Things to Do in May

While you wait for summer’s official arrival, there are still plenty of things heating up in May. Don’t miss May’s must-dos like the Kentucky Derby, National Bike Month, Cinco de Mayo and more.

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Blowing Rock Winterfest
Blowing Rock Winterfest

Blowing Rock Winterfest

Head to the mountains of North Carolina for the annual Blowing Rock Winterfest. This lively winterfest features a plunge into the icy waters of Lake Chetola, followed by the chance to warm up with hot chocolate and chili in downtown Blowing Rock. When: Late January 960 1280

Todd Bush Photography  

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Vancouver Polar Bear Swim

Run for your life! This group of New Year’s revelers rushes from the freezing waters of Vancouver’s English Bay. 2014 marks the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim’s 94th year, making it one of the largest and oldest clubs of its kind in the world. When: New Year's Day 960 1280

Reuters   

Courage Polar Bear Dip

Courage Polar Bear Dip

Courage, lads! Since its start in 1985, the annual Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, Ontario, has become the largest polar bear dip for charity in Canada. Money raised supports clean water projects organized by the advocacy organization World Vision Canada. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Courage Polar Bear Dip  

Seattle Polar Bear Plunge

Seattle Polar Bear Plunge

They’re freezin’ for a reason. Plungers take to the waters off Seattle’s Matthews Beach for the city’s annual polar bear plunge. Now in its 12th year, the Seattle Polar Bear Plunge is one of 8 statewide plunges to benefit Special Olympics Washington. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

mordac, flickr   

Aruba New Year's Plunge

Aruba New Year's Plunge

In search of warmer climes to take the plunge? Head to Aruba for the Caribbean island’s annual Aruba New Year's Plunge. Hundreds of people gather at MooMba Beach for the “Unox Nieuwjaarsduik” (New Year’s plunge), which takes place at noon sharp. The event is open to everyone; no charge. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Aruba Daily Newspaper  

Coney Island Plunge

Coney Island Plunge

Cold enough for you? These 2 brave guys take part in the annual Coney Island Plunge organized by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the oldest ice swimming club in the US. The yearly dip into the Atlantic begins at 1 p.m. sharp; afterward, if you’re still breathing, check out the famous Coney Island boardwalk. When: Jan. 1 960 1280

Getty Images  

Russian Orthodox Epiphany

Russian Orthodox Epiphany

In the name of the …wow, this water is cold! A Russian man celebrates the Russian Orthodox Epiphany with a dip in frigid waters. The age-old ritual commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, but we have a feeling the Jordan’s waters were a lot less cold. When: Mid-January 960 1280

Reuters  

Tybee Polar Plunge

Tybee Polar Plunge

Thousands of people flock to Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA, for the annual Tybee Polar Plunge plunge into the brisk waters of the Atlantic. Plungers register for a nominal fee, with proceeds going toward the historic Tybee Post Theater, built in 1930. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Tybee Polar Plunge   

Scotland's Loony Dook

Scotland's Loony Dook

Showing their white-and-blue Scottish pride, these 2 “loony dookers” take a dip in Scotland’s River Forth. The annual Loony Dook event in Scotland began in 1987 with a handful of participants; the event has since grown into a New Year’s rite of passage for thousands. When: New Year’s Day 960 1280

Lee Carson, flickr  

Baltimore PlungeFest

Baltimore PlungeFest

Holy moly, ma, Darth Vader’s not wearing any clothes under that cape! This wickedly cool plunger takes a dip in the Chesapeake Bay’s cold waters near Baltimore. The annual Baltimore PlungeFest kicks off in Annapolis, MD’s Sandy Point State Park, with proceeds going to Special Olympics Maryland. When: Late January 960 1280

Steve Ruark Photography  

Chicago Polar Plunge

Chicago Polar Plunge

Skip the clothes, grab a wig! Celebrate the New Year (and a good cause) with hundreds of revelers who dive into the icy waters of Chicago’s Lake Michigan in early spring. 2015 marks Chicago Polar Plunge’s 15th year, with proceeds going toward Special Olympics Chicago. When: Early March 960 1280

Grace Trivino, flickr   

Netherlands New Year's

Netherlands New Year's

Wearing colorful vestments, this man takes a dip in the waters off Scheveningen, a beachside resort town in the Netherlands. The annual event began in 1960, and attracts more than 10,000 people, who plunge into the icy North Sea on New Year’s Day. When: Jan. 1 960 1280

