Summer is almost over and if you haven’t had a vacation yet, it’s time to start planning. August is the prime time to visit many cities around the world, plus many festivals and fairs occur in August. Take your pick from this compilation of some of the top spots to visit in August and start planning – it’s not too late for a last minute summer getaway.
If you love wild animals, now is the time to head to South Africa. Those who love massive undersea creatures should head straight for Cape Town and hop on a whale watching excursion to see the migration of the southern right whales that make their way from the cold waters of Antarctica to the warmer waters of South Africa each year around this time.
For those looking for some land animal adventure, August is an excellent month to view game in Kruger National Park, located near Johannesburg, since the weather is dryer. See lions, giraffes, zebras and more from a safari drive or bush walk. Not so sure being around wild animals is your thing? Don’t worry, South Africa still has something for you in August; the wildflowers begin to bloom this time of year and their vibrant colors cover the landscape in northern South Africa.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Leave the big cities and beaches of southern Thailand behind and head north this time of year to escape the heat. The mountainous region of northern Thailand is ripe for exploring and Chiang Mai is a terrific base to do so from. Get your adrenaline pumping on the 3-Night Chiang Mai Adventure: Mountain Bike Tour, Elephant Ride and Whitewater Rafting tour. Or stay in Chiang Mai and visit the city’s vibrant Night Bazaar for some shopping.
August is one of Fiji’s busiest times for welcoming visitors, and for good reason. Smart travelers know that August is a great time to visit Fiji, thanks to less chance of rain and clear visibility in the ocean, which makes it ideal for snorkeling. Plus, thanks to the layout of Fiji’s sleepy resorts and gorgeous beaches, it doesn’t feel too crowded despite August being a popular month to visit the island.
The muddy and exhausting rainy season in Peru is over this time of year, and the weather isn’t quite as hot as it gets earlier in the year. As such, August is an excellent month to traverse the trails. Try a 4-day hike on the famous Inca Trail, which takes you from Cuzco to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
Europe summer hotspots such as Italy, Spain and France can get insanely crowded during the month of August – plus, it’s one of the hottest months to be in Europe. Escape the heat and crowds by heading to Switzerland. The country’s vast mountainside keeps things cooler and with fewer crowds, you’ll have a more enjoyable time experiencing Switzerland’s offerings like its beautiful lakes, plentiful hiking trails, and famously delicious cheese. If in Interlaken, take part in a paragliding excursion. It’s known for being the premier spot to do so.
Prague, Czech Republic
After suffering dreadful flooding earlier this summer, Prague has recovered and this much-loved city in the Czech Republic is ready to welcome travelers again. Take advantage of the pleasant weather that usually graces Prague in August and go for a leisurely walk along the Charles Bridge and through the city’s historic Old Town, where you should be sure to stop and check out the city’s famous astronomical clock. Or settle in at one of the city’s many beer gardens for a refreshing pint or two.
Munich is not the only one with an impressive beer festival (the annual Oktoberfest) in Germany; Berlin is also the place to go for good beer, especially in August when the city holds its International Beer Festival. Northern Germany is also home to Hamburg and Dresden, two smaller cities that are prime for visiting in August thanks to warm weather and historic sites like the Church of St. Michael in Hamburg and the Semper Opera House in Dresden.
Buenos Aires has spring weather this time of year, so it’s idea for those who don’t want to deal with the overwhelming heat of summer in South America. Plus since it’s their off-season, activities and accommodations are cheaper and less crowded. In August, Argentina is also home to the Tango Festival, which not only celebrates the art of Tango, but also brings together the world’s greatest Tango dancers to compete for the title of world champion. For those who really want to escape the heat, head into the mountains to Bariloche, Argentina, for some world-class skiing.
The Amazon Rainforest
Most people who visit the Amazon Rainforest do so by boat. Dare to be different by doing a land tour that involves hiking and fishing your way through the vast tropical jungle. August is a great month to do so since it is the region’s dry season and you’ll be able to more easily traverse over the Amazon’s terrain.
