Summer is so close you can almost taste it. It's the time of year for graduations, grilling on the porch and staying up late to catch fireflies. The whole world seems content in May, looking forward to the long days and warm nights of the summer ahead. And if you're like us, you can't help but feel an eagerness to get out and experience it all! May offers milder temperatures and seasonal displays of spring and renewal. And it's a fantastic month to travel just about anywhere the world. Here are our top destinations for the month.
Utah's Canyon Country
In southern Utah, two magnificent national parks--Zion and Bryce Canyon--are celebrated for their spectacular rock formations, dramatic sandstone cliffs and winding river-carved canyons. May is the perfect time to visit this amazing place. Not only will you avoid the peak temperatures and crowds of summer, you'll get the chance to feast your eyes on the dozens of species of hardy desert wildflowers that sprout between the rocks in the canyons this time of year. The nights will likely be warm enough that you can sleep under the stars and the days cool enough to hike, bike and paddle comfortably. It's a cusp-of-summer travel experience that you and your family will always remember.
See more about Backroads Utah Tours
Far from the sun-baked plains of southern Spain, this unique region spanning the French-Spanish border is delightfully lush and green. This is the home of the Basques, believed to be the oldest ethnic group in Europe. They have developed a distinctive culture that makes this region feel almost like a separate country. Go here for food, architecture and a unique language--a fascinating and delicious medley. In addition, the region is famous for hiking and cycling as well as sailing and surfing. Whether you're looking for an adventure on land or water, you'll find it in the Basque Country! Though May weather can be a bit wetter than the summer dry season (June - September), you'll happily carry your rain coat in exchange for the solitude and tranquility of the off-season.
If you're looking to find a remarkable travel experience closer to home, why not pay a visit to Kentucky? This southern state is famous particularly for its whiskey, its horses and its music, as well as huge expanses of beautiful farmland and lush forest. May is the perfect time to visit: bike to your heart's content by day, then spend the night eating barbeque and listening to bluegrass while chatting with friendly locals. The oppressive heat of the summer hasn't arrived yet and the songbirds and flowers are out in full force. Add that on top of the yearly Kentucky Derby and its surrounding festivities and suddenly a sojourn to the south seems like the obvious choice for a May getaway.
Read more about Backroads Kentucky Bike Tour here.
It is sometimes said that Japan is a place where time stops moving ahead at a normal pace and seems to pile up on itself. In a matter of hours, you can move from the futuristic neon arcades of Tokyo and Kyoto to idyllic shrines and forests that seem like they've been undisturbed for hundreds of years. You can see the future and the past superimposed on each other like a photograph that's been exposed twice. The contrast is what makes Japan such an appealing travel destination. From the cities to the countryside and everywhere in between, you're sure to find something that interests and excites you. If you visit during the month of May, you'll be treated to delightfully warm summer temperatures and the earliest of the season's festivals, as well as the tail-end of the country's picture-postcard cherry blossom bloom. What's more, hiking in May is phenomenal in Japan! It doesn't get much better than strolling past an ancient shrine under a canopy of blooming pink trees while friendly locals show you the way. For an unforgettable May vacation, try Japan.
Travel with Backroads in Japan
Namibia and Zimbabwe
May arrives at the tail-end of autumn in the southern part of Africa. It's a time of year that offers visitors the best of two seasons at once--when the oppressive daytime heat of the summer gives way to milder days and when the nights haven't yet reached their full winter chill. In addition, the month of May falls on the cusp of the rainy season in this part of the world so visitors can see the migrating birds of summer and fall as well as the epic migrations of elephant, rhino and lion that begin at the start of the Namibian winter. This dramatic desert landscape will make an impression on any visitor, and the majestic Victoria Falls will awe and humble you. May is the perfect time to explore this part of the world on an active safari vacation--you're sure to go home with a story to tell.