The Best Places To Travel In August: USA Edition
August is when the last inspiring vestiges of summer vacation are still in the air. In the USA, it’s also when people are starting to plan those last ‘pre-back-to-school’ vacations with their families. So where can you go that will be the most bang for your buck? These seven destinations are all budget-friendly and perfect places to travel in August.
A Paddleboarding Trip To Lake Tahoe
Straddling the border between California and Nevada sits one of the most heavily photographed bodies of water in the world: Lake Tahoe.
The water in this pristine lake stays cold year-round. We’re talking ‘take-your-breath-away‘ kind of cold! So what makes Lake Tahoe a perfect place to visit in August besides the 70-ft deep clear waters? (Yes – you can see up to 70 feet below the surface because the waters are that clear!)
Because the waters stay so cold all year long – you’ll be going at the end of summer when the water has had a chance to warm up. You can take a day to go paddle boarding and swimming without the fear of falling into freezing cold water!
We highly recommend you bring:
- Kayaks (Bring your own or or rent)
- Paddleboards (We’ve loved this inflatable one!)
- Hiking Gear (Get our guide for how to pack a dayhiking pack here!)
Your itinerary will include paddle boarding or kayaking, hiking to Eagle Falls, and catching sunrises at Emerald Bay. Then in the evenings, enjoy fine dining and spectacular views at restaurants like Bistro at Edgewood Tahoe Resort. The combination of fresh mountain air and delicious food is guaranteed to lull you into an incredibly peaceful night’s sleep!
Trip Duration: 2-3 Days
Zion National Park
Have you seen videos of people walking through the red-walled tunnels with streams of sparkling water at their feet? That’s in Zion National Park in the Narrows. What makes this an epic USA destination for August is how incredibly nice it is to walk through a stream in the heat of the summer!
The dry heat of the summer in Utah is a plus – just don’t forget to pack your water!!
With towering cliffs and majestic views around every bend – it’s no wonder that almost 4.5 million people visit Zion National Park every year. So what will your trip really look like? If you ignore the Instagram crowd that only seems to ever do 2 hikes (The Narrows and Angels Landing) – you can spend 4-5 days exploring this awesome National Park.
- Go biking along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive
- Canyoneering (kinda like hiking.. but in canyons) in the slot canyons of Zion. The Timber Creek Overlook Trail is a crowd favorite!
- Hike the actual Zion Canyon (not just The Narrows)
Best Trails in Zion National Park
Other than the traditional trails that most know like The Narrows, do a few trails like Observation Point’s 8-mile trek, and Scout’s Lookout to Angel’s Landing. These are well known by the hiking crowd and very difficult!
P.S. Make sure you’re checking the Zion National Park website frequently for trail closures!
TRAVEL TIP: April-October is shuttle service season. To reach any of the trailheads in the uper side of Zion Canyon – you’ll have to urchase a $1 shuttle ticket and ride to the top.
Road Trip Time: 4-5 Days
CLeveland Ohio: Explore The City & Relax On The Beach
Machine Gun Kelly’s hometown and a heavy concentration of breweries, Cleveland Ohio would make for a great weekend getaway.
What makes it one of the best places to travel in August though? Again, we point out the breweries. Is there anything better than a cold seltzer beer on a hot summer day? We think not.
Cleveland is an incredible city to explore if you’re into art or you’re a foodie. We’ve written a full guide on what to do in Cleveland for three days including the incredible West Market! If you’re into Machine Gun Kelly’s music, you can also get our guide on how to experience Queen City as only MGK would. (Music is our other thing besides travel. We get not everyone loves it, but we certainly love seeing how musicians rose to fame!)
The Beaches Near Cleveland
Once you’ve explored the city – extend your trip by visiting some of Ohio’s beaches. Yes, you read that right – Ohio has beaches. Sitting on the banks of Lake Erie a few beaches and incredible hiking opportunities!
