Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Where to Go in August: The Best Places to Travel

by Brook Wilkinson | April 15, 2021

The following destinations are ideal to visit in August. At the top of the list you’ll find spots that are currently welcoming U.S. travelers and therefore likely to be open this summer. We are updating this list as information develops on low-risk travel, but the pandemic is causing many and frequent changes, so click to Ask Wendy before planning anything.

Please also see our Covid-19 travel coverage, including which countries are open to U.S. travelers.

(Don’t miss the rest of our “Where to Go” series on the best destinations for every month of the year. If you’re wondering when’s the best time to book your destination to get the best value for your dollar, see our “What to Book Now” series.)

Washington State: The San Juan Islands

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, Haro Straight, San Juan Islands, Washington

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, Haro Straight, San Juan Islands, Washington. Photo: Shutterstock

August brings the clearest skies to the San Juans, making it one of the most popular months to visit the region. Read how this family made the most of an August trip to the islands during the pandemic.

Ask about a trip to the San Juan Islands

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to San Juan Islands and the Olympic Peninsula.

Hawaii

Makena, Maui beach Hawaii

Makena, Maui. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

With a climate that is relatively stable year-round, Hawaii makes for a great late-summer beach getaway, especially for families—provided you book through a destination specialist who can help you avoid the crowds.

Ask about a trip to Hawaii

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Big Island, Oahu, and Maui

Iceland

green hills and waterfalls by Kirkjufell mountain,Iceland

Kirkjufell mountain, Iceland. Photo: Shutterstock

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.

Ask about a trip to Iceland

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this

Costa Rica

Monteverde Costa Rica

Monteverde, Costa Rica. Photo: Shutterstock

Mid-June through midAugust 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.

Ask about a trip to Costa Rica

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Costa Rica Luxury Eco-Travel.

Alaska Small-Ship Cruises

Guests explore on Zodiac in Southeast Alaska, Tracy Arm, calving ice

Guests spot calving ice while exploring on Zodiac in Southeast Alaska. Photo: Lindblad Expeditions/Michael S. Nolan

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. While current rules forbid larger ships from sailing in U.S. waters, ships carrying fewer than 250 passengers are not subject to the C.D.C.’s orders. Many small-ship cruise lines are requiring all adult passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated.

Ask about a trip to Alaska

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Small-Ship Alaska Cruises.

Croatia, Greece, and Turkey

This will be the rare summer when the iconic ports of the Eastern Mediterranean—Dubrovnik, Athens, Corfu, Istanbul, Kusadasi—won’t be overrun with cruise-ship day-trippers. While these countries will likely be a hot spot for European beach-goers, the crowds will be much more manageable without mega-ships calling at these ports on a daily basis.

Ask about a trip to Croatia, Greece, or Turkey

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this

The Galapagos Islands

Prior to Covid, on a Galapagos cruise you’d often have to share a guide with 15 other guests; for the moment, that ratio is often much lower. All travelers and staff are tested prior to flying to the Galapagos. Some hotels on the islands are welcoming visitors again, a few expedition-cruise ships are operating—or maybe your family group wants to have a small vessel all to yourself. Do keep in mind that the waters are choppiest in August, so the seasick-prone should steer clear.

Ask about a trip to the Galapagos

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this

The Seychelles

beach and rocks at Anse Source d'Argent beach Seychelles

Chez Batista Villas, Seychelles. Image courtesy of Torsten Dickmann – STB

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.

Ask about a trip to the Seychelles

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Seychelles.

Kenya Safari: The Great Migration

Great Migration, Mara River, Kenya

The Great Migration on the Mara River. Photo: James Friedman

The best time to see the Great Migration—one of the grandest wildlife spectacles on Earth, with more than 2 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. Check out these reviews of trips that travelers have taken to Kenya during the pandemic.

Ask about a Kenya safari

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to The Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania.

Rwanda and Uganda: Gorilla Trekking

Gorilla in Rwanda

The best time for gorilla tracking in Rwanda is June through September. Photo: James Friedman.

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 rain forest, and storms can hit any day).

Ask about a gorilla-trekking safari

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.

Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons

kayaking in jackson lake grand teton national park

Grand Teton National Park is full of outdoor activities in the summer, including kayaking on Jackson Lake. Photo: Billie Cohen

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.)

Ask about a trip to the American West

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring view at Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring view at Yellowstone National Park. Photo: Shutterstock

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.

Ask about a trip to the American West

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons.

Newfoundland

Newfoundland scenery

Newfoundland scenery. Photo credit: Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism

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.  

Ask about a trip to Newfoundland

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Newfoundland.

British Columbia

Heli-hiking at Kinuseo Falls in Monkman Provincial Park

Heli-hiking at Kinuseo Falls in Monkman Provincial Park, British Columbia. Photo: Hello BC

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).

Ask about a trip to B.C.

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to British Columbia.

Austria

Wachau Austria view of village and green field

Summer in Austria is all about beautiful weather, long days, and festivals. Photo: Austria Tourism Board

Sure, Austria is crowded in August, but the days are relatively long, the weather is great, and there are music festivals—especially opera—all over the country. You can usually find good hotel deals in August, except in Salzburg, which hosts its six-week classical music festival (one of the biggest in Europe).

Ask about a trip to Austria

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Austria. 

Cambodia and Angkor Wat

Sunset cocktails on the Moat of Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Sunset cocktails on the moat of Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photo: ABOUTAsia Travel

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.

Ask about a trip to Cambodia

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap Without the Crowds.

Great Barrier Reef Islands, Australia

Great Barrier Reef aerial view

Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Photo: Shutterstock

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.

Ask about a trip to Australia

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to the Great Barrier Reef.

New Zealand

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. Photo: Rob-Suisted/New Zealand Tourism

Summer skiing, anyone? August is the top month for skiing in New Zealand: You’ll get the most reliable (very high quality) heli-skiing conditions in August, and combining that with a tropical island can be fun.

Ask about a trip to New Zealand

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guide to New Zealand.

Other Good Options This Month

Click on any of the destinations below to find out why August is a good time to go.

Alaska Large-Ship (Affordable) Cruises

American West: River Rafting

Antarctica

Baltic Cruises

Bolivia

Botswana

Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, Trancoso, and the Amazon

Canadian Rockies

Colombia: Bogota

Ecuador: Quito and the Andes

England’s Castles, Manor Houses, and Gardens

England: London

European Canal Barges

Fiji

France: Paris apartment rentals while the city is quiet

French Polynesia: Tahiti

India: Agra and Ladakh

Madagascar

Malta

Mexico City

Mongolia

Nepal: Upper Mustang

Nicaragua: value season

Norway 

Papua New Guinea: trekking

Peru

Scotland

Switzerland: hiking in the Alps

Washington: Seattle

Zambia

Zimbabwe

We’re here to help

If your goal is an extraordinary trip when the time is right, go to Ask Wendy. We know which trip-planning specialists have up-to-the-minute intel for your destination and can minimize your risk and maximize your experience. Check out Real Trips Right Now to see the difference that this makes.

 

Be a safer, smarter traveler: Sign up for Wendy’s weekly newsletter to stay in the know. And read real travelers’ reviews of Wendy’s WOW List and use it to plan your next trip.

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