10 Best Places to Visit for a Late Summer August Getaway

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Waikiki Beach in Hawaii
Waikiki Beach is one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches. Photo credit: Mimi Slawoff

Want to squeeze in one final getaway before the weather cools down and summer officially comes to a close? Even though the school year and fall weather are inching near, there is still time to enjoy summer sunshine, beach days, outdoor adventures and time on the water. There are plenty of events still happening this time of year, too! With long days and warm temperatures, August is an ideal time to travel.

Where are the best places to travel in August? Here are ten destinations to visit in August in the USA and all around the world.

Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club in Laguna Beach, a great place to visit in August
Indulge with a stay at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club near Laguna Beach in Southern California. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

1. Laguna Beach, California

As summer fades away, a beach locale may be on your mind for a summer vacation destination. Laguna Beach in Orange County, California offers gorgeous vistas and endless white sand beaches to lounge away your days. Laguna Beach is a quaint beach town, filled with wonderful cafes, shops and art galleries.

A visit to Laguna Beach can be as relaxed or adventurous as you want it to be. There are so many wonderful things to do in Laguna Beach. From the many beaches to challenging hiking trails, water activities and art galleries galore, you’ll find it easy to spend a few days in this charming beach town.

Laguna Beach is home to the Pageant of the Masters, an event that comes every summer as part of the Festival of Arts. One of the most unique productions in the world, the Pageant of the Masters re-creates famous works of art. Watch art come to life right before your eyes in an outdoor amphitheater under the stars.

Fun Things to Do in Laguna Beach in August

  • See the Pageant of the Masters
  • Explore the Laguna Beach tidepools
  • Read a book on the beach
  • Browse the many shops and art galleries
  • Go on a whale watching cruise
  • Experience ocean kayaking
  • Take a hike in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park
  • Visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center
Denali is the tallest North American mountain peak and one of the best places to visit in Alaska in August
Denali is North America’s tallest mountain, at 20,310 feet. Photo credit: National Park Service

2. Denali National Park, Alaska

If you are going to visit Alaska, August is the perfect time of year to do it, while temperatures are at their warmest and you can experience the best outdoor adventures. One spot in Alaska not to miss is Denali National Park.

Denali National Park is located in Alaska’s interior and encompasses six million acres. Here is where you will find the 20,310-foor tall Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), North America’s highest mountain. There are also mountain biking and hiking trails, interpretive centers, campgrounds, and loads of opportunities to see wildlife, including bears, wolves, moose and sheep.

Start your visit at the Denali Visitor Center. The Denali Visitor Center is only open in the summer. This is the main visitor center near the entrance of the park. Here you can get oriented – watch a film about the park, check out some cool exhibits or join one of the ranger-led programs.

August is the high season in Alaska, as the days are long and the rainy season is almost over. There are around 15 hours of daylight in August, plenty of time to take in the majesty of Denali!

Fun Things to Do in Denali National Park in August

  • Take the Tundra Wilderness Tour
  • Spot the Big 5
  • Go hiking
  • Visit the Denali Visitor Center and the Eielson Visitor Center
  • Check out Denali Park Village
  • Go fishing at Wonder Lake
  • Take a ziplining excursion
  • Dine at the Lucky Miss Saloon
Ha'penny bridge dublin
Take a stroll across Dublin’s famous Ha’penny bridge when visiting in August. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

3. Ireland

Of all the countries in Europe, Ireland’s weather is the mildest and rarely experiences any heat waves, making August a wonderful time to visit and beat the heat.

Ireland boasts some of the most scenic landscapes in the world, along with historic castles and endless rugged coastline. Dublin, Ireland’s capital city, is famous for magnificent cathedrals, live music, pubs, museums and charming old streets.

Fun Things to Do in Ireland in August

  • See the Cliffs of Moher
  • Take a tour of Dublin Castle
  • Visit the Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park
  • Check out the Giant Causeway
  • Visit the National Museum of Ireland
  • Sample Irish whiskey at the Irish Whiskey Museum
  • See St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ireland’s largest cathedral and headquarters of the Church of Ireland
Navy Pier offers gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline. Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago.
Navy Pier offers gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline. Photo courtesy of Choose Chicago

4. Chicago, Illinois

With its river dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day, Chicago made our list of best places to visit in March. But if you are looking to visit the Windy City while the weather is warm, August is the best time of year to go!

