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Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, California

When is the best time to travel in the US?

Due to its sheer size and range of landscapes, regional climates across the US vary dramatically from season to season.

Southern California generally enjoys a pleasant year-round climate — mild in winter and hot in summer, making it a great place to visit in any season. Northern California around San Francisco, is cooler and can be prone to sea mists along the fog belt.

Hawaii enjoys a tropical climate that’s warm and inviting year-round.

The South and Southwest experience hot, humid summers but mild winters and great conditions for outdoor activities in the Spring. Hurricanes can affect the Gulf and east coasts most commonly from August to October, while tornadoes can be a common phenomenon in southern and central states in the summer months.

Temperatures in the Rocky Mountains change with altitude, but summers here are generally warm and pleasant, while winters often see heavy snow making travel planning tricky and unpredictable.

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US Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Boston 2°C 96mm 3°C 93mm 8°C 100mm 14°C 95mm 20°C 89mm 25°C 83mm 28°C 79mm 27°C 89mm 23°C 88mm 17°C 90mm 11°C 113mm 4°C 105mm
Chicago -1°C 44mm 1°C 38mm 7°C 68mm 14°C 95mm 21°C 84mm 27°C 97mm 29°C 99mm 28°C 99mm 24°C 89mm 18°C 65mm 9°C 72mm 2°C 63mm
Dallas 13°C 49mm 15°C 65mm 20°C 78mm 25°C 102mm 28°C 133mm 33°C 87mm 35°C 57mm 35°C 52mm 31°C 93mm 26°C 96mm 19°C 65mm 14°C 57mm
Denver 6°C 12mm 8°C 15mm 11°C 32mm 16°C 43mm 22°C 66mm 27°C 46mm 31°C 47mm 30°C 39mm 25°C 33mm 19°C 25mm 12°C 23mm 8°C 15mm
Las Vegas 14°C 12mm 17°C 12mm 20°C 11mm 25°C 6mm 31°C 5mm 37°C 3mm 40°C 10mm 38°C 13mm 34°C 8mm 27°C 6mm 19°C 11mm 14°C 9mm
Portland 8°C 159mm 11°C 112mm 13°C 105mm 16°C 72mm 20°C 59mm 23°C 43mm 27°C 18mm 27°C 28mm 24°C 48mm 18°C 82mm 12°C 153mm 8°C 169mm
Seattle 7°C 149mm 10°C 103mm 11°C 93mm 15°C 62mm 18°C 40mm 21°C 37mm 24°C 20mm 24°C 28mm 21°C 43mm 16°C 87mm 10°C 145mm 8°C 143mm
Washington DC 6°C 73mm 7°C 70mm 13°C 87mm 19°C 78mm 24°C 96mm 29°C 90mm 31°C 100mm 30°C 105mm 26°C 89mm 20°C 78mm 14°C 82mm 8°C 82mm

Month-by-month guide to traveling in the US

St. Petersburg, Florida

Visiting the US in January - March

Winter is a good time to visit the southern half of the country – including the Deep South, California and the Southwest, with pleasant temperatures and often sunny days. It’s also a better-value and less-busy time to visit. The nights can be cold, particularly in the deserts, but temperatures are ideal during the day for outdoor activities such as hiking and sailing.

Events & Festivals

  • Mardi Gras, New Orleans’ biggest festival, culminates on the day before Ash Wednesday, with the largest and liveliest parades and street parties in the preceding few days.
  • St Patrick's Day (17th March): The St Patrick's Day parade in Chicago is a celebration of all things Irish. Join the party as the city and the river turns green and pints of Guinness can be enjoyed in every bar. Read more
Louisiana Swamplands

Visiting the US in April

If you’re planning to visit the South or Southwest, April is an excellent time to travel, with warm, sunny weather. The national parks, forests and wetlands are lush and vibrant, wildlife is more active a variety of events take place in towns and cities as they emerge from winter.

