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When to visit - May or October?

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
168 posts
158 reviews
When to visit - May or October?

DH and I are planning a trip to Washington DC and Charleston for next year but haven't decided exactly when to go. We've narrowed it down to mid-May or early to mid October.

Any feedback as to which time frame may be better and, if so, for what reason(s)? Such as weather, fewer crowds...

I'll be posting the same question in the Charleston forum - here I am focusing specifically on DC. Thanks in advance.

12 replies to this topic
Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
Level Contributor
3,052 posts
49 reviews
1. Re: When to visit - May or October?

I'd say early to mid October. While you can never predict the weather, we often have absolutely fabulous clear, dry and warm days in that window. Also I feel as if there are fewer student groups that early in the school year, as compared to May which is still within that peak window for busloads of middle and high schoolers.

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
168 posts
158 reviews
2. Re: When to visit - May or October?

Thank you so much for the reply. We are actually leaning toward October (a reply to my post on the Charleston forum mentioned that the Preservation Society offers historic home tours in October), so this sounds like another check in the October column.

washington dc
Level Contributor
4,787 posts
4 reviews
3. Re: When to visit - May or October?

October is 100% times better. May is about the worst - extreme crowds and school groups.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
15,587 posts
312 reviews
4. Re: When to visit - May or October?

October for sure.

Falls Church...
Level Contributor
3,516 posts
7 reviews
5. Re: When to visit - May or October?

Another plus for October is there is a raft of public events that tend to happen then.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
7 posts
55 reviews
6. Re: When to visit - May or October?

May can be very hit or miss in DC. Some May's are cold and can still feel like winter, others are hot and humid. Also, DC is home to many universities, all of which have graduations typically in May. This means that hotels are expensive, traffic can be difficult and lots of restaurants are booked. Between those two choices I would say October. Can be really pretty to see the monuments and the city when the leaves are starting to change.

Washington DC...
Destination Expert
for Washington DC
Level Contributor
2,651 posts
276 reviews
7. Re: When to visit - May or October?

I am also a fan of October. The museums are emptier and ticket requirements are more relaxed (except African American Museum). The crowds are also gone and the weather is great for walking. May I speak period, it is crowded expensive and less pleasant

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
168 posts
158 reviews
8. Re: When to visit - May or October?

Thanks to everyone for your input. We will definitely go in October - that is actually better for my work schedule anyway, so win-win!

Staten Island, New...
Destination Expert
for Cape May, Jersey Shore
Level Contributor
3,179 posts
69 reviews
9. Re: When to visit - May or October?

Late to jump on but we visited the first weekend of November. Low crowds, great weather ( at least this year).

October would be great, and will be before the time change as well.

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
39,616 posts
638 reviews
10. Re: When to visit - May or October?

I would prefer October.

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