Best Places to Travel

May encompasses that sweet spot before Labor Day marks the official start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s during this springtime month that colorful flowers continue to burst on the scene, temperatures climb, and the sun decides to stay out for longer.

Since May isn’t high season in most places, traveling during this month also means great deals on everything from rental cars to hotels to airfare. Another bonus: you won’t have to elbow your way through crowds to see the attractions and beaches in summer hot spots like Italy, Nantucket, and Mackinac Island.

If you have dreamed of hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, then May is the ideal month to do it. The rainy season will have just ended, and you can take advantage of this small window before the popular tourist season starts in June.

In May, travelers are rewarded with stunning vistas of lush green valleys and cooler temperatures, which make for perfect hiking conditions. It can get chilly at night at this time of year, so you will want to pack a few extra layers.

Machu Picchu isn’t really a last-minute destination. You should book your trip many months in advance to reserve lodging and obtain the necessary permits for hiking, as they are becoming more restrictive. May will have far fewer hikers on the trails as you make your way to the main reason you came: Machu Picchu. One of the top UNESCO World Heritage sites, the gardens, temples, and unforgettable scenery of this ancient Incan city is breathtaking.

Mackinac Island is one of the best places to travel in May. Visiting this magical Michigan locale is like taking a trip back in time to a quaint and charming spot filled with romance. During May, guests can enjoy the island’s spectacularly blooming gardens and landscapes without the annoying crowds that descend upon this lovely spot in summer.

To get here, you’ll have to take a ferry from Mackinaw City or St. Ignace. Once you arrive, be prepared to ditch the car. They aren’t allowed on Mackinac Island, so you will travel by horse and carriage, bicycle, or on foot during your vacation. Take a trip up the hill to the Grand Hotel to learn about its history on the island as a getaway for the social elite in the late 1800s.

Mackinac Island is a vacation for the senses, too. Feel the cool breeze coming off Lake Huron as you relax in an Adirondack chair. Smell the scent of the lilac trees coming into full bloom. See the hundreds of gardens being planted as the official tourist season gets underway.