Events & Festivals

  • Baseball season (April to September): The baseball season is long enough to be accessible to many visitors. Catch a game in Chicago, Boston or New York for a quintessential American experience.
  • Ski season in Colorado and Utah (April): The peak of the ski season in Colorado and Utah is in April, with more than enough snow covering the ground, coupled with sunny days and pleasant temperatures.
Bison in Yellowstone National Park

Visiting the US in May

Spring has arrived in most of the country. Sunny days reveal vivid-green vegetation, attractive prairie grasslands and wildlife newly emerged from winter. Mild temperatures mean you can explore in comfort and enjoy outdoor activities.

While Pacific storms can bring Hawaii most of its rainfall in May, the southwestern states are typically warm and dry, making it a good time to explore their natural landscapes. 

 

Events & Festivals

  • Baseball season (April to September): The baseball season is long enough to be accessible to many visitors. Catch a game in Chicago, Boston or New York for a quintessential American experience.
  • Memorial Day takes place on the last weekend of the month and is recognized with parades and commemoration ceremonies.
The Ampitheatre at Sunrise from Bryce Point, Bryce Canyon National Park

Visiting the US in June

June offers the best of both worlds in the northern half of the country, as you can experience warm, sunny days without the crowds of summer. The Rockies are perhaps at their most majestic, national parks are verdant and full of life, while in cities, you can take advantage of the weather at outdoor cafes and restaurants, in parks and gardens, and by following lakeside trails and cycle paths.

It’s also a good time to visit the south, where temperatures are ideal for outdoor and water-based activities like biking, hiking, fishing or sailing. 

 

Events & Festivals

  • Baseball season (April to September): The baseball season is long enough to be accessible to many visitors. Catch a game in Chicago, Boston or New York for a quintessential American experience.
  • Wildflowers in Colorado (June): The mountains and valleys of Colorado are carpeted in bright wildflowers in full bloom at this time of year.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Visiting the US in July - August

Summer in the northern states is the most comfortable time to explore the outdoors, with many of the region's national parks at their very best. Take a hike into Montana's Glacier National Park, see the steaming geysers of Yellowstone or stay on a ranch in the Rockies. 

In the southern half of the country, the hot summer months are filled with outdoor events, including fourth of July fireworks. The southwest attracts a dry heat and the south eastern states see humidity soar, inviting occasional thunderstorms to break up the heat.

 

Events & Festivals

  • July 4th celebrations: A day of barbecues, fireworks, carnivals and fun events across the country to recognize the Declaration of Independence.
  • Baseball season (April to September): The baseball season is long enough to be accessible to many visitors. Catch a game in Chicago, Boston or New York for a quintessential American experience.
Zion National Park

Visiting the US in September - October

The summer crowds have started to disperse in the southern half of the country by September, making this a quieter, better-value time to visit. However, storms are more prevalent along the eastern and central coast, with the hurricane season producing wet and windy weather. You’ll find less risk of storms further west, where temperatures are still pleasant and it’s a good time to explore the national parks of Utah and California. Meanwhile, Hawaii basks in warm, sunny days and you’ll find fewer visitors than in the summer months.

Events & Festivals

  • Baseball season (April to September): The baseball season is long enough to be accessible to many visitors. Catch a game in Chicago, Boston or New York for a quintessential American experience.
The view from the top of the Teton Village gondola, Grand Teton National Park

Visiting the US in November - December

Colder, shorter days mark the arrival of winter, with many areas in the northern half of the country experiencing their first snowfall in November. In southern states, the end of the year is milder and can be inclement in places, with rain showers possible. However, temperatures in the South are still pleasant. 

There’s a noticeable air of anticipation across the country as Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, approaches, when travel becomes much busier.

Events & Festivals

  • New Year’s Eve celebrations: See fireworks filling the sky and enjoy parties across the USA. Read more
  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November): A national holiday giving thanks for the harvest and the preceding year, marked with traditional parades in many cities.

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to the US, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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