Again – this is why Cleveland is such a great destination for August. It won’t be too hot and you can have the best of both worlds: cities and beaches. (Cities and beaches without having to travel to Florida or California is really amazing in the midwest!)
- Edgewater Beach: A 7-minute drive from downtown Cleveland.
Address: 7600 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, Cleveland, OH 44102 (address to the beach house by the parking lot)
- Euclid Beach: A 16-minute drive from downtown Cleveland (more private.)
Address: 16301 Lakeshore Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44110
- Sailing on Lake Erie: An experience still on our bucket list is to go sailing on Lake Erie! Becuase it’s not an ocean – the trip would be incredibly smooth. Sailing at sunset, then dinner downtown sounds pretty incredible on your last night of vacay!
Road Trip Time: 3-Days
Explore Cumberland Falls & Big South Fork Kentucky
Apart from being one of the prettiest states in the US, Kentucky is home to an incredible number of waterfalls! (Over 700 to be exact!)
The most spectacular of these is Cumberland Falls, near Somerset Kentucky. Affectionately dubbed ‘The Niagara of the South’, it’s actually only one of a few spectacular hikes in the area! The equally stunning Eagle Falls is on one of the trailheads from the same parking lot. While challenging – it’s also incredibly beautiful!
Make sure to get our Waterfall Hiking Packing List here. You’re going to want to swim at Eagle Falls!!
If you’re looking for more hikes in the area – see our guide for the waterfalls of Big South Fork! Big South Fork is in the southern portion of Daniel Boone National Forest and is only about 35 minutes away. It’s known for camping and almost entirely primitive trails.
Big South Fork on the Kentucky side is kind of our big secret when people are visiting Cumberland Falls!!
Road Trip Duration: 3-Days
Road Trip Maine’s Craggy Coast
Everyone has heard of Boston’s amazing culinary and historical scene, but Maine is so much more than Boston!
What you might not know is that the entire Atlantic coast of Maine is stunning. You can spend an entire week flitting from one whimsical coastal town to the next.
Here is a 6-Day itinerary to take you through some of Maine’s prettiest coastal towns.
- DAY 1: Explore Portland + the surounding hamlets. If you’re up for a day of scenic driving with a few stops along the way, head towards Ogunguit, Kennebunkport & Scarborough.
- DAY 2: Leave from Portland and head to Boothbay harbor (with a detour to Wiscasset!). Self-proclaimed ‘the prettiest village in Maine’, you’ll also find one of the best lobster rolls in Maine here! Red’s Eats is a famous eatery along the coast, with a line down the street to prove it! After leaving Wiscasset, head down to Boothbay Harbor for the evening.
- DAY 3: Before heading North again to continue up the coast, take a day trip to Monhegan Island. The ferry ride over is about 1.5 hours. (Make sure you give yourself enough time to get there and get and enjoy before you have to take the last ferry back!) Try Monegan Island Trail through the protected island forest, and Monegan Brewing Company for a refreshing brew before your ferry home. When you get back to town – head north and stay in Camden for the evening.
- DAY 4: Explore Camden Hills State Park and Bluehill Peninsula and then head North towards Acadia. For your stay near Acadia National Park – try the Asticou Inn or the Kimball Terrace Inn. (Both have stunning views and receive excellent hospitality ratings!)
- DAY 5: Explore Acadia National Park
- DAY 6: Head back to Boston and explore for one or more days.
Your trip through Maine sounds like it has a lot of dives and stops – and quite frankly it does. When considering going on vacation though, if you’re the type that likes to drive and listen to music – this is the trip for you!
Road Trip Time: 6-7 Days
Hike and Kayak The Apostle Islands of Wisconsin
For the adventurous outdoorsman, the Apostle Islands of Wisconsin should be on your USA bucket list.
This area of the country is truly beautiful all year round, but never more so than in the summer. As a destination, it’s also relatively uncrowded because many people don’t know about it – making It one of our favorite places to travel to in August. ( You can truly beat the ‘last vacation before back to school crowd’ by traveling here!)
