The climate of the USA is hard to summarise in one neat package as the weather is as diverse as the landscapes, both urban and rural. The southernmost state of Hawaii sits in the tropics while the northernmost point – Point Barrow in Alaska – sits 650 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
Some areas are uncomfortably hot in summer and others see the mercury drop way below freezing in the winter. On the other hand, there are destinations that are beautifully mild in the winter and places that provide a retreat from the sometimes stifling summer temperatures. Even in the same state the weather can be different from one place to another. The great thing about the United States is that, whatever time of year it is, there’s always somewhere to visit.
With winter in full swing, the coldest temperatures hit the majority of the states this month. For warmer temperatures you would need to head to Southern California or Hawaii. In San Diego, the average high temperatures rarely dip below 18 degrees Celcius. The winter months mark the high season in Hawaii with people travelling to the Pacific islands to escape the colder temperatures on the mainland. While it may be the coolest month of the year here too, the temperatures remain in the low to mid 20s during the day. It is also the wettest season of the year but most hotels are located on the more sheltered leeward side of the islands which experience less rain. January is a great time to witness surfers take on the big waves on Oahu’s North Shore as big swells roll in from the north west.
Like January, February is another cold and snowy month throughout most of the country. This makes it a great time to enjoy winter sports in the Rocky Mountain resorts as well as the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and Nevada and the Cascades of the Pacific North West. We offer winter holidays packages through our partners Ski Independence. One of the country’s most famous celebrations, Mardi Gras, takes place this month in New Orleans.
The northernmost states and the mountainous regions are still feeling the effects of winter during March. However the Southern states and California are warming up nicely. The geographical triangle of Los Angeles, Palm Springs and San Diego are all experiencing warm and wonderful spring- or summer-like conditions. March is a great time to visit the otherwise sun-scorched cities and deserts of Arizona and, although there is often still snow and ice on the ground, the nearby Grand Canyon isn’t as crowded as it will be later in the year.
Early to mid-spring is the shoulder season for many regions of the United States of America and is therefore a great time to visit if you are looking to avoid the crowds. A Las Vegas and National Parks self-drive adventure is a great option for April. It’s not too hot in Vegas yet and spring flowers really enhance the spectacular natural landscapes of northern Arizona and southern Utah. As with Las Vegas, the cities of Texas, Georgia and Florida also have pleasant temperatures that are a little more manageable than upper 30s they experience in the summer. The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Washington D.C. this month and the baseball season begins nationwide.
May is another great time to visit the USA as the temperatures are warming up but are not yet too hot. Visitor numbers to the country’s natural wonders are still relatively low, however once Memorial Day rolls around (the last Monday of the month) the main summer holiday season begins. May is one of the best times to visit Hawaii as the humidity and temperatures are not yet too high. The same goes for Florida making May a great time to visit the state’s world renowned theme parks and beaches.
June is the first full month of the holiday season throughout the country. It also marks the official start of the hurricane season. These large and often destructive storms have been known to affect Florida, the states along the Gulf of Mexico and the entire east coast of the United States. Saying this, the storm season does not peak until the late summer and early autumn months. June is a great time for a California road trip, especially one that visits Yosemite National Park. The park’s famous waterfalls tend to be at their most spectacular in May and June as the high altitude snow melts. This does depend on how much snow accumulated throughout the winter which varies year on year.
While the Pacific Northwest may have a rainy reputation, the summer months are actually relatively dry and sunny. Cities such as Portland and Seattle come into their own this month and the locals head out into the region’s natural landscapes to celebrate! The Midwest metropolis of Chicago is also a top spot to visit and you’ll find it’s the cities that experience the harshest winters embrace the warm summer months the most! The opportunity to visit the USA when the country is celebrating its birthday is not to be missed. The Fourth of July, or Independence Day is celebrated with parades, parties, fireworks and all things red, white and blue.
Although August is the height of the school summer holiday, the climate is not as its best in many states this month as it’s likely to be hot, humid and rainy. This month, you’re going to want to be near the sea – whether it’s the New England coast, the beaches of the Carolinas or Southern California’s Pacific Coast. The Rocky Mountain states are at their best during the summer with the snow gone everywhere but at the highest altitudes and the Alpine flowers blooming. As a result, this is the busiest time in National Parks such as Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Although with not as many hours of sunshine as June and July, the days are still beautifully long in Alaska allowing for incredible mountain and coastal adventures.
The first Monday of September is the Labor Day public holiday. Unofficially, this weekend marks the end of the summer holiday season for Americans. Crowds tend to thin out a little however it can still be busy in the National Parks of Arizona and Utah.While the summer months in San Francisco are characterised by fog rolling in through the Golden Gate, autumn is when the city is at its warmest and sunniest. This is also the case along California’s central coast.
If you’re fan of sharing natural wonders with fewer people, October is a great time to visit the likes of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the parks of Utah. In the Southern states the temperatures are cooling however it is still beautifully warm. Probably the most famous autumn destination in the USA is New England. Nature puts on a fantastic show as the leaves turn from green to a kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges and beautiful deep reds. Following the long summer days, the nights start to draw in throughout Alaska. And while this may result in the mercury starting to fall, it also means that you may be lucky enough to sport the Aurora Borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
November marks the end of the hurricane season and cooling temperatures and lowering humidity throughout Florida. This makes it a great time of year to visit the theme parks of Orlando. Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November and various celebrations tale place throughout the country. Probably the most famous of these is the Macy’s parade in New York. You’ll have to wrap up as winter is fast approaching with average highs of 12 degrees and lows of 5 degrees. You could also spend time in Boston and pop down to the nearby coastal city of Plymouth to see where it all began.
Winter officially begins in December with the majority of states experiencing much cooler temperatures. The mountainous regions are starting to get some serious snowfall and winter resorts are opening for the start of the ski season. For those who have a love of all things festive, a city visit is a great idea as they are gearing up for the Christmas season with incredible light displays, European-style markets and ice skating rinks.