If you’re looking for ideas on places in the USA to visit in May, you’ll love to know there are plenty of options to choose from.
While temperatures start rising significantly, it doesn’t nearly get as hot as it does in most places as it does during the summer months. This means May is one the best times of the year to visit some of the best destinations in the USA, sans the crowds.
From popular islands in Hawaii to vast deserts and hidden gems, these are some of the best places in the USA to visit in May.
Best Places in the USA to Visit in May
The capital of Hawaii is one of the best places to visit in May, especially if what you’re after is a vacation that includes lots of beach time, stunning nature spots, and brand new cultures without having to bring your passport along.
Know for its unique heritage, striking volcanoes, incredibly scenic drives, and world-famous beaches, there are plenty of things to do in Oahu, and the delightful weather May brings in makes it perfect for exploring.
Set in Michigan, a visit to the small town of Holland will make you feel like you were transported across the Atlantic and into a locale in the Netherlands.
All over its streets and outskirts, you’ll stumble across captivating Dutch buildings, enormous windmills, and plenty of kaleidoscopic tulip farms.
May is a great time to visit Holland, as the Annual Tulip Festival takes place when the flowers are in full bloom.
Desert goodness, local art galleries, and Southwestern hospitality are the staples of this gorgeous city in the heart of the Sonoran desert.
Aside from enjoying its world-class spas resorts, charming boutique hotels, and fine-dining restaurants, Scottsdale is the perfect gateway to explore amazing nature destinations in Arizona, including Sedona, Montezuma Castle, Verde Valley, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Antelope Canyon, and more.
You can never go wrong with a trip to Miami.
Its exquisite beaches, bustling nightlife, surrounding nature, and beautiful Art Deco architecture make it a favorite destination year-round, but May brings in great weather and fewer crowds, making it ideal if a vacay with lots of relaxation is what you’re after.
Black sand beaches backdropped by lush mountains, stunning waterfalls in the middle of the forest, impressive volcanoes, and beaches that look as though they were photoshopped are the staples of Maui.
Whether you’re scenic driving, hiking volcanoes for a sunrise of a lifetime, chasing waterfalls or simply lounging at the beach, Maui is guaranteed to please.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas may be known for its glitzy nightlife and casinos and while it’s a great destination no matter the time of the year you visit, surprisingly, Sin City happens to be one of the best places to visit in May if you love nature.
Las Vegas is located a short distance from some of the coolest state parks and nature spots in the United States, especially for those looking for adventures out in the desert. Places like Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and plenty more are just a short drive away from The Strip!
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
Sand dunes may not be the first thing that pops to mind when you think of Colorado, but the Centennial state is actually the home to the tallest ones in entire North America!
While it may not be the most popular national park in the USA, Great Sand Dunes boasts a scene that feels almost out of this world: gigantic sand dunes backdropped by snow-capped mountains! Activities you can enjoy here include seeing the tallest dune in the continent (over 700 feet tall!), hiking amid sand dunes, sand boarding, sledding, and more.
Set on the west coast of the Big Island in Hawaii, Kona is one of the best places to visit in May for a vacation that mixes lots of beach goodness with unrivaled nature experiences.
Despite its small size, Kona boasts plenty of incredible spots, ranging from incredibly stunning beaches, coffee farms, and lots of hiking trails and scenic landscapes you’ll be able to enjoy without necessarily needing to plan too much in advance.
Perfect if a low-key getaway to the keys is what you’re after, Islamorada is an island off the coast of Florida where seafood, sandbars, and amazing snorkeling experiences reign supreme.
A trip here is all about hitting the stunning sand bars, sipping cocktails, admiring beautiful sunsets, and eating more seafood than you ever thought possible.
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is the ultimate destination to visit in May if you’re keen to see landscapes that feel out of this world and get a taste of California’s desert magic.
Because the park is located on the exact spot where three different ecosystems blend, the geology of its terrain is extremely peculiar to look at. Hiking, rock climbing, scenic driving amid roads lined by gigantic Joshua trees, horseback riding, and camping are just a few of the best activities to enjoy at this captivating California national park.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach is a lovely small town on the coast of Oregon where beautiful architecture, adventures out in nature, and welcoming hospitality are staples.
Think of local restaurants, enchanting boutique hotels, and art galleries to get a good picture of what you can do in town. Outside, you can choose to stroll the beach, go in search of waterfalls at Hug Point, or spend hours on end hiking the trails of Ecola Point State Park.
