Skip to main content

When is the best time to visit United States?

Travel advisory

The information on this page is based on historical averages and may not reflect current conditions. Please check with local authorities for the latest travel advice.

Read more

The best time to visit the USA is either during spring (late March to late May) or autumn (late September to late October). These are the shoulder seasons before and after summer, so promise mild temperatures and fewer visitors in the most popular destinations.

From east to west, the U.S. measures 2,680 kilometres across – and in that range there are five climate regions. So, the best time to visit the USA really does depend on what specific location you have in mind. If you’re not fussed, then spring and autumn are generally the most pleasant times to be in the U.S.

Lasting from mid-March to late May, spring brings warm temperatures and beautiful natural scenery to the national parks, forests and wetlands of southern states like California, Florida and Nevada. The northern states and cities take some time to catch up – but when they do, the likes of New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago become popular city break destinations. Similarly, ‘fall’ guarantees pleasant temps and mesmerising autumnal landscapes in many parts of the country. So for lovers of outdoor activities like hiking, biking and camping, these shoulder seasons are the perfect time to make the trip.

Monthly weather and travel tips for United States

After the excitement of Christmas, things are much quieter across the USA in January. The northern states, in particular, can feel bleak with short days and heavy snowfall affecting many regions. So you’ll need to take your thickest winter coat to stay toasty in cities like Boston, New York and Philadelphia, which hosts its annual Mummers Parade on New Year's Day. Instead of avoiding the snow, embrace it at ski resorts like Park City, Utah, and Aspen, Colorado – both famed for their powder skiing and the latter for the Winter X Games competition held at the end of the month.

By contrast, southern states like Florida, Louisiana and Texas are much warmer with average highs of 16–18°C. Southern California also draws its fair share of sun seekers in January, mainly to the beaches of Orange County and laid-back San Diego, or the desert landscapes of Palm Springs, Joshua Tree and Death Valley. But Hawaii is the place to go if you really want to escape the winter blues, with temperatures fixed in the low to mid 20s every day.

12°C

High

3°C

Low

In February, the days are cold and dark across many of the northern states. However, it’s a great time to enjoy cosy mountain resorts and take advantage of discount prices in major destinations like Chicago and Washington D.C. You could time your trip with Presidents Day (a national holiday) on the third Monday of the month, or the Superbowl – America’s biggest sporting event of the year. Alternatively, head into the wilderness of Wyoming and Montana for wolf-watching safaris and dog-sledding adventures – but be sure to wrap up in your warmest clothes.

In the southwest, tourists flock to the Grand Canyon to see it in its snow-dusted winter glory, while further east in New Orleans locals and visitors alike will be gearing up for the legendary parades and masquerade balls of the Mardi Gras festival held at the end of the month. It’s much warmer down here during February, so if you plan to go then pack lighter clothing and a colourful costume to don on the night.

12°C

High

4°C

Low

With the first buds of spring, many Americans – particularly those in the south – can start to think about festivals and holidays once more. States like Georgia, Tennessee and California are warming nicely, and it’s during March that huge crowds of young Americans descend on Florida to spend their spring break. This is the warmest part of the country, with average highs of about 22°C and more beaches than you can shake a snorkel at.

But the change isn’t quite so obvious further north, where continued snowfall keeps the ski season going strong in states like Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. You’ll need to wear plenty of layers if you’re planning a trip to the likes of Boston or New York – two cities which battle it out for the best St. Patrick’s Day parades every year. And come the end of the month there’s nowhere better than Washington D.C., where hundreds of pink and white cherry blossoms bloom around the capital’s Tidal Basin in coincidence with the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

16°C

High

7°C

Low

In April, the northern states can finally begin to shake off the winter chill. Temperatures can climb into the mid teens and sunny days start rolling in. However, much of the snow is replaced by rain – especially in coastal regions including New England and the Pacific Northwest – so it’s best to come prepared for wet and windy weather.

Down south, it’s road-tripping season. If you’re planning a cross-country junket, April is a great month to see the southern national parks while avoiding the summer crowds. Those in Utah and Arizona are excellent options to explore while en route to Las Vegas, Nevada. The world’s gambling capital isn’t too hot this time of year, and hosts its annual Great Vegas Festival of Beer at the start of the month. Other major events taking place in April include California’s Coachella Music Festival, Miami’s Wine and Food Festival, New Orleans’ Jazz & Heritage Festival and The Boston Marathon. Easter Sunday and Earth Day (22 April) are celebrated nationwide.

20°C

High

11°C

Low

April showers bring May flowers – or so the saying goes. By now, most of the US will be swathed in great patches of green and vibrant wildflowers in full bloom. With daily highs of 18–23°C, it’s also warm enough to explore northern metropolises like New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. without worrying about the cold – though you might want to take a light waterproof jacket just in case.

These peak conditions make May a prime time to experience the country’s natural wonders too. Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Utah’s many national parks turn into geological wonderlands, particularly as the wildlife comes out of hibernation, while California’s Death Valley is primed for sensational Milky Way views. The month’s big event is Cinco de Mayo – a celebration of Mexican culture with live music, dance and family-friendly activities in locations across the nation. Memorial Day, one of the country’s biggest public holidays, arrives on the last Monday of the month, marking the start of the summer holiday season.