The weather in August can get hot and humid, but overall it is great for exploring Chicago. Take a sightseeing tour, visit the Art Institute of Chicago, ride the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier and check out The Bean in Millennium Park.

August is also when Concerts Under The Stars are scheduled in Chicago. Enjoy classical music in an outdoor location around the city. There are also free concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, and the annual Grant Park Music Festival, featuring the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Grant Park Chorus, happens in the summertime.

Fun Things to Do in Chicago in August

  • Dine along the Chicago Riverwalk
  • Relax on one of the beaches on Lake Michigan
  • See a concert
  • Shop on the Magnificent Mile
  • Take an Architecture River Cruise
  • See the Bean in Millennium Park
  • View the city from the Willis Tower Skydeck
  • Eat deep-dish pizza
  • Take a kayak tour on the Chicago River
Disney Aulani
A stay at Disney Aulani is the ultimate vacation destination on Oahu. Photo credit: Gwen Kleist

5. Oahu, Hawaii

If you are dreaming of an island getaway, August is a dreamy time to visit the Hawaiian Islands to enjoy the many outdoor activities Oahu is a great choice if you are looking for adventure and some of the world’s best beaches.

Temperatures in August are hot, in the high 80s during the day. The water temperature is also nice, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, hiking to waterfalls and the many other water sports popular in the Hawaiian Islands.

Home to Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, Oahu has a never-ending list of great things to do. You can go to the beach, visit the Dole Plantation, see a luau or take one of numerous great excursions out on the water.

If you are traveling with kids, consider a stay at Disney Aulani, at least for a portion of your trip. Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, is the place to stay for a Hawaii family vacation that immerses you in both local Hawaiian culture and Disney magic.

Fun Things to Do on Oahu in August

  • Hike to Diamond Head Crater
  • Go to a luau
  • Swim with sharks
  • Go on a snorkeling or ocean kayaking excursion
  • Lounge on the white sand beaches
  • Take a scenic helicopter tour
  • Zipline through Kualoa Ranch (where Jurassic Park was filmed)
  • Visit the Maui Ocean Center
Exterior of Elvis Presley's Graceland a must visit in Tennessee
Touring Graceland is a must when visiting Tennessee. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

6. Memphis, Tennessee

If you enjoy live music and BBQ, Memphis is a great spot for a summer getaway. This vibrant city in the Southern USA is all about its musical heritage, with a plethora of bars and nightlife on Beale Street and around its downtown area.

Memphis has deep roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel, which has now been turned into the National Civil Right Museum, one of several historical attractions that shouldn’t be missed. There are numerous other museums in Memphis, as well, along with an array of available walking tours that will give you a flavor for the city’s history.

The weather in Tennessee can be hot in August, with temperatures hanging right around 90 degrees in the daytime, so be sure to pick a hotel with a great pool!

Fun Things to Do in Memphis in August

  • Visit the National Civil Right Museum
  • Take a tour of Graceland
  • Eat some Memphis BBQ
  • Check out the Blues Hall of Fame
  • Catch live music on Beale Street
  • See the ducks at the Peabody Hotel
  • Stroll along the Mississippi River
  • Shop for veggies at the Memphis Farmers Market
  • Take a Haunted Memphis Walking Ghost Tour
Lake Como view
Stunning Lake Como view is yours to enjoy in August. Photo credit: Lake Como Tourism

7. Lake Como, Italy

Is there really a bad time of year to visit Italy? I don’t think so. But if you are planning a summer getaway to Italy in August, Lake Como is a beautiful summer vacation destination.

Located in Northern Italy, Lake Como has much to offer. There are numerous attractions and excursions you can take, and the area is filled with beautiful architecture, lakefront villas and hidden gems.

Foodies will appreciate the local cuisine and wineries, and of course there are numerous food tours you can take. Spend time on the lake by renting a boat or taking a scenic cruise tour.