Reuters  

Plunge Into 2014  12 Photos

Telluride, Colorado
Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado

Aspen's chilled-out neighbor, Telluride has the perfect recipe for a summer getaway: laid-back culture, outdoor adventures and plenty of summer festivals including its legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The best way to take in the sweeping views: a 3-mile gondola ride. 960 1280

Telluride Tourism  

San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands, Washington

Summer on Washington's San Juan Islands is idyllic with dry clear days and wildlife- watching galore, including orca whales, which gather near the islands every summer. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Summer Olympics, London

Summer Olympics, London

If you’re the type who needs to be in on the action, then head to London (along with everyone else in the world) for a less-than-quiet summer getaway at the Summer Olympics. Even if you can’t score tickets, you can still soak up the excitement with live broadcasts of Olympic events in locations such as Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida

Escape to the unspoiled and quiet beaches of Sanibel Island, only 15 miles west of Fort Myers -- but a world away from the rest of Florida's crowded and chaotic coastline. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico’s “secret island,” has neither the high-rise resorts or even the traffic lights of a place like San Juan. So you’ll have the beach to yourself in this national wildlife refuge. And check out the Bioluminescent Bay at night to see glowing microorganisms light up the ocean. 960 1280

Mark Donoher, flickr  

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Swedes are known for traveling to warmer climates during their cold winters, but in the summer many stay put to enjoy the temperate weather and extra hours of sunlight (the sky doesn't darken until 10 p.m.). Cafés and most attractions stay open to take advantage of the late-night sun. 960 1280

Oleksiy Mark  

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean can be found in Honduras’s Bay Islands, off the world’s second-largest barrier reef. Roatan is the largest of the islands, with butterfly and iguana farms, canopy tours, small villages and idyllic beaches to entice both divers and non-divers alike. 960 1280

Dennis Sabo  

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

Don’t forget about America’s smallest state, Rhode Island! While the rest of the US battles record-heat days in summer, Rhode Island stays cool with New England breezes. Head to Newport to sample the legendary seafood -- lobster, lobster and more lobster. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is full of European charm, but a lot closer and more affordable than Paris. And summer is the best time to go to enjoy the balmy weather, foodie culture and outdoor cafes. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight

Leave the car in the garage this summer and board the Coast Starlight, which links the greatest cities on the West Coast -- LA, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. You’ll ride through spectacular scenery in style, with sleeping cars, fresh cuisine (served on real china and table linens) and a daily tasting of local wines. 960 1280

Reuters  

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Gearing up the for the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeriro keeps moving up the hotlist of South American tourism. Shedding its reputation as a dangerous city, Rio is claiming more of the spotlight with its stunning beaches and lively culture. 960 1280

Celso Pupo Rodrigues  

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Last summer was Yellowstone. This summer head to Glacier National Park, along Montana’s northern border, for a nature lover’s paradise: dramatic mountains, sapphire lakes and rivers, and unforgettable hiking trails. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Photos

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado

Aspen's chilled-out neighbor, Telluride has the perfect recipe for a summer getaway: laid-back culture, outdoor adventures and plenty of summer festivals including its legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival. The best way to take in the sweeping views: a 3-mile gondola ride. 960 1280

Telluride Tourism  

San Juan Islands, Washington

San Juan Islands, Washington

Summer on Washington's San Juan Islands is idyllic with dry clear days and wildlife- watching galore, including orca whales, which gather near the islands every summer. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Summer Olympics, London

Summer Olympics, London

If you’re the type who needs to be in on the action, then head to London (along with everyone else in the world) for a less-than-quiet summer getaway at the Summer Olympics. Even if you can’t score tickets, you can still soak up the excitement with live broadcasts of Olympic events in locations such as Trafalgar Square and Hyde Park. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida

Escape to the unspoiled and quiet beaches of Sanibel Island, only 15 miles west of Fort Myers -- but a world away from the rest of Florida's crowded and chaotic coastline. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico’s “secret island,” has neither the high-rise resorts or even the traffic lights of a place like San Juan. So you’ll have the beach to yourself in this national wildlife refuge. And check out the Bioluminescent Bay at night to see glowing microorganisms light up the ocean. 960 1280

