25 American Destinations Where Summer Starts Early

Downtown Tucson, Arizona with Sentinel Peak at dusk. (Photo via Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Scott Hartbeck
by Scott Hartbeck
Last updated: 3:00 AM ET, Wed April 6, 2022

How to Get an Early Start on Summer

While every city and place in the nation experiences a summer full of warm temperatures and cherished seasonal events, the season can take longer to arrive in some places than in others. In much of the Sun Belt, summer-like temperatures arrive early, while swaths of the country are still wrestling with cool, wintry-like weather. So what do you do when you want to start your summer early? Head to one of the following 25 destinations, that's what. All of the following places feature very warm weather early and many of them have a signature festival or two that serves as a de facto kick-off of their early-summer season that will enhance your trip.

Palm Springs, California

Daily high temperatures are already averaging in the 80s around the time the annual BNP Paribas Tennis tournament takes place in nearby Indian Wells in early March and the good times keep rolling from there. By the time Coachella and Stagecoach take place up the road in Indio in late April the valley is sunny, toasty and all the hotel pools are hopping.

Pensacola, Florida

There may be some cool breezes on the beach in early April, but by the time they're tossing mullet fish across the state line in late April over at the Flora-Bama bar, the daily highs are flirting with the 80s. Pensacola's annual Bands on the Beach festival gets started in April and any time you're listening to live music with your toes in the sand, it feels like summer.

Augusta, Georgia

By the time the Masters tees off in early April, Augusta is already basking in pleasant days with average highs in the upper-70s and if you're visiting from up North, that's going to feel a whole lot like summertime. Come May when the Thunder over Evans event celebrates Armed Forces Day, the riverwalk is radiating heat.

Phoenix, Arizona

Daily high temperatures are already in the mid-80s by the time the Maricopa County Fair kicks off in early April and they're steadily rising as the Rainbows Festival Pride event kicks off the last weekend of the month. Summer starts, albeit unofficially with the myriad of Cinco de Mayo celebrations around town as temps are flirting with the mid-90s.

Orlando, Florida

The carefree atmosphere at Orlando's world-famous theme parks makes it feel like summer year-round, but the city is also one of the warmest in the nation. By early April, daily high temperatures are already in the 80s, with a visit to the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival being one of the best ways to kick off the season in O-Town.

South Padre Island, Texas

As soon as Spring Break ends on SPI, things start feeling positively summery. Average high temperatures in April and May are north of 80 degrees and the bars & restaurants all come alive with live music and fun events from there on out. And with the diversity of the local birdlife present at this time of year, things feel positively vibrant.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The summer vibes get rolling early in the Big Easy. Things start heating up during the French Quarter Festival in April, but the unofficial kick-off to summer comes at Jazzfest in early May. By the time the acts take the stage at this world-renowned festival, the city is usually already enjoying balmy days that top out in the 80s.

The Florida Keys, Florida

Every year in spring, the snowbirds head home and the Keys turn into a summer wonderland. The first weekend of May each year sees the Key West Songwriters Festival return to town and from that point on, the days are in the high 80s with the local water temperature a degree or two above dreamy.

Louisville, Kentucky

Once the mint juleps have been sipped and the Run for the Roses is complete, it's pretty much all systems go for summertime in the 'Ville. After the Kentucky Derby, average high temperatures are typically on the cusp of the low-80s and by the time the open-air Shakespeare Festival kicks off later in the month things are positively steamy.

Wilmington, North Carolina

The nationally-renowned Azalea Festival takes over town in early April each year at the precise time Wilmington is experiencing wonderful weather featuring highs in the mid-70s. The good times come thick and fast from there as once mid-April arrives, there's a straight-up summer vibe out on the sands of the surrounding beaches.

Miami, Florida

It's always sizzling in Miami and if you take your talents to South Beach any time of year, you're going to feel like you've arrived in a place where winter is just a bad rumor. The temperatures here stay pretty steady all year-round, but by the time ULTRA Music Festival, the Miami Open tennis tournament and Miami Beach Gay Pride have finished up in mid-April, things are starting to sizzle.

El Paso, Texas

By the time we hit April, the average daily highs are over 80 in this fascinating city in the far west of Texas. Head to town anytime in spring to feel like you've skipped ahead a season and by the time the Mighty Mujer Triathlon hits town in late April, you'll know full well why they call it Sun City.