From Italy, you can easily hop on a plane and visit other gorgeous summer destinations in Europe, including Greece, France, England, Germany, Spain and even Portugal.

Fun Things to Do in Lake Como, Italy in August

  • Tour the city of Como
  • Spend time on the lake
  • Ride the funicular railway to the small town of Brunate
  • Take a day trip to Milan
  • Go on an e-bike tour
  • Take an Italian cooking class

8. San Diego

Known as America’s Finest City, San Diego is warm and dry in August – the perfect weather for soaking up the Southern California sunshine! There are more than 70 miles of coastline in San Diego County, so the summer months are perfect for spending time on the beach and in the water. You can do everything from surfing to stand up paddle boarding, or just playing in the sand.

San Diego is packed with other great things to do away from the water. It is home to the best zoo in the world – the San Diego Zoo, as well as SeaWorld San Diego, USS Midway Museum, Balboa Park, Old Town San Diego State Park and some of the most beautiful beaches and boardwalks in California. It is the perfect summer destination!

Fun Things to Do in San Diego in August

  • Eat Mexican food in Old Town San Diego
  • Explore the shops and restaurants at Seaport Village
  • Visit SeaWorld San Diego
  • Experience nightlife in the Gaslamp Quarter
  • Kayak in La Jolla
  • Take a day trip to Coronado Island
  • Check out the world-famous San Diego Zoo
  • Spend the day on one of the many beaches along the coast
  • Take a harbor cruise

Read More: 40 Fun Things to Do in San Diego with Kids

Kenyan safari jeep with giraffe
If a safari’s on your bucket list, consider Kenya in August. Photo credit: Kenya Tourism

9. Kenya

If an African safari is on your bucket list, August is the best time of year to go! From July to September, Kenya’s dry season, is when you can witness the Great Migration of more than one million wildebeest and zebra.

In Kenya, the best place to watch the phenomenon is at the Masai Mara National Reserve, where there are rivers and cliffs overlooking the savannah. Many tour companies in Kenya offer packages.

Kenya also has a coastline on the Indian Ocean, so you can combine your safari with time on Kenya’s beautiful beaches, too!

Fun Things to Do in Kenya in August

  • Tour the capital city of Nairobi
  • Visit the AFEW Giraffe Center
  • Swim, snorkel and kayak in the Indian Ocean
  • Go on a safari adventure
  • Watch the Great Migration
  • Take a hot air balloon ride over the mara

10. Portland, Maine

Summertime in Maine means spending time on the beach, in the water, and enjoying the outdoors.

Visit Portland on a summer getaway and stroll the quaint lined with restaurants, galleries and shops. It is a truly idyllic vacation spot! Visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for beautiful gardens including the 2-acre children’s garden, a world-class sensory garden, waterfront and woodland trails, exquisite stonework and sculptures on 270 acres.

The most quintessential sight to see in Maine is the Portland Head Light. Located on the shores of Fort Williams Park, Portland Head Light sits at the entrance of the shipping channel into Casco Bay. The lighthouse, commissioned by George Washington in 1791, is the oldest one in Maine and a popular photo spot.

From Portland, you can easily take a road trip to visit some of the other popular vacation spots in New England and throughout the region, including Nantucket, Rhode Island, Boston, Cape Cod and even upstate New York.

Fun Things to Do in Portland, Maine in August

  • Dine on Maine lobster
  • Take a guided bike tour
  • Visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
  • Go on a sailing adventure
  • See Maine’s iconic lighthouses

Read More: A World Away in Casco Bay: Inn at Diamond Cove Review

Gwen Kleist is an award-winning travel writer and author based in Southern California. She is the mother of one very active son who shares her love of travel and adventure. She is the owner and publisher of CaliforniaFamilyTravel.com, a family travel blog dedicated to sharing the best destinations and experiences in California and beyond! Her articles have also appeared in San Diego Family Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Cat Fancy, Huntington Beach Magazine, and she was a contributing author to Explorer Publishing’s guidebook, Los Angeles: The Complete Resident’s Guide.
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