The Best Places to Travel in August
August arrives with the feeling that summer is moving along too quickly, or for some who don’t enjoy the hot weather of their hometowns, too slowly. In either case, it could be time to plan a trip, even just a long weekend getaway. We’re suggesting here a few places with higher altitude and cooler temperatures as well as a few seaside spots where breezes provide relief from the heat. If time allows, you can even switch seasons and head for winter in the southern hemisphere.
Bend, in Oregon’s high desert, offers views of snow-capped mountains, a river for fishing and boating, and cold beer at their annual Brewfest. This increasingly popular area is already known to golfers for its many courses, and outdoor enthusiasts love Bend’s mountain biking and hiking trails. The Catskills in upstate New York also offer cooler weather and outdoor summer activities along with historic sites and this year’s anniversary celebration of 1969’s Woodstock Music Festival.
Seaside suggestions include Newport, Rhode Island on the east coast and Laguna Beach, California on the west. Both destinations serve up ocean breezes, entertainment, art, and beautiful surroundings. If a trip to Europe means vacation to you, consider Budapest where summer festivals entertain both residents and visitors. Berlin is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the taking down of the wall that divided their city with events all year culminating on the actual day in November.
There’s much to do in Brisbane, and winter weather is mild. Singapore’s climate is summery all year long, and for families seeking an exotic vacation spot, there’s something for everyone. Closer to home, Seattle offers spectator sports, festivals, and a newly renovated Space Needle, originally built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Outdoor activities, scenery, and a spectacular fireworks display are reasons to plan a trip to Vancouver.
So, if turning the calendar page to August reminds you that summer is fleeting, give some thought to these destinations or come up with travel ideas of your own. A late summer getaway will make September’s arrival a bit easier to accept.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island has been a popular summer destination for more than 100 years, since the time the country’s wealthiest families spent the season in their extravagant mansions. The weather is mild and sunny, the seaside is beautiful, and the breezes are refreshing. About 90 minutes from Boston and a few hours from New York City, Newport is convenient for travelers, and there’s so much to do in summer. The Newport Jazz Festival will be held this year from Aug. 2-4, or arrive a bit earlier for the Newport Folk Festival from July 16-28 if that’s more your style. Both events are held at Fort Adams State Park with views of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay along with boating, fishing, and picnic areas. Tours of the town’s stately mansions are available through the Preservation Society of Newport County for a look into Newport’s history. The Newport Cliff Walk, a combination of paved and rocky paths, covers three and a half scenic miles along the coast, and you can do the trek a bit at a time. You’ll probably spot the romantic mansion turned boutique inn Chanler at Cliff Walk along the way. Enjoy the history and luxury of The Vanderbilt, a restored vintage mansion where your pet is welcome for Yappy Hour. Or head for a private beach and cozy cottage at Castle Hill Inn on its own 40-acre peninsula.
Laguna Beach, California
Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego in California’s Orange County, Laguna Beach has its own convenient airport named for John Wayne, one of the area’s famous residents. The shorefront community’s seven miles of oceanfront includes sandy beaches, tide pools, and sea caves, while inland there are rolling hills, hiking paths, and mountain biking trails. Known for art as well as scenery, summer is an especially fine time to enjoy the creativity of Laguna’s local artists. The Sawdust Art Festival, June 21-Sept. 1, features the work of more than 200 artists in jewelry making, pottery, painting, photography, sculpture, glassblowing, screen printing, and more. In the unique and fascinating annual Pageant of the Masters, July 7-Aug. 31, actors recreate famous works of art highlighting this year’s theme, “The Time Machine.” The accompanying Festival of the Arts includes workshops, music, tours, and activities. Water sports are popular, including Laguna’s own “skimboarding,” said to have begun on their waves in the 1920s. Restaurants and hotels range from casual to elegant. The recently renovated Montage Laguna Beach welcomes guests to their Mosaic Pool, spa, and special summer programs. The Surf and Sand Resort, with a name that describes its location, offers ocean view rooms and suites, spa, and dining at Splashes.
