There's one thing on everyone's mind as April inches closer–Tax Day. Now that April 15th has come and gone, it's time to shake off that stress and celebrate a springtime influx of cash for the lucky ones who received a refund this year. These 10 ideas will help fuel inspiration if you're looking for ways to blow your tax return, whether you want to full-on indulge or just imbibe in a small celebratory something.
Roadtrip through one of the U.S. national parks like the Grand Canyon — Photo courtesy of Flickr/B Rosen
Explore the National Parks
Next year marks the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, so get in on the centennial action by road-tripping to or through one of the many stunning U.S. parks. With options to choose from no matter which region you're based in, it shouldn't be too hard mapping out the perfect plan for your visit, whether you want to grab the kids and rent an RV or go camping in the great outdoors.
Sample the menu at one of the James Beard Award 2015 semifinalists like Bazaar Meat in Las Vegas — Photo courtesy of Ryan Forbes
Splurge at a James Beard Award-Nominated Restaurant
Your wallet is feeling fat and there's no reason you can't skip one night of the Paleo Diet you’ve been so adamantly following to indulge in dinner at one of this year's James Beard Award semifinalist restaurants. Whether the restaurant is in your hometown or you have to travel somewhere like Las Vegas to try Bazaar Meat by José Andrés, now's the time to let your inner foodie shine. Who knows, the restaurant you pick may be deemed one of the finalists later this month.
Get PADI-certified and take a diving trip somewhere exotic like Greece — Photo courtesy of Flickr/Nektarios Sylligardakis
Get SCUBA Certified
You may not live near the coast, but that's no reason to hold you back from exploring the deep sea on your next beach getaway. Start with an introductory course led at a local pool and work toward your PADI certification. Once you've mastered the basics, you're ready for the next step–an open water dive site. Even better, turn this part into a holiday and complete your training at a PADI Dive Center in a resort. We hear Grand Cayman is particularly beautiful this time of year.
Paris is a great spot for spring or summer travel — Photo courtesy of Lane Nieset
Book a Trip to Europe
With the dollar making a comeback against the euro, put those hard-earned tax refunds to good use while saving money at the same time by booking a trip to Europe. The dollar is at an 11-year high and summer holidays are just around the corner, so a European vacation almost feels like you're getting more value for your buck.
Try an extreme sport like skydiving — Photo courtesy of Flickr/reynermedia
Try an Extreme Sport
There's nothing like a little extra cash to bring out the daredevil in all of us, and there's no time like the present to indulge in a bucket list activity. Whether it's skydiving, bungee jumping or a beginner's rock climbing excursion, you'll feel exhilerated for literally taking the leap to trying something you've always dreamed about.
Build up your wine knowledge with a wine tasting course — Photo courtesy of Lane Nieset
Take a Wine Tasting Course
Perhaps you're not quite ready to head down the route of sommelier, but there are less highbrow ways to learn more about wine. Take a wine-tasting course offered by a local restaurant or wine bar and familiarize your palette with some of those notes (and wine terms). The best part? If you find a particular wine you like, you now have a great story to tell when you bring a bottle to your next social gathering.
Staycation at a glamorous hotel or spa, such as the Metropolitan by COMO in Miami Beach — Photo courtesy of COMO Hotels and Resorts
Plan a Weekend Staycation
Maybe Uncle Sam was cruel to you this year, but that doesn’t mean you can't splurge just a little, even if it's in your own backyard. Perhaps you book a night at that hotel on the beach you’ve always dreamed of staying in or maybe you plan a much-needed spa day with the girls; either way, you deserve a weekend of R&R.
Adventure on a cycling trip through Mississippi — Photo courtesy of VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations
Cycle Through the Deep South
Explore the Deep South and learn more about American history on a bike tour through Mississippi with an operator like VBT Vacations. While there are some rolling hills involved, this trip isn't too challenging and you'll get in a workout cycling two to five hours per day through Civil War battlefields and past Native American burial grounds.
Soothe away tax season stress with a yoga retreat — Photo courtesy of Flickr/Zach Dischner
De-Stress with a Yoga Retreat
Spring is the perfect time to shake off those winter blues and perhaps actually keep one of those New Year's Resolutions you made by embarking on a yoga retreat. Whether you're a first timer or a serious yogi, choose a course that meets your level at a spot in the U.S. or at a destination particularly known for its stunning yoga set-ups, such as Tulum, Mexico.
Watch the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo — Photo courtesy of Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority
Score a Seat at the Monaco Grand Prix
If you really want to go all out, set your sights on the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, taking place May 21-24 in Monte-Carlo. One of the most glamorous racing events of the year, this weekend is all about fast cars, luxury yachts and even more fabulous parties. Of course the beaches and slew of Michelin-starred restaurants don’t hurt, either, when planning a decadent getaway to the French Riviera. If you don't have a few grand to spend on the best seats in the house, there's plenty of affordable grandstand tickets.