Once the April showers subside and May flowers burst into bloom around the world, it’s time to shake off the cold weather and welcome the peak of spring by heading to one of the best places to visit in May.
It’s not just balmy springtime weather you can look forward to in the world’s top destinations to visit in May. Ahead of the summer season, you can find great deals on travel, smaller crowds outside of the peak summer months, and the beautiful transformation of landscapes as spring flowers and lush greenery fill the outdoor spaces.
If saving money, enjoying comfortable weather perfect for outdoor activities and exploring cities, and seeing nature show off its springtime best appeals to you, we’ve got you covered with the 15 best places to visit in May below.
The 15 Best Places to Visit in May
From the rainbow of tulips blooming in Amsterdam to breathtaking views and exhilarating hikes in Yellowstone National Park, there are countless adventures and sights waiting when you head to the best places to visit in May.
Take a look at our 15 favorite spots for a May stay below!
1. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam evokes images of Dutch windmills, canals, and endless fields of tulips swaying in the spring breeze in every color you can imagine. If you visit in May, that’s exactly what you’ll get — and a lot more.
The famous tulip fields in Amsterdam will be at their best during the first two weeks of May, offering you a colorful glimpse of this classic annual tradition.
You’ll be delighted with the smaller crowds and lower prices of the spring month of May, too. It’s one of the least busy times to visit this bustling city to tour museums and galleries, barhop, dine, and bike around the city with moderate weather.
May is the perfect time to head to the Keukenhof Flower Garden, grab canal cruise tickets to explore the scenic waterways through the city, and bask in the sunshine with mild temperatures reaching highs around 61F.
The 3-day Rolling Kitchens food truck festival (mid-May) and Liberation Day celebrations (May 5) happen in May, giving you fun options to join in the festivities if you visit this month.
2. Grand Canyon National Park
If you just can’t bear the summer sizzle at the Grand Canyon, May is the ideal time to go. It’s the driest time of the year in Grand Canyon National Park with warm weather and low humidity.
You’ll be able to hike to incredible views and deep into the canyon with clear skies overhead. Daily highs can reach 62-70F in the North and South Rims of the park (92F in the Inner Canyon) while temperatures dip to around 34-63F at night.
The North and South Rims offer the best mild weather during May at Grand Canyon National Park along with some of the best trails and views of this majestic formation and the Colorado River at Mather Point and Lipan Point.
It’s a good time for whitewater rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, hiking, and biking around the park without the crowds and high temperatures of the peak summer months (June to August).
You’ll find conditions are perfect for camping in the park with lower prices on lodging within and around the park this time of year. And since you’ll beat the summer crowds, you’ll have better views of the canyon’s rugged formations and waterways.
3. Yellowstone National Park
If the Grand Canyon appeals to you but you’re looking to head further north, Yellowstone National Park makes a great place to visit in May. It features its own (smaller) Grand Canyon and famous hot springs, geysers, scenic overlooks, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Shared by Montona, Wyoming, and Idaho, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. It gets very busy in the summertime, but visiting in May helps you avoid the biggest crowds and pay less for lodging around the park.
Most people come to check out the 10,000+ geothermal features in the park, including famed Old Faithful geyser eruptions 20 times daily, multi-colored hot springs like Emerald Pool, and the gorgeous Upper, Lower, and Crystal Falls.
The weather can be rainy (the park experiences about 12 days of rain each May) at times, but the comfortable highs around 53F with lows dipping to around 28F make hikes and exploration much more pleasant.
May is a great time to visit Yellowstone if you’re hoping to see wildlife. Newborn bison and elk roam the park as May’s wildflowers burst into bloom, blanketing the scenery in shades of purple, pink, yellow, and white.
4. La Digue, Seychelles
Sitting east of Kenya in the Indian Ocean, the 115-island archipelago of Seychelles is home to La Digue, the most scenic and photographed island in the chain. May is a less-busy and more affordable month to visit La Digue.
The weather on the island is warm and tropical year-round, but the gentle ocean breeze makes the average 85F temperatures this month feel a bit more comfortable.
