By Laura Hoot
Every month offers up a world of vacations – from fly fishing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to skiing in Banff, Canada. But timing is everything. For a pair of honeymooners, a trip to Disney World smack dab in the middle of summer loses out to a trip in breezy October during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. So, HomeAway is here to make sure you end up in the right vacation destination at the right time. Here’s an overview of the best vacations by month. Get more detailed travel tips and ideas for the month you’re traveling in with our full “vacations by month” guide listed above.
Year-round FavoritesThere are plenty of year-round tourist draws. Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean make for a great beach vacation any time of year, while other destinations enjoy both summer and winter activities – like Colorado, Lake Tahoe, and British Columbia, to name a few. However, the downside of many year-round destinations is they don't have a clear "off season" for deals on airfare and accommodations.
January and FebruaryIf it’s sun you seek, head to the Southern Hemisphere and leave the snow-shoveling Northern Hemisphere behind. The Caribbean – think Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, or the Bahamas – is quite lovely this time of year. As is Thailand and Central America; HomeAway's got great Bangkok and Costa Rica vacation rentals, in particular. However, it is high season at these destinations, since they offer up such warm, beach-worthy weather. Florida, on the other hand, is more low-key this time of year, and the further south you go, the more inviting the water. To get away from the crowds and save a little money, brave the cold at big cities packed with indoor attractions, like New York City and Boston, or put together that long overdue European adventure. Tip: Keep on the lookout for fun New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras, and Valentine's Day events.
March and AprilIf you want the typical Spring Break experience, plenty of places will show you a good time – from Panama City Beach in Florida, to South Padre Island in Texas. However, if it’s a quieter beach escape you’re after, March kicks off the “low season” in many coastal hot spots. Southeast Asia is still enjoying great beach weather this time of year, but you’ll battle fewer crowds than earlier in the year. As well, US vacation spots known for miserable summertime heat are pretty enjoyable about now – Arizona and Texas come to mind. As you ease into April, the flowers become a main attraction; Washington DC and Tokyo both feature amazing cherry blossom trees. Finally, don’t forget about popular St Patrick’s Day and Easter events and parades happening around the globe!
May and JuneWant to enjoy great weather without the crowds? May and June is an off season in many wonderful destinations, particularly Europe, but not because of bad weather. Warm days, cool evenings, and beaches are offered up by the French Riviera, the California Coast, the Balearic Islands in Spain, and many other hot spots around the world. Also in May, Canada livens up with outdoor lovers – but not too many – who prefer mountain biking over skiing. The Caribbean and Mexico still boast great beach weather, but the prices on airfare tend to go down in May and June (not for long, though, so take advantage).
July and AugustSince so many Northerners flock to the Southern Hemisphere when wintertime hits their hometowns, summertime is a great off season in places like Rio de Janeiro, where you can still swim comfortably, and Australia, where the cold weather ushers in ski season and Christmas festivities. Remember, too, your itinerary can include 4th of July festivities or summer concerts.
September and OctoberFrom Halloween to Oktoberfest to fall foliage to football, there are plenty of good excuses to get away during the fall. However, because school’s in session, many popular vacation spots see little to no tourists in September and October. To boot, the weather’s fantastic just about everywhere you go; for starters, consider the New York Adirondacks, Orlando, Lake Tahoe, Paris, or Greece.
November and DecemberThe holidays, whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, mean this is peak travel time for a ton of cities. Of course there are a slew of ski resorts to consider, from Colorado all the way up to Canada. The Southern Hemisphere – South Africa, Guatemala, Buenos Aires, you name it– on the other hand, offers up sunnier times. Some US destinations that dole out intense heat in the summer are actually quite nice this time of year, like Arizona, Southern California, and Texas. But if don't like sharing the view with a bunch of tourists, head to Las Vegas, not too popular in the wintertime, or natural attractions like the South Rim at the Grand Canyon, normally trafficked in the fall, spring, and summer.
Hopefully this guide to the best vacations by month has helped you plan your next getaway!