The crisp, clear days of autumn give way to chillier temperatures and darker skies across much of the United States in November when the much cooler weather starts to pour into most of the country. The Gulf Coast, Florida, the Desert Southwest, and California are the exceptions in the Lower 48.
Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November except in areas that don't conform to daylight saving time. As days "fall back" get shorter and darker as the month progresses. Sunny fall days that are the rule in October are replaced by more rain in much of the U.S., and those in northern and mountainous destinations like Minneapolis and the Sierra Nevada in California might even see snow. The unpredictable weather can make it a tricky time for travel weather-wise.
If you are looking to squeeze in a trip before winter really gets going, aim for the start of the month when temperatures are milder, storms are less likely, and the holiday masses of travelers aren't around. Thanksgiving is on the last Thursday of November, and airlines and other travel outlets tend to jack up their prices and drop deals to take advantage of the holiday season. If you intend to travel for Thanksgiving, travel to wherever you are headed for the holiday as early as possible to avoid the crowds at the last minute.
Or travel on the holiday itself, when the airport will be a ghost town.
Watch Out for Hurricane Season
Hurricane season comes to an end on Nov. 30. As the country transitions into winter weather, storms are not unheard of, but they are definitely less likely to make landfall. But there is potential for hurricanes to form in the Atlantic Ocean to make landfall on the coast from Florida to Maine, as well as along the Gulf Coast in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and the Florida Panhandle. If you are a hardy beachgoer and ready to hit the sand even as it the temperature drops, be conscious of local weather warnings and prepared for fewer sunny days.
Trip Ideas to Take Advantage of November Weather
If you haven't seen any fall foliage, early November is your last chance. Head to more southern destinations like Charleston, South Carolina, where colors linger longer than up north, thanks to the warmer climate. Another great spot is the Napa Valley of California. Tourists who went for the harvest season are usually gone, but the stunning yellow and orange vine leaves remain and reach their peak during November. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit later in the month, New York City decks itself out right around Thanksgiving, and the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is not to be missed.
Temperatures in the city will be brisk in the mid-50s Fahrenheit, but they tend to remain well above freezing and are tolerable if you're prepared with the proper clothing.
In a few parts of the U.S., November offers mild weather that makes it a prime time to travel there, more comfortable than summertime. So if you're thinking of New Orleans, go for it. It's a great weather month in Florida as long as hurricanes and tropical storms are not threatening. California is also pleasant, with warmer temperatures in the southern part of the state. It's one of the best months to visit Phoenix and Tucson to play golf on nearly guaranteed mild and sunny days.
Average November Temperatures in Top Tourist Destinations
Here's a look at the average temperatures for November in top travel destinations in the United States. Temperatures are listed high/low.
- New York City: 54 degrees Fahrenheit/42 degrees Fahrenheit
- Los Angeles: 73/52
- Chicago: 48/32
- Washington: 58/41
- Las Vegas: 66/47
- San Francisco: 63/50
- Hawaii: 84/70
- Grand Canyon: 52/27
- Phoenix: 76/53
- Orlando: 78/59
- New Orleans: 72/54