When is the Best Time to Visit North America?
North America is unique in that it can lay claim to every climatic zone. While most of the continent is classified as either dry, mild and continental or a combination of these, the northern region is classified as polar and the southern region is tropical. Which zone you’re planning on visiting will play a major role in the timing of your travel. Weather conditions vary considerably, but below is a general breakdown of what you can expect to encounter, and when, in some of the most visited areas of North America.
Canada has four very distinct seasons similar to those enjoyed by much of the continental U.S. Summer runs from June through September and is peak tourist season. On the prairies, these months are hot and dry, but on the coasts, summers tend to be cooler and more humid. Fall takes place from late September through late December and is a great time to visit to catch the changing colors of the leaves. Winter begins in late December and ends in late March. It’s a good time to travel to Canada if you’re set on skiing. Winters in the interior are cold and see snowfall, but winters on the coast are milder and rarely bring substantial snowfall. Spring – which takes place from late March to June – is usually a pleasant time to visit (as long as you don’t mind a shower here and there.)
The most popular months for vacationing in Alaska are June through August. The days are long (the sun is often out until 10 p.m.) and temperatures are the warmest they are all year. Alaska gets wetter as the summer progresses, so if you want to go when it’s driest and warmest, visit in early June. Temperatures range from 60°F to 80°F during the day and 40°F to 50°F at night.
3. Continental U.S.
You’re probably familiar with the weather in the lower 48 states, so we’ll just focus on our favorite states! June through August are the optimal months for visiting Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, South Dakota and even Arizona (well, the Grand Canyon). Why? The weather of course! But also because it’s high season and everything is open. When you travel with our guides you don’t have to worry as much about dealing with crowds because they’re experts in avoiding them while still making sure you’re not missing a thing! All that said, we do encourage travelers to visit Yellowstone between December through February when it turns into a winter wonderland and elk outnumber tourists.
4. Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Islands
These regions of North America are especially nice to visit during winter because of their balmy weather that beckons northerners to white sand beaches and tropical rainforests. Scheduled departures for our popular Belize, Costa Rica and Nicaragua trips typically run from December through April right before the rainy season begins in May.
North America: Did You Know?
Comprised of 24 countries and several territories, North America has plenty of places to visit and we’re proud to offer adventure vacations to many of the most fascinating destinations ranging from Alaska in the north to Nicaragua in the south. This land is home sweet home for many of us, but how much do you really know about the continent you live on? Here are a few fun facts that you may want to memorize and use to impress people at your next dinner party.
- North America’s Namesake: Rumor has it that North America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer who was the first person credited with identifying North and South America as separate continents and not part of Asia.
- Most Populated Metropolis: New York City? Nope! It’s close, but New York has a population of 8.4 million while Mexico City’s population comes in at 8.8 million.
- Country of Origin: Approximately 50% of the corn/maize that is harvested in the world comes from North America!
- Bragging Rights: North America is home to the planet’s largest island. Greenland!
- How Low Can You Go?: The lowest point in all of North America is in Death Valley National Park in California where you can walk around at 282 feet below sea level. (Note: one of our new trips for 2015 visits Death Valley!)
- World’s Shortest River: Flowing for a whopping 200 feet, the Roe, in our home state of Montana, is in the Guinness Book of World Records with the title of world’s shortest river.
North America's Best National Parks
While there are many ‘must-sees’ in North America, when it comes to the U.S., we’e partial to the national parks. There are 58 in total, and we’ve had the pleasure of exploring many of them, but when it comes down to the top 10, below are our favorites.
Top 10 U.S. National Parks
- Yellowstone National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Grand Canyon National Park
- Death Valley National Park
- Zion National Park
- Kenai Fjords National Park
- Crater Lake National Park
- Yosemite National Park
- Canyonlands National Park
Other ‘must-sees’ in North America include Mayan ruins in Mexico and Belize, volcanoes in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and glaciers in Canada and Greenland. We could go on and on, and on, so if you’re interested in learning more about North America’s most memorable sites, don’t hesitate to contact us and ask! Our adventure travel consultants have traveled extensively and are always happy to help fellow travelers.