You can expect some rainfall during May on La Digue, but the rainstorms are short-lived in most cases. There are around 15 days of the month with some rainfall in May.
Visit Anse Source d’Argent, the island’s most famous and often-photographed bouldered beach, to swim and lounge in the warm sunshine this month. Anse Bonnet Carre Beach has gentle surf and shallow water that’s perfect for wading and swimming with small children.
It’s nice time of year to visit the Veuve Nature Reserve on the western edge of La Digue to see a massive bat colony, rare birds, and mammals in this remaining portion of the island’s tropical rainforest.
5. Castries, Saint Lucia
In the sunny Caribbean Sea, Castries sits on the west coast of tropical Saint Lucia and reigns as the tourist (and actual) capital of this popular getaway island. May offers good weather, lower prices, and smaller crowds for your visit to Castries.
While Castries can be overrun with tourists getting off cruise ships and arriving to the island in droves between December and April, the month of May represents a brief period of calm after the crowds dissipate.
As part of the spring shoulder season on the island of Saint Lucia, May sees fewer tourists and more affordable rates on hotels just after the winter/spring peak season. That makes it a great month to enjoy Castries’ beaches, trails, and resorts in relative peace and seclusion.
Expect daily highs in the upper 80s with some rain (about 3.6″ this month). It’s a really nice time to enjoy Vigie Beach, climb to Mount Fortune for great views, or check out the basilicas and old estates around the island.
Imagine near-empty beaches, a wide selection of vacant rooms at the best resorts, and paying less for an all-inclusive Caribbean vacation. That’s the beauty of visiting Castries in May!
6. Tokyo, Japan
Another amazing springtime destination to add to your list is Tokyo, Japan. Known for its pink cherry blossoms that bloom in April, you’ll be delighted to see the other flowers — like hydrangea, wisteria, and azalea — in full color during May.
Tokyo “springs” to life in May as the green spaces and parks around this buzzing city begin to fill with people and families enjoying the warmer, dry weather with highs around 74F and minimal rain.
You’ll find it’s an ideal time to explore Tokyo’s downtown districts, like Shibuya Station for great shopping and Ginza for some of the city’s finest restaurants, theaters, and street food.
May has the right conditions for visiting the popular Sensoji Temple, the oldest Buddhist temple in Tokyo, and Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden where you’ll see the city’s skyscrapers juxtaposed with ancient trees and vast green spaces.
The mild weather makes it pleasant to stroll around Tokyo to enjoy the modern and natural sides of this bustling city. It’s a popular time for tourists, so things can be crowded with higher prices, but it’s well worth it to see Tokyo at its best.
7. Rarotonga, The Cook Islands
In the heart of the South Pacific between New Zealand and Hawaii, Rarotonga of the Cook Islands is a prime destination for a visit during the month of May. May is part of the dry season for the islands when the weather is mild.
As the biggest of the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is one of the most popular with tourists. But during May, ahead of the winter (July-August) peak season, crowds are minimal and conditions are ripe for a secluded, relaxing trip.
Rarotonga experiences highs around 77F with lows around 70F in May. There are about 8 rainy days this month, making it a relatively dry and pleasant time to enjoy the outdoor adventures Rarotonga has to offer.
Try diving, snorkeling at Muri Lagoon, hiking to Run Manga Peak, visiting Maire Nui Gardens & Cafe, hit the Punanga Nui markets, and enjoy a swim or lounge in the sun at Titikaveka Beach during the balmy month of May.
Ahead of the winter peak season, you’ll feel like you’ve got the island to yourself with smaller crowds and shorter lines everywhere you go. It’s a peaceful time to see Rarotonga and experience the wonders of the Cook Islands without the hectic atmosphere of the winter rush.
8. Skaftafell National Park, Iceland
Skaftafell National Park is one of Iceland’s gems for adventurous tourists who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. This wild and rugged park in southern Iceland features glaciers, mountains, forests, great birding and wildlife, and amazing waterfalls.
