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25 Best Places To Visit In The USA In May

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May is a wonderful time to explore the United States. In the north, the snow is gone, grass is green again, and gardens are overflowing with plants and flowers. The sun shines warmly and the days are long and lovely. In the south, it has already started to heat up and May is likely the last time you can visit many places without suffering the staggering heat of the summer sun. May is still shoulder season and you should be able to find flight and hotel deals. In addition, the crowds haven’t yet arrived. You still have a few weeks to enjoy many amazing popular destinations in America without jostling for space. So, where should you go? Here are 25 of the best places to visit in the USA in May.

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Other Destinations

You may not be completely sure about where or when you want to travel. If you are still open to suggestions, here are a list of other destinations that would be ideal at different times of the year.

Europe

United States

For a list of some of the best US cities with pro tips for when to go or avoid, hotels, directions, and other recommendations, check out 20 Best Cities To Visit In The USA.

If you are looking for a warm winter escape to amazing beaches in the United States, take a look at the 50 Best US Beach Destinations For A Warm Winter Getaway.

Best Places To Visit In The USA In May

I have asked some amazing travel bloggers for their recommendations for the best places to visit in the USA in May. Below you will see what makes each destination a fantastic place to vacation and what weather you can expect. If there are annual festivals or events that make it an even better place in May, then those are mentioned as well. In addition, if someone stayed or knows of an incredible hotel, that has been included.

best places to visit in the USA in May
Joshua Tree National Park, California (Photo courtesy of Monica from This Rare Earth)

Joshua Tree National Park, California

By Monica from This Rare Earth

Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California is an incredible destination to visit in the United States during the month of May. With the hot desert climate, summer can be pretty brutal for outdoor activities. Visiting in May will offer cooler temperatures, making both hiking and camping much more enjoyable and comfortable. Not to mention, the crowds will be more tolerable in comparison to the fall. 

Joshua Tree National Park is the kind of place that you need to see to believe. The alien-like terrain and quiet solitude of the desert make this a wonderful place to unwind. The Park encompasses both the Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert, meaning you will see two very different landscapes as you drive the main stretch. The close proximity of the two means that you can hike two deserts in a one day trip to Joshua Tree

The Mojave Desert, in the northern half of the park, is home to the famous Joshua Tree – a tall and wild yucca plant – as well as the giant boulders popular with climbers and photographers. The majority of the Park’s hiking trails are found in this region.  

The southern half sits in the Colorado Desert region, which is hotter and drier – too hot for the Joshua Tree but perfect for the many cholla and ocotillo cacti. This area holds more untouched wilderness for you to explore. 

There is a lot to see within the park. For example, take a hike on the Fortynine Palms Oasis Trail, found in the Mojave portion of the park. This trail is a moderate 3 mile walk over rocky peaks covered with cacti. Ultimately, the trail leads to a natural oasis. It’s a surreal experience, very peaceful and comfortable in the late spring temperatures.  

Weather And Directions

Joshua Tree is roughly 2.5 hours outside of Los Angeles.

Average temperatures in May are in the mid 80s.

Hotel Recommendation

Monica says, “Campsites are available within the park, but reserve your site early – they often sell out months in advance. If camping is not your thing, plenty of local and chain hotels sit in Twentynine Palms, CA, which is just outside the northern park borders.” 

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best places to visit in the USA in May
Chicago, Illnois (Photo courtesy of Sawyer Bengtson from Unsplash)

Chicago, Illnois

By Brodi from Our Off Beat Life

Chicago is one of the best places to visit in the USA in May. Tourist crowds are lower in the spring so visitors can enjoy sightseeing without the long lines that will be present at attractions in June through August. It is also when the city starts to come alive again after a long winter. Restaurants open their outdoor dining spaces, the Navy Pier Fireworks resume, and street festival season begins.

From May to November, Navy Pier shoots off a spectacular fireworks’ displays twice a week over Lake Michigan. The time changes depending on sunset. However, each Wednesday and Saturday locals and visitors alike can show up and enjoy this free show at one of Chicago’s premier tourist spots.

Generally, the month of May sees at least 20 street festivals in Chicago throughout the month. Each has a different theme and is in a different Chicago neighborhood. The most popular festivals in May are the Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest in Lakeview, Mayfest in Lincoln Park, Randolph Street Market Fest in the West Loop, and the Chicago Beer Classic at Soldier Field. Generally, Chicago street festivals are an excellent way to hear amazing new musical talent. Famous bands have also been known to headline the Saturday night stages from time to time.

To take advantage of May outdoor dining in Chicago, pick a place with great views of the city. Breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s while overlooking the Willis Tower is very popular. Visitors can easily walk to the Tower’s Skydeck for 360 views of the city and lake after eating.

Weather And Directions

Temperatures generally range from 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. There are some rainy days but generally, the days are fairly sunny.

One unusual benefit of traveling to Chicago is it has two international airports. Both are connected by public transit to the downtown area. Visitors flying into O’Hare airport can take the Blue Line to the Loop while those arriving at Midway airport can take the Orange Line. Avoid renting a car and driving. Parking is a fortune in Chicago.

Hotel Recommendation

Brodi says, “The Hampton Inn is a budget-friendly hotel in Chicago’s Theater District. This area is centrally located to most tourist attractions. Public transit is also located right nearby, to save visitors on overpriced cabs or rideshares. It’s also only a 10-15 minute walk from the Willis Tower and Lou Mitchell’s.”

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best places to visit in the United States in May
Zion National Park, Utah (Photo courtesy of James from Parks Collecting)

Zion National Park, Utah

By James from Parks Collecting

Zion National Park is one of Utah’s ‘Big Five’ national parks and is one of the best destinations to visit in the USA in May when days are cool and ideal for hiking. In addition to great weather, Zion is a lot less crowded in May than during the busy summer months, so you won’t have to wait too long for the shuttle or to get on popular trails like Angel’s Landing. 

