The vast size of the USA means that the climate varies considerably from region to region. Temperatures reach both extremes of the scale from freezing cold –80ºF in Alaska to a piping hot 135ºF in California’s Death Valley (hence the name). In general the climate is temperate.
In winter (December – April) the northern states are the coldest, experiencing bitter, freezing temperatures. Low temperatures in January and February are made slightly warmer by the Chinook winds originating from the Rocky Mountains. The southern states, known as the ‘sunbelt’ are quite the opposite, with temperatures rarely falling below freezing.
Summers (June - September) are hot in the US but for New England, Oregon and Washington which tend to be rainier and less predictable. The Pacific Northwest states are generally temperate while the south, east coast and Midwest are more humid. Heat waves are common in the Southwest.
Spring and autumn are generally mild, warm and sunny with the exception of some wet areas, the Pacific Northwest in particular.
Tornado season arrives in the Midwest between April and June, and hurricanes are common in early summer along the southern East Coast and Gulf of Mexico coast - TV and radio will broadcast warnings for both, but the chances of encountering one on a short visit are remote.
Best time to go
June to August is the most popular because the weather is best at this time, however it is also the most expensive time to visit! Winters in the northern states can be bitter but snow is an advantage for winter sports lovers, but the southern states are sunny nearly year-round.
*The small print
We’ve tried to make this destination guide as accurate as possible but please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel. STA Travel takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of this guide. All prices listed are in the currency of the destination, unless otherwise stated.