Skip to main content

Go on a dream trip: These are the best places to visit in May

Where should you vacation in May?

Nantucket lighthouse and daffodils
Nantucket, Massachusetts ruthiejmiller via Unsplash

In May, the weather’s sweet, and the prices are reasonable, giving you abundant travel options. In the Northern Hemisphere, the world awakens from its winter slumber, birds sing, and nature blooms, creating a rejuvenating mood. 

Not only that but with thin crowds, you’ve got everything to yourself, so you can explore in peace and get the most out of your trip. So, where should you go? We’ve compiled a list of the best places to visit in May, from coastal retreats to cultural hubs. Here’s where we’d go.

Our favorite May destinations around the world

May isn’t the most popular month to travel. But maybe it should be. Summer months bring dense crowds and high costs. Winter ski trips can bring the same, along with a corresponding chill. But May makes things easy with its refreshing mood, sparse travelers, and palatable pricing.

Picking a May destination is like perusing a color palette, with various shades to suit your fancy. Maybe you need a place to unwind by the ocean, take in the salty air, and enjoy fresh seafood. Or if you want to get closer to nature, going on safari in pristine wilderness could be the ticket. Either way, we’ve got something for you.

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Lighthouse in Nantucket
Nantucket, Massachusetts Rusty Watson via Unsplash

During May in Nantucket, you’ll have mile after mile of coastline to yourself, letting you soak in the ocean air in peace. Three million blooming daffodils capture the springtime feeling, and temps in the mid-50s to mid-60s are just right for relaxing. 

Then there’s the food. Visit local markets like Nantucket Seafoods or Glidden’s Island Seafood, and pick from fresh lobster, Nantucket Bay scallops, oysters, and much, much more. Or, check out the Nantucket Wine & Food Festival from May 15-19, with a curated selection from local artisans and chefs. 


Elephant playing in river, Zambia
Zambia Nicole Olwagen via Unsplash

In our changing world, truly unspoiled places become more and more scarce. That can be especially true with regard to wildlife, with animals in zoos replacing those in their natural habitat. But Zambia lets you get up close and personal with elephants, lions, zebras, rhinos, and more.

With the Emerald Season ending, May is the perfect time to go on safari, providing mellow weather on long days and ideal lighting for vivid photographs. Besides that, Victoria Falls along the Zambezi River provides a stunning natural sight.

Louisville, Kentucky

Horses racing in the Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby Kentucky Derby Official Website

The Kentucky Derby lasts around two minutes. During that span, there’s unmatched tension and excitement as thoroughbreds strain and race toward the finish line. But the competition isn’t the only attraction on derby day. The track at Churchill Downs becomes a cultural hub with a vibrant atmosphere, celebratory mood, and unique Kentucky fare.

Try a mint julep cocktail — composed of whiskey, sugar, water, and mint — while you take in the festive hats worn by race attendees. Get up close with magnificent horses, whose athleticism and power are a sight to behold. Then, when the starting gate opens, get ready for two minutes like you’ve never experienced.

Sicily, Italy

Ancient ruins in Sicily
Sicily, Italy Simon Maage via Unsplash

Italy is an epicenter of history, culture, art, and cuisine. Sicily offers that and more. Just off the toe of Italy’s boot, the island has warm Mediterranean waters, an active volcano, and fascinating ruins. Of course, there’s cuisine options in abundance, from Arancini — deep-fried Risotto rice balls — to Caponata — a salad containing eggplant, capers, olives, and more.

We’d visit the Mount Etna volcano for its continual eruptions that date back 500,000 years. After that, we’d take in Sicily’s ancient ruins, like those found in Agrigento and Selinunte. To cap things off, we’d explore Catania’s street food vendors for a mix of textures and flavors.

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park Ledain via Pixabay

As spring takes shape and nature awakens, what better place to visit than this national gem? Toward the end of May, the park’s mostly open, letting you explore trails and attractions and bask in the pure environment. Since temps hover in the mid-50s, it’s neither cold nor hot, and you can savor the season’s spirit of renewal.

We’d venture to the Grand Prismatic Overlook Trail, then look for Bison in Lamar Valley. At Yellowstone Lake — 20 miles long and 14 miles wide, at 7,500 feet elevation,  — we’d hop in a kayak and take it all in. Then we’d set up camp and settle in for stargazing. 

Travel in May: easy on the wallet and good for the soul

Zambia sunset
Zambia Birger Strahl via Unsplash

For a mix of pleasure, thrift, and peace, traveling in May is hard to beat. You have pleasant weather that encourages relaxation. Light crowds and low prices let you enjoy on a budget. Nature’s bounty is on full display.

These destinations offer a little of everything, whether you’re after natural wonders or a rich cultural experience. Whichever you choose, you’re in for a memorable trip. Happy exploring.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Reif
Mark’s a lifelong snowboarder with a passion for the sport. He lives in Stowe, Vermont, where he also works as a snowboard…
The best things to do in Sedona: 8 can’t-miss experiences
Don't miss these activities in Sedona

Located in the heart of Arizona’s high desert, Sedona is a place of breathtaking beauty, spiritual energy, and outdoor adventure. Complete with towering red rock formations, a vibrant arts scene, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, Sedona offers a wide range of experiences for visitors to explore. No matter what you are looking for, Sedona has something in store for you. Here are a few of the best things to do in Sedona during your trip to the Verde Valley region.
1. Hike in Red Rock Country

Embark on a journey through Sedona’s iconic red rock landscapes by hitting the trails. With over 400 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy walks to challenging treks, there’s something for every skill level in Sedona. The most popular hike in Sedona is Devil’s Bridge, which is the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. This 1.8-mile roundtrip journey is great for both casual and experienced hikers and is one of the most whimsical sights you’ll see during your trip to Sedona.
2. Float down the Verde River

Read more
These popular Delta Amex credit cards — made from a Boeing 747 — are back
Get your hands on a piece of history

American Express and Delta have joined forces once again to redefine luxury in the world of travel rewards. The iconic Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business American Express Card are making a triumphant return, sporting a new stunning feature– cards made from repurposed airplane metal.

In a bold move that seamlessly merges innovation with sustainability, the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card is not only a tool for accruing miles but also a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Let’s dive into the allure of this new credit card, exploring all of the benefits it has to offer. 
The Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card: the details

Read more
How to renew Global Entry (and when you should do it)
passport sitting on top of white paper

Global Entry is an expedited screening program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to breeze through immigration and customs checkpoints when entering the United States. The program saves time and hassle by letting members use automated kiosks rather than standing in regular passport control lines.

If you're already enrolled in Global Entry, you know what a convenience it is -- but a Global Entry membership is only valid for five years before it needs to be renewed. Here's how to renew your membership and ensure uninterrupted access to those coveted kiosks.
When to renew Global Entry

Read more