Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
With warmer weather in the Northern Hemisphere, many popular destinations come to life in May. Flowers bloom and landscapes are filled with vibrant colors and fresh greenery.
Also, the thinner crowds during the shoulder season provide a hassle-free travel experience, with shorter lines and less traffic. Additionally, many hotels and airlines offer discounted rates during May, allowing travelers to explore destinations that may be out of reach during the high season.
May allows beach enthusiasts to soak up the sun and sand without the intense summer heat. The beaches are also less crowded, making it the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities like swimming, snorkeling and surfing. This month marks celebrations and festivals worldwide, too, such as the Kentucky Derby, so travelers can immerse themselves in new cultures and explore local customs and traditions.
So, where should you travel? Here are the best destinations to visit in May.
Nestled in the heart of the South, Mississippi beckons visitors with its rich history and vibrant cultural offerings. With more than a thousand structures on the National Register of Historic Places, this storied land offers a window into the past.
In May, the air is filled with the melodies of the Mudbug Music Festival, a delightful celebration of all things country that promises an unforgettable experience for all who attend. From mouth-watering crawfish to ice-cold brews, every aspect of this beloved event is designed to tantalize the senses and enchant guests.
The city of Natchez is home to many architectural treasures, from pre-Civil War mansions to the state’s oldest Jewish congregation at Temple B’Nai Israel.
With the birthplace of Elvis Presley just a short drive away, the city of Tupelo offers a unique blend of art, music and history, highlighted by the ever-popular Gumtree Art & Wine Festival. This beloved tradition never fails to captivate.
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Whether you are an avid history buff or simply looking for a charming getaway, Mississippi is worth exploring.
TPG tip: Stay at Hotel Tupelo, the city’s first boutique hotel, which opened in February 2022. Or, for easy access to Natchez, book a stay at TownePlace Suites by Marriott Vidalia Riverfront for $122 or 11,500 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
May is one of the best times to visit Louisville, as the 149th annual Kentucky Derby falls on May 6. During this year’s Derby Week, Champions Day will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Secretariat’s Triple Crown win. A special state-of-the-art exhibit at the Kentucky Derby Museum will also mark the celebration.
There are many more reasons Louisville is a great place to visit in May. The weather is usually sunny and warm, making it a perfect time to explore the city’s many outdoor attractions, such as the Louisville Waterfront Park and Cherokee Park. Check out the popular Wild Lights lantern festival at the Louisville Zoo. It’s the region’s largest lantern festival and takes place from Thursday to Sunday through May 21.
May is also a great time to experience the city’s culinary scene, which includes everything from traditional Southern cuisine to innovative farm-to-table restaurants.
Visitors can also tour the city’s bourbon distilleries and sample some of the world’s best whiskeys. Other popular attractions in Louisville include the Muhammad Ali Center, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and the Frazier History Museum.
TPG tip: In the hip NuLu neighborhood, Hotel Genevieve is set to open May 1 — just in time for the derby. Or, book a stay at Embassy Suites by Hilton Louisville Downtown for $157 or 47,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
Love the British royal family? Visit London in May.
The Coronation of His Majesty The King will take place May 6 at Westminster Abbey. This will be the first time in more than a century that a coronation ceremony will be on a weekend. Visitors can witness this historic event and be part of the excitement as the city comes alive with festivities.
May in London also brings a range of cultural events, such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show — one of the world’s most prestigious horticultural shows. Also, some of the city’s popular galleries and museum open late and occasionally feature free evening exhibitions and events are free. The streets are also filled with food festivals, music events and markets that showcase the city’s diverse culture.
London’s parks are in full bloom, and visitors can enjoy a picnic or a walk in the warm weather. From the grandeur of Buckingham Palace to the iconic London Eye, there is something for everyone to enjoy in London in May.
TPG tip: For royal fans looking to experience this historic moment, Rosewood London is the ideal home base. Rates start from $873 or 53,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night.
Related: The complete guide to flying to London on points and miles
Cheyenne in May is a sure bet for history and train lovers. The city celebrates its unique history as the nation’s railroad capital with Depot Days.
