25 BEST Places to Travel In May in the USA

While not most people’s typical months for travel, May can be a wonderful time to take a vacation in the United States.

The weather is warming, the sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and the Memorial Day crowds that last throughout the summer in the US have yet to arrive. All in all, there are many amazing places to visit in May in the USA.

From every end of the country, we have selected a diverse list of destinations that offer something for every traveler in May. Pack the shorts, pants, tanks, and sweatshirts and definitely some sunscreen to these beautiful places to travel in May in the USA.

Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

1. Yosemite National Park – California 

 Yosemite National Park - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA
Best Places to Visit in May in the USA / Yosemite

Yosemite National Park is one of the top national parks in the United States so you can imagine how crowded it must get during peak season.  However, in May, there are fewer people around but you’ll still enjoy nice temperatures that aren’t much cooler than they are in summer. 

Whether you enjoy rock climbing, hiking, or scenic drives, there’s so much to see and do in this park.  As you explore it, you’ll see waterfalls, valleys, giant sequoia trees, soaring monoliths and spring wildflower blooms. 

Yosemite’s iconic landmarks beckon you to discover their awe-inspiring beauty. From the panoramic vistas of Tunnel View to the sheer grandeur of El Capitan, the ethereal allure of Bridalveil Falls, the iconic silhouette of Half Dome, the cascading majesty of Yosemite Falls, the breathtaking heights of Glacier Point, the serene charm of Tuolumne Meadows, the captivating perspectives from Olmsted Point, and the ancient wonders of Mariposa Grove—all await your exploration within this magnificent park.

2. Portland 

Portland - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

May graces Portland with mild and inviting weather, creating the perfect backdrop for the highly anticipated Portland Rose Festival. Beyond the festival buzz, this easygoing city unfolds its charm through blossoming parks and public gardens, offering a tranquil escape.

In the heart of Portland, you’ll discover a myriad of noteworthy attractions. The Oregon Zoo invites you into the enchanting world of wildlife, while the historic Pittock Mansion offers a glimpse into the city’s past. Immerse yourself in artistic wonders at the Portland Art Museum or find serenity amid the diverse flora at Hoyt Arboretum. The Grotto provides a spiritual retreat, and Pioneer Courthouse Square stands as a bustling hub in the heart of the city. Each of these attractions adds a unique touch to Portland’s vibrant tapestry, inviting you to explore and savor the distinctive offerings of this dynamic city.

3. Port Aransas – Texas 

Port Aransas - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Another hot destination to visit in May is Port Aransas and the best way to enjoy that hot weather is to spend it on one of the beautiful beaches. When not at the beach, head to the top of the observation tower at Roberts Point Park and enjoy views of the coast, or visit the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center where you can walk along a boardwalk that passes through a wetland area.  

Other attractions include Port Aransas Museum, Port Aransas Nature Preserve and USS Lexington. Palm Fest is a popular event that takes place in May every year. 

4. Shenandoah National Park – Virginia

Shenandoah National Park - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Civil War History, stunning vistas and sprawling nature areas are some of the things Shenandoah National Park is known for but in May, it’s known for so much more! This is when the temperatures warm up to 80°F, the wildflowers are in full bloom and wildlife, including bears, deer, coyotes and bobcats, are on the move. 

Oh, and did I mention the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet so you won’t have to deal with traffic or crowd? Hiking is the most popular activity in the park and there are many trails including Bearface Mountain, Limberlost Trail and South River Falls Trail.  

Rose River Falls, Dickey Ridge Visitor Center, Luray Visitor Center, Luray Caverns and Doyles River Falls are some of the top attractions. 

5. Portland – Maine

Portland - Maine - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

In May, Portland is starting to warm up but there are no worries yet about the summer crowds converging on the city! You’ll have those coastal views, craft breweries, scenic lighthouses and exquisite seafood restaurants almost all to yourself!  

Whether you decide to go on an ocean adventure in search of whales or you stay on land to check out the shops and eateries at the Old Port, there’s always something to do.  

Portland Museum of Art, Victoria Mansion and Portland Observatory are some of the top attractions and the Bug Light Kite Festival takes place in May. 

