The journey awaits you travel experts share their favorite places in the US and Canada to beat the heat in August. Escape the scorching summer sun at one of these cool destinations.
1. Anchorage, Alaska
“I love visiting Anchorage, Alaska in late August/early September, just before the first winter snows start to fall again. The pace has slowed down a bit and there aren’t as many tourists anymore.
“Anchorage is the perfect base for exploring Alaska. There are a variety of day and night train rides, and the depot is within walking distance of many downtown hotels. Visit Denali National Park, do a whale or glacier-watching cruise, or just explore the beautiful outdoor spaces just outside of town.You can even go fishing right downtown at Ship Creek.Stop at 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 spent the night in Cedar City, Utah on our way back to Phoenix from Calgary. We loved everything we saw while taking a look at Cedar Breaks National Monument, 30 minutes from town. So this year we are taking my husband’s family there for our annual reunion.
“The national monument is smaller than Bryce Canyon National Park, but its hoodoos are way bigger. At over 10,000 feet in elevation there is a half mile deep red rock amphitheater that is truly magnificent. We hope to complete all four Overlooks (North View, Chessman Ridge, Sunset View, and Point Supreme) and find time to hike a few trails this time. And, because we’re staying for a week, we’re also hoping to explore the festival town and watch something at the Shakespeare Theater, enjoy the festival grounds, and visit the lovely hillside Mormon Temple.” —Carol Colborn
Editor’s note: Point Supreme Overlook is closed for construction until 2022.
3. Door County, Wisconsin
“Door County, a 75-mile-long peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan, is a fantastic place for an August getaway. The New York Times called it ‘The Cape Cod of the Midwest.’ With 250 miles of coastline, you’re never more than 15 minutes from the water, so enjoy both fantastic sunrises and sunsets!
“You’ll love the nearly 300 miles of biking through 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 scenic and fragrant Washington Island, known for its lush fields of lavender, in full bloom from mid-July through August.
“If all that activity makes you hungry, try an authentic Door County fish boil or savor locally grown cherries in full harvest, available at orchards and farmers’ markets. Thirsty? Check out One Barrel Brewing in Egg Harbor, or one of the other wineries, breweries and cider houses. Door County is a feast in every way! —Joan Sherman
4. Galveston Island, Texas
“Galveston calls out to you with so many ways to create vacation memories. First, there are 32 miles of Gulf waterfront along Seawall Boulevard. You’ll see the cars parked along the beach as vacationers jump to meet the waves. Across the street are hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and mini-golf galore.
“For more fun, head to Schlitterbahn Water Park, with tons of thrilling slides, wave rivers, and roller coasters.
“Walk along the historic district, The Strand, with its shops, restaurants and hotels. Enter 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, come back to Moody Gardens. You will see the pyramid beckon with the aquarium, a tropical rainforest and 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. Immaculate and charming, downtown Banff is enveloped in stunning mountain views, setting the stage for a contrast between outdoor sporting adventures and artisanal cuisine.
“Temperature ranges from mid 40s to low 70s in August – comfortable enough to hike any time of the day. Climb Tunnel Mountain; the 2.8 mile round trip hike requires moderate effort. However, your reward is the magnificent view from the top.
“After your hike, plan to have lunch at Maclab Bistro at the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity. They are famous for their cobb salad; enjoying it on the porch with an amazing panoramic view is the best way to end a hike – or just enjoy a nice lunch.
“With Lake Lousie, Moraine Lake, Jasper National Park and Banff National Park, you’ll have plenty of options to explore Alberta’s beautiful natural gifts.” —Sandi Barrett
6. Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan
“In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Michigan’s northernmost point, Copper Harbor, is on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. August is the perfect time to explore the region as the weather is warm and the days are long. In winter you have to take advantage of the snow to visit as they measure it in feet rather than inches. I’m a snowbird, so it’s in the summer that I make the trip.
“One of my favorite places in August on the Keweenaw Peninsula is Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, a historic 1934 resort at the top of the peninsula. Once you check in, the 560-acre property offers so many activities you won’t want to leave.
“Summer sports include a 9 hole golf course with stunning views of Brockway Mountain. Plus, they offer free guided ATV rides on the Copper Harbor Trails. Hiking, sea kayaking, bird watching and star gazing are some of the summer fun at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge. —Amy Piper
7. Mount Rainier National Park: Paradise Zone
“Mount Rainier National Park, especially the area called Paradise, is my favorite place to visit in August. I love the park any time of summer, but August brings out the best in paradise, as it’s the month when an array of colorful wildflowers cover the meadows. With the beautiful backdrop of the snow-capped mountain and surrounded by the deep green of the surrounding forest, this 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 of the 1800s, exclaimed, “Oh, this is paradise! The name stuck, probably because everyone who sees this stunning landscape feels the same. 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 like the Vanderbilts. The area is dotted with summer mansions, beautiful views of Narragansett Bay, a solid scene fine dining, a scenic drive and live entertainment at most places.Added bonus is to visit Flo’s Clam Shack which has been serving seafood since the 30’s.” —Keshler Thibert
9. San Francisco, California
“I’ve visited San Francisco in every season and loved them all. But my favorite time to visit California’s ‘City by the Bay’ is August, when the activities are in full swing and the days have tends to be warm and (sometimes) sunny.Of course, the summer months are notorious for being foggy in San Francisco, but when I visited in August, I found that the haze lifted by midday, giving way to to a beautifully clear sky.
“A perfect August activity is to hike the San Francisco Bay Area Trail, a diverse route that loops around the entire Bay Area. For me, nothing beats the section that includes iconic places like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Embarcadero and Ferry Building and the Fort Mason Historic District.
“Or, for a unique view of the bay, I also like to take a ferry to Tiburon to hike the Old Rail Trail, or to Alameda to hike the Shoreline Park Trail, both of which offer fascinating history and exceptional views of the skyline. An added bonus in August: you’re sure to spot wildflowers framing the ocean scenes. —Cindy Barks
10. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
“The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park spans the border of Alberta, Canada and Montana. It was established in 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 the peaks of the Rocky Mountains that will give you views from the “crown of the continent.”
“From the walk-worthy town of Waterton, you can take a Waterton Lake cruise for a different perspective of the mountains and glacier-topped wildlife. You can picnic at one of the cruise stops or take a short hike, then board the next cruise back to Waterton.
“While at Waterton Glacier International Peace Park, have a cup of tea at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel – an imposing wooden structure with friendly staff dressed in tartan and stunning views of the lake.” — Therese Otto