Barbados becomes even livelier in August during the Crop Over Festival, a yearly celebration to mark the end of the sugar cane harvest. The festival is a colorful array of parades, costumes and street fairs, and also hosts folk concerts and other traditional performances. While you’re there, don’t forget to try some of Barbados’ excellent rum.
August marks another anniversary of the death of “The King,” Elvis Presley. Those visiting Memphis this August can celebrate the life of Presley, thanks to Elvis Week 2014. Running from August 8 through August 17, Elvis Week will have Graceland and Memphis city tours that highlight Elvis, plus concerts commemorating Elvis’ music.
Monterey and Carmel, California
Grab the family and head to northern California for some county fair fun. The beloved coastal town of Monterey holds their annual County Fair at the end of August and has games, concerts and a horse show, among other fun activities. After visiting the fair, head to Monterey’s downtown area to walk through the Monterey Aquarium for more family-friendly entertainment. Monterey’s neighbor to the south, Pebble Beach, also offers end of summer delight to car enthusiasts with their Concours d’Elegance, a competition and exhibition on August 17 highlighting some of the best-preserved luxury collector cars in the world.
The country may sound cold, but August still brings nice weather to Iceland with long hours of sunlight as well. In August, Iceland also turns up the heat on events with the Reykjavik Marathon on August 23, plus jazz and music festivals in Reykjavik at the end of August. While in Iceland, don’t miss out on visiting the famous Blue Lagoon Spa, an outdoor geothermal spa that is perfect for relaxing in any weather.
Bumbershoot, the nation’s largest urban arts festival, starts on the last day in August in Seattle. Tickets are a must and will gain you access to see music, film, dance, visual arts and more. Combine that with the city’s generally mild August weather (and an abundance of sunny days!), and Seattle may be just where you want to be before the summer ends.
Western USA National Parks
Escape the city and visit the West’s most impressive sites. August is an excellent time to visit national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone and Denali due to prime wildlife viewing and good weather. Enjoy the cool mountain sunshine while you see bison, eagles and bears. Each park can be visited via a guided tour, which will enable you to learn more about the history of the parks while exploring them. Or if it’s relaxation in the great outdoors that you’re looking for, opt for the Yosemite Yoga Hike.
Learn more about the equator and how it affects our world – plus, take in some amazing scenery and culture – while visiting Ecuador, one of South America’s most blossoming countries in terms of tourism, but which is still relatively low on visitors. Travel to Ecuador in August for pleasant weather. As the equator runs right through Ecuador and divides the southern and northern hemisphere, visiting the Middle of the World monument is a great way to spend a day in Quito.
The Pantanal in Brazil is a huge wetland that is home to a wide abundance of wildlife. In August, it’s a great time to visit to see this wildlife, particularly jaguars, of which the Pantanal has the largest concentration of in the world. One way to visit the Pantanal is to combine it with a tour to other prime Brazil spots, such as Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Falls.
Forego the crowded Mediterranean in the busy August travel month and instead visit Europe’s other vast, but less traveled by tourists, sea: the Baltic. In particular, this time of year is a wonderful time to visit Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, three countries that are rich in history and culture, yet aren’t on the radar of most travelers yet. Explore them for a Europe summer vacation that takes you right into the heart of a culture. In Estonia, don’t miss out on seeing the stunning city of Tallinn via an educational sightseeing tour so you can learn more about the history of the region.
Want to get to Europe before the summer is over, but worried it’s not in your budget? Head to Poland, an Eastern European country that has a vast array of historical architecture and cultural sights, but is not as expensive as its Eastern European counterparts, such as the Czech Republic and Hungary. The decrease in crowds also means it’s more affordable to stay as the great cities and towns of Poland want your business. Head to Warsaw to experience Poland’s capital, or explore the Old Town of Krakow, Poland’s oldest city.
Not everyone wants to escape summer heat; some embrace it by heading straight to the beach. If you’re looking for a beach escape this August, visit Tampa or St. Augustine in northern Florida. The beaches there are soft and sandy, and they are also less crowded in August than the beaches on the south end of the state. To learn more about what’s in the water by the shores of northern Florida, visit the Florida Aquarium while in Tampa, or head to the Crystal River where you can swim with the cutest of Florida’s sea life, the manatee.