May is the ideal time to visit Skaftafell for glacier hikes, waterfall and wildlife viewing, and cool weather with extended sunshine hours that give you more time to explore and enjoy the park.
Expect daily highs in the low 40s and overnight lows that dip to around 37F during May. The rainfall is minimal with under 2.5″ on average throughout the entire month.
This is a prime time to hike out to Skaftafellsjökull Glacier and the Skeiðarárjökull glacial valley or to the stunning Öræfajökull glacier to see the Hvannadalshnjúkur volcano — the highest point in Iceland.
Snowmelt makes hiking to the Svartifoss waterfall in the middle of the park particularly incredible. Iceland’s highest waterfall, Morsárfoss, plunges about 745 feet down into the Morsár River and is stunning to see.
Wildlife in the park also comes alive during the spring. Puffins migrate back to Iceland around April, birding is at its best, and you’ll be able to spot Arctic foxes if you’re crafty enough (and bring binoculars).
9. Petra, Jordan
If you’ve always wanted to see this rock-hewn Wonder of the World, May is a great time to head to Petra, Jordan to explore the preserved ruins of this ancient city carved right into the rock.
You’ll walk the streets of Petra to see the awesome facades of Roman and Byzantine buildings with warm temperatures around 82F this month, dropping to about 50F at night. The milder, dry weather makes visiting Petra much more pleasant.
Crowds and slightly higher prices at surrounding hotels are part of visiting during May as one of the months with the best weather and conditions for touring and exploring this ancient city. But for the milder weather, you’ll find it’s worth it.
Exploring the sacred sites and historic rock-hewn architecture is ideal in May as the wildflowers bloom around the old city. You’ll want to see the Treasury, Monastery, Great Temple, Al-Siq, Qasr al-Bint, and the Byzantine Church as you walk through.
The ancient tombs and mausoleums are other sites to put on your Petra list in May. Check out the Palace Tomb, Corinthian Tomb, Silk Tomb, Urn Tomb, and Royal Tombs while you’re here.
10. Santorini, Greece
The month of May is an ideal time to head to to the sun-soaked island of Santorini in Greece. Flowers are in full bloom, the white buildings shine under blue roofs against the sparkling sea, and the weather is warm and dry.
Temperatures hover around 75-80F during May on Santorini, making it one of the best times to experience life on this Grecian isle. Rain is minimal for endless sunny beach days, dining outdoors, and climbing the old steps to explore the cliffside neighborhoods and towns.
Ahead of the peak late summer season, May is when you can enjoy smaller crowds and more affordable prices throughout Santorini. The water is warm enough for a swim, so head down to Perissa Black Sand Beach or Kamari Beach!
Walking tours and sunsets in Santorini can make a May visit absolutely perfect and memorable while you’re here.
You can hike along the ancient volcanic rim when you follow the easy Fira-Oia trail or visit ruins and artifacts at Ancient Thera and Akrotiri Archaeological Site. Santorini’s excellent wineries and vineyards are a great way to spend a day in May!
11. The Galápagos Islands
May happens to be one of the best months to come see the Galápagos Islands and their abundant wildlife, lush surroundings, and amazing preserves that keep the islands wild and unspoiled.
You can expect smaller crowds and relatively nice weather this time of year with temperatures in the low 70s and upper 80s, but also brief-but-daily afternoon rain showers (this is part of the wet season).
On Santa Cruz Island, you can hang out on Galapagos Beach at Tortuga Bay and check out lava tunnels and tortoises older than you with an official guide at Reserva El Chato.
Head out to snorkel around the amazing Kicker Rock formation on San Cristobal Island, see marine iguanas at La Loberia Beach, or admire volcanic rock formations at Cerro Brujo while you birdwatch.
This time of year, sea turtles are building their nests, giant tortoises are hatching, and birds flock around the islands en masse for amazing displays. You’ll even see Galapagos penguins as they begin to migrate!
