No matter your style of exploration, May offers many incredible destinations in the US to discover. Now is a good time to visit before summer crowds arrive and for great shoulder season deals on flights and accommodation.
Yosemite National Park is one of the best places to visit in May if you’re seeking breathtaking waterfalls, majestic granite monoliths and stunning wildflower blooms. Furthermore, temperatures don’t differ dramatically from summer so that outdoor activities can still be enjoyed without fearing overbearing heat.
1. Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park spans vast regions in Nevada and Utah, featuring vast desert landscapes interlaced by wide valleys and streams. Its distinctive basin-and-range topography creates the ideal habitat for animals such as kangaroo rats, long-nosed snakes, bighorn sheep and mountain lions – providing ample room to roam free in this unique wilderness region.
Although remote, this region boasts some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in America as well as an intriguing history that dates back thousands of years. Hiking trails lead visitors into lush alpine forests where they can explore caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites as well as admire some of the darkest night skies anywhere.
The park also reflects its ancient past with rock art petroglyphs and pictographs dating back over 1,000 years, such as Hickison Petroglyphs written by Fremont Indians around 1,300 BCE.
Rhyolite Tuff Ring in Crystal Peak: Don’t miss it! This volcanic outcrop, created approximately 33 million years ago from lava flows, contains many small crystals to discover during your Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive drive (a high clearance vehicle is necessary).
For something challenging and worthwhile, take on the Bristlecone Pine Glacier Trail which leads to two alpine lakes and the 7.5-mile summit of Wheeler Peak. Bring along water as the elevation changes may leave you dehydrated.
Discovering the diverse wildlife of Great Basin National Park is another key draw of visiting in May. Here, you’ll discover over 70 species of mammals, 18 types of reptiles and over 200 types of birds! For big game sightings, plan to be out at dawn or dusk and use binoculars or spotting scope to scan wide expanses.
2. Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park provides the ideal escape into nature. Situated amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains, this national park features numerous activities that will keep you occupied throughout your trip.
No matter your reason for visiting the park – hiking, ranger programs or simply driving down Skyline Drive – there’s plenty to keep everyone occupied at this national treasure. And for something different from hiking alone, why not consider camping overnight at one of its campgrounds?
Shenandoah National Park offers 500 miles of hiking trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Visitors to this national park will also be treated to some amazing ancient rock formations that can be found within its borders.
Spending time in the mountains can be immensely relaxing; it’s like an oasis that allows you to forget your worries and appreciate nature’s stunning landscapes.
Shenandoah National Park has long been a destination of choice for generations of visitors seeking peace and tranquility in nature. Even those unfamiliar with its splendor will feel welcome at Shenandoah NP.
Skyline Drive offers excellent opportunities to spot wildlife, particularly black bears. You may spot them foraging among the trees or along Skyline Drive.
Shenandoah National Park offers spectacular fall colors that often reach their peak between mid-October and the beginning of November depending on weather conditions. However, exact timing may differ year to year depending on climatic factors.
Shenandoah National Park offers more than stunning natural landscapes – it also showcases fascinating historical sites. Corbin Cabin stands as an outstanding example of typical mountaineer housing from 1910.
3. Voyageurs National Park
Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota is an idyllic getaway that should not be missed on your travels to this state. Offering hiking, bird-watching, fishing and more! Don’t miss it during your next Minnesota excursion!
The park is divided into different sections, and each area boasts its own ecosystem. You may encounter forests such as spruce and aspen as well as pine needles, fir trees, paper birches and paper pines in any given section. There are also swamps and bogs which add an interesting element to its surroundings.
Voyageurs National Park offers many activities to enjoy during your stay, but among the most popular are camping and fishing. If you want an even more relaxing experience, why not book one of the lake campsites – accessible either by boat or hiking path, these campsites provide a quiet oasis tucked into nature! Voyageurs is perfect for anyone wanting to escape crowds and find respite in nature!
On the water, it’s also easy to spot wildlife such as deer, moose and bald eagles. When flying over waterways you might even catch sight of one soaring high above you with its bright white head tipped by massive nests!
Voyageurs is home to an abundance of native fish species ranging from walleye and northern pike to yellow perch and lake trout; surely you will find something suitable! Come fishing! You are sure to catch something!
If you’re planning a visit outdoors, make sure to pack a picnic lunch! The visitor’s center features tables and benches where you can savor your meal in either sun or shade.
4. Sanibel Island
Florida’s Sanibel Island beaches are a favorite beachcombers. Dubbed the “Island of Shells”, this barrier island boasts over 400 different varieties of shells – such as sand dollars and scallop/clam varieties – making for an idyllic beachcombing experience.
Visit this southern Florida gem on your vacation, and visit the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum for an educational experience that blends science with culture. Here, you can learn about all of the fascinating sea life that calls this coast home while viewing some of the largest shells ever found!
Are you searching for an active way to explore Sanibel Island beaches? Biking may be just the ticket; with over 35 km of bike trails on offer here, biking could take you everywhere you need to go without needing a car.
Once your ride is complete, take time to explore Old Town Sanibel – it offers shops, restaurants and inns for relaxation and exploration!
Visit the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village to gain more insight into its past. Featuring seven historic homes and telling the tales of Sanibel’s early inhabitants.
Shelling is another enjoyable activity to try on the island, and Bowman’s Beach in particular boasts over 200 species – making it easily apparent why its nickname “the Island of Shells.” Take your basket and hit any one of its beaches: Bowman’s is best-known, while Algiers provides more secluded shorelines on its southern end.
If you love both plants and shells, be sure to visit Sanibel Moorings Resort’s Botanical Gardens. Here you can explore hundreds of native and non-native plants with public tours available daily.
Savannah is one of America’s most stunning historic cities, known for its gorgeous architecture and captivating attractions. Formerly serving as Georgia’s capital city, much of Savannah’s original charm remains.
Strolling Savannah’s Historic District is essential to experiencing its historic charms. This planned district showcases many of the best architectural styles from past, and features many exciting attractions.
Jones Street is frequently considered the most picturesque street in town, and it’s easy to understand why. Lined by red-brick cobblestones lining colonial buildings and offering an idyllic retreat from the center’s historic squares.
Visit Savannah’s open-air City Market, dating back to its founding in 1733, for a change of scene and to experience Savannah like locals do! It serves as a popular gathering spot among both tourists and residents.
Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is another must-see, boasting an exquisite pipe organ with 2,308 pipes and Renaissance-style murals. Not only is it great for kids to learn art but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for adults looking to deepen their faith journey.
History enthusiasts shouldn’t miss visiting Savannah’s Owens-Thomas House – one of its most significant historic homes built by Jewish settlers in 1735 and dedicated to telling their story. It stands as one of Savannah’s premier historic houses!
Walking through Forsyth Park is another pleasant way to spend some time outside in the city. With expansive grounds perfect for sitting back and watching life pass by, as well as providing an ideal place for picnics or games of football.