6. Edisto Island – South Carolina 

Edisto Island  - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

If you’re seeking a place with warmer temperatures in May but without high-season crowds, Edisto Island is a top destination especially if sandy beaches, beautiful scenery and great attractions are also on the agenda. 

Explore the forest, wetlands and open spaces of the Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve and spot whales offshore or go hiking in Edisto Beach State Park. Other top attractions include Edisto Island Serpentarium, With These Hands Gallery and Edisto Island Historic Preservation. 

7. Voyageurs National Park – Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park - Minnesota - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

With temperatures in the mid-60s, Voyageurs National Park is an amazing place to visit in May. This under-the-radar place turns various shades of green in May as the snow melts and the temperatures rise. As you explore the park, you’ll see huge lakes, waterfalls, overlooks and many bald eagles. 

Fishing season begins in May and you have a chance to reel in a variety of species including northern pike and walleye. If hiking is more your thing, you’ll find many trails including Locator Lake Trail and Echo Bay Trail. Ellsworth Rock Gardens, Ash River Visitor Center and Kettle Falls are a few of the top attractions in the park.

8. Great Basin National Park – Nevada

Great Basin National Park – Nevada - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA
Great Basin National Park / Best Places to Visit in May USA

You can get a mix-bag of weather in Great Basin National Park in May but generally, the skies are fairly clear and the temperatures are comfortable at around 66°F. These are fantastic conditions for exploring the unique landscape. 

One of the top things to do in this park is a guided tour of the spectacular Lehman Caves. Hiking is also popular and there are many trails including Wheeler Peak and Lehman Creek Trail.  

Mather Overlook, Lexington Arch, Highland Ridge Wilderness and Baker Archaeological Site are some of the other must-see attractions. 

9. Block Island – Rhode Island 

Block Island - Rhode Island - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Fun, adventure, scenery and comfortable temperatures around 61°F await at Block Island in May and you’ll also have the chance to attend the Taste of Block Island Festival that takes place at the end of the month. There are also fewer people around this time of year and things tend to be cheaper than they are during the peak season. 

As you explore the area, you’ll find scenic beaches, picturesque lighthouses, a quaint downtown area with art galleries, shops and restaurants and many hiking trails including Great Salt Pond and Clay Head Nature Trail.  

Other notable attractions include Mohegan Bluffs, Rodman’s Hollow, Block Island Historical Society, Abrams Animal Farm and Hodge Family Wildlife Preserve. 

10. Petrified Forest National Park – Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA
Best Places to Visit in May USA / Petrified Forest National Park

If you’re looking to travel somewhere in May that offers unique natural attractions, spectacular views, colorful spring wildflower blooms, historical landmarks and a touch of nostalgia, Petrified Forest National Park is a great place to go!  

With plenty of sunshine and temperatures hovering around 77°F, it’s the perfect time of year to explore without the summer crowds. As you make your way around the park, you’ll see petrified logs, very old petroglyphs, colorful desert landscapes and remnants of a gone-by era when Route 66 was the ultimate road-tripping dream. 

Top attractions include the Puerco Pueblo Trail, Crystal Forest Trail, Painted Desert Rim Trail, Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument, Rainbow Forest Museum, Agate House and Blue Mesa Trail. 

11. Holland – Michigan 

Veldheer Tulip Gardens holland - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA
Best Places to Visit in May USA / Tulips in Holland

A famous Tulip Festival takes place every May in Holland but I’m not talking about the famous Tulip festival in Holland, Netherlands; I’m talking about the one that takes place in Holland, Michigan! Although much smaller than the European region of the same name, it has just as much European flavor and is one of the best places to visit in Michigan.

Combine this with its Midwestern charm and you have a place that’s unique from any other in the country. Daytime temperatures are around 73°F which is perfect for exploring the many attractions.

These include Kruizenga Art Museum, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland State Park, Holland Museum, Nelis’ Dutch Village, Can Raalte Farm Park, DeGraaf Nature Center and Saugatuck Dunes State Park in Saugatuck

12. Kauai – Hawaii

Plan Hawaii Trip - Rental Car Kauai - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

One of the best places to visit in May in the USA is Hawaii! If you love sandy beaches, beautiful scenery and outdoor adventure, head to Kauai any time of year but if you want to do these things when the weather isn’t too hot and there are fewer crowds around, go to Kauai in May! 

