FOR MOST OF US IN the Northern Hemisphere, spring is an eagerly awaited time that tells us winter — and the wait — is over, and the world is waking up once again. For snowboarders and skiers it can be a sad day, and for those living in hotter climates it can signal the start of the insidiously hot days to come — but for many of us it means release back into the great outdoors. With longer, milder days comes afternoons and weekends ripe and ready for adventure.

For those of us gearing up for springtime, here’s 15 seriously colorful images to get you packing your bags and ready to take on all that spring is about to offer.

1. A blazing orange sun sets on the Spring Equinox (the “Vernal” equinox is the proper name) and lines up perfectly with the water fountain at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California — and signals the start of spring.

River of Life by Sameer Mundkur on 500px.com

2. It’s when skies light up pink over these sunflower fields — which bloom in late May and early June — just outside Fort Worth.

A Beautiful Sunset over a Sunflower Field by Ronnie Wiggin on 500px.com

3. Spring also tells us it’s almost time to stroll through the lavender fields of Valensole, Provence, France.

Lavender Dreams by Vadim Balakin on 500px.com

4. In Japan, Mount Fuji erupts out of a sea of pink and purple by mid-May.

Mountain Fuji with the field of pink moss cherry blossom in Japan by Jirat Srisabye on 500px.com

5. At the same time in Washington, Mount Baker (and Mount Hood for that matter) is engulfed in tulips.

Skagit Valley Spring Sunset by Ray Green on 500px.com

6. Which is also when the tulips arrive in the Netherlands, for that matter.

Colored in Dutch ... by MVD PHOTOGRAPHY on 500px.com

7. And the cherry blossoms in Washington, DC, which light up the nation’s capital.

Cherry Blossoms DC by Chez Watts on 500px.com

8. The Palouse, in eastern Washington state, awakens with greens and golds this time of year.

Awakening by Michael Brandt on 500px.com

9. And the Palouse’s cousin, in Moravia, Austria, also wakes up this time of year, it would seem.

slope by Marek Kiedrowski on 500px.com

10. As if we needed another reason to love Italy, the grass is literally greener when spring arrives.

Green field on Easter day by Davide Carrer on 500px.com

11. The forests of Belgium are draped in mist and bloom purple, and are mild enough for a very enticing morning stroll.

Morning Light by Adrian Popan on 500px.com

12. Rapeseed blooms in many different regions of China, making oceans of yellow as they go, and adornments as well — like here in Jiangxi.

flowers by ning zhang on 500px.com

13. It’s when waterfalls all across the Northern Hemisphere come back to life — with force, thanks to melting snow — like Seljalandsfoss in Iceland.

Seljalandsfoss by Tomas Sereda on 500px.com

14. Even the heights of the Himalayas embrace spring, which arrives with more moderate temperatures in the mountains, flowers in the lowlands, and fiery skies all around.

The Endless Search by Max Rive on 500px.com

15. Meanwhile some of us welcome the equinox in the far north of Sweden, though still quite cold, under hypnotic green skies.

Aurora Borealis by Dorian Tsai on 500px.com

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