12 Best Places to Travel in August 2023
When July turns into August and you’re fretting that summer is flying by too quickly, it’s time to plan some travel. Even a long weekend trip or staycation will be satisfying and fun, especially for the young ones who may be ready for a change of pace. A beach or pool in California, Hawaii, Mexico, or Florida might fit the bill, and for those longing for distant places, we have several suggestions, including Kenya, Scotland, and Montenegro.
Fresh mountain air in Jackson Hole and delightful breezes in New England, Nova Scotia, and Chicago (there are beaches on Lake Michigan and cruises on the Chicago River) will be refreshing in August. These are the best places to travel in August in the U.S. and around the world.
Related: 20 Best Classic Summer Vacations Everyone Should Take at Least Once
From a 30-mile stretch of surf to the hills and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu is a destination to put on your summer itinerary. If you read Travel + Leisure’s Family Travel Digital Issue, you may have already done just that. Malibu’s beaches are world famous, and beyond that, the city with the glamorous reputation offers hiking, culture, wineries, and history. Imagine yourself at an ancient Roman country home with a visit to the art-filled Getty Villa. Combine a guided hike or 4×4 tour with wine tasting for a fun way to get to know Malibu. In Malibu Creek State Park, there’s fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding along with spectacular views in this area that is the ancestral home of the Chumash Native American people. Get to the beach with an oceanfront stay at the Surfrider Hotel Malibu, Nobu Ryokan Malibu, or Malibu Beach Inn. Additional lodging options include Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club and Hotel June.
North Carolina’s High Country
Located in the state’s northwest corner in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina’s High Country offers family fun and ideal August weather in the high 70s. The Blue Ridge Parkway, called “America’s Favorite Drive” for its scenery, wildlife, and varied activities, is just one of many attractions. In Boone, the Boone Greenway offers an accessible trail for hikers, cyclists, strollers, wheelchairs, and leashed dogs — perfect for a picnic among gorgeous scenery. In town, stay at the historic boutique Horton Hotel. Nearby in Blowing Rock, Tweetsie Railroad features attractions for all ages, including rides, entertainment, food, and a zoo. At Grandfather Mountain, you can walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, and at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, you can ride in a horse-drawn carriage and tour a historic mansion. Nearby in Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill is a fascinating attraction, and Chetola Resort offers a variety of lodging. Taste award-winning wines and spend the night at Banner Elk Winery and Villa, High Country’s original winery.
August falls in the area’s dry season (from July to September), so a trip then is well-timed for the thrilling annual Great Migration when more than two million wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, and many of their predators cross the Serengeti into Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Located in southwest Kenya, Maasai Mara National Reserve is also home to lions, elephants, African buffalos, Thomson’s gazelles, and cheetahs. The nomadic Maasai tribe also lives in the area, herding their cattle and often welcoming visitors as tour leaders or selling their handmade items. A luxury stay at Sir Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri safari camp or ol Donyo Lodge, Relais & Châteaux would be a memorable addition to a visit. JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge and Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club are other plush options. Several tour companies offer safari excursions, including Intrepid Travel and Jacada.
Beaches, museums, luaus, fine dining, and convenient flights make Oahu a popular vacation destination for everyone from honeymooners to families and friends. In Honolulu, the Bishop Museum, Hawaii’s largest, explores the islands’ history and culture, and the Honolulu Museum of Art offers an extraordinary collection. The new Wai Kai entertainment venue on the shores of West Oahu offers a wave pool with surf for beginners to experts, cabanas, restaurants, a lagoon for kayaking and paddle boarding, entertainment, and surfing lessons. Families will enjoy the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, with a skate camp, hula show, poke demo, and kids’ activities. The Prince Waikiki features ocean-view guest rooms, fine dining, and Naio Bliss Spa. Choose from the elegant Espacio, surfing-themed Twin Fin, classic Royal Hawaiian, or an expansive Ritz-Carlton residence. Hawaiian Airlines’ increased summer schedule to Honolulu makes travel convenient, and there’s Starlink Wi-Fi on the Airbus A321.
The “Windy City” is warm in summer, with perhaps a shower or two — making this the perfect time to enjoy indoor entertainment with a visit to the Art Institute, Children’s Museum, or Museum of Science + Industry. The popular Architecture River Cruise offers a 90-minute guided tour, and an evening version highlights the city skyline. On the Navy Pier, visitors can watch fireworks on Wednesday and Saturday evenings. The annual Chicago Air & Water Show will be held on Aug. 19-20, and on Aug. 3-6, Lollapalooza takes place in Grant Park. Baseball fans can watch the “Crosstown Classic” on Aug. 15-16 when the White Sox and Cubs meet in Wrigley Field. Chicago’s beaches, parks, Riverwalk, and “The 606” green space are ways to enjoy the outdoors, along with concerts and summer films in Millennium Park. Stay at the conveniently located 21c Museum Hotel Chicago, Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Pendry Chicago, Arlo Chicago, Park Hyatt, or Ritz-Carlton. About 30 miles outside the city, the historic Deer Path Inn offers plush style and comfort.
