Best Places to Travel in May
It’s time to get outside, so we’ve included national parks on our list of the top places to visit in May, including one of the oldest, Yosemite, and an introduction to the latest, New River Gorge in West Virginia, United States. Zion National Park is located in Greater Zion, and if you like wine with your views, head to Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Cashiers, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina, as well as regular mainstays San Antonio and Williamsburg, are blooming in the spring. Oceanside, California gets a cameo appearance in a new film. Consider San Juan, merely a few minutes from Miami, or Madeira, Portugal, if you want to go on an island vacation.
1. New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, West Virginia
New River Gorge, the nation’s latest national park and the first in West Virginia, is a great place to visit in the spring. The whitewater rafting season begins in May, and it features some of the greatest rapids on the East Coast. Another way to enjoy the park’s mountains and magnificent gorge vistas include hiking, fishing, backpacking, climbing, and scenic drives. Fayetteville, a picturesque town nearby, has housing options, shops, and eating. Local favorites include Pies and Pints and Wood Iron Eatery. Rent a cabin from Country Road Cabins or Opossum Creek Retreat, or stay at an Airbnb like the Modern Bungalow, Charming Barn Loft, or Secluded Yurt. The closest airport to the park is in Charleston, West Virginia, about 70 miles northwest.
2. Oceanside, California
Oceanside, California, is noted for its surfing beaches, harbor, and one of the longest over-water wooden piers on the West Coast. It is situated approximately 40 miles north of San Diego. Another standout feature is its appearance in the first “Top Gun,” as well as the rehabilitation of the Graves House seen in the movie. The Top Gun House, located at the new Mission Pacific Hotel, will open in May to coincide with the release of “Top Gun: Maverick.” The Seabird Resort, located near the beach, offers private balconies, a spa, and Pacific views. Explore the Oceanside Museum of Art, shop at Tremont Collective, and dine at Valle for some time away from the water.
3. Yosemite National Park, California
May is a magnificent month in Yosemite because of the warm, dry weather, gushing waterfalls, and spring flowers. You may appreciate the park’s natural splendor and the Yosemite History Center and Yosemite Climbing Museum & Gallery before the summer hordes arrive. From May 20 to September 30, 2022, a reservation will be required to enter the park between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. Beginning March 23, reservations will be available on recreation.gov. Relax at Château du Sureau, an exceptional boutique hotel nestled on nine acres in the Sierra Nevada foothills, for a genuinely spectacular experience. With 10 guest rooms, Elderberry House Restaurant, a spa, an outdoor pool, and spacious gardens, the Relais & Châteaux property is about 16 miles from Yosemite.
4. Greater Zion, Utah
Sand Hollow State Park in southwest Utah is noted for its natural beauty and outdoor activities such as boating, hiking, mountain biking, paddleboarding, and scuba diving (yes, you read that correctly!). There’s plenty to do all day and night in Zion National Park, including stargazing. The 2022 IRONMAN World Championship will be held in St. George instead of Kona, and triathletes from all around the globe will participate on May 7. Native American jewelry, weaving, metalwork, sculpture, beading, ceramics, paintings, and Native delicacies, as also dancing, storytelling, and traditional drumming, will be featured at the three-day Festival of the Americas at Kayenta Art Village on May 13-15. All through the spring and summer, Tuacahn Amphitheater hosts Broadway-style musical events. With the weather warming up in May, try staying at Under Canvas Zion, which is about twenty miles from the national park, or staying at Red Mountain Resort in St. George.
5. Madeira, Portugal
Madeira, which is part of an archipelago off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic, has a temperate temperature and nice weather in May. It’s a two-hour flight between the Azores and mainland Portugal, or a two-hour boat voyage from the Canary Islands in Spain. Madeira’s flowers are at their peak in spring for the annual Madeira Flower Festival, which runs from May 5 to 29. Folk groups will play, there will be music, there will be a procession with flower-decorated floats, and there will be floral installations all across Funchal during the cultural festival. Hikes along the coastal cliffs or on Levadas, which were originally intended to move water, allow visitors to take in the scenery. Another option to explore Madeira’s centuries-old structures and colorful street art is to take a stroll through the medieval capital city of Funchal.
6. Amalfi Coast, Italy
This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Campania, Italy, has 34 kilometers of magnificent coastline scenery and seashore communities situated on high cliffs. From old churches to isolated beaches, piazzas, and delectable cuisine, Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello each have something unique to offer travelers. With pleasant, dry weather in the 70s and fewer crowds than in the summer months, May is regarded as the best season to visit. On your route to an Aperitivo or shopping expedition, take a hike or a stroll around the towns to take in the sights. There are a variety of hotels, villas, and B&Bs to choose from, but for a unique experience, consider the family-run Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa, which is housed in a 17th-century monastery that has been restored into 20 sea-view guest rooms and suites, as well as a Michelin-starred restaurant and a luxurious spa.
7. San Juan, Puerto Rico
You’ll like to spend a day in Old San Juan if you’re visiting the beaches, hotels, casinos, or a poolside pia colada, the cocktail that was invented in San Juan in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton (according to most accounts). Take a stroll down its cobblestone alleyways to visit the five-century-old La Fortaleza, which was formerly a stronghold for San Juan and is now the governor’s official residence. Buildings painted in pastel colors, old churches, colonial-period dwellings, and an Old World ambiance transport you to another age. Relax in the Palacio Provincial, a historic building in Viejo San Juan. Relax at La Concha Resort, which has three pools, a fitness facility, a wellness program, and an on-site Casino de Mar, offers beachfront luxury just steps from Condado Beach. Another beachfront alternative is the adults-only Condado Ocean Club.
8. Greenville, South Carolina
In May, when temps are in the 70s, come to this southern destination for the weekly Main Street Saturday Market, which brings over 75 merchants, music, and more to the center of downtown. Visit in May for the yearly Mother’s Day holiday Artisphere, which has more than 100 pop-up galleries and performances from glass blowers, chalk painters, musicians, and street performers, in addition to southern hospitality. The Scottish Games, events, and contests take place over Memorial Day Weekend. Begin your journey to the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains in Greenville, however, don’t go before seeing the Falls Park on the Reedy cascade in the heart of town, which is best viewed from the pedestrian-only Liberty Bridge.
9. Williamsburg, Virginia
Colonial Williamsburg, a renovated historic area bordered by the York and James Rivers, is located on the Virginia Peninsula and is a sanctuary to Colonial Williamsburg, a renovated historic area where guests can discover about life in the early days of the United States, visit art museums, and take a variety of tours. Spring brings 70-degree weather and blooming flowers, and the Williamsburg Botanical Garden is a fantastic place to enjoy them. Enjoy the warm weather and scenery at Williamsburg’s parks and hiking trails, or take the family to Busch Gardens for entertainment and thrill rides, including the new, world-record-breaking Pantheon. On May 14, Virginia’s largest water park, Water Country USA, reopens for the season.
10. Willamette Valley, Oregon
Around 30 minutes from Portland, the Willamette Valley is home to over 700 wineries producing a variety of varietals, including the region’s renowned Pinot Noir. A drive through rows of grapevines with breathtaking views of the valley is a wonderful way to spend a spring day, sampling, touring and discovering the area’s wines and restaurants. New releases, special tastings, and activities are all part of Oregon Wine Month in May. Stay in one of the many hotels, inns, or B&Bs and unwind at the end of the day with a lovely supper – complemented, of course, by local wine. The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg is a favorite, where you may meander among sculptures and explore the inn’s art collection. Tourists with an Alaska Airlines mileage number can check a box of wine from four Oregon destinations for nothing.