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Grand Canyon National Park

When is the best time to visit the USA?

Grand Canyon National Park

The best time to visit the northern USA is between May and June. The best time to visit the southern USA is in spring (March-May), or autumn (September-November).

The northern USA boasts a largely similar climate from coast to coast, but has defined seasons. May and June bring pleasant temperatures (around the early mid-twenties), colourful flora and fauna. Crowds will be less busy than they are in summer, giving you more space to explore.

Winter can bring heavy snowfall and frozen lakes. Summer temperatures range from warm (25°C) to very hot (40°C). Cities in particular can feel stifling, but the coasts and national parks are usually cooler. Autumn, meanwhile, is renowned for the changing colours of the leaves.

The southern USA has less obvious seasons, but distinct regional differences, with the climate becoming more humid toward the east. In spring, it’s a warm 20°C to 28°C, while in autumn the temperatures gradually cool from 31°C to 19°C.

Winter is dry and warm, becoming colder further north, while summer is ideal for relaxing on the beach or hiking in national parks, although it can be very hot and humid. Hurricanes can occur in the southeast during August and September.

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Month-by-month guide for travelling in the USA

St. Petersburg, Florida

Visiting the USA in January - March

The northern states of the US are cold in winter, with short days and heavy snowfall affecting access in many regions. As a result, prices are much lower than at other times of the year and there are fewer tourists. A visit to a city like Chicago or New York is still rewarding, however, with lots of indoor attractions including fine galleries and museums and of course great restaurants and shops.

Winter is a lovely time to visit the southern half of the country, with pleasant temperatures and a good deal of sunshine. It is also a cheaper and usually less busy time of year. 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

  • Saint Patrick's Day (17th March): The Saint Patrick's Day parade 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 in Chicago.
Louisiana Swamplands

Visiting the USA in April

In the northern US, the bite of winter starts to ease in April, and although it can still be cold the snow has started melting and temperatures begin to go up. The snow is replaced with some rainfall; especially in coastal regions including New England and over in the Pacific Northwest, but there is a sense that spring is close.

Down in the south, April is a perfect time to travel, with warm sunny weather. The national parks, forests and wetlands are lush and vibrant, the wildlife is more active and there are a wide number of events in towns and cities. This is also when the baseball season starts.

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 Grand Teton National Park

Visiting the USA in May

Spring has arrived in almost all areas of the northern US. Sunny days reveal lush green vegetation, attractive prairie grasslands and wildlife as it emerges from winter. It is an excellent time to visit this part of the country, with comfortable temperatures allowing for exploration and outdoor activity.

While Pacific storms can bring Hawaii most of its rainfall in May, the weather across the rest of southern US is typically warm and dry; making it a good time to explore most locations. The Memorial Day holiday takes place on the last weekend of the month and is recognised with popular parades and commemoration ceremonies.

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 Ampitheatre at Sunrise from Bryce Point, Bryce Canyon National Park

Visiting the USA in June

June is a lovely time of year to visit the northern US, with sunny warm days and fewer visitors than the summer. The Rockies are perhaps at their most majestic, national parks are lush and verdant, while the great cities of the region take advantage of the weather with outdoor cafés and restaurants, parks and gardens, lakeside trails and cycle paths all bustling with activity.

The lovely warm June weather found in the southern states lends itself to time spent outdoors; with biking, hiking, fishing and sailing all proving popular with visitors and locals alike. Numerous festivals are held in June with a particular focus on cuisine, arts and crafts and music.

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 a myriad of bright colours at this time of year as a variety of wildflowers bloom, creating wonderful scenery.
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Visiting the USA in July - August

The summer in the northern states of the US is a 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 and take a boat trip out on Lake Michigan. The northeast coastline is buzzing through the summer, with the beaches of Cape Cod in New England proving particularly popular. Although the cities of the east are hot and humid in summer, the temperate climate of the northwest can bring slightly milder weather with more average rainfall.

In the southern half of the country, the hot summer months are filled with outdoor events, including the 4th of July national holiday, making it a very popular travel season. The weather does have a distinctly different feel from one coast to the other; with the southwest attracting a dry heat and the eastern states seeing humidity levels increase; particularly in Florida and the Deep South states, which feel decidedly tropical and experience occasional thundery storms and heavy rains, which break up the heat.

Events & Festivals

  • 4th July celebrations: A day of barbecues, fireworks, carnivals and fun events across the country to recognise the Declaration of Independence. One of the best firework displays is over the National Mall in Washington.
  • 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.
A typical Vermont red barn and maple tree

Visiting the USA in September - October

In the northern US, autumn welcomes the changing hues of the foliage; a spectacle that, in New England especially, brings lots of visitors. Throughout the region, striking golden and red colours extend across the landscape of national parks, forested valleys and even the urban green spaces of cities like New York and Washington. The weather is usually still fine, with sunny, bright days in many places.

The summer crowds have started to disperse in September and prices started to drop, but storms are more prevalent in the southeastern states at this time of year, with the hurricane season producing wet and windy weather. There is less risk of storms further west, where temperatures are still pleasant. It is a fine time to visit the southwest; particularly if exploring the national parks. Meanwhile, the islands of Hawaii are lovely, with warm sunny days and fewer visitors.

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 USA in November - December

Colder, shorter days mark the arrival of winter, with many areas in the northern half of the country attracting 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, the temperatures in the Deep South and Florida are still fine and pleasant.

There is a noticeable air of anticipation across the country, with the national celebration of Thanksgiving starting an extended sociable and festive period leading up to Christmas.

Events & Festivals

  • New Year's Eve celebrations (31st December): There are few cities in the world that can boast such an incredible New Year celebration with fireworks filling the sky and a party in Times Square, New York.
  • Thanksgiving Day (fourth Thursday of November): A national holiday giving thanks for the harvest and the preceding year, marked with traditional parades in many US cities. Two of the largest and most popular are held in Detroit and New York.

USA 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
New York 3°C 84mm 4°C 78mm 9°C 99mm 16°C 102mm 22°C 106mm 27°C 91mm 29°C 106mm 28°C 102mm 24°C 95mm 18°C 85mm 12°C 104mm 6°C 94mm
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 D.C. 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

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Travel advice

Practical tips for travelling to the USA, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest FCDO travel advice.

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