August is the sunniest and arguably the most exciting month in Edinburgh, with festivals galore, and it’s a great time to visit the United Kingdom, Travel + Leisure’s Destination of the Year. The temperature is in the comfortable mid-60s, and excitement is all around the historic city. The month begins with music, dance, theater, and opera at the International Festival and thousands of free performances throughout the city with the Fringe Festival, both set for Aug. 4-27. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo runs from Aug. 4-26, and the Art Festival runs from Aug. 11-27. Be sure to take time to explore the city’s history as you enjoy the atmosphere. Stay at the new Virgin Hotel or the Gleneagles Townhouse. Within a mile of UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian features views of Edinburgh Castle, a spa, indoor pool, sauna, and steam room.
Nova Scotia, Canada
Nova Scotia’s short summer from mid-June to mid-September brings temperatures in the pleasant 70s, with a few days a bit warmer. The peninsula, one of Canada’s maritime provinces, is located east of Maine. Festivals mark the summer season, with events throughout the area. Visitors and locals take advantage of the warm weather with whale watching, surfing, kayaking, canoeing, boating, fishing, and water sports. On land, hiking, fossil hunting, stargazing, and golf are favorite activities. Sample local wines, and visit distilleries, breweries, cideries, and seafood restaurants. Cabot Cape Breton offers stunning surroundings, dining, and a 72-room lodge with ocean views from every room. There’s hiking and biking on the nearby Cabot Trail, fishing, and golf on two 18-hole courses and the new par-three ten-hole short golf course.
This small country, with more than 150 miles of Adriatic coastline, is warm and dry in summer, perfect for spending time at one of its many beaches, quiet seaside havens, and lively towns. Montenegro’s diverse landscape also includes mountains, fishing villages, ancient walled cities, and forests. Durmitor National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the country’s five national parks, with hiking, rafting, and stunning scenery in summer. August events include the Sea Dance Festival, Aug. 18-20, featuring a variety of performances in Budva on Buljarica Beach. Places to stay include the ultra-luxury One&Only Portonovi, set on fjord-like Boka Bay, with Chenot Espace for exclusive wellness treatments. Guided hikes to mountain peaks and dives among ancient caves and tunnels are among activities offered at the resort. The Regent Porto Montenegro’s unique design creates the atmosphere of being onboard a luxury ship.
Punta Mita, Mexico
This 1,500-acre resort and residential community on Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit is located just north of Puerto Vallarta, about 25 miles from the airport. A variety of vacation homes, condos, and beachfront villas are available, and renters have access to four beach clubs, tennis courts, pickleball courts, world-class golf courses, and children’s activities, ideal for an August family vacation. Concierge services are available 24/7 in the gated peninsula community, and everything visitors need is there on the property, from restaurants to a market and food delivery. Warm summer weather is perfect for relaxing poolside, surfing, scuba diving, paddle boarding, boating, and bike riding. In addition to residences, Punta Mita features hotels: Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, and the exclusive Naviva, a Four Seasons Resort.
Gloucester, America’s oldest seaport, is located on Cape Ann about 45 minutes from Boston on New England’s Atlantic coast. The working waterfront is home to the famous “Man at the Wheel” statue, also called “Fisherman’s Memorial,” a monument to mariners lost at sea. August brings festivals to the city, this year celebrating its quadricentennial with events that highlight its history and seafaring heritage. Enjoy fresh seafood and ocean breezes while exploring Gloucester, and learn about its past at the Cape Ann Museum. Tour the harbor on a boat trip to see lighthouses, fishing boats, and lobstering fleets. The Gloucester Blues Festival comes to Stage Fort Park on Aug. 12, and the Gloucester Waterfront Festival is set for Aug. 19-20. Stay at the oceanfront Beauport Hotel Gloucester or the historic Ocean House Hotel at Bass Rocks for a memorable New England summer experience.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
August is a popular time to visit Jackson Hole, with sunny, dry weather reaching the low 80s, outdoor activities galore, festivals, and convenient access to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Hiking trails and the Via Ferrata offer gorgeous mountain views along with a challenging workout, and for a more relaxing way to enjoy the scenery, ride the Aerial Tram for views of the Tetons, valley, and surrounding mountains. The nightly (except Sundays) Town Square Shootout is a reminder of the town’s wild west past. Summer’s Grand Teton Music Festival, June 30-Aug.19, brings world-renowned symphony talent, and the Art Fair, Aug. 18-20, features fine art, ceramics, photography, and more. Stay in luxury at The Cloudveil, located on Town Square. Or choose retro-style Virginian Lodge, Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa, or Hotel Terra.
Yes, August weather is warm throughout Florida, but pools, water parks, air conditioning, Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico beaches, and off-season prices make it an attractive summer destination. In Miami, the Pelican Hotel on Ocean Avenue is in the midst of South Beach nightlife and steps from the sea, with The Pelican Café, a superb Italian restaurant. The Elser Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, Esme, and Carillon Miami are among other options. On the Gulf Coast, the Ritz-Carlton Naples and Hotel Effie are welcoming summer guests. On Amelia Island, August marks the beginning of sea turtle hatching season, and the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is a great place to observe the protected turtles. In Fort Lauderdale, choose the all-suite Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach, Westin Fort Lauderdale, or Four Seasons Hotel & Residences. In Orlando, stay at the luxury Grande Lakes Orlando with its new water park or the Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. The new Brightline high-speed rail just debuted its Orlando station, and service to South Florida is expected to begin this summer.