Zion National Park has two sections, but by far the most popular section is Zion Canyon. Unlike many other canyons, the main access is not along the rim, but along the bottom of the canyon. 

Zion is a hiker’s paradise, but if you don’t like to hike and just want to enjoy the scenery, you can take a free shuttle the length of the canyon from Springdale to the end. In addition, there is an easy, flat one-mile walk on Riverside Walk that has lovely views.  

The end of this trail is also the start of one of the most famous hikes in the country, The Narrows. This fun hike actually involves hiking IN a river. The river passes through steep walls of a narrow slot canyon and is a unique – and breathtaking – experience.

The other most super famous hike in the park is Angel’s Landing. This is not for those with a fear of heights, as it has some narrow sections with steep drop offs on both sides (but with a chain to hold on to!!). If you dare, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Zion Canyon at the top.

In addition to hiking, Zion is a great place to try canyoneering. There are plenty of narrow slot canyons in and around the park, and rappelling down 100-foot cliffs is a fantastic experience if you’re up for the adventure!

If you prefer more horizontal activities, rent a bike in Springdale and cycle through the canyon. The Pa’rus Trail is designed for cycling. You can cycle the entire canyon and skip the shuttle, too.

No matter what you do, you will LOVE Zion, especially in May!

Weather And Directions

The average high is 69°F and average low is 42°F. It’s also the second driest month of the year. 

The easiest way to get to Zion National Park is to fly into Las Vegas. It is less than a three-hour drive to Springdale, the main gateway town to Zion. Springdale is right outside the main entrance, and there is a free shuttle from the town into the park, so it couldn’t be more convenient. 

Hotel Recommendation

James says, “A great place to stay in Springdale is Red Rock Inn. They have cute cottages with views of the mountains. There’s even a hot tub to relax in after a day on the trails.”

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best places to visit in May in the USA
Haleiwa, Hawaii (Photo courtesy of Christian Joudrey from Unsplash)

Haleiwa, Hawaii

By Cortney from Tin Can Living

If you are looking for one of the best places to visit in May in the USA, Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu is a great place to start. Haleiwa Beach Park offers visitors an uncrowded beach with lots of surfing and swimming opportunities. In addition, Haleiwa Town features unique shops, restaurants, galleries, and historical landmarks.

May is a great time to visit. It is right before the height of the tourist season. You will get the best weather and lower hotel and airfare rates before the summer price hikes. Beat the throngs of tourists to the sandy beaches and warm, blue Pacific water.

May in Hawaii brings the statewide cultural celebration of Lei day. Lei day is held annually on May first and holds cultural significance to the Hawaiian people. Leis are worn and sold to honor ancestors, loved ones and to celebrate the spirit of Aloha. In Haleiwa, you will find Lei vendors all over town.

In addition to Haleiwa Beach Park, Haleiwa is home to many beautiful beaches for swimming and surfing, such as Waimea Bay, Queens Bath, Pipeline, Sharks Cove, and Sunset Beach. When not swimming and surfing, you can snorkel, fish, boat, and hike.

Be sure to check out Laniakea Beach, better known as turtle beach. Spend time watching sea turtles bask on the sand or swim nearby on this cozy little piece of paradise. Let the turtle guardians teach you about these wonderful creatures while you get up close and share their sanctuary. Take a picnic and have a nice day out with your family.

Another great activity is paddle boarding under the Rainbow Bridge. The water is beautiful and serene under the bridge, and you may even see some wildlife.

Directions And Weather

The nearest airport is Honolulu International Airport which is located approximately 45 miles away. You will need to rent a car to explore Haleiwa.

The weather in May is usually sunny, with temperatures in the upper 70’s. Bring lots of sunscreen!

best places to visit in the United States in May
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Photo courtesy of Anne From Packing Light Travel)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

By Anne from Packing Light Travel

Philadelphia, one of the most historic and walkable cities in the United States, is one of the best cities in America to visit in May. Temperatures are in the early seventies (Fahrenheit) and encourage exploration of the city on foot. It also welcomes you into the outdoors at a host of fascinating venues.

May kicks off several street festivals, including the South Street Spring Festival, 9th Street Italian Market Festival, and Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. Parks come alive with spring foliage and people basking in the outdoors. Don’t miss Robert Indiana’s 1978 LOVE sculpture in Love Park or wandering through Philadelphia’s family-friendly Franklin Square.

At the Independence Seaport Museum, climb aboard the Cruiser U.S.S. Olympia, the worlds’ oldest floating steel warship, and the World War II submarine Becuna. For something different, the Mütter Museum houses an eclectic collection of antique medical equipment and an intriguing variety of anatomical and pathological specimens.

For those interested in penal tourism and abandoned places, the historically significant Eastern State Penitentiary, the ‘magnificent ruin’ of Philadelphia, is not to be missed. Once the most expensive and famous prison in the world, Eastern State stands today as a hauntingly beautiful collection of crumbling cellblocks, deserted guard towers, and stirring exhibits. In an era when prison reform is on the minds of many people, Eastern State is the closest thing there is to a national prison museum.

Explore the world’s largest outdoor gallery of stunning street art with Mural Arts Philadelphia, an organization with deep roots in the anti-graffiti network of the 1980s. Sign up for one of the tours by foot, trolley, train, or Segway to be introduced to art that has empowered communities, transformed neighbourhoods, and sparked economic revitalization.  

For foodies, the covered Reading Terminal Market boasts a drooling mix of ready-to-eat food and fresh produce. And of course, no visit to Philadelphia is complete without feasting on a Philly cheesesteak. Conveniently, Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks are across the street from each other. Choose one of the rivals claiming to produce the best cheesesteak and decide for yourself.

Directions And Weather

The city center from the Philadelphia Airport (PHL) is a short 24 minute train ride away. There are also bus, shuttle, and taxi services.

The Amtrak station is inside the 30th Street Station on the edge of Philadelphia’s Center City. From New York City, the journey takes one hour and 30 minutes. From Washington, it takes two hours.