12. Maui, Hawaii
The island of Maui is a favorite for Hawaiian tourists because it offers such a wide range of things to do, gorgeous beaches, and lush forests teeming with flowers, vegetation, and wildlife.
May marks the start of the best time to visit Maui (running through August) because the weather is ideal, sweet-smelling plumeria and hibiscus are in bloom, and it’s all balanced with smaller crowds and lower prices on accommodations.
In Maui during May, you can look forward to warm, dry weather in the mid-to-upper 80s with endless sunshine and a calmer ocean for snorkeling, swimming, and visiting the beach with kids.
Festivals and events are frequent during May, including the ocean celebration of Olukai Hoʻolauleʻa, the annual Brewer’s Festival at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center for ale-lovers, and Lei Day Heritage Festival at the Bailey House Museum.
Maui is a little less crowded in May because the summer crowds haven’t yet arrived. You’ll benefit with less-busy beaches, restaurants, and hotels that are able to offer top-tier service!
Drive the scenic Road to Hana, head out the highest point on Maui at the Haleakala Volcano, visit Waianapanapa State Park for great beaches featuring white, red, and black sand, and head to the Garden of Eden with lush tropical plants and a peaceful path to stroll.
13. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Come visit Jackson Hole, Wyoming in May to sidestep the winter ski crowds and get to know this natural refuge through thrilling outdoor adventures in a gorgeous mountain setting!
The weather is moderate — a bit chilly, leaning from the 40s to about 60F in May. Rainfall is minimal with less than 2 inches falling this month on average. It’s perfect for enjoying the great outdoors.
May is the least busy time to visit Jackson Hole, leaving fun places like Snow King Mountain Resort wide-open for early summer fun. Horseback riding, zip lining, mini golf, and alpine slides make it a blast to visit when the weather is warm.
Get on the water at Snakes River to raft down class III rapids that will have you white-knuckling and screaming with delight. Look for wildlife and newborn elk, deer, and bison in the wilderness trails of Grand Teton National Park or National Elk Refuge.
Toward the end of May, you can check out Elkfest and Old West Days festivals to learn about the area’s history and take part in themed events including an elk auction by the local Boy Scouts!
14. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
You’ll love visiting St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands during the spring month of May. Fewer tourists are on the island this month, so prices take a refreshing dip and you can enjoy a great stay for less.
The weather is really nice in May on St. Thomas, hovering between 82-87F. It’s just warm enough to make hiking and biking bearable while making a dip in the ocean or pool especially refreshing!
You’ll arrive on the heels of the winter peak season and just ahead of the hurricane season, making May a great time to go. Head to Coki Point Beach, take the Skyride to Paradise Point, visit Coral World Ocean Park, or take in stunning views and splash at Magens Bay Beach.
You’ll find May the perfect month to take a boat tour around the island, swim with dolphins, or check out the St. Thomas Carnival with costumed paraders, music, and food galore.
Kids and adults will love the Pirates Treasure Museum and everyone can get onboard with an extreme zip lining course at Tree Limin’! With cheaper rates on resorts, you may be able to stay an extra day or two in May.
15. The Azores, Portugal
Off the coast of Lisbon, the Azores are a fascinating group of islands that are enclosed by scenic volcanic peaks and endless ocean. Diving, outdoor adventures, and local culture make it a thrilling place to visit in May.
In May, the weather welcomes you with moderately warm temperatures between 60-77F and very little rain (around an inch throughout the month). It’s an ideal time for whale watching.
Tour the Gorreana Tea Factory or Plantação de Ananás dos Açores pineapple farm without crowds, visit the Lagoa do Fogo crater lake, and walk the Miradouro da Grota do Inferno for incredible views.
This is the perfect time to head to the Poça da Dona Beija thermal pools with long-legendary “healing powers” at Parque Terra Nostra in Furnas Valley on Sao Miguel Island. Here, you can try Cozido das Furnas — stew that’s cooked inside an active volcano!
Spend a day exploring the Parque Natural da Ribeira dos Caldeirões, where you can hike and see wildlife before stopping by the museum and cafe to cap your visit.
