14 Best Places to Visit in August USA: Summer Vacation Ideas

US in August - Red Golden Gate Bridge, rocks with flowing ocean, Denver Red Rocks Amphitheatre big cliff rock

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Looking to plan a quick getaway this summer? Or maybe you’ve saved your PTO up to spend a few weeks in the sun?

Either way, you want to find the best spot to spend with your friends and family, so we’ve found the best places to visit in August USA to save you the trouble.

Take advantage of the hot weather and hit the beach, rock out at an outdoor concert, or even watch a movie in the open-air.

Or, if you need something a little more mild, head to one of the cooler destinations on the list where you won’t find yourself melting faster than an ice cream cone.

Pick one of these spots and get ready for the time of your life!

If you can’t wait for August, read this guide to find the best spots we’ve picked for July.

Boston Common park garden

Best places to visit in August USA from the Mountains to the Beach and Everywhere in Between.

1. Rockland, Maine in August for Food & Hot Air Baloons

Come for the lobsters, stay for the hot air balloons – Maine is one of the best places to go in August in the US to enjoy the sunshine, warm 75F temperatures, and beautiful blue skies.

You can live the quintessential New England dream an hour and a half North of Portland with a lobster roll in hand as you set sail on a cruise (keep your eyes out for whales), or you could check out a fantastic art museum and float high in the sky to see everything from a new perspective.

Things to do in Rockland, Maine 

  • Maine Lobster Festival – Spend five days at the Maine Lobster Festival where you can not only get the best eats but experience the culture around it. (Early August)
  • Great Falls Balloon Festival – Great Falls Balloon Festival is a weekend of hot air balloons, food, and entertainment for the whole family. (Mid August) 
  • Rockland Harbor Trail – The 3.5 mile Rockland Harbor Trail is a leisurely walk that spans from the downtown area to the waterfront. 
  • Farnsworth Art Museum – The Farnsworth Art Museum is the place to go to see over 15,000 pieces of American and Maine-inspired art. 
  • Sunset Sailing Cruise – Departing from Camden Harbor, this sunset sailing cruise shows you the best of the Maine coastline; get your tickets here.

If you’re going to spend some time in New England, check out this ultimate guide.

2. Boston, Massachusetts in August for Markets & Festivals

Boston has so many festivals and fun things to do this time of year, making it one of the best places to travel in August in the USA.

Take advantage of the warm temperatures in the low 80s while you listen to live jazz on a summer’s night, explore the city with a donut in each hand, and take home an artisanal souvenir from the markets. 

Things to do in Boston, Massachusetts

  • SoWa Open Market – The SoWa Open Market has everything for a great Sunday out; handcrafted goods, local produce, food trucks, entertainment and more
  • Chinatown’s August Moon Festival – For one day only, Chinatown’s August Moon Festival has cultural performances, Chinese calligraphy, arts and crafts, and various vendors of Chinese food, merchandise, and more. (Early August)
  • Saint Anthony’s Feast – This “Feast of all Feasts” is the largest Italian Religious Festival in New England; Saint Anthony’s Feast is not to be missed. (Late August)
  • Boston Jazz Festival – Boston Jazz Festival is a favorite activity with the locals, take a romantic stroll, get something to eat, and listen to some great Jazz. (Late August)
  • Boston Underground Donut Tour – What’s better than getting a guided tour on all of the best parts of Boston? Adding in some of the city’s best donuts – get your tickets here.

If you’ve only got 24 hours to enjoy this city, read this guide for tips and tricks.

Green and orange trolley tour in Boston

3. Providence, Rhode Island in August for Fresh Food & State Park

You’ll find an eclectic mix of things to do on a trip to Providence in August to keep everyone in your group happy.

Catch an independent film, take advantage of the 80-degree weather and wander through a local orchard, tour the city with delicious pit stops along the way, and more.

Things to do in Providence, Rhode Island

  • Rhode Island International Film Festival – The Rhode Island International Film Festival showcases work from any genre, on any subject to discover new voices in independent film. (Mid August)
  • Narrow Lane Orchard – The 30-acre Narrow Lane Orchard offers over 20 varieties of fruit for you to pick and enjoy!
  • Foolproof Brewing Company – Grab a drink in the taproom of Foolproof Brewing Company or see the process happen in the brewhouse. 
  • Adventureland Family Fun Park – Bring the whole family to Adventureland Family Fun Park where you can do everything from mini-golf to bumper boats.
  • Taste of Rhode Island Guided Food Tour – Foodies can rejoice! Eat your way through Providence as you learn about the city; get your tickets here.
  • Take a day trip to Beavertail State Park, image below.
Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, Rhode Island.