In May, you can expect lovely weather with average temperatures in the mid 70s Fahrenheit.

best places to visit in America in May
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Photo courtesy of Agnes from The Van Escape)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

By Agnes from The Van Escape

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is a stunning and uncrowded gem in the state of Colorado. It is deep, steep, narrow, and the views from the top are impressive and terrifying. It’s worth putting on your bucket list if you are planning a road trip through Colorado.

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park was named for its cliffs that are often dark from shadows, making the walls appear black. The canyon itself is so vertical that the Gunnison River drops an average of 43 feet per mile, and 240 feet per mile at its steepest point at Chasm View. They are some of the steepest mountain descents in North America.

Like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison is made up of two parts: the South Rim and North Rim. May is one of the best months to visit the park as both sides are open to visitors. The North Rim is closed from mid-October to mid-April.

Weather in May is perfect for visiting, hiking, and camping. The heat starts in June, so May is the best time to visit. The best vantage points for photos as you drive the North Rim are The Narrows, Kneeling Camel View, and Balanced Rock. The most spectacular hike is Exclamation Point.

On the drive to the South Rim, do not miss Gunnison Point, Chasm View, Painted Wall, and Dragon Point. The Rim Rock Nature Trail and Cedar Point Nature Trail are some of the best hikes on the South Rim. For adventurous and experienced hikers, there is the option of making the steep descent to the bottom of the canyon or rafting on the Gunnison River.

Weather And Directions

The average high temperature in May is 71 F and the average low is 43 F. Days are sunny, skies are clear and visibility is excellent.

The difference in elevation between the canyon rim and the Gunnison River is considerable, resulting in a significant temperature difference. So it’s worth packing warm clothes. It can also be a bit windy at the canyon rim.

The nearest international airport is in Denver (DEN), 265 miles away and about a 5-hour drive. Another is Grand Junction Regional Airport, only 60 miles, and an hour’s drive away.

Hotel Recommendation

Agnes says, “Delta is a great town to stay in when exploring North Rim and Montrose when visiting South Rim.”

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best destinations to travel to in May in the USA
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (Photo courtesy of Melissa from Navigation Junkie)

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

By Melissa from Navigation Junkie

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of the best places to visit in the USA in May for sunbathing, beachcombing, nightlife, family friendly activities, delicious seafood, and experiencing the natural beauty of South Carolina. The weather is fantastic and the ocean water almost feels like a warm bath. In addition, it is outside peak tourist season, so you will be able to enjoy the natural beauty and fun filled activities Myrtle Beach has to offer without the summer crowds.

When visiting Myrtle Beach, one of the first things you will want to do is to head to the beach. Depending on where you are staying, you have a good chance of being within walking distance of one of the many great beaches. Spend a day relaxing, building sandcastles, and soaking up the sun.

If you are a nature lover, head over to Brookgreen Gardens, where you can walk through 9,100 acres of blooming, colorful flowers and walk under moss draped trees. If visiting with kids, they will love the mini zoo and story book play area.

Broadway at the Beach is another thing you won’t want to miss. Here you will find plenty of local shopping options, dining options, and fun activities. Some that you won’t want to miss are the jet boat rides, ziplining, the Pavilion Park amusement park, Wonderworks, and the Ripley’s Aquarium.

Weather And Directions

In May you will find gorgeous weather, with the average about 80 degrees and ocean water reaching 70 degrees.

Myrtle Beach International Airport is conveniently located just three miles outside of downtown. From the airport you can rent a car, catch a cab, rideshare, public bus, or depending on where you are staying a free hotel shuttle. If driving, you will be in downtown Myrtle Beach within 10 minutes.

Hotel Recommendation

Melissa says, “For accommodations, consider Paradise Resort, located just 7 minutes from the airport. The resort features a lazy river, two hot tubs, a kiddie pool, and two regular sized pools. The resort also has onsite dining and gorgeous balcony rooms with ocean views. The best part is its proximity to the ocean, with less than a 3-minute walk to reach the beach.”

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best places to go to in the United States in May
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona (Photo courtesy of Cosette from Kars Travels)

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

By Cosette from Kars Travels

In Northeast Arizona, close to the border with New Mexico, lies mesmerizing Petrified Forest National Park. It is one of the best places to visit in May in the United States as it offers petrified logs, ancient petroglyphs, painted desert vistas and Route 66 memorabilia.

The trees at the Petrified Forest were fossilized 211 to 218 million years ago. It’s been inhabited for 13,000 years, during which the petroglyphs were made and pueblos (multi-storied adobe houses) were built.

This are seven walking trails in Petrified Forest National Park. Hike the Puerco Pueblo trail to see a hundred room pueblo and the Crystal Forest trail for viewing the petrified wood. To see the mesmerizing colors of the painted desert up close, consider hiking the Painted Desert Rim Trail.

If you prefer driving than hiking, the main road through the park is spectacular. It has beautiful viewpoints, such as Newspaper Rock, which has over 650 petroglyphs. Stop at one of the historical buildings, such as the Painted Desert Inn National Historic Landmark, and spend time learning about its history. In earlier days, this was a stop for food and water for travelers along the historic Route 66.

May is a good month to visit since it’s ahead of the busiest season. Most people visit in summer. But in summer, it’s hot and violent thunder-storms can occur. In May, temperatures are warm, but not yet above 100°F that you will see in summer. Spring is also the start of the wildflower season.

Directions And Weather

The international airport closest to the park is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Hire a car at the airport and drive 205 miles, which will take some 3.5 hours.

You can expect lots of sun and average temperatures in the high 70s Fahreneit.

Hotel Recommendation

Cosette says, “The historic WigWam Motel at Holbrook is a good place to sleep in a cool wigwam room.”

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best destinations to visit in the USA in May
Portland, Maine (Photo courtesy of Brittany from Travel By Brit)

Portland, Maine

By Brittany from Travel By Brit

If you’re looking for a gorgeous destination in the United States to travel to, look no further than Portland, Maine. Portland is one of the best places to visit in the USA in May with its rocky coastline views, great seafood, craft beer, and beautiful lighthouses that allow for an unforgettable vacation. 