Things to Consider
Before you head out to one of the best places to visit in May, you should keep these travel tips handy to make the most of your upcoming springtime getaway!
- It might get chilly at night. Even in warmer locations where May sees temperatures above 70F, things can dip down into the 50s, 40s, or even 30s at night in some areas. You should pack a couple of sweaters and pants in case things are cooler than you expect at night.
- Camping can be hit or miss. Summertime camping means it’s hot, buggy, and muggy, but camping in May can mean it’s rainy, cold overnight, or still snowing in some high-altitude areas. If you’re planning on camping at a national park where conditions are still a bit chilly, consider bundling up to camp out or staying in a cabin or lodge.
- Check the weather first. We’ve shown you the temperature and rainfall averages for each of the best May destinations, but weather can be wildly unpredictable around the world. Make sure to take a look at the forecast for your planned trip dates for the best idea of what to expect.
- Get your travel documents in order. If you’ll be heading out of the country for your May getaway, make sure your passport is valid with blank pages and that you start your visa application process (if needed). If you don’t have a passport yet, it can take 7-10 weeks to get your passport after applying, so start now!
Frequently Asked Questions
When you’re planning a May trip somewhere special, it’s really helpful to have answers to some of the most-asked questions your fellow travelers have. Take a look at the FAQs below to learn more!
What is the best place to go in May?
The best place to go in May includes destinations that have mild weather, smaller crowds and lower prices ahead of the peak summer season, like Castries, Saint Lucia, Maui, Hawaii, or the Azores Islands in Portugal.
If you're looking to get into outdoor adventures, wild and rugged places like the Grand Canyon National Park, Yellowstone, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming are ideal in May with cool-but-warming temperatures and great conditions for camping, hiking, and biking.
Where is the best place to holiday in May?
The best place to go on holiday in May depends on how far you want to travel and what kind of scenery and activities you're looking for. Beaches and tropical climates in places like La Digue, Seychelles, Rarotonga, The Cook Islands, and Santorini, Greece are ideal in May.
For exploring ruins and ancient architecture, Petra, Jordan is incredible in May with mild weather. Explore Tokyo, Japan to see temples, try amazing Japanese food, and see flowers in bloom across the city.
To enjoy the great outdoors, head into Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park, go glacier hiking at Skaftafell National Park in Iceland, or head to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for adventure.
Which place is best in the month of May?
We really love Amsterdam in the month of May because it's when the vast tulip fields there are in peak bloom and color with warm weather, little rain, and great chances to explore the city by canal, bike, or walking.
Normally-hot locations, like the Grand Canyon or Petra, are great in the milder month of May to avoid scorching temperatures. Tropical destinations are nice in May as you'll avoid the summer peak crowds and higher prices!
Which state is best to travel in May?
It's impossible to choose a single state that's best to travel to in May, but we'd say Hawaii is pretty hard to beat with its warm, dry weather, minimal rain, smaller crowds, and lower prices this time of year.
You'll arrive to find the native flowers in bloom with amazing color, lush rainforests, and pristine beaches that are less packed with tourists in May.
Is May a good month to travel?
May is a great month to travel if you're heading to a place that won't be swamped with rain, tourists, or very hot temperatures. The 15 destinations on this list are among the best you can travel to in May.
Visiting popular summer or winter destinations in May means you'll save money and avoid the biggest crowds while being able to appreciate the area with lush greenery and colorful flowers along with milder temperatures ahead of summertime.
So, What Are the Best Places to Visit in May?
The best places to visit in May are characterized by affordable prices outside of the peak summer and winter seasons, smaller crowds for a more peaceful trip, and balmy, mild weather that’s neither too hot nor too cold.
We love the idea of visiting places from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia to the rugged wilderness and outdoor adventures of Jackson Hole, Wyoming during the month of May.
Whether you’re heading out to a tropical paradise, venturing to stunning national parks, or ascending high up into the mountains, May can be the most magical month to plan a visit to some of the world’s most stunning destinations.