The world’s mood seems to collectively improve around May, as the weather gets—and stays—warm enough for shorts, tank tops, and bathing suits. This is a popular travel month, as students get out of school and families gear up for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kick-off to summer. Thankfully, there are plenty of places near and far to soak up the sun.
Close to home, crowd-pleasing destinations like Cape Cod and Pittsburgh are a sure bet. The New England retreat (which still tends to be slightly quieter than Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket) doesn’t get super busy until early June, meaning beaches are open and rental rates are low. And Pittsburgh has gotten tons of attention lately, but its arts museums and outdoor dining spots are best enjoyed when the weather is nice enough to walk around outside.
If you prefer to be in the middle of the action, head to places like Louisville and Monaco, which host major events this month. Both the Kentucky Derby and Monaco Grand Prix are bucket list events that are worth braving the crowds for.
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As Europe warms up, there are many destinations worth going to early in the summer. For beaches, Barcelona and Malta can’t be beat, while culture lovers should head to Aarhus and Lille, two cities that have raised the bar when it comes to museums and public art.
For a destination that’s a bit more far-flung, opt for a big city like Shanghai and São Paulo—there are tons of direct, daily flights to these business capitals and more than enough leisure activities to fill your day. Take advantage of the weekdays, when museums and shops tend to be slightly emptier than the weekends.
There’s no better way to start off the summer than with a relaxing vacation—one with memories you’ll remember fondly for the rest of the year.