Portland is a popular summer destination in New England for its sandy beaches and coastal charm. However, late spring is a great time to explore the city before the tourists arrive for a quieter, authentic view of the city. 

First, head to Fort Williams Park, where you’ll find the famous Portland Head Light—the oldest and most photographed lighthouse in the United States. Then, head to Old Port, where you can shop at dozens of local boutiques and grab something to eat at popular restaurants, like Duckfat, The Holy Donut, and Luke’s Lobster Portland Pier. 

If you’re a beer drinker, don’t miss the chance to explore Portland’s buzzing independent craft brewery scene. Allagash Brewing Company and Oxbow Blending and Bottling are two local breweries that should top your list. Or, you can go lobster catching, whale watching, or sightseeing on a boat ride from Casco Bay. 

Weather And Directions

With average temperatures in the high-60s, you may still need a light jacket in May, but you won’t have to worry about rain, sleet, and snow common during the winter. 

If you’re flying into Portland, you’ll likely fly into Portland International Jetport, just a five-mile drive from Downtown Portland. Once you arrive in the city, you can begin to experience many of the best things to do in Portland immediately.

Hotel Recommendation

Brittany says, “When you’re ready to rest and relax, consider Portland Regency Hotel & Spa in Downtown Portland. This hotel is located in the heart of Old Port, so you’re never far from the famous dining, shopping, and nightlife in the area. Plus, the hotel’s beautiful interior and fantastic amenities are a great bonus, too!”

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San Diego, California

By Maria from San Diego Explorer

San Diego, California is a great choice for a getaway. It is one of the best places to visit in the USA in May as the summer crowds are not here yet and it is not too hot. You can get reservations at some of the best restaurants in San Diego and you can leisurely explore the top things to do.

Known as one of the best zoos in the United States, the San Diego Zoo is definitely one of the city’s most popular attractions. In late spring, you will see also lots of cute little baby animals jumping around the exhibits, a special sight to see.

Consider taking the ferry from downtown San Diego across the San Diego Bay to Coronado. You can explore the Coronado Ferry Landing, stroll along Orange Ave and explore the adorable shops and restaurants, and then visit the iconic Hotel Del Coronado. 

In May, you can celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Old Town San Diego. This is not a traditional Mexican Celebration, but still a fun event. Old Town San Diego puts on a great show that is fun for the whole family and you will find some tasty Mexican food there as well.

If you want to get a real taste of Mexico, you can add a day-trip to Tijuana. It is easy to reach by car or the trolley and you can just walk over the border. 

Directions And Weather

San Diego is easy to get to with the San Diego International airport right in the heart of the city. Downtown is only about a 5-7 minute taxi-ride.

Average temperatures are pleasant between 60-69 F. In the mornings, you will often have overcast skies, especially along the beaches, known as “May Gray”. But no worries, it usually clears up around 11:00 am or 12:00 pm. You have almost no chance of rain in May and you can enjoy plenty of sunshine. In other words, the weather is perfect for walking around the city. 

Hotel Recommendation

Maria says, “Depending on your itinerary, you can either stay on the beach at one of the many beautiful beach resorts (some of my favorites are the Bali-styled Catamaran Inn in Mission Bay and The Seabird in Oceanside) or right in the heart of Downtown (the Grant Hyatt towers are a great choice, as you are in the city, but still get a stunning bay view).”

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best places to visit in the USA in May
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota (Photo courtesy of Samantha from PA On Pause)

Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

By Samantha from PA On Pause

In May, the northern parts of the United States have thawed from the cold winters. Voyageurs National Park, one of the less-visited in the national park system, is absolutely beautiful and one of the best places to go to in America in May.

The massive lakes which make up Voyageurs National Park typically thaw completely by early to mid-May, opening up boat access to the far corners of the Park. The landscapes begin to turn lush green, and temperatures are lovely especially compared to the harsh Minnesota winters.

Be sure to get out on a boat and see the beautiful scenery from the water. In May, you might get lucky and catch a glimpse of one of the many pairs of bald eagles who nest every year there. You may even see their young poking their heads up from the nest waiting for food.

Fishing season for popular walleye, northern pike, and sauger opens in mid-May. If you like to fish, this is a fantastic way to enjoy your day. However, if you prefer to explore on land, you’ll enjoy walking the trails and other attractions which are less crowded this time of year.

Make a stop at the Ellsworth Rock Gardens and imagine the amount of time Jack Ellsworth spent creating these sculptures and designs. Also, imagine this being the location of your summer home (as it was for Jack)!

The other notable historic feature of the park is the Kettle Falls Hotel, visited by fur traders, lumberjacks, and those hoping to find gold at Rainy Lake sites. Now it’s a spot where you can get away from the hustle and bustle. It’s also one of the only places in the United States where you can face south and be looking into Canada!

Weather And Directions

Expect average highs in the mid-60’s and lows in the 40’s so make sure you pack a light coat. 

To get to Voyageurs National Park, fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). From here, there are two options. If you like road trips and driving, the scenery on the four and a half hour drive is stunning. If you’d prefer a more direct route, there are typically 1-2 flights per day from Minneapolis-St. Paul to International Falls (INL). You can reach many parts of the Park within 30-45 minutes by car. 

Hotel Recommendation

Samantha says, “Options are limited for overnight stays in the Park, and the most common place people spend the night is at one of the many campsites scattered throughout.

For overnight hotel accommodations outside of the Park, stay at the Cantilever Hotel in International Falls. Set in an old distillery, this unique hotel offers free parking and is within about 15 minutes of the Rainy Lake Visitors Center in Voyageurs National Park.”