This is when the rainy season has already passed and the summer crowds haven’t arrived yet. Whether you go snorkeling at Tunnels Beach, sunbathing at Hanalei Beach, hiking along the Waimea Canyon Trail, or visiting top attractions such as Kalalau Lookout, Kilauea Lighthouse, Polohale State Park and Wailua Falls, you’ll never be without something to do!

13. Wisconsin Dells – Wisconsin

Dells of Wisconsin River State Natural Area - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

In May, the temperatures are starting to warm up, the summer tourists have yet to arrive and many attractions are starting to open again in Wisconsin Dells. At 70°F on most days, the temperatures are warm enough to head to Wilderness Waterpark Resort which is one of the biggest waterparks in the country!  

If you prefer to spend time on the water instead of in it, the Wisconsin Duck Boat tour, which combines both water and land exploration, might be a better option for you.

Other attractions in the area include the East Wood Bluff Trail, Wisconsin Deer Park, Timbavati Wildlife Park, Dells of Wisconsin River State Natural Area and Witches Gulch. 

14. Annapolis – Maryland 

Annapolis - Maryland  - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

The Annapolis Irish Festival takes place in the town in May but there are more reasons than a lively festival to visit this amazing place in spring! Any time of year, you’ll enjoy its colorful history and maritime lure but in May, you’ll enjoy all this along with beautiful spring blossoms and lovely weather with temperatures around 70°F.  

Explore the vibrant downtown area where you’ll find many shops and eateries, embark on a trolley tour, sample local craft beer and go hiking in Sandy Point State Park.

Popular attractions include Annapolis Maritime Museum, William Paca House & Garden, Hammond-Harwood House, Banneker-Douglass Museum and U. S. Naval Academy Museum. 

15. Monterey – California 

Monterey - California - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Monterey is a beautiful coastal city and in May, it features nice weather with a comfortable temperature of around 67°F, colorful spring blossoms and fewer crowds. A popular event that takes place in May is the California Roots Festival but it’s also a great time to explore the beaches, historic sites and attractions. 

Take a hike along the Monterey Coastal Recreation Trail and enjoy the spectacular views or check out the many attractions.

Some of the best things to do in May include The Monterey Art Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Monterey State Historic Park and Colton Hall Museum and Jail. 

16. Bend – Oregon 

Bend - Oregon  - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Outdoor lovers love Bend but real adventure seekers love it even more in May when the temperatures are cooler than in summer, the crowds are fewer, and you can often find shoulder season deals on accommodation. This is the time of year when the land is at its greenest and you’ll witness the colorful spring wildflower blooms. 

While skiing at Mt Bachelor is over, hiking is getting into full swing. Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the area and there are many trails including the Oregon Badlands Wilderness Area, Deschutes River Trail and Smith Rock State Park. 

Paddleboarding and kayaking are popular on the Deschutes River and The Back Roads Blues Festival is the top event.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, High Desert Museum, Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint and Tumalo Falls and only a few of the top attractions in the region.  

17. Roanoke – Virginia

 Roanoke – Virginia - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Situated in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke makes for a perfect getaway in May if you’re seeking a place where you can admire colorful spring blooms and enjoy a variety of outdoor and indoor attractions.

Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike or bike the many trails and go tubing on the Roanoke River.  

With temperatures around 75°F on most days, lots of sun and low humidity, the possibilities are endless this time of year!

Other popular attractions include the Mill Mountain Star, Virginia Museum of Transportation, Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke Pinball Museum, Mill Mountain Zoo and Science Museum of Western Virginia. 

18. Wolfeboro – New Hampshire 

Lake Winnipesaukee  - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Although it’s known as the oldest summer resort in America, Wolfeboro is just as charming of a destination in May but with cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Its serene location on Lake Winnipesaukee surrounded by forest and mountains means you’ll enjoy beautiful scenery and an abundance of outdoor activities. 

The town itself is home to fantastic shopping, dining and entertainment options for when you tire of exploring the great outdoors.

Top attractions include the Wright Museum of World War II, Wentworth State Park, New Hampshire Boat Museum, Libby Museum of Natural History and Kalled Gallery. 

