A lot of people ask us where to go in August: It’s one of the few times of year when they can take a week or two off from work, yet it’s also when so many places are hot, crowded, filled with tourists, devoid of locals, and priced at their most expensive. If all you need is an easy beach escape with the family, consider the southeastern United States: Southeast kids are back in school by mid-August, which means lower rates at lovely, breezy, kid-friendly coastal resorts in places like Virginia’s Northern Neck and St. Simon’s and Sea Island, Georgia. If you’re itching for something more adventurous, though, consider the following options.
Newfoundland and the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada
Ever since Wendy went there one August several years ago, she’s been urging other East Coasters to flee to Newfoundland in late summer, as an antidote to the crowds, heat, and beach traffic that choke the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. You get a foreign island with dramatic sweeping landscapes, lighthouses and fishing villages galore, roads to yourself (well, you plus a few moose), a distinct local culture, and incredibly friendly people, all without having to schlep too far from home. (You can fly there via Toronto or Halifax from many U.S. hubs.) A must on any Newfoundland itinerary is the Fogo Island Inn, a fascinating five-star philanthropic experiment that Wendy says has the most soul of any hotel she’s ever seen. Read why Wendy loved it there.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Newfoundland and the Maritime Provinces. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
British Columbia, Western Canada
August days are usually clear and sunny (ideal for seaplane and helicopter flights). It’s prime time for kayaking, hiking, fishing, and river rafting, not to mention bear- and whale-watching. August is when Wendy chose to take her family to Whistler (see We Had the Best Family Trip in Whistler and We Never Put on Skis and I Can’t Believe We Did This: Mountain Climbing in Whistler), as well as to the Discovery Islands (see My Extreme Week in Canada and 6 Otherworldly Escapes That Feel More Remote Than They Are).
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Iceland’s high season starts to taper off in the second half of the month, meaning that you’ll find fewer crowds, more hotel availability, and somewhat better prices—but the weather is still pleasant for exploring the country’s awesome landscapes.
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England’s capital is a smart choice in August: It’s a short flight (relatively speaking), it’s not too hot or crowded, and London hotels that typically cater to business travelers have reduced rates (and many of the city’s museums are free). London in August is such a smart move that that’s when Wendy took her own family there—and you can read what each of her young sons had to say about it in Do’s and Don’ts For Your Trip To London.
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The days are relatively long, the weather is great, and there are music festivals—especially opera—all over the country. Salzburg’s six-week classical music festival is one of the biggest in Europe.
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Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia
August brings clear blue skies, good visibility for divers and snorkelers, and calm seas (the wind usually dies down at the end of July). It’s also a great time to view wildlife: dwarf minke whales visiting the northern reefs, manta rays off Lady Elliott Island in the region’s southern zone, and humpback whales—including Migaloo, the world’s only known all-white humpback—on their annual migration to Antarctica.
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Alaska Small-Ship Expedition Cruises
August is especially inviting for a small-ship expedition cruise to Alaska, as daylight remains long, wildlife is plentiful, and the glaciers are uniquely illuminated by the late summer sun. Stay up late at this time of year and you may even be treated to the gorgeous green glow of the northern lights.
Read reviews of WOW expedition cruises to Alaska. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Yellowstone National Park
In August you’ll find warm days and cool nights, wildflowers in bloom, and hiking trails mostly free of snow. Do keep in mind that this is the busiest time in Yellowstone, with prices to match, and skies may be hazy from wildfires. Things are noticeably quieter during the last week of the month, since families have headed home and retirees wait until after Labor Day to visit.
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Washington State: The San Juan Islands
August brings the clearest skies to the San Juans, making it one of the most popular months to visit the region.
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Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons
July and August bring the best weather of the summer, with warm days and cool nights; wildflowers are blooming, hiking trails are usually free of snow, and rivers should be clear of spring runoff, making for perfect fly-fishing conditions. All other summer activities, such as biking, rock climbing, rafting, and horseback riding, are easily available. (Skies may be hazy from area wildfires in August.)
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Kenya Safari: The Great Migration
The best time to see the Great Migration—one of the grandest wildlife spectacles on Earth, with more than two million wildebeest and zebra on the move and predators lurking nearby—is July through September, and the best place to be is in the Masai Mara National Reserve. There are more than 15 different river crossings in the Masai Mara (bottlenecks along the migration route where the animals must avoid hungry crocodiles and lions), with great names like Smelly Crossing, Rekero Crossing, Football Crossing, Helicopter Crossing, and Double Crossing. You need to be patient, and in the right location at the right time of day. To increase your odds, consider staying at two camps in different locations.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Kenya here, here, and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Mid-June through mid–August is the middle of the rainy season, but prices are relatively low, everything is lush and green, and weather patterns are predictable: You get beautiful sunny mornings for adventure activities, and the strong showers in the afternoon give you time to rest while listening to the tropical rain that cools things off for the evening.
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August is one of the sunniest months in the Seychelles. Rain can occur at any time of the year, but storms are typically short and isolated. Bear in mind that seas can be a little rougher from May to September.
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Rwanda and Uganda: Gorilla Trekking
The best time for tracking the gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda is June through September, when it’s cool and there is less precipitation (but remember, this is still the rainforest, and storms can hit any day).
Read reviews of WOW trips to Rwanda and Uganda here and here. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Summer skiing, anyone? August is the top month for skiing in New Zealand: You’ll get the most reliable heli-skiing conditions in August—and combining that with a tropical island like Fiji can be fun.
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Cambodia and Angkor Wat
Late May through early September is Cambodia’s green season. It rains two days out of three, but the mornings are almost always sunny and bright, with rain clouds gathering toward the late afternoon; get out of bed early to explore when Cambodians are most active ahead of the midday heat, and you’ll enjoy far fewer crowds and vibrantly green rice paddies. Plus, the money you save on shoulder-season hotel rates you can spend on massages, world-class golf, and fine food.
Read reviews of WOW trips to Cambodia. To get your own WOW trip and VIP treatment, use the black button below.
Other Smart Options This Month
Click on any of the destinations below to find out why August is a good time to go.
North America and Caribbean
Central and South America
Asia and Pacific
Zimbabwe (second half of the month)
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