In central Oregon’s high desert with a backdrop of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, Bend is a year-round destination. Summer temperatures reach the low 80s, ideal for outdoor activities, and the Deschutes River is the perfect place for fly-fishing, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, whitewater rafting, or just enjoying the scenery. Hike through the hills, climb the rocks, or take advantage of mountain biking trails. Bend Brewfest, Aug. 15-17, celebrates the town’s title of “Beer City USA” and its micro-brewery industry with over 200 different craft beers, ciders, and wines. Bend is also a top golf destination with more than 25 courses including highly rated Pronghorn, Sunriver, and Bend Golf & Country Club. The High Desert Museum’s exhibits focus on nature and culture, and their workshops and lectures highlight the area’s resources and history. Pronghorn Resort ‘s new Huntington Lodge boasts luxury accommodations and amenities, spa, private terraces, in-room fireplaces, and a range of lodging options that include guestrooms, suites, and upscale homes. The newly renovated restaurant Cascada offers fine dining with views of the Cascade Mountains, and a variety of other dining options are also available.
Sullivan Catskills, New York
This area of New York State, about a two-hour drive from Manhattan, has history that dates back to the Revolutionary War. More recent history includes Woodstock, the momentous outdoor music festival that attracted more than 400,000 people to the town of Bethel 50 years ago in August 1969. The Bethel Woods Center of the Arts, a National Register Historic Site, is hosting a year-long celebration of the Woodstock anniversary with special music and entertainment. In recognition of the festival’s peace symbol, Dove Trail will feature 50 five-foot-tall doves throughout Sullivan County. The Museum at Bethel Woods will tell the story of the 1960s through exhibits and artifacts from the Woodstock festival. A lovely mountain getaway in summer, the Catskills offer a variety of outdoor activities, art, theater, lodging, campsites, and entertainment venues. The area’s history is evident in several picturesque covered bridges and in the Fort Delaware Museum of Colonial History where costumed colonials tell stories of the past. Lodging includes hotels, motels, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, and luxurious lodges. Local farms offer their produce and meat products as well as agritourism opportunities for families who want to learn about farming or experience first-hand the source of their food.
August is an exciting month in this city on the Danube. The annual Summer Festival from June to September features concerts, performances, art, and food stalls on the Open Air Stages of Margaret Island. The Festival of Crafts in Buda Castle will be held from Aug. 17-20 with craft demonstrations, street food, folk dance, and markets in the historic courtyards of the castle. St. Stephen’s Day and Hungary’s statehood are celebrated Aug. 20 with a spectacular fireworks display on the Danube. The Sziget Festival attracts hundreds of thousands for music, parties, performances, boat rides, and beachside fun from Aug. 7-13, this year featuring Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, and other well-known international performers. The Hungary Grand Prix Formula One race will take place Aug. 2-4 near Budapest. The Great Market Hall, a huge indoor produce, food, and souvenir market, dates back over 100 years, and some of Budapest’s thermal baths have been frequented since Roman times. Hungarian wines, like the sweet Tokaji dessert wine, or bitter herbal Unicum, are among their many excellent beverages. Visitors should sample food specialties like goulash, chicken paprikash, and strudel. The luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Budapest, near the Danube and St. Stephen’s Basilica, is the perfect home base for exploring this exciting city and dining on Hungarian-inspired dishes.
The weather is mild and relatively rain-free in August, ideal for taking in Mariners baseball or Sounders soccer along with the loyal local fans. The Space Needle, closed for a major renovation last year, has reopened with more glass and better views than ever. Even if you’ve been there before, you need to see the rotating glass floor, open air deck with glass walls, and virtual-reality bungee jump. At the nearby Chihuly Garden and Glass, you’ll see the work of Dale Chihuly — colorful glass sculptures incredibly displayed. Attend a concert amid the artwork in July and August for a memorable experience. A favorite locale for locals and visitors is the Pike Place Market for fresh seafood, produce, baked goods, meats, crafts, or just browsing and enjoying the bustling atmosphere. Breweries, distilleries, and coffee roasters attract connoisseurs to their expertly crafted favorite beverages. The Seattle Art Fair, Aug. 1-4 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center, features modern and contemporary, local and international art of all genres. Bumbershoot Festival, over Labor Day Weekend, is Seattle’s music, comedy, and arts festival, now in its 49th year. Stay at the boutique Thompson Seattle for Puget Sound views in the heart of downtown. Enjoy the style and comfort of the Hotel Theodore and browse its artifacts curated by the Museum of History and Industry or stay at the Hotel Max, dedicated to lovers of art and music.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
It’s winter in the southern hemisphere, but in Brisbane, Queensland’s capital, the weather is mild, with days in the low 70s and cool, crisp nights. Humidity is low in August, typically the driest month of the year, making its myriad of outdoor activities even more attractive for visitors. In South Bank Parkland, residents and tourists enjoy swimming, walking, picnicking, and being outdoors along the Brisbane River. Another favorite outdoor spot is Mt. Coot-Tha for city views, biking, hiking, or wandering through the Brisbane Botanical Gardens. From Aug. 9-18, the annual Royal Queensland Show, known as “Ekka,” comes to the Brisbane Showgrounds highlighting agriculture, skills competitions, food, wine, entertainment, and family activities. A trip to Australia is not complete without seeing koalas, and the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary houses more than 100 of the furry creatures plus other indigenous animals. Off Queensland’s coast, the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and world’s largest coral reef, attracts visitors who come to snorkel, dive, and view marine life from boats. The “Reef to Reef” mountain bike race takes competitors through farms, rainforest, and coastline over four days from August 8-11. It’s no surprise that Queensland is growing in popularity with fans of the outdoors. The new Westin Brisbane offers a convenient urban location, with spa, fitness center, and signature restaurant Eden’s Table and its special Eat Well menu.
