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Savannah, Georgia

When is the best time to visit the South?

Savannah, Georgia

The best time to visit the South is between March and May, when the weather is warm and sunny, around 16°C to 29°C, and the nights are pleasantly cool.

By June, heat and humidity become a consideration. Travel over July and August is best avoided unless you’re comfortable in the sticky heat of a southern summer, with temperatures sitting between 31°C and 33°C.

By September and October, temperature and humidity levels have dropped from their summer highs to a more pleasant 23°C to 31°C and, in the Great Smoky Mountains, the turning trees provide a dramatic fall display.

There is a risk of occasional hurricanes, particularly along the coast, from June to November.

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Month-by-month guide for traveling in the South

Longwood, Natchez

Visiting the South in January - March

Winter is relatively mild in the South, with balmy temperatures along the Gulf Coast. There is increased rainfall across the area, while snow in the mountains can close some of the higher passes. New Orleans pulls in the crowds for Mardi Gras, when the city gets very busy and prices go up, but this vibrant celebration is well worth the additional expense.

Events & Festivals

  • Mardi Gras culminates on Shrove Tuesday (usually in February), with the largest and liveliest parades and street parties in the preceding few days in New Orleans.
  • The Spring Pilgrimage in Mississippi, sees historic antebellum homes open to the public from mid-March to mid-April in Natchez
Charleston Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Visiting the South in April - May

Spring in the South is an ideal time to visit, when the climate brings warm, sunny days and cooler nights. By mid-April, the gardens at Magnolia Plantation outside Charleston are in bloom, most of the roads and trails in the Great Smoky Mountains have reopened, and all the heritage sites are up and running.

Events & Festivals

  • The Jazz & Heritage Festival (late April to early May) celebrates music and culture, from blues, R&B and gospel to country, bluegrass and Cajun in New Orleans.
  • The Spring Pilgrimage in Mississippi, sees historic antebellum homes open to the public from mid-March to mid-April in Natchez
Jekyll Island

Visiting the South in June - August

By June, temperatures across the South are noticeably higher. By July, it’s hot and sticky with averages of 30°C and highs of 40°C. Coupled with high humidity levels, it can feel unbearably hot. To cope with the heat, you could follow the locals and head for the coast to relax on Jekyll Island off Georgia or see nesting sea turtles on the South Carolina beaches.

Events & Festivals

  • Elvis Week, each August commemorates the anniversary of the King’s death with panel discussions, live music and the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis.
  • The CMA Music Festival takes place in early June each year and features four days of concerts in the home of country music, Nashville.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visiting the South in September - October

September sees a welcome decrease in temperature and humidity, making the South’s fall another good time to visit (though the chance of hurricanes reaches its peak along the coast between August and October). The turning leaves provide a fiery backdrop to the Natchez Trace Parkway, an old trade route from Nashville to Natchez, and the Great Smoky Mountains are particularly scenic at this time of year.

Events & Festivals

  • During the three-week Fall Pilgrimage (late September into early October) in Natchez, Mississippi, costumed guides will show you around the city’s historic homes and offer an insight into their original owners.
  • New Orleans’ Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is a festival of music, concerts and costumed street parties, which happens around Hallowe’en in New Orleans.
Jackson Square in New Orleans

Visiting the South in November - December

Although temperatures fall considerably in winter, the weather is still generally mild in the South with higher rainfall and only rare snowfall. Cities take on a magical appearance around Christmas, with the lights at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort a major attraction. It’s also a great time to take in the special events at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, which hosted the Grand Ole Opry for more than 30 years.

Events & Festivals

  • New Year’s Eve is another big party night with fireworks, plenty of live music and a buzzing bar scene in New Orleans.

South Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Atlanta 11°C 129mm 13°C 121mm 17°C 145mm 23°C 113mm 27°C 106mm 30°C 96mm 32°C 125mm 31°C 96mm 28°C 91mm 23°C 79mm 17°C 95mm 12°C 111mm
Baton Rouge 16°C 133mm 18°C 137mm 22°C 123mm 26°C 130mm 29°C 126mm 32°C 123mm 33°C 157mm 33°C 143mm 31°C 118mm 27°C 86mm 22°C 109mm 18°C 141mm
Charleston 14°C 87mm 16°C 81mm 19°C 104mm 23°C 65mm 27°C 87mm 30°C 137mm 32°C 150mm 31°C 174mm 29°C 129mm 25°C 81mm 20°C 62mm 16°C 76mm
Memphis 9°C 104mm 11°C 109mm 16°C 133mm 22°C 134mm 27°C 126mm 31°C 93mm 33°C 89mm 32°C 80mm 29°C 86mm 24°C 73mm 16°C 120mm 11°C 131mm
Nashville 8°C 104mm 10°C 104mm 16°C 126mm 22°C 104mm 26°C 117mm 30°C 97mm 32°C 100mm 32°C 86mm 28°C 86mm 23°C 69mm 16°C 105mm 10°C 116mm
New Orleans 17°C 127mm 19°C 134mm 22°C 126mm 26°C 120mm 29°C 124mm 32°C 138mm 33°C 167mm 33°C 157mm 31°C 141mm 27°C 77mm 22°C 107mm 18°C 129mm

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Travel advice

Practical tips for traveling to the South, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest Government of Canada travel advice.

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