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best places to visit in May in the USA
Roanoke, Virginia (Photo courtesy of Erin from Go Hike Virginia)

Roanoke, Virginia

By Erin from Go Hike Virginia

There’s a lot to love about Roanoke, especially in late-spring when sunny, scenic views are plentiful. Located in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a drive along the winding Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-do while in Roanoke. In spring, flowering shrubs and colorful wildflowers, like mountain laurel and rhododendrons, wow passing motorists on the scenic byway.

Make a stop at Explore Park at milepost 115 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This 1,100-acre recreation area wows with disc golf, hiking and biking trails, kayaking, camping and tubing on the Roanoke River.

In town, plan to hike to the Mill Mountain Star, the world’s largest man-made star that stands proud at 100 feet tall. An overlook boasts far-reaching views across the Roanoke Valley. The iconic steel star has been welcoming visitors to Roanoke since 1949.

Roanoke is one of the best places to visit in May in the USA. Music lovers flock to downtown for Festival in the Park at Elmwood Park. The outdoor festival has it all – crafts, food, music and games. The home opener for the Salem Red Sox, the area’s minor league baseball team, is another must-go in May for hometown baseball and selfies with Mugsy, the team’s lovable mascot.  

Hungry? Settle in at Texas Tavern, a classic 10-stool diner in Roanoke. This longtime cash-only establishment serves up burgers and chili bowls for less than $2 each. The Cheesy Western, a burger topped with a fried egg, cheese, pickles and sweet relish, is a local favorite.

Directions And Weather

Roanoke is an easy two-hour drive from Greensboro, North Carolina, which is home to an international airport with air service from five national and regional airlines.

Expect lots of sunshine and temperatures in the mid-70s in May.

Hotel Recommendation

Erin says, “Stay the weekend in-town at the Hampton Inn & Suites Roanoke Downtown. Centrally located, this hotel is less than two blocks from family-friendly attractions like the Roanoke Pinball Museum and the Harrison Museum of African American Culture.

Before you return home, fill up at Scratch Biscuit Company. The buttery, from-scratch biscuits are delicious, but they also serve up pancakes, eggs and hash browns.”

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best destinations to visit in May in America
New Orleans, Louisiana (Photo courtesy of Michelle from That Texas Couple)

New Orleans, Louisiana

By Michelle from That Texas Couple

New Orleans is one of the best places to visit in May. The heat of the summer has not yet descended on the city. Known for its fabulous food, fun festivals, jazz music, and interesting history, New Orleans offers something for everyone!

If you are visiting in May, then you have missed the craziness associated with the annual Mardi Gras celebration. Do not worry though, there are still numerous things to do in New Orleans

New Orleans hosts festivals throughout the year, and May has a great one, the annual Jazz Festival.  The New Orleans Jazz Festival, which is one of the top festivals in the Big Easy, draws in thousands of people every year. 

While visiting New Orleans, you have to try the fabulous food that made New Orleans famous. For this, grab beignets at Café du Monde, a po’boy sandwich from Killer Po’boys, a muffuletta from Napoleon House, and some Cajun food at Evangeline. 

After your belly is full and you are ready to explore, spend time walking around the French Quarter taking in all of the European architecture while watching and listening to the fun street performers. While exploring the French Quarter, do not miss Royal Street. It is lined with great antique shops and unique art galleries, all of which welcome visitors to come inside and enjoy the items that they have for sale. 

Other fun things to do while visiting include shopping at the French Market, checking out the art around Jackson Square, taking a history tour (there are lots of free walking ones), or taking a day trip from New Orleans to visit the swamps or plantations. No matter what you choose to do while in New Orleans, embrace the city and its unique culture and you are guaranteed to have a good time. 

Weather And Directions

The average temperature ranges from the 60s to the 80s, making it an ideal destination to explore in May.

Getting to New Orleans is easy. New Orleans is home to an international airport, the Lois Armstrong International Airport. After arriving, you can easily grab a shared ride or taxi to get to the French Quarter.  I would not recommend renting a car as the French Quarter is easily walkable. In addition, a trolley system runs from the French Quarter to the Garden District. 

Hotel Recommendation

Michelle says, “The French Quarter is where I would recommend staying. There are many hotels in the area that will put you in the heart of the action like the Astor Crown Plaza, the JW Marriott, and the Hotel Monteleone.”

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best places to travel to in the United States in May
Great Basin National Park, Nevada (Photo courtesy of Allison from She Dreams Of Alpine)

Great Basin National Park, Nevada

By Allison from She Dreams Of Alpine

Great Basin National Park is a hidden gem and one of the best places to visit in May in the USA. While the weather can be unpredictable, it is an ideal time for hiking and exploring around this massive National Park.

The biggest attraction in Great Basin is the Lehman Caves. You can tour these amazing limestone caves filled with stalactites and other incredible formations on a ranger-guided tour. The required tour reservations are easier to get in early May than in the peak summer season.

You can explore more of the rugged terrain on one of the many hikes in Great Basin National Park. You can find trails that lead to alpine lakes or ancient bristlecone pine trees or even the base of a glacier. If you want a real challenge, you can even attempt the summit of Wheeler Peak, which is the second tallest peak in Nevada. Be aware that you are likely to still find some snow on the trails in May.

Weather And Directions

The average temperature in Great Basin in May is 66°F (around 40°F at night). There are plenty of sunny days, though spring showers or even snow is a possibility.

Since Great Basin sits in the eastern corner of Nevada right by the Utah border, you can fly into Salt Lake City (a 4-hour drive) or Las Vegas (a 5-hour drive).

Hotel Recommendation

Allison says, “You can camp at one of 5 campgrounds in the park (although some of them don’t open until Memorial Day) or find lodging in the nearby town of Baker, Nevada.”

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best places to visit in the USA in May
Anna Marie Island, Florida (Photo courtesy of Paula from Paula Pins The Planet)

Anna Maria Island, Florida

By Paula from Paula Pins The Planet

Anna Maria Island is a barrier island on the western side of Florida’s Gulf Coast and is surrounded by the Intracoastal Waterway, Tampa Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. It offers a quaint town packed with great attractions and pristine beaches, making it one of the best places to visit in the USA in May.

