Best time to visit Northeast USA

The best time to visit Northeast USA is generally during the summer as you can enjoy long sunny days exploring the cities, towns, parks and coastlines. This is also the busiest time of year as locals and travellers come out to enjoy the weather, so expect crowds wherever you go.

For a quieter time, try the start of autumn or end of spring as these shoulder seasons should still have outdoor-friendly weather.

If you're looking for a trip filled with snow days and cosy fireside meals, winter in the Northeast is a magical time of year. Snow usually starts falling in November in the northern states. It's also an amazing time of year in New York where decorations and events light up the streets and attract celebrators from near and far.

Seasonal breakdown

Group hiking on the Appalachian trail in northwest USA
Summer (June-August)

Best for: hiking, Fourth of July celebrations and beach days

Summer in the Northeast is generally known for long sun-filled days and cool evenings. It gets warmer as you go further south, with highs of 29-32ºC in Washington D.C. Humidity can also be quite high, especially in the big cities.

There are many ways to enjoy the summer. If you love history, stop by Pennsylvania to see Gettysburg and the national icons of Philadelphia. For campers and nature lovers, hike the Appalachian Trail or the Presidential Peaks in New Hampshire. Or, stop by Niagara Falls for a refreshing journey aboard the Maid of the Mist. 

Unsurprisingly, summer is a very popular time in the Northeast, so book accommodation and flights in advance if possible. If you're hoping for a quieter holiday, try booking either end of the school holidays or in a shoulder month like May or September.

Guide with traveller outside the State house in Boston , USA
Spring (March-May)

Best for: cherry blossoms, warmer weather and humpback whales

If you're looking for good weather, smaller crowds and plenty to do, spring could be the season for you.

Nature really rolls out the red carpet in spring, from humpback whale watching in Maine, Cape Cod and Long Island to wandering cherry blossom-lined avenues in Washington D.C. If you prefer urban adventures, the baseball season kicks off in Boston at the end of March and St Patrick's Day green up the cities on the 17th March.

You may also be able to snag an off-season deal or two (excluding the spring break holiday which sees an influx of crowds).

While the start of the season may still have a wintery bite in the air, particularly in the northern states, the temperatures usually reach double digits by mid-April. Snow isn't common during spring but it can be quite rainy, especially in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

Dead River, Aerial view of autumn landscape, Maine, United States, USA
Autumn (September-November)

Best for: road trips, photography and fewer crowds

If you prefer thinner crowds, temperate weather and stunning natural scenery, autumn is the best time to visit the Northeast. Temperatures can still reach highs of 24-29ºC in September, but nights can be cool with lows of 3-13ºC. It's generally cooler the further north you go. 

If you're hoping to visit the national parks before the snow starts in November, visit during September or October. There are also fewer people around. The weather can vary a lot in the autumn, so it's worth packing a variety of clothing options. 

A picture tells a thousand words, and no sentence can do the colours of the Northeast's autumn foliage justice. Find some of the most breathtaking scenery at the Appalachian National Scenic Trail that winds through 14 states for over 3524km.

Or, why not do a Northeast road trip? Stop by Amish communities in Lancaster and check out the many museums in Washington D.C. Autumn is also the time of some special events in the US including Halloween in October and Thanksgiving in November.

Aerial view of New York city from the top of the Empire State Building, USA
Winter (December-February)

Best for: snow days, low crowds, Christmas and New Year's Eve celebrations

Northeast winters are cold. The average low drops to a teeth-chattering -16ºC in Caribou, while New York City is a chilly -2ºC. Snowfall is also prevalent with up to 50cm in New York City and Philadelphia, 122cm in Boston and 440cm in New Hampshire. Many people flock to the Northeast's ski resorts in winter including Killington, Stowe and Lake Placid.

Excluding Christmas and New Year's Eve, many big tourist destinations have thin crowds in winter. But if you're keen to party your way into the new year, New York is home to one of the biggest celebrations in the US. It's also an amazing place to embrace the Christmas spirit with amazing decorations galore from the Rockefeller Christmas Tree to the decked-out storefronts lining Fifth Avenue.

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