This two-day event occurs in the heart of the historic Cheyenne Depot Museum, the last grand railroad station on the transcontinental route. Visitors can enjoy train displays and train rides, and listen to speakers throughout the museum. One of the main attractions is the Big Boy 4004, the world’s largest steam locomotive, on display at Holiday Park.
During your visit, explore the historic Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum, featuring exhibits on western culture and history. The Cowgirls of the West Museum and the Wyoming State Museum are also worth a stop.
TPG tip: Book a stay at Fairfield Inn & Suites Cheyenne Southwest/Downtown Area and enjoy a free breakfast. Rates start from $109 or 22,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.
Beverly Hills, California
May is an exciting time to visit this iconic California city, especially for arts and culture enthusiasts. The Beverly Hills Art Show will celebrate its 50th anniversary May 20 and 21 and will feature 325 artists displaying their work in various mediums, including painting, sculpture and photography. In addition to art, visitors can enjoy wine and beer gardens, kid-friendly activities, gourmet food trucks and community exhibits — all free.
Modernism Week, a popular event in Palm Springs, is also set to appear in Beverly Hills with “MADE in Beverly Hills.” This will feature private tours of modernist architecture sites across 21 events at venues such as the Beverly Hills Hotel and Greystone Mansion. Visitors can also enjoy new dining options and extensive renovations at top hotels.
Beverly Hills is launching a series of urban walks designed to help visitors explore the city dubbed “Happy Trails.” Get your steps in and soak up the spring sunshine as the maps guide you across trails from “Caviar & Bubbly” to “Red Carpet Ready.”
TPG tip: Consider five-star accommodations like the Beverly Wilshire (for about $925 or 71,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night) and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills (for about $727 or 54,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per night).
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Phu Quoc island sits off the coast of Vietnam, and it’s a water wonderland that boasts famous white sand beaches — earning it the nickname “Pearl Island.”
In May, it’ll be hot on the island, so you’ll no doubt want to cool off in the turquoise ocean. With a vibrant ecosystem of ancient coral reefs teeming with life, Phu Quoc’s warm waters offer abundant snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
Visitors can also immerse themselves in local culture with a nighttime adventure in squid fishing using traditional bamboo rods and bait.
For foodies, Phu Quoc is renowned for its fish sauce — a fermented delicacy you can sample at local markets or explore further at a fish sauce factory.
TPG tip: Regent Phu Quoc opened in May 2022 as IHG Hotels & Resorts’ first resort in South East Asia. Under its Regent Hotels & Resorts brand, it’s an all-suites-and-villas oasis. It’s available for around $384 or 50,000 IHG One Rewards points per night.
May is a great time to visit Utah, especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast. The weather is mild to warm, and the crowds are smaller than in summer. This means it’ll be easier to navigate hikes and reserve campsites at the state’s stunning national parks, such as Arches, Zion and Bryce Canyon.
If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, hike the otherworldly slot canyons of Peek-a-boo Canyon or ride ATVs at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park at sunset.
The region’s natural beauty is on full display in May, making it a prime season for anyone seeking epic adventures and unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors.
TPG tip: Hampton Inn Kanab is a great jumping-off point to all your southern Utah adventures. Rates start from $151 or 40,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
Related: The 20 national parks every traveler needs to see at least once
Bermuda is an ideal place to visit in May due to the lovely weather. Average temperatures fall in the mid-70s, with lower humidity than in the summer. The island offers numerous outdoor activities such as golfing, kayaking, snorkeling and exploring hidden natural gems like caves and cliffs.
May also marks the start of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts – a three-week event showcasing local and international artists in dance, music and theater.
The festival is an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in Bermuda’s vibrant cultural scene and experience the unique mix of African, British and Caribbean influences that make the island’s culture unique.
Additionally, with JetBlue’s new daily service from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Bermuda is more accessible than ever for a quick getaway.
TPG tip: Stay at one of the island’s newest properties, The St. Regis Bermuda Resort, from $685 or 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.