that date back centuries, and you have a European spring destination that truly shines in the spring.
Skagit Valley, Washington State
This list of spring destinations rounds out with two of the more famous tulip locations in the world. Skagit Valley is known for its tulip festival in mid-spring, and thousands flock to see the vibrant yellow and red tulips bloom for up to two weeks straight. There are millions of tulips in the Skagit Valley, which adds so much depth to your images. However, what makes this spring destination so special is that it lies at the foot of Mount Baker, a dormant volcano and one of Washington’s most beautiful and beloved mountains.
Tulip Fields, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Last, but certainly not least, are the legendary tulip fields in the Netherlands, just outside of Amsterdam. Considered one of the most iconic destinations in spring, these tulip fields are truly unparalleled. The vast, colorful tulip rows feel purposeful, planned, and are intricately placed. It’s like viewing a priceless, abstract art piece in a New York City museum, but thousands of acres wide, and situated in the quaint, peaceful countryside of Holland. You’ll feel like you jumped back in time, with the historic farms and windmills that are icons of the country.
Traveling to the tulip fields in the Netherlands will truly blow your mind, and fill your memory card to the brim with colorful frames of art that truly define spring in the northern hemisphere.