30 US Places With Fabulous Weather in May
May weather across much of the United States is either too hot, or too cold, or too wet to feel perfect for most people. But you can find idyllic weather in many parts of the US, if you know where to look.
Excellent May weather does exist at a scattering of American beaches, mountains, cities and towns. Here are 30 of those places. These range from world-famous tourist destinations to quiet spots that most people have never heard of. All 30 are reliably warm and mainly dry.
These six cool spots aren't really chilly, just slightly cooler than room temperature. Daytime maximums land most often in the 60s Fahrenheit.
1. Bismarck, North Dakota
North Dakota's capital leads the state for warm weather in May. Few places in North Dakota enjoy as many days above 60 degrees Fahrenheit as Bismarck. Even so, it is the coolest place on this list with daily highs averaging 67 °F. There's even the possibility of a day when the thermometer doesn't hit 50. Still, a month with light rainfall helps to create a mainly pleasant climate.
2. Oakland, California
Across the bay from San Francisco, along the stretch from Oakland through Berkeley to Richmond, balmy weather prevails during May. This northern portion of the East Bay area offers temperatures that are consistently in the 60s. It's also one of the driest places listed here, with less than an inch of rain sprinkled over three days.
3. Beaverton, Oregon
Just a hop west of Portland is Beaverton, where the temperatures are milder. Although only seven miles away, Beaverton more reliably has May temperatures in the 60 - 80s range than does its neighbor city. Plus the month's rainfall totals a respectable 2.6 inches.
4. Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City is a place for people who like variety. During May the getaway destination is as likely to have highs in the 80s as the 50s. Yet pleasant temperatures are the ones most common at this Atlantic beach, with days usually peaking in the 60s or 70s. Meanwhile, rain for the month totals 3.6 inches.
5. Patchogue, New York
Patchogue, a village on the south shore of Long Island, has some of the nicest May weather in New York state. The average high of 70 °F results in all but a few days with temperatures rising into the 60s or 70s. Only one-third of days have any rain, which amounts to less than four inches.
6. Decatur, Indiana
Decatur, a small community south of Fort Wayne features May highs that average 71 degrees. Rain appears here often without being excessive, totalling 4.3 inches falling over 13 days.
The 16 warm places here feature weather that's comfortable for just about anybody. Their temperatures mainly top out in the 70s Fahrenheit.
7. Umatilla, Oregon
Where the Columbia River flows by Umatilla and the McNary Dam on the Oregon – Washington border the days in May are dry and temperatures pleasant. Just a few days get above 80 °F, with the rest landing in the 60s and 70s.
8. Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz enjoys its best temperatures of the year during May. The Pacific coast city is one of the warmest spots in California this month. Daytime temperatures often peak in the 70s. Otherwise, a high in the 60s is more likely here than one in the 80s.
9. Pinetop – Lakeside, Arizona
The picturesque forests, meadows, lakes and towns sitting high in the White Mountains are at the perfect elevation to find comfortable weather at this time of year in Arizona. Most days have highs in the 70s and rain normally shows up on just four days.
10. Des Moines, Iowa
May is the finest month for Des Moines temperatures when they average 72 degrees. Iowa's capital city is rainier than most on this list at 4.7 inches spread out over 13 days.
11. Columbus, Ohio
Columbus during May offers some of the year's most enticing weather. Still, people who'll enjoy the city most are those who don't mind regular rain. Nearly half the days are damp. Yet rain for the month typically amounts to barely four inches.
12. Durango, Colorado
By May this high-elevation city, with its San Juan Mountains backdrop, has shaken off winter enough to bask in some delightful daytime temperatures which average 73 °F. Still, winter isn't entirely gone. Durango can get a little crisp even now, with 5 or 6 nights dropping below freezing. But the lack of serious rain makes up for the frost.
13. Ruidoso, New Mexico
The mountain resort village of Ruidoso sits next to the Lincoln National Forest high in the Sierra Blanca range where this month it enjoys perfect temperatures. Perfect, that is if you don't mind a few frosty nights. But that's not much to put up with when the days average 74 degrees and are seldom wet.
14. Lake McConaughy, Nebraska
The countryside around Nebraska's biggest lake hosts great weather for outdoor fun with temperatures in the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit. Compared to other places on this list, Lake McConaughy has a moderate amount of rain, averaging three inches for the month.
15. Potosi, Missouri
Not far from St Louis, on the edge of the Mark Twain National Forest, the small town of Potosi avoids the 90-degree heat that can descend on the city this month. Plus Potosi gets a little less rain than many other parts of Missouri. Even so, the rural community is the wettest place listed here, averaging a total of 4.8 inches this month.
16. Frederick, Maryland
Tucked up against farmland and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the attractive city of Frederick has an equally attractive May climate. The days usually warm to above 70 °F with enough rain to keep the landscape green.
17. Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
May is probably Ocracoke's best month for weather with its fine mix of temperature and precipitation. The remote island, decked in a quaint town and expansive Atlantic beaches, sees most days with highs in the 70s. Nights are not much cooler, with lows often around 60 degrees. Rainfall on seven days rounds out the month's appealing climate.
18. Windsor, Illinois
Windsor is a farming community tucked into the corner of routes 16 and 32 in Shelby County, Illinois near Lake Shelbyville and Wolf Creek State Park. The town avoids the 90-degree weather that many parts of the state can get this month. It enjoys a daily maximum that averages 74 degrees along with a moderate amount of rain.
19. John Redmond Lake, Kansas
Southwest of Kansas City, John Redmond Lake and its several parks offer a great getaway in idyllic temperatures where the highs average 74 °F. This area does get more rain than most listed here, but the precipitation is also more concentrated. So normally only nine days see some wet weather.
20. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville nestles into the Blue Ridge Mountains at the western edge of North Carolina. The mountain air takes a little longer to heat up in spring. That means the city avoids the 90-degree days that can already happen in much of the rest of NC during May.
21. Lynchburg, Virginia
A small city tucked into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg enjoys average highs of 75 degrees during May. Despite the eastern mountain location, this month's rainfall usually amounts to less than four inches.
22. Gainesville, Georgia
In northeast Georgia, on the shore of Lake Lanier, is Gainesville, yet another Blue Ridge foothills city with outstanding weather. It's a bit warmer than the others. Here's where May's highest temperatures commonly land in the 70s, and often reach into the 80s. Rain is typically confined to nine days this month and less than four inches.
These eight places provide a bit of heat, without getting unbearably hot. On most days in May the temperature rises to between 80 and 90 °F.
23. Buckhorn, Kentucky
Southeast of Lexington, nestled among lushly forested hills with a large lake nearby is the tiny town of Buckhorn. Temperatures here are quite comfortable, although variable during May. While it often warms up into the 80s, days in the 60s are not uncommon. Rain does fall regularly to keep those hills lush.
24. Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
This town on the Ozark Plateau in northern Arkansas basks in warm weather during May. Mammoth Spring has highs mainly in the 80s and 70s with lows in the 50s. Less than one-third of the month's days have rain, which normally totals just over four inches.
25. Kingsport, Tennessee
The hills, cities and lakes in the northeast corner of Tennessee enjoy fine temperatures and relatively little rain during May. The great weather extends from Kingsport to Morristown and Jefferson City near Cherokee Lake. Daily highs here frequently reach the 80s and slightly cooler days are also common.
26. Dauphin Island, Alabama
On this barrier island along the Gulf of Mexico you can count on every day warming up to at least 70 °F. A moderate amount of rain does fall on Dauphin Island's sandy beaches. But the precipitation arrives relatively infrequently, averaging seven days for the month.
27. Grand Bay Wildlife Refuge, Mississippi
Just outside Pascagoula, the pine savanna landscape on the shores of Point Aux Chenes Bay serves up temperatures of at least 70 °F every day in May. Although with 4.7 inches of rain, it's decidedly damper than most places on this list. Fortunately all that precipitation passes by quickly, taking up just seven days out of the month.
28. Galveston, Texas
The coastal island city of Galveston enjoys temperatures in the 70s and 80s every day during May. It's also fairly dry, typically seeing rain on only six days. The good weather continues southwest on the barrier islands through to Port Aransas.
29. Boothville, Louisiana
Just before the Mississippi River empties into the ocean, the river's banks offer some superb weather in May. Here the days consistently get above 69 degrees, while the nights are as warm as those at Waikiki. Less than three inches of rain tops off the excellent climate.
30. Waikiki, Hawaii
While Waikiki has several months a year with terrific temperatures, none is as dry as May. The Oahu vacation destination averages just one inch of rain this month, making it one of the drier places on this list. The beach is perfect for anyone who thrives in 80-degree heat, as usually only one day this month doesn't make it over 79 °F.
Temperature and rainfall data for the 30 places with great May weather have been brought together on one webpage. There you can easily compare May temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit and Celsius, as well as monthly rainfall measured in inches and metric units, plus much more.
How the List was Made
This list came together by sorting through detailed temperature and precipitation data for 7465 locations in the 50 states and sifting out the ones that have a fabulous May climate. The data are long-term weather averages based on measurements collected from 1981 to 2010.
The choicest places all have daily high temperatures throughout the month that land within almost everybody's comfort zone. None of these locations normally endures May temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. At most they have four days that don't make it over 60 °F. And all average less than five inches of rain for the month.
True, everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to climate. The ideal temperature for one person can leave someone else cold. So to help you find the place that's just right for you, these are listed from coolest to warmest, based on their average maximum temperature for May. Things heat up as you move down the page.
You can also get the essential weather data for these exceptional May climates pulled together in a series of tables.
National Climatic Data Center. Comparative Climatic Data.