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Sunny and dry with temperatures in the low 70s, Vancouver in August will sound perfect to anyone looking to get away from heat and humidity at home. There’s more than ideal weather in Vancouver with outdoor activities, diverse neighborhoods, fresh seafood, and lively nightlife. In the Kitsilano neighborhood, visitors will find family-friendly attractions like the Museum of Vancouver, H. R. MacMillan Space Centre, and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. There’s a beach, huge public saltwater pool, tennis, volleyball, and picnic areas. For a bit of summer culture, Bard on the Beach, in its 30th anniversary season, offers four Shakespearean productions on two stages from June 5-September 21. A short summary before the shows helps the audience get acquainted with the plot. Stanley Park, set on a peninsula at the edge of downtown Vancouver, features beaches, jogging and biking trails, an aquarium, water park, gardens, and forested areas. In the Granville Island neighborhood, the indoor Public Market is home to fresh produce, gourmet foods, seafood, and baked goods. The annual Celebration of Light is a fireworks competition choreographed to music and launched off a floating barge in English Bay. This year’s events, preceded each night by concerts, will be held on July 27, July 31, and August 3. Bring a picnic and pull up a folding chair for great entertainment.
The once-divided city is lively and exciting in August. The warm weather brings everyone outdoors, gathering in parks and al-fresco dining spots. The month begins with the International Beer Festival from August 2-4 where guests will find music, street food, and beers of the world. Museum Island’s five museums include antiquities, art, medieval treasures, sculpture, paintings, and more in a convenient location. The Brandenburg Gate, dating to 1791, has been a symbol of peace, then turmoil, and since 1989, a symbol of a reunited Germany. It’s a must-see stop for visitors to Berlin, having been renovated in 2002. The remains of the Berlin Wall that divided the city for twenty-eight years should also be on a Berlin itinerary. 2019 marks thirty years since the wall fell, and events throughout this year commemorate this significant event, with a major festival planned for November. The 100-mile Berlin Wall Run will take place on August 17-18 along the former border. Boat tours on the River Spree that winds through the city provide a different perspective on the architecture and historic buildings of Berlin. Sausages, beer, pretzels, schnitzel, and pastries are delicious German fare, but visitors shouldn’t miss the popular street food, currywurst, topped with a spiced tomato-based sauce and eaten with fries. Hotels range from boutique to luxurious, casual to posh, and visitors will find a range of restaurants as well.
If you want to be on hand for the reopening of Singapore’s classic Raffles Hotel, plan to arrive in early August. Even if you don’t book a room, at least stop by for a Singapore Sling in the hotel’s historic and fully restored Long Bar. Enjoy local dishes at one of the many casual and inexpensive hawker centers where you’ll find favorites Hainanese Chicken Rice and Singapore’s national dish, Chili Crab. For a family visit, Sentosa, accessible by road, monorail, cable car, or walkway, offers much to do on one convenient island. White sand beaches, pools, water activities, bars, and restaurants provide daytime fun. At Sentosa Nature Discovery, visitors can learn about the plants, birds, animals, and insects of the island. Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom offers educational hands-on interactive exhibits. At Adventure Cove Water Park, attractions range from the lazy river to high speed water slides and a reef where visitors can snorkel among tropical fish. At Universal Studios Singapore on Sentosa, rides, shows, cartoon characters, dining and shopping will keep everyone busy all day. Sentosa Golf Club offers two courses and a luxurious clubhouse for the golfers in the family. The spectacular Gardens by the Bay nature park is an attraction that everyone will enjoy. Hotels at all levels are available in Singapore.The serene Capella Hotel on Sentosa offers guestrooms and apartments as well as a spa and pool.