Anna Maria Island is a great place to visit all year long, but May is arguably the best month of the year. Considered low season, you will face fewer crowds, with very pleasant temperatures with blue skies all day long. You won’t see such good weather during summertime since Florida normally has a very wet summer with unexpected rain, and higher temperatures hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit. 

One of the best attractions in Anna Maria Island is the stunning beaches, and you can choose from private and public beaches. Holmes Beach is on top of the list for the best private beaches. You will find fewer people, especially during the week and the sand is unbelievably soft. You can hear the sounds of the waves, collect shells, go for a run or walk and watch incredible sunrises and sunsets.  

Among the public beaches, one of the best is Manatee Beach Park, offering great parking spots, and amenities nearby, including lifeguard stations, cafes, a volleyball area, and showers. 

Weather And Directions

Average temperatures reach around 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are three major airports around the Island from which to choose. The Sarasota-Bradenton international airport is located just 18 miles – about a half-hour drive. Another option is Tampa International airport, 50 miles away and about an hour-long journey. You can also fly into Orlando International Airport, located about 2 hours driving.  

Hotel Recommendation

Paula says, “There are several great options for accommodations, such as the Compass Hotel Anna Maria Sound, with a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, and a fitness center.” 

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Washington, DC, District Of Columbia (Photo courtesy of Harold Mendoza from Unsplash)

Washington D.C, District Of Columbia

By Sarah from Road Maps And Restaurants

Washington D.C. attracts millions of tourists every year but it is one of the best places to visit in the United States in May. You will be able to explore the best of what the city has to offer before the peak summer heat and crowds. 

Throughout May, Washington D.C. celebrates its’ international embassies with Passport D.C., a month-long journey highlighting its thriving international diplomatic community and their unique cultures. May is International Cultural Awareness Month in Washington and Passport DC is 31 days of programming by 70 embassies.

In addition to Passport D.C., visitors should check out one of the 19 famous Smithsonian museums situated along the National Mall. The Smithsonian museums are all free and make a great activity for any age. Popular museums to check out include the National Air & Space museum, Museum of Natural History and the newest Smithsonian, the Museum of African American History and Culture. 

From walking the National Mall and seeing all of the National Monuments and Memorials to enjoying a delicious meal at one of the many outdoor dining options, May is a great time to take a long weekend and explore Washington D.C.. Every Friday evening, the National Gallery of Art hosts Jazz in the Garden, a free concert series from 5 – 8:30 in the Sculpture Garden.

Weather And Directions

Visitors can expect the weather in the District to be in the low to mid 50s in the mornings and low to mid 70s during the day, making it an incredible time to explore the city. 

Washington D.C. is accessible from three major airports.  Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (airport code: DCA) is the closest airport followed by Washington Dulles International Airport (Airport code: IAD).  Additionally, visitors can fly into Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (airport code: BWI). BWI is the farthest of the three airports and is really closer to Baltimore, MD.  Visitors flying into BWI will have an hour drive or Amtrak ride into Washington D.C while visitors choosing DCA will have a 5 minute drive to get to the National Mall.

Hotel Recommendation

Sarah says, “Staying in Dupont Circle serves as a great base camp within the city as it’s close to both Embassy Row and is a quick walk, Metro or Uber ride from the National Mall.

For a luxurious option, visitors should check out the Dupont Circle Hotel. The Canopy by Hilton Washington Embassy Row is a more affordable option.”

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best places to visit in the USA in May
Grand Canyon, Arizona (Photo courtesy of Alan Carrillo from Unsplash)

Grand Canyon, Arizona

By Debbie from World Adventurists

The Grand Canyon is an amazing destination where you can witness the beauty and power of nature on a grand scale. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, visiting the Grand Canyon will leave you in awe with its overall size and scale, combined with the breathtaking landscape. It is one of the best places to visit in the USA.

Do not miss spending a day driving along the South Rim. It is 25 miles of scenic views and takes around 4 hours to complete, if you stop to enjoy the breathtaking landscape and outlooks. Navajo Point is the highest point of elevation on the South Rim and has some fabulous panoramic views.

Get deeper into the Canyon by going on day-long and multiple-day hikes. One of the easier and shorter trails within the park is the Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge (3 miles roundtrip). You will get another mind-blowing perspective from hiking into the canyon. If you would prefer a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon, take a helicopter ride. You will not believe your eyes!

May is an excellent time to visit the Grand Canyon, with more comfortable temperatures and without the summer crowds. Visiting with more comfortable weather is especially important if you will be hiking into the canyon. Temperatures will be warm enough to still be comfortable, but cool enough to safely hike the park’s trails before the summer heat arrives.

Weather And Directions

In May, temperatures can reach high 70s and at night, drop to the 40s. Keep in mind that elevation can effect this. Late spring is also one of the drier seasons in the park.

To visit the Grand Canyon, fly into Las Vegas, Phoenix, and or Flagstaff and rent a car. From Las Vegas, it is around a 4-and-a-half-hour drive, Phoenix is a 3-and-a-half-hour drive and Flagstaff is an hour and a half away. Otherwise, you can take a bus or ride the Grand Canyon Railway.

Hotel Recommendation

Debbie says, “Lodging inside the National Park fills up fast, so ensure you reserve ahead of time. Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins has a natural rustic character to it and is a National Historic Landmark.”

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Savannah, Georgia

By Vicky from The Traveling Monkey

One of the best places to visit in in the USA in May is Savannah, Georgia. The weather is great and in May, visitors will find some pretty fun events going on.

Savannah Comic Con, the Savannah Scottish Games, and the Doggie Carnival are just a few. On nearby Tybee Island, visitors can also enjoy the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Sand Arts Festival. There are also plenty of shows and concerts throughout town in May.

For those on a budget, there are also a lot of free things to do in Savannah. The city is known for its 22 public squares, so visitors should put on their walking shoes and explore as many as possible. Each is unique with different statues and memorials, and all are beautiful.