Mark Donoher, flickr  

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden

Swedes are known for traveling to warmer climates during their cold winters, but in the summer many stay put to enjoy the temperate weather and extra hours of sunlight (the sky doesn't darken until 10 p.m.). Cafés and most attractions stay open to take advantage of the late-night sun. 960 1280

Oleksiy Mark  

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, Honduras

Some of the best scuba diving in the Caribbean can be found in Honduras’s Bay Islands, off the world’s second-largest barrier reef. Roatan is the largest of the islands, with butterfly and iguana farms, canopy tours, small villages and idyllic beaches to entice both divers and non-divers alike. 960 1280

Dennis Sabo  

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island

Don’t forget about America’s smallest state, Rhode Island! While the rest of the US battles record-heat days in summer, Rhode Island stays cool with New England breezes. Head to Newport to sample the legendary seafood -- lobster, lobster and more lobster. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Montreal is full of European charm, but a lot closer and more affordable than Paris. And summer is the best time to go to enjoy the balmy weather, foodie culture and outdoor cafes. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Coast Starlight

Coast Starlight

Leave the car in the garage this summer and board the Coast Starlight, which links the greatest cities on the West Coast -- LA, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. You’ll ride through spectacular scenery in style, with sleeping cars, fresh cuisine (served on real china and table linens) and a daily tasting of local wines. 960 1280

Reuters  

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Gearing up the for the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeriro keeps moving up the hotlist of South American tourism. Shedding its reputation as a dangerous city, Rio is claiming more of the spotlight with its stunning beaches and lively culture. 960 1280

Celso Pupo Rodrigues  

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Last summer was Yellowstone. This summer head to Glacier National Park, along Montana’s northern border, for a nature lover’s paradise: dramatic mountains, sapphire lakes and rivers, and unforgettable hiking trails. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Outlaw Run (Branson, Missouri)

Outlaw Run (Branson, Missouri)

Ready for a 68-mph adrenaline rush? Kick off July on the only wooden coaster to twist upside down with a record-breaking 3 inversions -- and a stomach-in-your-mouth 81-degree drop. Take advantage of Outlaw Run’s extended hours this month at Silver Dollar City. Can’t make it to Branson, MO, this July? Check out our complete guide to US amusement parks. 960 1280

Silver Dollar City  

Tour de France’s 100 Anniversary

Tour de France’s 100 Anniversary

Celebrate France’s biggest sporting event this month -- the Tour de France -- as it marks 100 years this July. The official kick-off takes place on the island of Corsica then crosses onto France’s mainland. Cruise the French countryside as you follow the grand event. Or if you can’t make it abroad, head to one of America’s top bicycling cities. 960 1280

REUTERS/Bogdan Criste  

San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)

San Fermin Festival (Pamplona, Spain)

Run for your life! Join hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists who flock to the northern Spanish city of Pamplona for the annual San Fermin Festival. At the stroke of noon on July 6, the celebration unfolds with 6 bulls and another 6 steers running down a half-mile stretch of narrow streets. The week-long events culminate in a final, grand fight in a bullring. 960 1280

ANDER GILLENEA/AFP/GettyImages  

Hemingway Days Festival (Key West, Florida)

Hemingway Days Festival (Key West, Florida)

Can’t make it to Pamplona this month? Head to Key West, FL,instead! Now in its 33rd year, Hemingway Days Festival honors the late author, who lived and worked on the southern coast of the island. The annual event includes its own “Running of the Bulls” -- this one with Ernest Hemingway lookalikes pushing fake bulls on Key West’s famed Duval Street. 960 1280

REUTERS/Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/Handout  

California Wine Festival (Santa Barbara, California)

California Wine Festival (Santa Barbara, California)

Head to one of the biggest wine festivals under the sun! Celebrate wine harvest season this July with a visit to California wine country. Held this year in Santa Barbara, the 10th annual California Wine Festival showcases vintage wines, along with gourmet appetizers including artisan breads and cheeses. Cheers! 960 1280

Getty Images  

Alaska Cruise Season

Alaska Cruise Season

Escape the heat, and take in awe-inspiring glacial views, with a cruise to Alaska. Cruise ships dock alongside towns from Seward, along Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, to Ketchikan, in the Alexander Archipelago. Cruise ships also dock near Katmai National Park, where July is prime time to see bears gulp up Atlantic salmon on their run. And if cruise prices prove too high in July, fret not: Alaska’s prime cruise season stretches through September. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Amsterdam Fashion Week