19. Monument Valley – Arizona

Monument Valley - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA
Best Places to Visit in May USA / Monument Valley

It’s epic, it’s stunning, it’s incredible and it’s so much more. I’m talking about the iconic Monument Valley which is one of the best places to visit in the United States in May due to nice temperatures in the mid-70s and a lack of crowds.

As you explore this unique place, you’ll see a variety of natural wonders including spires, buttes, giant red rocks and a sprawling landscape much like a desert.  

Hike the popular Wildcat Trail, watch a sunrise or sunset like none you’ve ever witnessed before and enjoy clear night skies free of night pollution and full of stars and celestial wonders.

Notable attractions include Monument Valley Tribal Park Visitor Center, John Wayne Point, Monument Valley View, Goulding Arch and John Wayne Cabin, which can all be included on an Arizona road trip!

20. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park – Colorado

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Beautiful.  Remote. Natural.  These are just some of the words that can be used to describe Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.  In May, the words sunny, clear, warm and uncrowded can also be used. This land of steep cliffs, rivers and canyon walls that look black from the shadows cast upon them is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. 

If hiking is on your mind, there are many trails including The Rim Rock Nature Trail, Cedar Point Nature Trail, Oak Flat Nature Trail, Warner Point Nature Trail, Exclamation Point and Chasm View Nature Trail. 

Top attractions include Painted Wall, Gunnison Point, Tomichi Point, Pulput Overlook, South Rim Visitor Center and Museum of the Mountain West. 

21. Sanibel Island – Florida 

 Sanibel Island - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

If you’re looking for a beautiful island in the hot sun to retreat to in May, look no further than Sanibel Island. The weather is hot this time of year but the crowds are sparse so you’ll enjoy a quiet, relaxing, tropical escape. The island is well-known for its spectacular sunsets, picturesque lighthouse and scenic beaches. 

Fishing and various water sports are popular here but if hitting the greens is more your pace, you can head to The Dunes Golf Club. Take a stroll along a pretty boardwalk, explore the J. N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge and visit various attractions including the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and Sanibel Historical Museum.

If you happen to be there at the right time, you’ll be able to attend the Revival Yoga Good Vibes Fest. 

22. Galena – Illinois

Galena - Illinois - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

With temperatures averaging around 71°F and sunny skies most days, Galena is the perfect destination to head to in May for outdoor adventures. Kayaking and hiking are popular pursuits but many people also come here for the wine!  

This pretty little town surrounded by rolling hills features a lovely downtown area where you’ll find cozy eateries and boutique shops. 

Top attractions in the area include Apple River Canyon State Park, Ulysses S. Grant Home, West Street Sculpture Park, Horseshoe Mound Preserve and the Galena – Jo Daviess County Historical Society. 

23. Haleiwa – Hawaii 

Haleiwa  - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA
May in Hawaii / Best Places to Visit in May USA

When planning a trip to Hawaii, make sure to include this small surf town. Located on the island of Oahu, Haleiwa is an underrated Hawaiian paradise where you’ll enjoy stunning beaches with clear, warm waters without the crowds. If you want to head into the ocean to do some swimming, surfing, or snorkeling, you can rest assured that in May the temperatures will be at least a comfortable 75°F.  

A favorite thing to do after a day at the beach is to explore the little town of Haleiwa and have a poke bowl at Hanalei Poke. Some of the top attractions in the area include Waimea Valley and Shark’s Cove. 

24. Oklahoma

Oklahoma - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

The whole state of Oklahoma can be considered one of the best places to visit in May in the USA. In Oklahoma in May, there seems to be wildflowers everywhere as it’s peak bloom season! Warm weather and festivals, such as McAlester Italian Festival, Paseo Arts Festival and Mayfest, are top draws but you’ll also love the art, foodie and music scenes of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. 

Myriad Botanical Gardens, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma Aquarium, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve are some of the attractions around the state. 

25. Napa – California

Napa – California - Best Places to Visit in May in the USA

Temperatures in Napa reach a warm 75°F in May and combined with lots of sun, this is perfect conditions to explore Napa Wine Country and attend the BottleRock Napa Valley Festival. Outdoor adventure waits in Westwood Hills Park, Connolly Ranch Education Center, and Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. 

If history and the arts are more your thing, head to Rosa Center for Contemporary Art and Napa Welcome Center!

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About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.