TravelAwaits travel experts share their favorite places in the U.S. and Canada to beat the heat in August. Escape from the blazing summer sun in one of these cool destinations.
1. Anchorage, Alaska
“I love to visit Anchorage, Alaska in late August/early September, right before the first winter snows begin to fall again. The pace has slowed down a bit and there aren’t as many tourists.
“Anchorage is the perfect base for exploring Alaska. There are a variety of train trips both day and overnight and the depot is within walking distance of many downtown hotels. Tour Denali National Park, take a whale watching or glacier cruise, or just explore the beautiful outdoor spaces right outside the city. You can even go fishing right downtown at Ship Creek. Stop by The Bait Shack to pick up everything you need to catch the big one.” — Peggy Cleveland
2. Cedar Breaks National Monument And Cedar City, Utah
“Last year, my husband and I stayed overnight in Cedar City, Utah on the way back to Phoenix from Calgary. We loved everything we saw on the peek we took of Cedar Breaks National Monument 30 minutes from town. So this year we are taking my husband’s side of the family there for our annual reunion.
“The national monument is smaller than Bryce Canyon National Park, but her hoodoos are way bigger. At more than 10,000 feet in elevation, there is a half-mile-deep red rocks amphitheater that is truly stunning. We hope to complete the four Overlooks (North View, Chessman Ridge, Sunset View, and Point Supreme) and find the time to walk some trails this time. And, because we are staying for a week, we also hope to explore the Festival City and watch something at the Shakespeare Theater, enjoy the Festival Grounds, and visit the lovely Mormon Temple on a hillside.” — Carol Colborn
Editor’s note: Point Supreme Overlook is closed for construction through 2022.
3. Door County, Wisconsin
“Door County, a 75-mile-long peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, is a fantastic place for an August getaway. The New York Times has called it ‘The Cape Cod of the Midwest.’ With 250 miles of coastline, you’re never more than 15 minutes from water, so enjoy both fantastic sunrises and sunsets!
“You’ll love the almost 300 miles of biking throughout the peninsula and adjacent islands or kayaking the turquoise waters to the caves at Cave Point County Park. Take a car or passenger ferry to quaint and fragrant Washington Island, known for its abundant lavender fields, in full bloom from mid-July through August.
“If all this activity gives you an appetite, try an authentic Door County fish boil or savor locally grown cherries in full harvest, available at orchards and farm markets. Thirsty? Check out One Barrel Brewing in Egg Harbor, or any of the other wineries, breweries, and cideries. Door County is a feast in every way!” — Joan Sherman
4. Galveston Island, Texas
“Galveston is calling your name with so many ways to make vacation memories. First, there are 32 miles of gulf beachfront along Seawall Boulevard. You’ll see the cars parked along the beach as vacationers jump in to meet the waves. Across the street are hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and mini-golf galore.
“For more fun, hit Schlitterbahn Waterpark, with tons of thrilling slides, wave rivers, and water coasters.
“Walk along the historic district, The Strand, with shops, restaurants, and hotels. Pop into the new Ship to Shore Immigration Museum and trace the journey of those who arrived in the late 19th century.
“When you’ve had enough sun, head indoors to Moody Gardens. You’ll see the pyramid beckoning with the aquarium, a tropical rainforest, plus 3D/4D movies. Get up close to monkeys, macaws, and penguins. Hop on the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat for a different view of the island.” — Mira Temkin
“Banff is the best place to cool off in August. Pristine and charming, downtown Banff is wrapped in jagged mountain views, setting the stage for a contrast between athletic outdoor adventures and artisan-crafted cuisine.
“The temperature ranges from the mid-40s to the low 70s in August — comfortable enough to hike any time of the day. Take a climb up Tunnel Mountain; the 2.8-mile out and back hike requires a moderate amount of exertion. However, your reward is the gorgeous views from the top.
“After you hike, plan to lunch at Maclab Bistro at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. They are famous for their cobb salad; enjoying it on the porch with a stunning panoramic view is the best way to end a hike — or simply enjoy a great lunch.
6. Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula
“In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s northernmost point Copper Harbor sits on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. August is the perfect time to explore the area because the weather is warm and the days are long. In winter, you need to enjoy the snow to visit as they measure it in feet rather than inches. I’m a snowbird, so summer is when I make the trip.
“One of my favorite places in August in the Keweenaw Peninsula is the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, a historic wilderness resort from 1934 located at the top of the peninsula. Once you check in, the 560-acre property features so many activities you won’t want to leave.
“Summertime sports include a 9-hole golf course with stunning views of Brockway Mountain. In addition, they offer free-guided mountain bike rides on the Copper Harbor Trails. Hiking, sea kayaking, birding, and stargazing are all part of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge’s summer fun. In fact, the Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association recently named Keweenaw Mountain Lodge Michigan’s newest International Dark Sky Park.” — Amy Piper
7. Mount Rainier National Park: Paradise Area
“Mount Rainier National Park, especially the area called Paradise, is my favorite place to visit in August. I love the park any time in the summer, but August brings out the best of Paradise, since it is the month when an array of colorful wildflowers blanket the meadows. With the stunning backdrop of the snowcapped mountain, and surrounded by the deep green of the surrounding forest, is the best time to spend in Paradise.
“In fact, these wildflower meadows inspired the name of the area. When she saw the wildflowers in the meadow, Martha Longmire, one of the early pioneers in the 1800s, exclaimed, “Oh, this is Paradise!” The name stuck, probably because everyone who ever sees this stunning landscape feels the same way. I know I do.
“The August weather is also perfect for enjoying the trails in the area, with opportunities to see wildlife.” — Emese Fromm
8. Newport, Rhode Island
“One of my favorite places to visit in August is Newport, Rhode Island, a former enclave for families such as the Vanderbilts. The area is dotted with summer mansions, beautiful views of Narragansett Bay, a solid foodie scene, a scenic drive, and live entertainment at most venues. The added bonus is visiting Flo’s Clam Shack, which has been serving seafood since the ’30s.” — Keshler Thibert
9. San Francisco, California
“I have visited San Francisco in every season, and I’ve loved them all. But my favorite time to visit California’s ‘City by the Bay’ is August, when activities are in full swing and the days tend to be warm and (sometimes) sunny. Of course, the summer months are known to be foggy in San Francisco, but on my August visits, I’ve found that the mist fades by midday, giving way to beautifully clear skies.
“A perfect August activity is to walk the San Francisco Bay Trail, a diverse route that circles the entire Bay Area. For me, nothing beats the section that takes in iconic spots like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Embarcadero and Ferry Building, and the historic Fort Mason area.
“Or, for a unique view of the bay, I also love to hop on a ferry to Tiburon to walk the Old Rail Trail, or to Alameda to stroll the Shoreline Park trail, both of which offer fascinating history and outstanding skyline views. An added bonus in August: you’re sure to spot wildflowers framing the ocean scenes.” — Cindy Barks
10. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
“Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park spans the border of Alberta, Canada, and Montana. It was established at the first international peace park in 1932. UNESCO made it a world heritage site as well as a Biosphere Reserve. But beyond its remarkable history, you’ll find an easy trail to Cameron Falls or a challenging hike to Rocky Mountain peaks that will give you a view from the ‘Crown of the Continent.’
“From the stroll-worthy town of Waterton, you can catch a Waterton Lake cruise for a different perspective of glacier-topped mountains and wildlife. You can picnic at one of the cruise stops or take a short hike, then hop on the next cruise back to Waterton.
“While you’re at Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, have a cup of tea at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel — an imposing wood structure with friendly, tartan-wearing staff and unbeatable lake views.” — Teresa Otto