After you’ve arrived in town, get on your hiking clothes and head to the trails! There is a multitude of trails around the island with great vantage points for seeing the cliffs:
- Meyers Beach Sea Cave Trail – Moderately difficult and around 4.6 miles total.
- Lakeshore Trail via Meyers Beach – A harder trail but with spectavular views along the famous Meyers beach.
When most people see the Apostle Islands in photos, they see shots like the one above from the water. To have this experience you’ll need to kayak, paddleboard or sail. All three options are available all summer long around the islands!!
Get a budget-friendly inflatable paddleboard here!!
If we were planning a trip – we’d prefer to kayak or paddleboard. Since we’re from the south, we do just about anything to escape the summer humidity? The views of the sparkling emerald waters are hard to beat while paddling along the water!
Trip Duration: About 3 Days
Take An Unexpectedly Scenic Road Trip Through New jersey
What could New Jersey really offer the summer vacationer? New Jersey might just become one of the best places to visit in August throughout the USA. With mild temperatures in the mid-80-degree range, just about anything you do outdoors will be pleasant.
We recommend starting in the northern part of the state for a surprisingly scenic road trip through the ‘Crossroads of the East’.
- DAY 1: Start your journey at High Point State Park. As part of the Appalachian trail, the avid hiker will enjoy transversing some of the less traveled trails on this historic 2,190-mile route. If you’re not a big hiker – the panoramic views of High Point Monument are still worth visiting for!
- DAY 2: Start the day with driving ninety-minutes to Paterson Great Falls National Park. The 77-foot falls is a perfect way to start your day! Then head to Liberty Falls State Park about 40 minutes away. You’ll be rewarded with majestic views of New York City’s Manhatten skyline! After yo’ve taken in the views of the city, drive another hourto the small town of Princeton, home to Princton University. Along with the stunning campus grounds, the town is quite charming! Take a rest and enjoy an evening strolling these quaint little town streets.
- DAY 3: Drive away from Princeton towards the town of Trenton, New Jersey and the Delaware River. You’ll catch scenic veiws from New Jersey’s first scenic byway. Your ultimate destination will be the picturesque resort town of Cape May. After your 3-hour car ride here, you’ll want to take some time and relax on the beach. You can spend as many days as you want here – but we reccomend taking at least one full day for a Day 4 of your trip!
Road Trip Time: 3-5 Days
Find Budget Friendly Hotels
To find the best deals around our destinations – we use Booking.com! The widget below is set to hotels around the Apostle Islands currently, but to change it – simply type in your destinations and dates!
**Sometimes last-minute bookings go quickly so don’t wait to book!
If you found this post helpful
Think crystal clear waters, camping in low humidity, and driving along the sea sound peaceful? We love that the US is so diverse and offers so many opportunities for travel!
We also have guides for other months of the year to help you plan your travels!
- The Best September Destinations for Fall Foliage
- The Best Places to Travel In February: USA & Beyond
- Bucketlist Road Trips to Take In July
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Until next time friends,
Ah, I want to visit all of these places! The look incredible! I had no idea that Maine’s coast was so beautiful! It would definitely be at the top of my list. Thanks for the great guide!
Such an excellent guide! I love all the Midwestern cities included in this list, too. I’m headed to Sandusky, Ohio in August, where I’ll get to see Lake Erie, so I appreciated that inclusion too. Lake Tahoe is on my bucket list – I’ll have to consider that for next August!
All great August destinations! Two places I’d love to visit are Kentucky and the Apostle Islands of Wisconsin. They both look stunning! Kayaking in that beautiful water looks phenomenal!
Your photography is stunning. I love the waterfall in Kentucky and never really considered it a destination point. I’ll have to look more at it. Thanks!
Really enjoyed this! I’ve been trying to explore more of the USA and definitely look forward to visiting some of the destinations on this list 🙂