Amsterdam Fashion Week

New York, Paris … and Amsterdam? Ja! Amsterdam Fashion Week began as an effort to put the Dutch capital on the fashion map. Nearly 10 years later, the twice-annual showcase of new and established fashion talent in the Netherlands is going strong. While you’re here hit the streets to truly experience Amsterdam. 960 1280

ADE JOHNSON/AFP/GettyImages  

Taste of Chicago (Grant Park)

Taste of Chicago (Grant Park)

This July don’t miss the world’s largest food festival -- yes, the largest! Held annually in mid-July, Taste of Chicago draws dozens of food vendors and participating restaurants to Chi-Town’s Grant Park. Now 34 years strong, the annual event attracts upwards of 3 million people each year -- and with foodie indulgences like the famous deep-dish pizza, we know why! 960 1280

star5112, flickr   

NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week

What’s the culinary capital of America? Our vote’s on the Big Apple. Head to NYC this July to savor the city’s culinary best during NYC Restaurant Week. Held in late July, this twice-annual event sees participating restaurants offer prix-fixe lunches and dinners. Be sure to check out buzz-worthy restaurants, including Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s newly opened ABC Cocina. 960 1280

Getty Images   

National Ice Cream Month

National Ice Cream Month

This July we all scream for ice cream. Celebrate National Ice Cream Month -- designated a national holiday by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 -- with a trip to America’s coolest ice cream shops. And why not head to the granddaddy of them all -- Bassetts Ice Cream in Philadelphia -- the oldest ice cream company in the US, founded in 1861! 960 1280

bigbirdz, flickr  

Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede

Our “Neighbor to the North” marks its birthday this month. Get in on the festivities during the Calgary Stampede! This 10-day event is Canada’s largest annual rodeo, and one of its largest festivals to boot. Billed as the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the rodeo draws more than 1 million visitors each year. 960 1280

Mario Tama/Getty Images  

Gettysburg’s 150th Anniversary

Gettysburg’s 150th Anniversary

Retrace one of America’s biggest moments. This July the Battle of Gettysburg marks its 150th anniversary. Tour Gettysburg and its historic town, and take in battle reenactments of events that culminated in more than 51,000 casualties and the setting for President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. 960 1280

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images  

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks

Pop! Boom! Bang! July spells independence, with glorious fireworks nationwide. Celebrate Independence Day with a visit to the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks display over the Hudson River. And if NYC’s not on your itinerary, check out more of America’s best fireworks displays -- in St. Louis, Addison, TX, and Chicago’s Navy Pier. 960 1280

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images  

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre, Italy

"Cinque Terre is on my bucket list, and I’m so excited I get to go this September. I love hiking, so I can’t wait to hike the several trails I’ve been reading about with the colorful, picturesque villages in the background.“ – Farima Alavi, Assistant Editor 960 1280

AGF  

New Zealand

New Zealand

"New Zealand is at the top of my travel bucket list, because I’m a big nerd and want to see where “The Lord of the Rings” movies were filmed. My must-see places would include the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata, and Mount Sunday, the breathtaking setting for the city of Edoras." – Shannon Petrie, Managing Editor 960 1280

Alex Livesey - FIFA  

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park

 “I’m determined to get to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite via the cable route. I just haven’t managed to win the permits necessary to get there! When I first laid eyes on Half Dome, I knew I wanted to see the world from its peak. There’s something so majestic about the way it looms over Yosemite Valley. If I lose the permit lottery again this year, my husband and I may hop over to Iceland to see what the fuss is all about!” – Beth Rucker, Managing Editor 960 1280

Mark Boster  

Cambodia

Cambodia

“Southeast Asia, especially Cambodia, is on my bucket list this year. I’ve been dreaming of touring the temples at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap for a long time. This is the year I make it happen.” – Deanne Revel, Contributing Writer 960 1280

SeM  

Lyon, France

Lyon, France

“Lyon, France, has been on my travel bucket list for a few years now. Not only is the city an affordable alternative to Paris, Lyon boasts historic architecture and fine dining options that rival the capital city. A perfect day for me would include biking along the Rhône river, sampling wine from the nearby Beaujolais region and dining at Paul Bocuse’s famous restaurant.” – Ryan Reed, Editor 960 1280