24°C

High

15°C

Low

The beginning of June is arguably the sweet spot of the US calendar. For a week or two, the weather is warm and sunny nearly everywhere you go, and tourist numbers are yet to peak. It’s a great time to visit national parks such as California’s Yosemite, when the waterfalls are at their most spectacular as the high-altitude snow causes rushing meltwater. The festival season is also in full swing, with major events including Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, Tennessee) and the legendary San Francisco Pride parade taking place.

Further north, temperatures will be a little fresher but still consistently warm – especially in waterfront cities like Cleveland, Providence and Atlantic City. There’s no shortage of events either. Take Chicago’s Blues Festival – a free, three-day party celebrating blues and jazz – or New York’s aqua-themed Mermaid Parade on Coney Island. But the main attraction is ‘Summerfest’, held each June in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and currently the USA’s largest music festival.

27°C

High

19°C

Low

July is one of the hottest and most crowded months to visit the U.S. With schools broken up for summer, American families join tourists in the national parks and beach resorts up and down the country, so you’ll need to make reservations well in advance. Temperatures stay comfortably within the high twenties and hit the mid thirties in southwestern cities like Austin, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona. It’s more humid in the east, but occasional thunderstorms help to mitigate the heat.

If you time your visit right, the 4 July celebrations are not to be missed. Taking place all over the country, America’s Independence Day is honoured with parades, parties, fireworks and all things red, white and blue. July is also ideal for exploring the otherwise rainy Pacific Northwest, with cities such as Seattle and Portland coming into their own. The former hosts the Bite of Seattle food festival in July, while the latter goes craft beer crazy at the Oregon Brewers Festival. Other July highlights include Santa Fe’s Folk Art Festival and Taste of Chicago – the largest food festival on the planet.

29°C

High

21°C

Low

Expect sweltering heat in August, with daytime temperatures rarely dropping below the mid thirties in the south. It’s also incredibly humid in some eastern cities and regions, from which the best escape will be your nearest waterfront. But brace yourself – most beaches are packed with city dwellers and families cramming in a summer holiday before school restarts. However, that also means lower rates and thinner crowds in otherwise crowded destinations like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The good news is that the USA has thousands of miles of glorious coastline on offer – from the shorelines of New England to the beaches of the Carolinas and Southern California’s Pacific Coast. You could also take the opportunity to explore mountainous national parks such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton, both in Wyoming, or those found in Alaska, which enjoys long and mild days during August. Elsewhere, the Iowa State Fair runs in state capital Des Moines for most of the month, while tennis fans clamber to see world pros take to the court at New York’s thrilling US Open.

29°C

High

20°C

Low

September brings calm and cooler temperatures to much of the US, with only the hottest cities in the south recording daytime temperatures higher than 30°C. It’s worth bearing in mind that September also marks the start of hurricane season in Florida, so it’s probably best to avoid. The month kicks off with Labor Day – a national holiday which signals the unofficial end of summer, involving big parties and barbecue cookouts up and down the country. New York’s Electric Zoo music festival and the Detroit Jazz Festival are two notable examples.

Other important days in September include Patriot Day, which commemorates the events of 9/11, and Constitution Day on 17 September. California’s wine harvest also occurs in September, while beer and bratwurst lovers rejoice with the arrival of Oktoberfest to cities such as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. But the ultimate party is none other than Burning Man – a nine-day jamboree of electro music, mesmerising artwork and community spirit in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

27°C

High

18°C

Low

Temperatures tumble in October, as the transitional season brings enthralling autumnal colours to the northern states. It's not too cold though, so you can comfortably explore the forests of New England and seek out the best viewpoints to admire the kaleidoscopic canopies. Other autumn leaf hotspots in the US include the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, and Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

The southern states cool down but still cling to warm temperatures, so now would be a good time to experience the dazzling lights and sights of Las Vegas. Further south, Fantasy Fest – Key West's answer to Mardi Gras – brings tens of thousands to the subtropical enclave in the ten days before Halloween. The 31 October holiday is one of the most exciting events of the year, with Halloween-themed parades taking place in New York, Los Angeles and Salem, Massachusetts

22°C

High

14°C

Low

Tourist numbers drop off sharply in November, as winter takes hold. Cold winds blow through many of the northern states, bringing plenty of rain and even snowfall to some. Down in Florida, the end of hurricane season triggers the start of a warm but drier period that’s ideal for visiting the theme parks of Orlando. So what you pack really does depend on which region you visit, as the north and south climates differ significantly at this time of year.

Veterans Day is held on 11 November, while Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of the month. Of the many national celebrations that occur on this day, the most famous is the Macy’s Day Parade in New York, renowned for its giant floats and marching bands. The following day is Black Friday – a major date in the Christmas shopping calendar with stores offering hefty discounts all over the country. If you’re visiting New York, you might also want to consider a trip up to Boston to follow the Freedom Trail and discover where the American Revolution began.

