November in the United States: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

A float in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
(Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

The United States is a massive country, so the weather in November varies depending on which state and region you're visiting. If you are looking to squeeze in a trip before winter gets going, aim for the start of the month when temperatures are milder, storms are less likely, and the holiday masses aren't around yet. For the most part, the crisp, clear days of autumn give way to chillier temperatures and darker skies across much of the United States in November. The Gulf Coast, Florida, the Desert Southwest, and California are the exceptions in the Lower 48 and stay comfortable year-round.

Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November except in areas that don't conform to daylight saving time. Days "fall back" and 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.

U.S. Weather in November

In the northern parts of America, November brings in chillier temperatures, wind, and toward the end of the month, sometimes snow. However, travel earlier in the month to New England, Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest to see beautiful fall foliage before the leaves drop. In a few parts of the U.S., November offers mild weather that makes it a prime time to travel there—even more comfortable than summertime. 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.

  • New York City: 54 F high/42 F low
  • Los Angeles: 73 F/52 F
  • Chicago: 48 F/32 F
  • Washington: 58 F/41 F
  • Las Vegas: 66 F/47 F
  • San Francisco: 63 F/50 F
  • Hawaii: 84 F/70 F
  • Phoenix: 76 F/53 F
  • Orlando: 78 F/59 F
  • New Orleans: 72 F/54 F

Hurricane Season

Hurricane season comes to an end on November 30. As the country transitions into winter weather, storms are not unheard of, but they are less likely to make landfall. But there is potential for hurricanes to form in the Atlantic Ocean and 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 be prepared for fewer sunny days.

What to Pack

Depending on the weather and region, your suitcase can look very different. For example, if you're planning a trip to Florida, where the days can get up to the 70s, you can bring more summery clothes such as dresses and light cardigans. However, in colder areas like New England or the Pacific Northwest, you'll want to pack jackets, jeans, scarves, and warmer clothing. The best bet (no matter where you go in the U.S.) is to bring layers like long pants, light jackets, and options in case the weather changes.

November Events in the U.S.

The two biggest holidays during this month are Veterans Day and Thanksgiving; however, other smaller events are happening around America as well.

  • Election day is held on the first Tuesday of the month and is the day in which the public votes for local and national government positions. Significant elections (such as the presidency) are held every four years. It is not a public holiday, meaning almost all businesses will be open. However, many schools are closed on Election Day so that they can serve as local polling places.
  • Veterans Day is held on November 11 every year in honor of those who have served in the United States military. Most schools, banks, and government offices are closed, so plan accordingly.
  • Thanksgiving is the most significant national holiday in November and is held on the fourth Thursday of November. It originated in 1623 when the pilgrims (European settlers) gave thanks for a bountiful harvest. Today, it is celebrated by having one large dinner with family and friends. Every year New York City hosts the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, where giant floats, marching bands, and fans fill the streets.
  • The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, a consumer holiday that marks the start of the shopping season before Christmas. Almost all stores open early and offer huge discounts and sales—but expect crazy crowds and long check-out lines. Most Americans have this day off work and school.
  • Although Day of the Dead is technically a Mexican tradition, it is often celebrated across the American Southwest and California. The holiday—which combines All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2—is a day to remember and pay homage to deceased loved ones.

November Travel Tips

  • Daylight saving time ends on the first Sunday in November except in areas that don't conform to daylight saving time. Make sure to change your clocks.
  • 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, fly 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.
  • Want to see 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, down to even 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but they tend to remain well above freezing and are tolerable if you're prepared with the proper clothing. However, the holiday season is one of the busiest and most expensive times to travel.
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