There is also a lot of history in Savannah. Visitors can go on a free walking tour that covers the last few hundred years. It’s a great way to learn about the city’s founders, historic homes, Black history, and even discover movie locations!

Savannah’s architecture is also worth noting. One of the most iconic and visited structures in Savannah is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The cathedral is free to enter, although they do appreciate a donation. It is known for its white exterior, stained glass windows, and Renaissance-style murals

Weather And Directions

The weather is great, with an average high temperature of 84°F and an average low temperature of 65°F. The rainy season hasn’t yet started, so visitors will only get the occasional shower.

Savannah is easy to reach by plane or car. Visitors wanting to fly can land at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (Airport Code: SAV). Those wanting to do a road trip can get to Savannah off of Interstate 95.

Hotel Recommendation

Vicky says, “ The Marriott Savannah Riverfront is a great choice. It’s right on the Savannah River and a short walk away from popular River Street which has many restaurants and attractions.”

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best places to visit in May in the USA
New York City, New York (Photo courtesy of Martha from May Cause Wanderlust)

New York City, New York

By Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

New York City is one of the best places to visit in the USA in May because the sunny but mild weather makes it easy to experience the best of this exciting metropolis.   

If you do a walking tour of Manhattan, you’ll see many of the famous neighbourhoods and iconic landmarks, like Greenwich Village, the Flatiron Building, The Empire State Building and the New York Public Library.

Of course, you’ll want to get somewhere high for a look at the famous New York skyline – and in May, you have a great chance of clear views. A classic choice is to go to the observation deck on the Empire State Building, but the Top of the Rock observation deck has something better: a view of the Empire State Building itself.

If you like drinks with your views, consider one of the many rooftop bars in New York – for example, Westlight in Brooklyn offers exquisite tapas and cocktails with its panoramic views of Manhattan.

A trip to New York isn’t complete without eating some good food.  For an old school pizza, try Lombardi’s on Spring Street. A good choice for steak is Keens Steakhouse. In addition, if you want something a little fancier, Jean-Georges at 1 Central Park West has exquisite tasting menus (and the tuna sashimi ribbons are incredible).

Visiting New York can be a little intimidating for first time visitors. For some great tips to help you save time and money, stay safe, and how best to travel around the city, check out 50 Best New York City Tips For First Time Visitors.

If you intend to travel there with children or teens, here are recommended activities and attractions:

Weather And Directions

With highs of 68°F (or 20°C), the weather is bright and warm but not too hot. This makes May perfect for picnicking in one of the many city parks. For example, Central Park will be decked out in its most vibrant green finery. 

To get to New York, you have several airports to choose from: La Guardia (30 mins to Manhattan by car) Newark (40 mins) and JFK (45 mins), with lots of public transportation options.

Hotel Recommendation

Martha says, “There are plenty of Airbnb available in New York, but a good budget hotel choice could be the Chelsea inn, which is close to both Chelsea and the Flatiron district.”

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Napa, California

By Christine from My Traveling Kids

With beautiful warm temperatures, Napa is one of the best places to visit in the USA in May.

There are several amazing wineries to explore in Napa that it’s often hard to narrow them down. One strategy is to choose a diverse selection to visit.

One favorite is Jarvis Estate. You won’t believe how massive this 45,000 square-foot cave is. However, make sure you find the spectacular waterfall. You’ll want to sit here all day listening to the water flowing as you look at the wine barrels lining the cave walls.

After your tour of the cave, make your way to the Tasting Room, where you can sample several Jarvis Estate and Reserve Collection wines.

The next vineyard is Castello di Amorosa, which is a replica of a 13th century Tuscan castle. The courtyard is lovely, and you will feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. Walk around the castle and take a stroll through the vineyard.

Finally, your last vineyard should be Darioush Winery. This winery is inspired by the owner’s Iranian culture and they have chosen to share it with visitors. The torch outside of the winery will take your breath away and the pillars that loom at the entrance are amazing. After you finish your tasting, tour the vineyard, gardens, and fountains.

Weather And Directions

Average temperatures in May are 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is an easy one-hour drive from either Oakland International Airport or San Francisco International Airport. You should check out both airports to find the cheapest flights from your destination.  

Hotel Recommendation

Christine says, “When it comes to a hotel recommendation, it has to be The Archer in downtown Napa.  The Archer is located within walking distance to over 20 tasting rooms, cute boutiques, and trendy restaurants. It has a fabulous rooftop bar that offers breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views of the valley as well as downtown Napa.  You also don’t have to go far for one of the best restaurants in Napa, because the Charlie Palmer Steak House is right at the hotel.”

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best places to visit in the united states in May
Moab, Utah (Photo courtesy of Jessica from Uprooted Traveler)

Moab, Utah

By Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Moab, Utah is one of the best destinations to visit in America in May. The weather is beautiful and it is also less crowded than the middle of summer. Accordingly, you’re more likely to score better prices on airfare and accommodations.

Moab is a quirky town and while it’s known for its red rock cliffs and geological formations, it’s just as memorable for its unique mix of outdoor vibes, Wild Western gruffness, and artsy reverence.

There’s so much to see and do for a tiny town boasting a population of less than 6,000. For example, a trip to Moab wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Arches National Park, where you can hike and explore over 2,000 sandstone arches carved over time, including the iconic Delicate Arch.

For a different kind of scenery, drive to either Canyonlands National Park or Dead Horse State Park, where you can walk along the edge of a mesa, peering down to the canyon floor thousands of feet below, carved by the Green and Colorado Rivers.

While Moab is all about outdoor adventure, be sure to save some time to explore the town itself, full of colorful murals, art galleries, and locally-owned food trucks.

Weather And Directions

The skies are clear and sunny, with daytime highs in the low 80s, before the scorching heat of the summer months.

To get to this gem of a town, you’ll need to fly into Salt Lake City and make the four hour drive to southeastern Utah. While that may sound like a lot of driving, the landscape along the way is absolutely stunning.

