Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

Where to Go in August: The Best Places to Travel

by Brook Wilkinson | July 2, 2019

A lot of people ask me 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 these:

(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.)

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.  

Start an extraordinary 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.

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.)

Start an extraordinary trip out 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.

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).

Start an extraordinary 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.

The Caribbean and Mexico for Diving and Snorkeling

underwater diver with fish in Los Cabos, Mexico

Diving in Los Cabos, Mexico. Photo: Los Cabos Villa Vacations

Even though it’s officially “hurricane season” in the Caribbean in August and September, usually all that means is that it’s humid and rains for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.  The seas are generally the calmest, with good visibility, relatively few tourists, and values to be snagged. On the Riviera Maya, August is the perfect moment to swim and snorkel with whale sharks. You should buy insurance if you book a trip, though.

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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.

Start an extraordinary 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.

Start an extraordinary 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.

Brazil

Beautiful Trancoso beach near Porto Seguro in state of Bahia, Brazil

A Trancoso beach near Porto Seguro in the state of Bahia, Brazil. Photo: Shutterstock

May through August is technically Brazil’s winter, but in Rio de Janeiro the thermometer rarely drops below 75, and it’s also the driest period. There are often off-season festivals and events (literary, gastronomic, jazz) that attract mainly Brazilian crowds. In Trancoso, the off-season (i.e. June through September) is pure bliss: Temperatures are still in the high 70s to 80s, and you will often have mile upon mile of palm-tree-backed beaches all to yourself.

Start an extraordinary trip to Brazil

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guides to Rio de Janeiro and Trancoso.

The Amazon

sunset over the trees in the brazilian rainforest of Amazonas

Sunset over the Brazilian Amazon. Photo: Shutterstock

August to December is the dry season in the northern regions of the Brazilian Amazon—including Manaus, Santarém, and Belém—which means the river levels are lower and beaches are exposed. People are often shocked by the beauty of the white-sand beaches that form here, making a trip to the Brazilian Amazon unique from the experiences one can have in Ecuador or Peru’s swaths of the same river system. In fact, there are few other places in the world where you can have a different beach entirely to yourself each evening at sunset.

Start an extraordinary trip to the Amazon

You’ll be marked as a VIP and get a trip like this. Learn more in our Insider’s Guides to the Brazilian Amazon and Five-Star Brazil.

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.

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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).

Start an extraordinary 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

Victory Gate of Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Victory Gate 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.

Start an extraordinary 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.

Botswana

Elephants tussle in Botswana. Photo: Wilderness Safaris/Caroline Culbert

Elephants tussle in Botswana. Photo: Wilderness Safaris/Caroline Culbert

Anytime between June and October—the dry season—is excellent for seeing wildlife, since the animals congregate around a few main water sources. But for boating around the vast labyrinth of lagoons and channels that make up the Okavango Delta, no time is better than June, July, and August, when the water reaches its highest levels and the climate throughout Botswana is at its most pleasant (daytime temps during those months are usually in the mid 70s, though the mercury can drop into the low 40s at night).

Start an extraordinary safari in Botswana

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

East Africa Safaris: 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.

Start an extraordinary safari in East Africa

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.

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.

Start an extraordinary 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.

Start an extraordinary 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

Canadian Rockies

Colombia: Bogota

Cuba: beach time

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

Gorilla Trekking

India: Agra and Ladakh

Madagascar

Malta

Mexico City

Mongolia

Montana and Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

Nepal: Upper Mustang

Nicaragua: value season

Norway 

Papua New Guinea: trekking

Peru

Scotland

Seychelles

St. Barts: value season

Switzerland: hiking in the Alps

Turkey: Istanbul

Washington: Seattle

Zambia

Zimbabwe

Be a smarter traveler: Use Wendy’s WOW List to plan your next trip. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter @wendyperrin, and Instagram @wendyperrin, and sign up for her weekly newsletter to stay in the know.

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