Here are ten of the best places to travel in May. May is the beginning of summer and there are dozens of festivals all over the world that celebrate that fact. But May also host a variety of other festivals ranging from books to pickles.
- Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Wales is host to The Guardian Hay Festival of Literature and How The Light Gets In philosophy and music festival each May.Both festivals take place in Hay-on-Wye, a small town that boasts more bookstores per capita then any other place in the world, as well as the worlds largest books store. It’s actually a castle, with eight miles worth of bookshelves.
- Fishing Ports around Okinawa, Japan. For anyone who likes boats, racing and boat racing, these Dragon Boat races, called Haari, take place all over Okinawa throughout the month of May. The colorful boats race through the harbors and volunteers are always welcomed to help out.
- Helsinki, Finland. Vappu is the Finish celebration to welcome spring. It can be a black-tie affair or a loud picnic, but there’s always something for everyone. Fairly unknown outside Finland, it’s basically one big party!
- Cannes, France. Who doesn’t know about the Cannes Film Festival? One of the biggest film festivals in the world, laden with movie stars, film premiers, and free movie showings. The hardest thing will be finding a room and not getting trampled when Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt show up.
- Japan. Golden Week in Japan is one of the country's largest festivals. It’s a combination of four different holidays including Green Day (a celebration for Emperor Hirohito), Constitution Day (a celebration of the continuing growth of Japan and their constitution), the People’s Holiday (a celebration for the people of Japan), and Children’s Day. It’s one big celebration for a week with thousands of kites, carp streamers and prayers for prosperity and luck.
- Brussels, Belgium. The Jazz Marathon takes over Brussels for three days every May. Every street corner from one end of the city to the other is alive with music.
- Angels Camp, California, USA. There is nowhere else where you will see such devotion and tenacity in frog racing. Trainers and their frogs race all over the country to qualify for the event at the Calaveras County Fair & Jumping Frog Jubilee. There’s also a rodeo, plenty of rides, and food. And there’s bound to be a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls running around.
- Memphis, Tennessee. The World Championship Barbecue Contest in Memphis is made for anyone who loves barbecue, meat and just watching more than cooks battle it out. There are competitions for top barbecue, best sauce, hottest wings, and several others. It all takes place over three days in May.
- Atkins, Arkansas. Yes it’s true. There is a festival celebrating pickles. It’s called Picklefest and it happens in Atkins, Arkansas each May. It’s a tiny town of just over 3,000 that draws some 10,000 tourists for the festival. There’s even an open pickle juice-drinking contest. Someone always turns the color of the juice!
- Miles City, Montana. Land of the cowboys and the cowgirls, this city hosts the annual bucking horse sale. It’s part of their roundup that’s held every May when rodeo contractors and fans show up to get a look at what’s soon going to be gracing the circuit. Professional riders demonstrate the horses, then the auction starts. There’s also gun exhibits, horse racing, coin shows and food. Some call it the cowboy version of Mardi Gras.