The Getaway
America's Best Vacation Spots in May

May, with its pleasant temperatures and blooming flowers, is the perfect time to travel. As an additional bonus, you can avoid the huge winter, summer, and spring break crowds. Thanks to holidays like Mother’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, May always has a festival or event waiting for you. Whether you’re looking for some fun with family or just a solitary adventure, the U.S. is rich with destinations that can match your every vacation need.


01 Soar over Albuquerque

Old Town, Albuquerque, NM, USA Esther Ann on Unsplash

If you’re planning on traveling in May, you have to participate in a Cinco de Mayo celebration. Plenty of spots across the U.S. throw some incredible parties, but Albuquerque tops them all. While it’s still unclear if the city will be moving forward with Cinco de Mayo festivals this year, you can celebrate in your own way with some traditional cuisine and dancing. But Albuquerque is so much more than just a Cinco de Mayo celebration spot. Take a hot air balloon flight over the city or go mountain biking through the Sandia Mountains.


02 Smell the tulips in Holland

Even if you can’t travel abroad this May, that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the international allure. Holland, Michigan, has all of the charms of traditional Dutch culture but with an American Midwest twist. Stroll down the heated streets and peruse hundreds of specialty shops and galleries. Stop for a drink near the waterfront or relax on a sandy white beach. If you’re an adventurous traveler, journey through their shady parks or sail across Lake Michigan. May is the perfect time to visit Holland, thanks to their unbelievably beautiful Tulip Time Festival.


03 Brave the heat in Death Valley National Park

Vintage style country highway in USA, travel adventure concept. MBPROJEKT_Maciej_Bledowski / Getty Images

Ignore the downright terrifying name, and you’ll find that Death Valley National Park is actually an area of unique majesty. Intense heat scorches the land during the summer, while winter creates a frozen wonderland. However, if you visit in May, the temperatures are milder, and wildflowers transform Death Valley into a park bursting with life. Journey across the sand dunes or explore a vast maze of trails through the hills. Even though it’s cooler in the spring, make sure to bring plenty of water and some head coverings.


04 Soul search in Sedona

Scenic image of Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Arizona in the evening light with an old tree in the foreground alexeys / Getty Images

People often think of Arizona as nothing more than a desert, but this couldn’t be further from reality. Sedona is a beautiful city that sits in the middle of towering red rock formations and far-reaching canyons. Spend your day hiking across the charming desert landscape before relaxing with some mouth-watering cuisine in rustic and soothing resorts. Of course, the biggest selling point of Sedona is its life-changing night sky. Visit in May this year to see the heavens above in their full glory during the lunar eclipse.


05 Embrace the past in Macon

Macon’s location led to its nickname, “The Heart of Georgia,” but the city does its best to live up to the moniker. Its many museums allow you to learn all about the city’s history, but perhaps the best way to do so is by visiting the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park. In May, the park is full of opportunities to see endangered plants and animals. Join a tour to experience the only spiral mound in North America or set foot in a reconstructed earth lodge. Macon is only a short drive outside of Atlanta, so it’s definitely worth the stop, even if you don’t plan to stay.


06 Have a party in Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina, USA at the historic homes on The Battery.

There’s never a bad time to visit Charleston, but May might just be the best choice. Spring’s mild temperatures mean that you’ll be able to spend hours discovering the city’s history with carriage tours or relaxing on the nearby beaches. Plus, you can participate in tons of events. Catch the North Charleston Arts Fest at the beginning of the month, or check out Wine, Women, & Shoes. You can also gorge on Greek food at the Greek Festival or have fun with pets and wine at VinoPAWlooza. Regardless of how you spend your time, you’re definitely going to leave with fond memories.


07 Search for the sheep in Zion National Park

Zion National Park, UT, Springdale, UT, USA isobel slater on Unsplash

When visiting most canyons, you’re likely to only travel along the rim. However, Zion National Park stands out from the rest because you journey directly through the belly of the canyon. In Spring, there are fewer visitors and cooler weather, so you can fully enjoy the beauty and majesty of the towering walls. In May, the water levels stabilize and allow for some of the best tours of any national park. Do your best to catch sight of the gorgeous long-horned sheep, which are super active this time of year.


08 Get lost in Key West

Key West, Florida, United States, Florida Keys, North America Matthew Micah Wright / Getty Images

If you’re the kind of traveler who prefers to wing it rather than following an itinerary, Key West is the place for you. This unique Florida island is simultaneously energetic, free-willed, and relaxed. Hit the beaches, and you’ll be able to soak in the sun for hours, but you might also find yourself snorkeling in an ocean adventure. Find a guide to encounter some dolphins or rent a boat at the marina and explore on your own. Key West is an island of relaxed freedom, so have fun with it.


09 Journey to the past in Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole, United States Aleesha Wood on Unsplash

Nestled deep in the forests of Wyoming, Jackson Hole is a dream getaway. Step back in history to the Old West as you walk across the wooden boardwalks of Jackson Town Square. In May, join in on Elkfest and Old West Days with horse-drawn parades and shooting competitions. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the chili cookoff or the Brewfest. To experience the best of the region, take a tour on horseback or journey north to Grand Teton National Park. As you adventure through the landscape, keep an eye out for elk, grizzlies, bison, and bald eagles.


10 Do it all in Charlottesville

Red Tulip flowers in the lawn, with Thomas Jefferson's Monticello building in the upper right. N8Allen /

A perfect destination has everything you could want: food, music, history, culture, and adventure. Charlottesville has them all. History buffs can visit the former homes of three of the founding fathers or peek into Edgar Allen Poe’s dorm. Throughout May, you can sip on wine in vineyards, jam out to live music or do both simultaneously. There are also plenty of options for tabletop fans and card players. If you make a reservation, you can even have an entire art museum to yourself and a few friends or family members.


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