17°C

High

8°C

Low

December is a busy month in the US. Not only do the streets of major cities become filled with Christmas shoppers, but it’s also the month that ski season kicks off in the Rockies. Resorts in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah bustle with winter sports lovers, determined to make the most of the fresh snowfall, while cities across the east and midwest are illuminated with incredible festive displays, including European-style markets and ice-skating rinks. You’ll need to wrap up if visiting the north in December – and it’s best to make reservations well in advance in order to avoid the highest rates.

Elsewhere, southern destinations like Miami and San Diego are still warm enough so that you can walk around in a t-shirt. Christmas Day itself is taken as a national holiday, while New Year’s Eve sees amazing fireworks displays all over the nation. New York’s Times Square is a legendary spot, where the ‘time ball’ descends a flagpole during the minute-long countdown to midnight. December is also the best time of year to see the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights, throughout Alaska.

14°C

High

6°C

Low

Weather and temperature in United States

Knowing the best time to visit the U.S. depends on what you’re looking for in a trip. If weather is your main concern, then it’s worth bearing in mind that the USA contains five distinct climate regions that vary significantly at any given time of the year. However, the most pleasant temperatures generally occur during spring and autumn across most of these regions.

The Northeast – home to cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia – gets average highs of 9°C during spring and 11°C during autumn, with frequent showers across the region. In contrast, the sun-kissed cities of the Southwest like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego bask in temperatures of 12–17°C through both shoulder seasons. Further up the West Coast, Portland and Seattle are cooler and wetter, being in the states of Oregon and Washington respectively. Late spring temperatures are warmer in Midwest hotspots like Chicago and Columbus but can get chilly in autumn, while Southeast cities like Miami and Orlando, Florida, and New Orleans, Louisiana, experience average highs of 19–22°C in both seasons.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
New York High 4°C 4°C 8°C 15°C 21°C 25°C 29°C 27°C 24°C 18°C 12°C 9°C
Low -3°C -3°C 1°C 7°C 13°C 18°C 22°C 21°C 17°C 12°C 5°C 3°C
Las Vegas High 15°C 18°C 23°C 26°C 31°C 38°C 39°C 38°C 35°C 28°C 20°C 14°C
Low 4°C 7°C 11°C 14°C 19°C 25°C 27°C 26°C 23°C 16°C 8°C 5°C
Orlando High 22°C 23°C 25°C 28°C 30°C 31°C 32°C 32°C 31°C 29°C 25°C 25°C
Low 11°C 13°C 15°C 18°C 21°C 23°C 24°C 24°C 23°C 20°C 16°C 15°C
Los Angeles High 21°C 20°C 22°C 22°C 23°C 24°C 26°C 28°C 29°C 27°C 23°C 19°C
Low 9°C 10°C 12°C 13°C 15°C 17°C 18°C 19°C 19°C 17°C 13°C 10°C
Miami High 24°C 25°C 26°C 28°C 29°C 30°C 31°C 31°C 31°C 29°C 27°C 26°C
Low 18°C 18°C 19°C 22°C 23°C 25°C 26°C 26°C 25°C 24°C 21°C 20°C
San Francisco High 14°C 14°C 15°C 15°C 16°C 17°C 18°C 18°C 19°C 19°C 16°C 14°C
Low 9°C 10°C 11°C 11°C 11°C 12°C 14°C 14°C 14°C 14°C 12°C 10°C

Weather data provided by Forecast.io

Cost of stay in United States

Want to travel smart? Here, you can check out the average cost of accommodation per night in the United States.

    0 73 146 219 292
  • £108 Jan
  • £117 Feb
  • £137 Mar
  • £145 Apr
  • £145 May
  • £144 Jun
  • £145 Jul
  • £142 Aug
  • £147 Sept
  • £152 Oct
  • £136 Nov
  • £150 Dec
    0 73 146 219 292
  • £120 Jan
  • £138 Feb
  • £173 Mar
  • £160 Apr
  • £159 May
  • £173 Jun
  • £181 Jul
  • £169 Aug
  • £148 Sept
  • £146 Oct
  • £138 Nov
  • £169 Dec
    0 73 146 219 292
  • £39 Jan
  • £42 Feb
  • £51 Mar
  • £55 Apr
  • £56 May
  • £57 Jun
  • £57 Jul
  • £57 Aug
  • £58 Sept
  • £57 Oct
  • £53 Nov
  • £61 Dec
    0 73 146 219 292
  • £165 Jan
  • £180 Feb
  • £222 Mar
  • £202 Apr
  • £203 May
  • £235 Jun
  • £247 Jul
  • £214 Aug
  • £197 Sept
  • £192 Oct
  • £201 Nov
  • £241 Dec
    0 73 146 219 292
  • £150 Jan
  • £154 Feb
  • £172 Mar
  • £169 Apr
  • £172 May
  • £177 Jun
  • £186 Jul
  • £179 Aug
  • £176 Sept
  • £175 Oct
  • £164 Nov
  • £170 Dec

The best places to visit in United States

Check out some of the most popular cities, places to visit and things to do in United States!

What other travellers say about their holiday in United States

More inspiration for your United States trip