May is a great time to visit because this is when spring birding takes place, making it a treat for birdwatchers. It’s also a great time to spot whales.
Key West, Florida
Thanks to its location in the Florida Keys, Key West is a place where you’ll get to feel as though you’re on an island somewhere in the Caribbean, all while getting to leave your passport at home.
The island offers a plethora of beautiful white sand beaches, dining spots, and shopping opportunities, all while also giving visitors tons of options to enjoy historical attractions, incredible snorkeling opportunities, and plenty more.
If you don’t mind high temperatures, Phoenix is another lovely place to visit in May.
Home to spectacular landscapes, incredible cuisine, high-end golf resorts, and a vast array of cultural attractions, Phoenix is a wonderful place to visit in May if bustling city vibes are what you’re after, but still want to have the option to take day trips out to nature.
From going museum hopping to golfing and riding hot air balloons across the desert, there’s plenty to do in the capital of Arizona’s menu.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison is an incredibly deep canyon, so much so that sunlight only touches its gorge for just over 30 minutes every day!
Scenic driving across the rim is the most popular way to explore the park, but if you’re up for it, you can hike to the bottom of the canyon – a wilderness area you can camp in for an experience of a lifetime!
May is a wonderful time to visit as this is when the North Rim of the canyon opens and wildflowers across the park bloom, making the landscape look straight out of a painting.
Catalina Island, California
Catalina is the main island in California’s Chanel Islands National Park, an archipelago that is commonly referred to as the “Galapagos of North America” for its incredible wildlife and unique geology.
Set on the Pacific but still relatively easy to get to from mainland California, Catalina Island offers lots of incredible hiking opportunities, wildlife-spotting options, and the most delicious seafood you’ve ever had!
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
While Utah’s national parks are known for their high temperatures during the summer, May just happens to be a wonderful time of the year to visit Bryce Canyon for lovely weather.
Home to the largest collection of hoodoos in the entire world, the landscape at Bryce Canyon is as otherworldly as it gets. Scenic driving is a fantastic way to explore the park without having to break a sweat, but May brings in ideal temperatures for hiking the park’s various trails in order to get more intimate with its unique terrain.
Sky-high mountains, fjords, colossal glaciers, rugged coastlines, and incredible wildlife experiences are all part of what makes Alaska an amazing destination to visit.
May brings in just the right temperatures to explore comfortably, not to mention it is also peak season for plenty of species, making it ideal if seeing plenty of wildlife in its natural habitat sounds like your idea of a perfect getaway.
Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park is one of the most emblematic parks in the United States.
Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, a trip to Yosemite is all about seeing some of the biggest natural icons in the United States as well as plenty of beautiful alpine lakes, dramatic granite domes, and colossal waterfalls.
May brings in gorgeous weather for exploring as well as fewer crowds compared to the summer. It’s also wildflower season, so the landscape looks even prettier than usual!
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Home to one of the nicest beaches in the United States, lots of farm-to-table restaurants, and plenty of nature, Gulf Shores in Alabama is another of the best places in the USA to visit in May for a vacation that is all about getting away from everything for a while.
What’s best? The first week of May brings in the annual Gulf Hot Air Balloon Festival!
Napa Valley, California
Sunny skies, days spent wine tasting, rolling hills dotted with vineyards, and farm-to-table restaurants – that’s Napa Valley for you!
May in Napa Valley feels like summer already. Wine tasting, is, of course, the main thing to do here, but you can also choose to go on a hot air balloon ride, enjoy hiking trails, explore castles, bike across golden hills, and plenty more. Moreover, May’s calendar has a lot of events like the BottleRock Napa Valley and the beginning of the Charles Krug Summer Concert Series.
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Green valleys, cascading waterfalls, cozy mountain vibes, and glorious hiking trails for all levels. That’s Shenandoah National Park in a nutshell.
While Shenandoah can be visited year-round, avid hikers agree that May is one of the best times to visit because it’s when the park looks prettiest. Moreover, summer crowds haven’t yet arrived, and your chances of spotting wildlife like black bears, coyotes, and white-tailed deer while exploring rise significantly.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Even though it’s the capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe is a tiny city that still holds that small-town charm.
Artsy vibes, colorful art murals, and impressive Pueblo architecture make it one of the most photogenic cities in the United States. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in May for hippy-ish vibes and a wonderful atmosphere.
Think vintage shops, independent boutique chops filled with character, local markets, and delicious food to get a good idea of what a trip to Santa Fe is all about!
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