4. Queens, New York in August for Boats & Open Air Movies

Most people visiting New York don’t venture out of Manhattan much, but Queens is actually one of the best US cities to visit in August. 

Beat the mid-80-degree heat and head to Rockaway Beach, check out some of the excellent Chinese culture, see a film in the botanical gardens and sip some of the finest beers in the borough. 

Things to do in Queens, New York

  • Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival – The free, family-friendly Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is full of music, dancing, food, events, and dragon boat racing. (Early August)
  • Queen’s International Night Market -Head to the Queen’s International Night Market for cultural performances and entertainment, and vendors selling merchandise, art, and food. (All August)
  • Movie Nights at the Garden – Don’t want to head indoors? Watch films in the open air at the Movie Nights at the Garden. (All August)
  • Rockaway Beach – Rockaway Beach is particularly popular with surfers, but the boardwalk, playgrounds, and sandy beach make it a great trip for everyone.
  • Queens Brewery Walking Tour – Take a three-hour tour of Queens to see some of the best behind-the-scenes aspects of the local brewery scenes; get your tickets here

If you’ve only got a long weekend to get away, read this guide to find the best way to spend your time.

5. Columbus, Ohio in August for Irish Festival & Summer Fairs

Columbus is an excellent place to go for a family-friendly vacation in August, where the temperatures are in the mid-80s and the city is ready for fun.

There is so much to see and do, but most people who come this time of year take advantage of the great festivals; you can do everything from ride a hot air balloon to seeing an original butter sculpture. 

Things to do in Columbus, Ohio

  • Dublin Irish Festival – Just 20 minutes away, the Dublin Irish Festival showcases the best Irish dance, music, art, and culture for the Irish and Irish lovers. (Early August) 
  • WonderBus Music and Arts Festival – The all-ages friendly WonderBus Music and Arts Festival is a weekend full of music, arts, food, kid’s activities, and more. (Late August)
  • All Ohio Balloon Festival – One of the longest-running balloon fests in the US, the All Ohio Balloon Festival has food, cold beer, vendors, live music, aerial entertainment & hot air balloons! (Mid August)
  • Ohio State Fair – The Ohio State Fair has butter sculptures, concerts, rides, 4-H, deep-fried treats, parades, games, and more for the whole family to enjoy. (Early August)
  • LEGOLAND® Discovery Center – Visit the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center with the whole family to build, create, and have a blast; get your tickets here.

6. Lexington, Kentucky in August for Bourbon & Beats

An hour east of Louisville, Lexington has so much to keep you entertained on your trip.

Stay outside in the delightful mid-80s weather and explore the city by doing the mural challenge or hang out at an old bus station turned into an entertainment spot.

Things to do in Lexington, Kentucky

  • Railbird Music Festival – Horse track turned music festival, the Railbird Music Festival celebrates music, bourbon, and all things Kentucky. (Late August)
  • Town Branch Distillery- Tick off a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail by visiting the Town Branch Distillery and taking a tour.
  • Mural Challenge -The city is full of beautiful art everywhere you turn, take the Mural Challenge to see how many you can find.
  • Greyline Station – An old Greyhound bus station was transformed into the Greyline Station that now features food, shopping, and entertainment.
  • The Aviation Museum of Kentucky – Learn about aircraft and aviation history from Kentucky at The Aviation Museum of Kentucky; get your tickets here.

7. Memphis, Tennessee in August for Elvis Week

Bordering Arkansas and Mississippi, Memphis is best known for being the birthplace of Elvis, but that’s not the only reason it is one of the best places to visit in the USA in August.

Relive the King at Elvis Week, have the time of your life at a rooftop party in the 90 degree heat, wander through the Victorian Village and pretend you’ve stepped back in time, and more.

Things to do in Memphis, Tennessee

  • Elvis Week – Elvis Week is just what it sounds like; there’ll be panel discussions, concerts, Elvis Tribute Contests, and more! (Mid August)
  • Victorian Village – Step back into time at Victorian Village and take a self-guided tour to see the 19th-century neighborhood. 
  • Peabody Rooftop Parties -If you want to experience the best of Memphis nightlife,  Peabody Rooftop Parties need to be on your list.
  • Memphis Chicken and Beer Festival – The Memphis Chicken and Beer Festival has music, games, inflatables, and of course, chicken and beer (Early August)
  • Memphis Rock’ n’ Soul & Music Hall of Fame – You can’t leave Memphis without heading to some of the best museums in town; get your tickets here to the Memphis Rock’ n’ Soul & Music Hall of Fame.
Memphis Tennessee skyline at dusk

8. Outer Banks, North Carolina for Idyllic Beach Getaway

The Outer Banks is well known for being one of the best US beaches to visit in August in the USA for the whole family.

