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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 61°F to 84°F, 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 88°F and 91°F.

By September and October, temperature and humidity levels have dropped from their summer highs to a more pleasant 73°F to 88°F 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 86°F and highs of 104°F. 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 52°F 5" 55°F 5" 63°F 6" 73°F 4" 81°F 4" 86°F 4" 90°F 5" 88°F 4" 82°F 4" 73°F 3" 63°F 4" 54°F 4"
Baton Rouge 61°F 5" 64°F 5" 72°F 5" 79°F 5" 84°F 5" 90°F 5" 91°F 6" 91°F 6" 88°F 5" 81°F 3" 72°F 4" 64°F 6"
Charleston 57°F 3" 61°F 3" 66°F 4" 73°F 3" 81°F 3" 86°F 5" 90°F 6" 88°F 7" 84°F 5" 77°F 3" 68°F 2" 61°F 3"
Memphis 48°F 4" 52°F 4" 61°F 5" 72°F 5" 81°F 5" 88°F 4" 91°F 4" 90°F 3" 84°F 3" 75°F 3" 61°F 5" 52°F 5"
Nashville 46°F 4" 50°F 4" 61°F 5" 72°F 4" 79°F 5" 86°F 4" 90°F 4" 90°F 3" 82°F 3" 73°F 3" 61°F 4" 50°F 5"
New Orleans 63°F 5" 66°F 5" 72°F 5" 79°F 5" 84°F 5" 90°F 5" 91°F 7" 91°F 6" 88°F 6" 81°F 3" 72°F 4" 64°F 5"

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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 US State Department travel advice.

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