May is one of the most exciting times of the year to be in lovely Louisville, thanks to "The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports." This month kicks off with Kentucky Derby (May 2-3) weekend, and Louisville is sure to be brimming with crazy hats and mint juleps. The end of spring is also an ideal time to tour Kentucky Bluegrass Country, when pastures are at their greenest and the dogwoods are in bloom.
Sports fans descend on Paris in May to snag tickets to one of tennis's biggest events, the French Open (May 25-June8), but this month also brings mild spring weather and falls well before the summer crowds start pouring in to the City of Lights. Aside from the occasional afternoon shower, May is a wonderful season for exploring the many parks and gardens of Paris.
Photo courtesy of Velirina/iStock
Marco Island, Fla.
If the long and cold winter has you pining for an early beach vacation, head south to Florida's Marco Island for sunning, swimming, fishing and tennis. This sleepy beach-side community makes a great base for touring the nearby Florida Everglades as well, and if you come early in the month, you'll miss the brunt of the summer vacation crowds.
Photo courtesy of Stan Conti/iStock
With temperatures in the mid-60s, San Francisco is a great destination for exploring on foot, even if it is a bit chilly for swimming. While San Francisco sees an influx of tourists throughout the year, a late spring visit still offers the potential for lower hotel rates and sparser crowds.
Photo courtesy of marekuliasz/iStock
Myrtle Beach, S.C
Both hotel prices and humidity levels stay fairly low in Myrtle Beach through the end of the month, making it a great time for budget-conscious travelers to visit. Most attractions will be opening up for the summer, and average temperatures in the low 80s are still cool enough to make golfing (Myrtle Beach was just named our Best Golf Destination) and other land-based activities enjoyable.
Photo courtesy of ehrlif/iStock
Buenos Aires, Argentina
May is autumn in Buenos Aires, which translates to ideal weather and beautiful fall foliage lining the streets. Tourists are fewer during this month, so you can likely snag deals on hotels, and with the World Cup in neighboring Brazil fast approaching (and Argentina hoping for a trophy), there should be a special buzz in the air.
By the beginning of May, hotel prices in the lovely Bahamas will have dropped back down to shoulder season rates, yet it's early enough that you won't risk having a hurricane ruin your vacation. With the snowbirds and spring breakers long gone, you'll easily find a stretch of beach to relax on.
Photo courtesy of shalamov/iStock
Replete with historical significance, the town of Gettysburg (and the nearby battlefield) is especially pleasant in May before summer temperatures reach uncomfortable levels, and when the apple orchards of the surrounding countryside are in full bloom. The Apple Blossom Festival (May 3-4) offers visitors a chance to meet growers and get a behind-the-scenes look at the Pennsylvania Fruit Belt.
With baseball season in full swing and winter finally coming to an end, May is a great time for an afternoon ballgame at Wrigley Field or a leisurely stroll through Chicago's Lincoln Park. The Chicago Botanical Garden (voted one of the top 5 public gardens in North America by our readers) should be at its most colorful during this late spring month.
Nature lovers would be hard pressed to find a more appealing destination in May than Jackson Hole. As spring turns into summer, this year's baby animals will begin to emerge, creating the potential for exciting animal encounters. With most schools still in session, crowds will be thin and prices low, making it a great time to take that vacation to Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons.