While the United States has no shortage of wonderful summer vacation destinations, some people may have their sights set on exploring distant shores, learning new cultures, and sampling new tastes. Regardless of whether you long to soak up the sun on a perfect beach, get active on land or sea, or spend some time learning about history, culture, and the arts, there is a perfect August destination waiting to welcome you.
1. Portland, Maine
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Offering a good mix of vacation activities combined with museums, cultural, and historical sites, Portland is an ideal summer vacation destination. You can get a good sense of the atmosphere of the city when you visit quaint Commercial Street, a cobbled waterside street lined with shops, restaurants, and vintage architecture. For an altogether different perspective, you can hop aboard a Casco Bay Lines tour or choose to explore the downtown on a vintage trolley tour. Active visitors can combine exercise and sightseeing on a Summer Feet Cycling Adventure, while marine life enthusiasts can sign up for an Odyssey Whale Watch expedition to see whales, dolphins, and an abundance of sea birds. To add a helping of culture you can visit the Portland Museum of Art and the Portland Arts District or attend the Portland Symphony Orchestra at Merrill Auditorium.
2. Amsterdam, Holland
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Amsterdam in the Netherlands is a great choice for a culturally rewarding summer vacation, offering an enchanting city that appears to “float” along the banks of its many canals. You can get a great overview of the city on one of the popular canal cruises before setting off to explore some of the city’s world-class museums. Art lovers can feast their eyes on works by several of the Grand Masters, including Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, and many more, and you will find a plethora of interesting and quirky museums to visit, including the Cheese Museum, the Tulip Museum, and the Houseboat Museum. Renting a bicycle and exploring the city on two wheels is a very popular activity, and when the sun sets the vibrant nightlife commences.
3. Bad Ischl, Austria
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The Austrian town of Bad Ischl is better known as a popular winter sport destination, but a visit during August will give you the chance to join the locals as they celebrate the birthday of the late Emperor Franz Joseph I. The celebrations continue for about a week and include horse parades, costumes, music, and loads of nostalgia. Outside of the celebration week you can go on a guided tour of the impressive Imperial Villa. The town offers great hiking and biking trails in the Zalzkammergut Mountains and Kaiser Park. Non-hikers can take a scenic cable car ride to the top of Zalzkammergut on the Katrin Cable Car for wonderful views. Bad Ischl boasts several spas and wellness resorts where you can relax and enjoy the benefits of the natural thermal waters.
4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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August is an ideal month for outdoor enthusiasts to visit wonderful Cape Cod. The cape is an arm-shaped peninsula that juts into the pounding surf of the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by 400 miles of shoreline dotted with quaint little seaside towns, stunning beaches, and dozens of lighthouses. You can spend your days soaking up the sun or tour the very scenic area by bike or car, stopping along the way to explore and enjoy fresh lobster rolls. Besides the many outdoor activities on offer, you can also spend time admiring the vibrant art scene, visiting a few of the many museums in the area, or taking a day-trip by ferry to nearby Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.
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5. Dublin, Ireland
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Dublin is a fascinating city to explore and should feature on everyone’s summer vacation list. You can learn about Dublin by joining a guided tour or by following one of the Discovery Trails –download the app, which will guide you and allow you to see all the sights that interest you at your own pace. Some of the highlights of Dublin include the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College and the famous Guinness Storehouse, where you can see exactly how the country’s most famous drink is made. Whiskey lovers should not miss visiting the Jameson and Teeling distilleries to see how their favorite tipple is produced. The city has a vibrant nightlife and you should spend at least one evening enjoying traditional Irish music in Temple Bar, a street filled with restaurants and bars featuring live music.
6. Best Places to Vacation in August: Geneva, Switzerland
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Many people think of Switzerland as a winter destination, but an August visit to Geneva can be very rewarding, offering lovely warm weather and plenty of interesting attractions. The city boasts some exceptional museums, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, the International Museum of the Reformation, and the marvelous Patek Philippe Museum, which is dedicated to showcasing Swiss watchmaking. Art lovers can explore up to 60 art galleries and architecture enthusiasts can join a walking tour of the Old Town. You can enjoy excellent shopping and dining, and there are good opportunities for hiking and cycling close by, all against the backdrop of Lake Geneva and snow-covered Mont Blanc.
7. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
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August is an ideal month to visit Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, as many attractions are impossible to access in winter. One of the most memorable ways to see this fantastic park is from the water, either on a tour boat or using your own private craft or even a kayak or canoe. The smaller tour boats can get really close to the fascinating glaciers and you can look forward to seeing a wide variety of wildlife unique to the area, including puffins, eagles, whales, and bears. You can also go hiking along several trails in Bartlett Cove, join a ranger-led excursion, and visit the interesting visitors center.
8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
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An August get-away to wonderful Smoky Mountains National Park is an excellent choice for families who love the Great Outdoors. Summer is the ideal time for hiking the large network of trails, which include options for all levels of fitness and even some gentle walks perfect for younger children to enjoy. To fully appreciate the park, you should try and stay for at least a few days – bring along a tent or RV and explore at your leisure – campsite reservations are suggested as sites fill up quickly in August. Other activities in the park include wildlife watching, scenic drives, fishing, and ranger-led excursions.
9. Inverness, Scotland
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Inverness is located in the Highlands of northern Scotland and a summer visit is ideal for exploring the beautiful landscape and immersing yourself in all the tourist attractions. Walkers, cyclists, and hikers can enjoy exploring the shores of famous Loch Ness (you may perhaps spot the famous Nessie?) along the South Loch Ness Trail or opt to follow the Great Glen Way. Inverness is also your gateway to some of Scotland’s best Highland distilleries – you can hire a car to explore the wonderful Malt Whiskey Trail as well as many historic attractions, castles, and battlefields along the way, or leave the driving to someone else and join a guided tour. Best places to visit in Scotland
10. Vermont, USA
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The northeastern state of Vermont is probably best known for its wonderful ski resorts, but locals can tell you about all wonderful summer recreational activities that could make Vermont ideal for your August vacation. The entire region offers a marvelously scenic landscape you can explore along a vast network of hiking, cycling, and mountain biking trails. If you are not up to such strenuous sightseeing, you can see the region from the comfort of your car or RV along several scenic drives – camping is very popular in the summer months. The many waterways offer great canoeing, kayaking, paddling, and fishing. Those who prefer a more culturally rewarding vacation will find many outstanding historical sites, museums, art galleries, and live performances to keep them busy. Places to visit in Vermont
11. Best Places to Vacation in August: Lake Como, Italy
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Situated in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy, Lake Como is a wonderful summer vacation destination with dozens of attractions and activities for just about everyone. The city of Como is chock-full of historical and artistic gems that historians and architecture enthusiasts can spend their time exploring, assisted by a collection of self-guided city trails. You can take a leisurely walk along the lake shores to admire several beautifully preserved neoclassical villas or join a guided tour that will reveal many of the city’s hidden gems. It is also possible to rent a boat to explore the lake shores or join a steam-boat cruise. A food tour will introduce you to the delightful local cuisine, while a trip up the funicular railway to the mountain town of Brunate is another wonderful excursion.
12. Best Places to Vacation in August: Lisbon, Portugal
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The beautiful Portuguese city of Lisbon welcomes visitors with a wide array of attractions and activities, most of which are best enjoyed in summer, which makes this city an ideal choice for an August vacation in Europe. Sun-lovers will be spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a beach where you can soak up the sun or enjoy some watersports. The more culturally inclined visitors can tour several museums and historical sites, including the lovely baroque Church of Santa Egcrácia, the National Palace and Gardens of Queluz, and the Palácio National de Pena. Outdoor enthusiasts have several choices for nature walks or hiking, and family attractions include the Lisbon Zoo and the amazing Oceanario de Lisboa, arguably the best aquarium in the world.
13. Lyon, France
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The French city of Lyon lies at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers, where it has been inhabited for well over 2,000 years. Summer is a great time to visit the region to explore wonderful historic sites such as the Roman Amphitheatre des Trois Gaules, the beautiful Renaissance and medieval architecture of the Old Town (Quartier St. Jean and Quartier St. George), and the contrasting modern architecture in the new Confluence District. Here you can visit the very impressive Confluence Museum to learn about the interaction of the Earth, humanity, geography, and history. Other excellent attractions include the Museum of Archaeology, the House of Silk Workers in Colline de la Croix-Rousse, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Fabric Museum.
14. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
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There are very few things that can compare with spending your August vacation relaxing at a great seaside destination such as Myrtle Beach. You can soak up the atmosphere and get into the mood for a great vacation as you stroll along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, which is the place to see and be seen. Here you can watch a dramatic sunset, take a ride on the Skywheel, or just enjoy a drink or ice cream. Besides soaking up the sun and enjoying a swim, you can also visit the Family Kingdom Amusement Park and Myrtle Waves for some waterpark fun or head to Broadway at the Beach for indoor fun and shopping on less-than-perfect days.
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Located just 16 miles off the Cape Cod coastline and easily accessible by ferry, Nantucket is an ideal island destination for a relaxing August vacation. Here you can do as much or as little as you wish on an endless string of beaches, or you could rent a bicycle and tour the pretty shoreline, stopping to visit the lighthouse at Sankaty Head. Families can take the children to see the interesting Whaling Museum, the Loines Observatory, and the Nantucket Aquarium. A self-guided Historic Sites Walking Tour will introduce you to some Nantucket history and will include visits to the Old Mill and the Old Gaol. Art lovers can enjoy over 20 galleries where local artists display their work.
16. Niagara Falls
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Families looking for an exciting destination for their next August vacation should seriously consider visiting the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls, which straddle the U.S./Canada border. Besides viewing the magnificent waterfalls, you will find a long list of additional activities on offer for the whole family, so be sure to allow enough time to enjoy it all. No trip would be complete without a cruise on the Maid of the Mist, which will take you into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls, up close to the roaring waters. Other highlights include hiking in Niagara Falls State Park, visiting the observation tower, and watching the fireworks show. In addition, you can take a tour of the state park on the Niagara Scenic Trolley, visit the aquarium, and visit the Cave of the Winds.
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17. Olympia, Washington State
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Located in Thurston County in Washington, the city of Olympia offers a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities to keep visitors occupied during a relaxing summer vacation. The town is particularly suited to crafters, outdoor enthusiasts, antique hunters, and foodies, all of whom will enjoy visiting several farmers markets and browsing through unique shops that sell locally produced craft items. You can spend some time hiking, biking, and paddleboarding to work up a good appetite to enjoy all the excellent local produce, which includes cheeses, coffees, wines, and beers. Coffee enthusiasts can visit several roasteries on the South Sound Coffee Trail.
18. Best Places to Vacation in August: Adirondacks, New York
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New Yorkers are lucky to have easy access to Adirondack Park, a wonderful summer playground for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. The park covers a staggering six million acres of protected wilderness where you will find just about every outdoor recreational activity you can think of. The Saranac and Tupper Lake regions offer unrivalled opportunities to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Adventurous visitors can take the ride of their lives on a whitewater rafting adventure, offered by several outfitters. The park is crisscrossed by an extensive network of hiking and biking trails that will lead you along some of the best scenic areas in the state. There are unlimited accommodation options in the area ranging from resorts and inns to campgrounds.
19. Providence, Rhode Island
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Providence is a thriving, bustling city that offers summer vacationers a plethora of interesting and entertaining activities to suit all interests. There are several museums worth touring, including the RISD Museum (part of the Rhode Island School of Design), the 18th century John Brown House Museum, and the Providence Children’s Museum, to name but a few. Architecture enthusiasts will enjoy strolling through College Hill to admire the many 18th and 19th century homes that line the streets. Families can spend time in the Roger Williams Park, which is home to a zoo, a natural history museum, and a planetarium. Try to plan your visit to coincide with the monthly Waterfire event, when dozens of bonfires light up the night sky and visitors are treated to outdoor music and live performances.
20. Quebec, Canada
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August would be an ideal month to venture north of the U.S. border and visit Quebec in Canada. This vibrant city has a lot to offer visitors, starting with a good dose of history in historic Old Quebec, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and lies nestled within the ancient walls of the only walled city north of Mexico. You can get wonderful views out over the city from the Dufferin Terrace, which you reach by walking the quaint cobbled streets of the Old Town. History apart, there are lots of great outdoor attractions, including scenic boat trips, hiking, biking, and rock climbing along the Sainte Anne River, visiting the Montmorency Falls, and even soaking up some sun on the beach.
21. Sonoma County, California
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California’s scenic Sonoma County has everything you could possibly need for a great summer vacation. There are miles and miles of Pacific coastline to explore, endless sunset beach walks, fabulous vineyards and wineries, and more than 50 state parks to please every nature lover. Highway 1 offers visitors the chance to set off on a classic American road trip – the Sonoma section is about 56 miles long – stopping along the way to enjoy surfing, swimming, golf, and great wine. You can explore the vineyards of Sonoma by bike along several popular itineraries, and hiking, walking, nature observation, and camping are all popular summer activities in the state parks.
22. The Cotswolds, England
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The Cotswolds region of England spreads over a large area of around 800 square miles, located just over an hour from London. Here you will find picture-perfect English villages featuring traditional cottages built from honey-gold Cotswold stone. Almost too quaint to be true and featuring some most unusual names such as Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, and the like, this is a wonderful part of England to explore in summer. There are scenic walks and country hikes to enjoy and exploring the historic market towns that dot the area will fascinate anyone interested in history and architecture. In addition, the Cotswolds boasts palaces, castles, stately country homes, and wonderful gardens to be admired – highlights include Blenheim Palace, Berkeley Castle, and Sudeley Castle. Places to Visit in England
23. Krakow, Poland
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Krakow was once the capital of Poland and was established as far back as the 900s, which makes it an exceptional destination for history and architecture enthusiasts. Much of the city’s major architectural wealth can be seen on a Royal Route walking tour of the Old Town, where you can admire the Wawel Castle, which dates back to the 14th century, Europe’s largest market square, and the famous Cloth Hall. In the same area, the National Museum includes a wonderful 20th century art collection. You can also visit the impressive Collegium Maius, one of the universities oldest buildings, where you can tour the library and lecture hall. After a busy day of sightseeing you can join the locals at any number of restaurants and bars to sample the vibrant Polish nightlife.
24. Wales, United Kingdom
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Wales is a wonderful part of the United Kingdom to visit for an August vacation, when mild weather allows you to fully enjoy the huge variety of outdoor activities on offer. The wild and wonderful 870-mile coastline can be explored along the Wales Coast Path, which will introduce you to hundreds of beaches, coves, and harbors, many of which offer excellent surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, and wildlife observation. The entire coastline is dotted with historic defensive castles such as Harlech Castle, Conwy Castle, and Caernarfon Castle, all of which demand to be explored. In addition, you can visit stately homes and gardens, go hiking or cycling, and round off your busy days with an evening of great Welsh food and wine.
25. Zadar, Croatia
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The city of Zadar in Croatia is one of the most interesting and diverse cities you could choose for a summer vacation in Europe. The city has much to offer for historians and architecture enthusiasts, with historic churches, medieval town walls and gates, and many other historic buildings to tour – you can download the Secret Zadar App to help you explore. The entire city is surrounded by the ocean and you can take long walks along the Riva (the sea promenade), which is lined with parks and dotted with palm trees. There is a very long list of outdoor activities you can enjoy in the summer, including swimming, diving, kayaking, paddling, hiking, caving, and much more. In addition, there are many adventure sports to try, such as sky-diving, bungee, ziplining, rock climbing, and canyoneering.
What are the 25 Best Places to Travel in August?
The 25 Best Places to Travel in August according to local experts are:
- Portland, Maine
- Amsterdam, Holland
- Bad Ischl, Austria
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
- Dublin, Ireland
- Best Places to Vacation in August: Geneva, Switzerland
- Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
- Inverness, Scotland
- Vermont, USA
- Best Places to Vacation in August: Lake Como, Italy
- Best Places to Vacation in August: Lisbon, Portugal
- Lyon, France
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Niagara Falls
- Olympia, Washington State
- Best Places to Vacation in August: Adirondacks, New York
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Quebec, Canada
- Sonoma County, California
- The Cotswolds, England
- Krakow, Poland
- Wales, United Kingdom
- Zadar, Croatia