Gary Yeowell  

Turkey

Turkey

“There are a ton of places on my bucket list, but Turkey is definitely at the top. Throughout history, the country has been a connection between the East and West, and so it’s been the setting for many major geopolitical events: the rise of the Byzantine Empire, the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The country is also home to some of the most incredible architecture in the world, like the Hagia Sophia. I can’t wait to see it for myself someday!” – Katie Friedman, Industry Outreach Coordinator 960 1280

Anadolu Images  

Scotland

Scotland

Scotland is high on my travel bucket list because my ancestors on my mother’s side are from Scotland, so I’d love to trace where our clan lived and bring back something in our tartan pattern as a souvenir. I also want to hike in the gorgeous landscape of the Highlands, visit the many majestic castles and explore the charming streets of Edinburgh. – Laura James, Assistant Editor 960 1280

Kenneth Cox  

Alaska

Alaska

“I really, really want to go see the Northern Lights. I don’t care where (I’ve been told Alaska and Iceland are both good places), but I want to really do it up, and stay in a big cabin or one of those crazy ice yurts." – Jessica Yonker, Online Editor 960 1280

Andreas Gebhard  

Washington

Washington

"This year I’m actually completing a bucket list item: I’m going to Seattle! I haven’t been back to Seattle since I moved to the South when I was 13. I’m going to a concert and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.” – Jessica Yonker, Online Editor 960 1280

Edmund Lowe  

China

China

 “Asia has been on my list for as long as I can remember, and I’m finally going to make that dream a reality this March! I’ll be traveling to China and cannot wait to experience the culture, find out what Chinese food really is, and of course, see the incredible sights. I’ll start the trip by checking out the Great Wall in Beijing and finish up by visiting the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. I can’t wait!” – Keri Sanders, Assistant Editor 960 1280

inigoarza  

Argentina

Argentina

“For the past four years, I’ve said that I’ll visit South America, but I always end up traveling to Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania instead. This year (cue the broken record) I’ll visit South America to camp and explore Patagonia and sip wine in Argentina. Since it’s in the southern hemisphere with opposite seasons visiting in December will be during the summer.” – Arthur Hsu, Producer 960 1280

Insights  

Ireland

Ireland

“I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland. I just have a thing for all things Irish — bright green landscapes, four-leaf clovers, foggy mornings, string instruments, whiskey. Part of that comes from my ancestry, which has deep Irish roots, and also from the connection to my home in the southern Appalachians, a local culture permeated with Irish influence. I don’t have plans on the books right now but I know I’ll get there soon.”– Kelly Smith Trimble, Editorial Director 960 1280

Andreas Prott  

Ireland and London

Ireland and London

“Ireland has been on my bucket list since I was little. My mom’s side of the family has strong roots there, so I’ve always wanted to “go back to the Motherland,” as they say. I’m also fascinated by the culture, in love with the green, rolling hills and rocky cliffs, and dying to chat with locals in a cozy pub. This year, I’m finally going! My husband and I are planning to visit in October. We’re also staying in London for a few nights, too, because we’ve never been there either, and why not?“ – Molly Miller, Apple News Editor 960 1280

Nicolò Campo  

Japan

Japan

“My travel bucket list is extensive. I’ll admit, I’m a little greedy. My whole family is obsessed with Japanese food, film and culture in general so at the top of my list is a trip to Japan, hopefully before my son graduates from high school." – Felicia Feaster, Managing Editor 960 1280

Laurie Noble  

Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

But I will check a major destination off of my long bucket list when I return to Athens, Greece this spring. In high school, I lived in Athens for almost three years when my father was an Army officer working with the Greek military. I can’t imagine a better life experience, especially for a teenager; attending the American Community School with kids from around the world, hopping on a bus and shopping and hanging out in cafes in Athens, school field trips to Crete, and traveling with my debate team to a conference in Thessaloniki. My best friend Debbie remembers we called it Thess, “to be cool.” In March I’m taking my travel-obsessed teenage son, who is about the same age I was when I traveled to Greece for the first time. I hope he loves it as much as I did.” – Felicia Feaster, Managing Editor 960 1280

Alexander Hafemann  

Easter Island

Easter Island

Easter Island is on my bucket list because those statues – like 900 of them – have got to the coolest thing ever. Plus, the beaches look really nice. – Jackie McGilvray, Editor 960 1280

Patricia Hamilton (Larigan)  

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