Hotel Recommendation

Jessica says, “Staying at Red Cliffs Lodge will immerse you even deeper into Moab’s landscape. Located right on the Colorado River, with red rock cliffs soaring 2,000 feet overhead, it’s the perfect spot to watch the sunrise – coffee in hand – take a dip to cool off after an afternoon hike, and make your home base during your stay in Moab.”

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Asheville, North Carolina (Photo courtesy of Candice from CS Ginger)

Asheville, North Carolina

By Candice from CS Ginger

Asheville is one of the best places in the USA to visit in May. The weather is very nice with lots of lovely spring blooms. It is located in the charming Blue Ridge Mountains and has great outdoor activities. It is also famous for its breweries. There are more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US.

One of the biggest attractions in Asheville is the historic Biltmore Estate. George Vanderbilt built a 178,926 square foot mansion which included a swimming pool, a library with over 22,000 books, and beautiful gardens. Today, the mansion is open for tours.

Another fun thing to do is explore the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. The stretch of roadway is commonly referred to as “America’s Favorite Drive.” Along the way, you will find beautiful waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and lots of great hiking trails.

The hike to the top of Mount Pisgah and Frying Pan Mountain Lookout Tower boast beautiful views of the area. If you love waterfalls, consider hiking to Moore Cove Falls as well.

Weather And Directions

You can expect average highs around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and average lows around 53 degrees Fahrenheit. There are about eight days of rain in May. The weather is starting to heat up as it approaches summer but is still very nice in May to explore and hike.

Asheville Regional Airport is about 17 miles south of the city center. Because of the small size of the airport, flights may be expensive and limited in availability. The closest international airport to Asheville is Charlotte Douglas International Airport. It is about 120 miles southeast of Asheville.

best places to visit in the US in May
San Antonio, Texas (Photo courtesy of Victoria from Texas Travel 365)

San Antonio, Texas

By Victoria from Texas Travel 365

One of the best places to visit in the USA in May is Texas as the weather is beautiful before the scorching heat of summer. You may not think of Texas as one of the top places to go, but that is a huge mistake, particularly the San Antonio area and surrounding Texas Hill Country.

One of the best things to do in San Antonio is to see the historic Spanish Missions, a UNESCO Heritage Site. You can bike among them or take a tour and learn about their history. Of course, the most famous is the Alamo!

Next, you should visit the San Antonio Riverwalk. There is so much to see and do here and it is home to some of the best restaurants in San Antonio.

Finally, make sure to take a day trip to Texas Hill Country and see the cute towns and beautiful views.

Weather And Directions

It is around 86F high and 66F low which is the perfect temperature to enjoy sightseeing.

You will want to fly into San Antonio International Airport, but you can also fly into Austin as flight prices may be a little better.

Hotel Recommendation

Victoria says, “If you are looking for where to stay, consider Hotel Indigo which is right in the San Antonio Riverwalk area.”

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Kauai, Hawaii (Photo courtesy of Karsten Wiegeart from Unsplash)

Kauai, Hawaii

By Nikki from She Saves She Travels

Kauai is one of the best places to visit in May in the USA. It’s just before the busy summer season, yet past the rainy season so it’s literally the perfect time to visit!

One of the top things to do on the island is visit the best Kauai beaches. If you’re looking for amazing snorkeling, try Tunnels Beach or Kiahuna Beach. For sunbathing, Poipu Beach or Hanalei Beach are great. However, be weary of waves on the North Shore – they can be quite rough!

Other popular activities include seeing the NaPali Coast from the Kalalau Lookout at Koke’e State Park. It’s a stunning sight, and one you won’t soon forget! Be sure to stop at the Waimea Canyon. And if you’re feeling adventurous, strap on some hiking boots and hike the famous Waimea Canyon Trail, where you’ll feel the vast canyon from the inside!

Weather And Directions

You’ll see averages in the mid-70’s, although with humidity it feels more like over 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. The sun gets really hot in Kauai so be prepared with plenty of reef-safe sunblock! Oh, and pack an umbrella because there are often short pockets of rain showers.

To visit Kauai, you’ll fly into the Lihue Airport either directly or transfer from another Hawaiian Island like Oahu. 

Hotel Recommendation

Nikki says, “Once you arrive in Lihue, I recommend a hotel or renting a vacation property in Poipu. It’s the sunniest and driest side of the island and is also convenient to a bunch of restaurants. The Sheraton Kauai Resort is right on the beach. Upgrade to a waterfront view for the ultimate hotel experience. Staying in Poipu also lets you explore the rest of the island easily. Poipu is about 30 minutes south of the Lihue Airport.”

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Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

By Paulina from Paulina On The Road

Wisconsin Dells is a city in south-central Wisconsin and a popular tourist destination. Travelers should consider visiting in May because the temperature is not too hot and the summer crowds have not yet arrived.

The city has a lot of great activities for visitors to enjoy. Travelers can start their trip by taking the Original Wisconsin Duck Boat Tour. This vehicle takes you on a water excursion on the Wisconsin River and Lake Delton. After that, it transforms into a land vehicle and roams around exploring nature trails. It is pretty cool.

Another terrific option is hiking in Wisconsin Dells on the East Bluff Wood Trail. It is a smooth, stairless, and open trail where you can experience rocky streams while listening to nature. 

Finally, you should visit Wilderness Waterpark Resort, the largest waterpark resort in America. There are four indoor and four outdoor water parks. It is a perfect place for families as there is something for every age. Kids can enjoy the slides and adults can take a lazy bath. You can even book a poolside cabana for a day.

Weather And Directions

The average temperature is 61 degrees Fahrenheit in May, with some cloud.

It is easily reached with a flight to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and then drive two hours to Wisconsin Dells

Hotel Recommendation

Paulina says, “Tourists can also stay at the Wilderness Resort as it offers a wide variety of accommodation including luxury condos and stand-alone cabins.”

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