It’s difficult to anticipate exactly when cherry blossoms will make their annual appearance in the United States—and when they do, they don’t stick around for long. If you’re trying to capture their beauty with your camera, you can find cherry blossoms along the East and the West coasts. And because there’s a slight variation in blooming time from north to south, you’re sure to find one that’s at a convenient time and location.
Seattle: University of Washington Quad
Since 1962, Seattle locals know that springtime at University of Washington is synonymous with one thing: cherry blossoms. Even the stressed-out students can’t help but stop and stare when the flowers are in bloom on the dozens of trees that line UW’s central quad. The cherry blossoms are so highly anticipated each year that they even have their own Twitter account!
Athens, OH: Ohio University
The 200 cherry trees that line Ohio University’s campus were a gift from the school's Japanese sister campus, Chubu University, in 1972. In the 40-something years since the trees were initially planted, the pink blossoms that decorate Athens’s Hocking River have become a symbol of spring for students and faculty, and a commemoration of the long-standing friendship between the two institutions.
Traverse City, MI
As Michigan is the capital of all things “cherry,” it’s only natural that the fruit-bearing trees put on a spectacular spring show throughout the state. Get a Tamron lens
on sale now at Beachcamera.com to take with you on some spectacular hikes and drives in Traverse City and view the region's heavenly clouds of pale pink.
New Jersey: Branch Brook Park
There are approximately 4,000 cherry trees in Brook Branch Park—that’s 1,000 more than the country’s most famous springtime display in Washington, D.C. Since 1927, the remarkable number of blooms at this Essex County park has been a primary draw for visitors. The park hosts a three-week-long Cherry Blossom Festival in April that culminates in Bloomfest, a celebration of Japanese culture. The exact time of bloom is tricky to predict, but you can track the trees’ progress on a live feed.
Boston: Charles River Esplanade
There aren’t that many places in Boston to see cherry blossoms, but bloom season along the Charles River Esplanade in Back Bay is truly spectacular. If the weather is warm enough, you can float down the river in a kayak or paddle up close for a view from the water using your Sigma lens
Philly turns into a magnificently pink city come springtime when the thousands of cherry trees throughout town come into full bloom. From the beautiful Shofusu Japanese House and Garden in Fairmount Park to the rows of weeping pink trees behind the Please Touch Museum in West Fairmount Park, there’s no limit to the viewing spots for the perfect photo opp.
No list about cherry blossoms would be complete without a mention of Washington, D.C. In 1912, the mayor of Tokyo gifted 3,000 trees to the District as a symbol of Japanese-American friendship. Visiting the National Mall while the flowers are in bloom has become an attraction for millions. For D.C. locals who think the Mall is old hat, a stroll through Georgetown’s Dumbarton Oaks is a beautiful and relatively tourist-free sight to be seen.
Cherry blossoms can be seen across the country, but timing your trip correctly can be a challenge. But it’s a challenge well worth making to capture some remarkable photos!