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5 Best Places to Go in May in the US 2024

Looking for the best places to go in May in the US? These are the places you want to travel to this month.

May is when temperatures warm up significantly. In some areas, that marks the time for wildflower blooms, while in other parts of the US (like Las Vegas), midday temperatures make it unbearable to be outside. We’ve narrowed down the best places to visit in May, considering the weather, the crowds, and special events.

best places to go in may in the usPin

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Last Updated: May 30, 2024

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5 Best Places to Visit in May in USA

1. Louisville, Kentucky

36 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801, map

Don’t Miss: The Kentucky Derby, Bourbon Trail, Waterfront Park
What to Eat: 
610 Magnolia, CASK, Jack Fry’s,
Where to Stay: Find Hotel Deals in Louisville
Weather Avg: 56° / 78° F (Avg 9 Days of Rain)

May is the best month to visit Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby, known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” takes place on the first Saturday in May. The Kentucky Derby Festival happens during the two weeks leading up to the festival with multiple events such as Thunder Over Louisville (a massive fireworks display), the Pegasus Parade, the Great Balloon Race, and many others.

You also get mild temperatures for outdoor activities and flowers blooming in various city parks and gardens. Even though you get an influx of people during the Kentucky Derby, the rest of the month is relatively quiet compared to the peak summer months.

May Events in Louisville: Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Derby Festival (two weeks prior to Kentucky Derby), Bourbon and Beyond

See More: 15 Best Places to Visit in July in USA

hats of the kentucky derbyPin

2. Asheville, NC →

36 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801, map

Don’t Miss: 15 Best Hikes NearbyThe Biltmore EstateThese Photo Spots
What to Eat: 
Best Places to Eat in Asheville NC
Where to Stay: Best Places to Stay in Asheville NC
Weather Avg: 53° / 75° F (Avg 8 Days of Rain)

April and May in Asheville are a nature lover’s dream, with blooming flowers and perfect hiking temperatures. If you’re craving more nature, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just a short drive away.

May is also a great time to enjoy the park’s beauty without the summer crowds.

If you don’t enjoy the outdoors, head into town to check out its amazing culinary scene and local photo spots. There are also several food, beer, art, and music festivals happening.

May Events in Asheville: Chihuly at Biltmore, Concerts on the Creek, Garden Jubilee Festival, Asheville Beer Week

See More: Ultimate Asheville Bucket List – 101 Things to Do in Asheville NC

3. Grand Canyon National Park, AZ →

S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Mather Point, Bright Angel Point, Grandview Point
What to Eat: 
El Tavor Lodge Dining RoomYavapai Cafe, Roughrider Saloon
Where to Stay: 
Search for Grand Canyon Hotel Deals
Weather Avg:
 81° / 59° F

The Grand Canyon is another great US destination to visit in May. The weather isn’t too hot, you avoid the summer crowds, and wildflowers begin to bloom.

The longer days give you plenty of time to explore, and most hikes are open by May.

See More: 15 Best National Parks to Visit in May

4. San Diego, CA →

996 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, map

Things You Can’t Miss: Balboa Park, Sunset Cliffs, Paragliding at Torrey Pines
What to Eat: 
Carnitas Snack ShackTacos El GordoHammond’s Gourmet Ice Cream
Where to Stay: Book a Hotel in San Diego (San Diego Hotel Deals)
Weather Avg: 60° / 69° F (Avg 0 Days of Rain)

San Diego is one of the best places to visit in May in USA, since it’s prime whale-watching season for gray whales migrating along the coast up to Alaska. Although you may get May Gray, where the mornings are foggy, it usually clears by mid-day. It strikes a good balance of pleasant weather and manageable crowds.

Overcast mornings can also give you cooler hiking temps (one of our favorite hikes).

May Events in San Diego: Cinco de Mayo, The Flower Fields, Gator by the Bay, Waterfront

See More: Ultimate San Diego Bucket List – 101 Things to Do in San Diego CA

5. Jackson Hole, WY →

532 N Cache St, Jackson, WY 83001, map

Things You Can’t Miss: The Best Things to Do in Jackson Hole
What to Eat: 
Persephone BakeryHand Fire PizzaGather
Where to Stay: Search Jackson Hole Hotel Map
Weather Avg: 35° / 60° F (Avg 8 Days of Rain)

Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park‘s trails and roads start opening up more in May. As the snow melts, wildlife emerges as they search for food. Plus, you’ll be here before the summer crowds.

Later in May, wildflowers will start to bloom at lower elevations.

May Events in Jackson Hole: Old West Days, Jackson Hole Shootout, Million Dollar Music Fest, Old West Brew Fest

See More: 11 Incredible Things to Do in Jackson Hole Wyoming

Map of the Best US Places to Visit in May

Warmest Destinations in May in the US

The warmest states in May are Arizona, Texas, Florida, New Mexico, and California.

The warmest cities based on average highs are:

Major Festivals and Holidays All Over the US

What do we celebrate in May in the USA? Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day are the main holidays, but here are a few others.

  • National Bike Month
  • Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • Jewish American Heritage Month
  • National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 6)
  • Native American Day (May 9)
  • National Maritime Day (May 22)

Planning Checklist

Is there anywhere we missed on our list of best places to visit in May in the USA?

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Esther and JacobPin

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.

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