When to visit

Yosemite National Park California USA Sopotnicki ShutterstockAlthough summer is the most popular, many people prefer to visit during spring and autumn © Sopotnicki, Shutterstock

Most people choose summer, when days are warmer and longer and most of the attractions will be open, but this can create problems. Hotels are more expensive, restaurants more crowded and train reservations harder to come by. Large numbers of people, many as foreign as yourself, crowd around the very things you have come to see, and sometimes it can be too hot for comfort. Usually the weather is fine, though, and it can be exciting to travel when half the country seems on the move. Train reservations, flights and accommodation are more readily available in winter, often at reduced prices. You see fewer tourists and more of the real America, with only an hour’s wait for the Washington Monument elevator. The sun still often shines, at least in the South, and the skiing season is open. Landscapes, especially the Rocky Mountains, can look even more spectacular when sprinkled with snow. For many people, spring and autumn (known as ‘fall’ to Americans) are probably the best times to visit. During spring, flowers bloom in the mountains and the countryside is at its greenest. New England’s forests always put on a dazzling show for autumn ‘peepers’.

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