The Best Time to Visit the South
The South by seasons
The South USA enjoys a subtropical climate, bringing hot and humid summers and cool winters. The milder seasons of spring and autumn are the best times to visit, but the sticky heat of summer brings an exciting, sun-drenched atmosphere to the region. To help you choose the best time for your holiday, here are our seasonal suggestions:
March - May
The warm, pleasant days and cool nights of spring make it a lovely time to visit the USA’s South. In Texas, many festivals and rodeo events are held during this period, while the glorious wildflowers of Big Bend National Park burst into colour sometime between March and April. The mild weather also makes this an enjoyable time to look for alligators in Louisiana’s swamps.
Texas bluebonnets: the state flower of Texas, bluebonnets appear throughout the region in the springtime and vast carpets of them are often visible from the roadside.
ABC Rodeo: held in Lubbock in early April, this Texan rodeo competition features impressive performances from cowboys riding both bulls and horses, and includes calf roping and barrel racing events.
June – August
By June, temperatures across the Southern states are hotting up, reaching an average of around 30°C in July and August, although they have been known to push 40°C. Days are hot and humid, with coastal areas prone to more rain than elsewhere and thunderstorms not uncommon. Cool off by the sea in Gulf Coast towns such as Corpus Christi or on the banks of the San Antonio River.
Crab Fest: held in early July in St Louis, Mississippi (easily reached from New Orleans), this fun-filled festival features fairground rides, live music and vast numbers of freshly-cooked crabs.
Elvis Week: if you’re a fan of the King, be sure to head to Memphis in mid-August for the annual celebration of his life, including The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.
September - November
After the heat and humidity of summer have passed, the milder temperatures and dry days of September and October make autumn a wonderful time of year to visit the South. The days remain warm, so hiking, biking and bayou touring are still possible, and it’s a good time to stay on a ranch, although you might want to bring a jacket for those chilly evenings.
Thanksgiving: on the fourth Thursday of November, celebrate Thanksgiving Deep South-style with Cajun deep-fried turkey, crusty cornbread and spiced sweet potatoes. This is one of the busiest travel periods of the year, with hotels and transport routes very full.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience: coinciding with Halloween, New Orleans embraces its Voodoo culture with a musical extravaganza featuring costumed street parties and vampire-themed fun.
December - February
By December, temperatures are much lower, hovering around the 4°C mark, although they rarely drop below freezing. That said, snow is not unheard of in Nashville and Memphis, and there’s generally more rain across the entire region at this time. As the Christmas holidays approach, decorations go up countrywide and fairy lights turn on, giving the cities a magical feel.
Christmas holidays: across the region, Christmas and New Year are celebrated with lively parties, extravagant feasts, fireworks and music. New Orleans is a fun place to ring in January 1st with the bars of Bourbon Street buzzing until the early hours.
Mardi Gras: taking place in the two weeks before Shrove Tuesday (usually February), Mardi Gras season brings colour, music and parties to the streets of New Orleans.