Memphis, Tennessee

Summer starts early in Memphis with perhaps the nation's finest fifth-month festival: Memphis in May. This month-long event features international cultural expositions, barbecue contests and scores of other events including the Beale Street Music Festival (April 29-May 1 in 2022), which this year includes appearances from Megan Thee Stallion, Weezer, Lil Wayne, Three 6 Mafia, Da Baby and Modest Mouse among others.

Jackson, Mississippi

Mid-April in JXN sees average daily highs hovering around 80 degrees, which is a dream come true if you're trying to escape one of the infamous late cold blasts that can hit northern locales. By the time downtown is taken over by the Mississippi Mudbug Festival at the end of the month (April 27-May 1 in 2022), full-on summer fun has begun.

Tucson, Arizona

By late April, Tucson is already basking in sunny days with temperatures regularly topping out in the mid-80s. After the International Mariachi Conference (April 29-May 8 in 2022) comes to town, things only take off from there, so stop by this spring to experience a special festival and to get an early hit of summer.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Does summer arrive early in San Juan? Well, since it never left Puerto Rico's sun-soaked capital, that's a resounding yes. All year-round, you can expect high temperatures in the mid-80s and idyllic evenings somewhere around 70 degrees-a summer lover's dream come true. Throw in the sensational beaches and historic Old Town, and you've got a destination like nothing else in the nation.

Savannah, Georgia

You could make a case that it feels a bit like summer in Savannah the minute the shamrocks come out and the green beer gets poured each year during its famous St. Paddy's day party. After all, average high temps at that time of year are already averaging right around 75 degrees. Head down in early April for the Savannah's Music Festival (March 24-April 9 in 2022) and you'll leave swearing you've already experienced peak summertime.

Birmingham, Alabama

It may be located an hour outside of Magic City, but when the engines rev and the Geico 500 starts up in Talladega (April 24 in 2022), you could make a strong case that summer begins in Birmingham. That's because come early May, daily highs are up over 80 degrees and festivals and outdoor events are happening everywhere.

San Antonio, Texas

By the time San Antonio's famous Fiesta takes over the city in early April, the daily high temperatures are already north of 80 degrees. If that's not warm enough for you, come back to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a month later and you'll experience even hotter days and a city full of lively parties and packed restaurant patios.

Las Vegas, Nevada

By April, the average daily highs in Vegas are in the 80s as they begin their annual ascent toward triple digits. The casinos are all air-conditioned, so embrace the heat outside by spending your days lounging at one of The Strip's luxurious pools, whose world-famous parties begin to spring to life around April each year.

Tampa, Florida

By mid-March, temps in Tampa are just about averaging a high of 80 degrees during the day, pleasantly blurring the line between spring and summer-especially for those visiting from up north. And by the time Riverfest happens in early May, summer is going strong.

Dallas, Texas

The rumors are true, Dallas can get a touch of wintry weather, but that's long gone by mid-April. By then, daily high temperatures race towards 80 degrees and Dallas Blooms at the Dallas Arboretum-the city's beloved annual flower festival-is teeming with life, a scene so vibrant it will transport you straight to summertime.

Fresno, California

The Golden State's Central Valley is its warmest region, and once the calendar turns over to April-the month of its famous Clovis Rodeo-Fresno is fast approaching daily high temperatures north of 80 degrees. Kick off a season of summer fun at the rodeo, then head to one of the nearby National Parks-Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite are all within a short-ish drive-to breath in the California splendor.

Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville starts April with daily high temperatures over 80 degrees and by the time the beloved Springing the Blues Festival-the world's largest free oceanfront jazz fest- finishes its run in early April, it's pretty much full-on summer fun time. The weekly JAX River Jams concert series that takes place in April (this year's headliners include Spin Doctors, Boyz II Men, Manchester Orchestra and Carly Pearce) is another sign that the Bold City get summer started early.

Houston, Texas

While Houston can have some cool spells during winter, things warm back up in a hurry come April. Head to town to experience the annual Woodlands Waterways Arts Festival (April 6-10) and you'll experience high temperatures in the upper 70s and nights ideal for patio dining.

The summer vibes are already strong at these locales.

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Scott Hartbeck

Scott Hartbeck

Born in the USA but now based in England, Scott has been writing about travel for over 10 years. He specializes in Europe, rail...

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