Aside from the amazing beach that brings thousands each summer from all over to enjoy in the 80-something degree weather, you’ll have plenty to do with the festivals, museums, and more.

Outer Banks also rightfully features in our US best beaches article.

Things to do in Outer Banks, North Carolina

  • Pirate Festival -Bring the kids to the Pirate Festival, where they join in on Scallywag School, and the whole family can learn about the history of pirates. (Mid August)
  • Watermelon Festival – The Watermelon Festival has all sorts of watermelon-related activities and things like tye-dyeing, food trucks, and face painting. (Early August)
  • Nag’s Head – Nag’s Head is a beautiful beach that is a top destination for all OBX visitors to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea.
  • The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum – The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is an excellent spot for all ages to learn about the area’s maritime history through interactive exhibits.
  • Ghost Crab Quest – Learn all about the Atlantic Ghost Crab on the nighttime Ghost Crab Quest, plus you can do a scavenger hunt, learn about astronomy, bird-watching, and more.
Beach with cottages at Nags Head in the outer banks. North Carolina

9. Birmingham, Alabama in August for Music & Movies

The 90-something degree weather isn’t the only thing that makes Birmingham a hot place to visit.

Budget shoppers looking for cheap places to visit in August in the USA will love the chance to hunt for treasure at the world’s longest yard sale, film and music lovers will have a great time at the festivals, and kids will love exploring the science center.

Things to do in Birmingham, Alabama

  • Secret Stages Festival – If you love to be the first to know about the coolest trends in music, the Secret Stages Festival is for you. (Early August)
  • Sidewalk Film Festival – The infamous Sidewalk Film Festival brings a wide variety of films, focusing on diversity in the industry. (Late August)
  • Highway 127 Yard Sale – Highway 127 Yard Sale is the longest yard sale in the world and offers bargains starting in Addison, Michigan, and ending in the nearby Gadsden, Alabama. (Early August)
  • McWane Science Center – Beat the heat, jump indoors with the family, and visit the McWane Science Center, where the interactive exhibits will keep everyone entertained for hours.
  • Guided Civil Rights Tour -Spend a few hours learning about Birmingham’s historic part in the Civil Rights Movement on this tour; get your tickets here.

10. Minneapolis, Minnesota in August for Renaissance & Vineyards

Can’t choose between vineyards, state fairs, and renaissance festivals? If you head to Minneapolis, you won’t have to!

And if the mid-80s temps get to be too much, wander around in the air-conditioned Mall of America and try your hand at escaping.

Colorful mural on side of building at Downtown Minneapolis

Things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota 

  • Minnesota Renaissance Festival – Immerse yourself in a bygone time at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, watch the entertainment, take home one-of-a-kind souvenirs, try a centuries-old favorite meal, and more. (Mid-Late August)
  • Minnesota State Fair – The Minnesota State Fair is one of the state’s biggest attractions, with agricultural events, food, shopping, and entertainment bringing in thousands and thousands. (Late August) 
  • Saint Croix Vineyards – Take a wine tour at Saint Croix Vineyards, or listen to live music with a glass in hand, or bring a basket and have a picnic.
  • Chain of Lakes – The Chain of Lakes is a popular spot with the locals for the beaches, trail paths, boardwalks, and more.
  • Mall of America Escape Room – Check out the famous Mall of America, and while you’re there, try your luck at escaping from a sticky scenario; get your tickets here.

Looking for more activities? Visit our guide to free things to do in Minneapolis.

Blue skies over Stone Arch Bridge and Flour Mill Ruins Park

11. Seattle, Washington in August for Lower Temps City Getaway

If you’ve got to beat the heat, Seattle is in the low 70s and is one of the best US destinations in August for you.

The cooler weather means you can take advantage of all the outdoor activities like kite flying, boat shows, fairs, festivals, and more.

Things to do in Seattle, Washington

  • Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire – Eat a gigantic turkey leg, watch a jousting tournament and take home a one-of-a-kind souvenir at the  Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire. (All August)
  • Seafair Festival – The Seafair Festival is a boat show, air show, and festival all in one on the shores of Lake Washington. (Early August)
  • The Washington State International Kite Festival – The skies will be full of color at The Washington State International Kite Festival as famous kite fliers and spectators come to participate. (Mid August)
  • Evergreen State Festival – Evergreen State Fair has everything from showcasing agricultural achievements to concerts to carnival rides.(Late August)
  • Seattle Sky View Observatory – See the city with the iconic view from the Sky View Observatory; get your tickets here.

For more read our one day in Seattle Itinerary

Seattle Space Needle and skyline

12. Portland, Oregon in August for Festivals & City Biking

Portland is a great place to visit year round, but it is definitely one of the best places to travel in the US in August.

The 80 degree temps make for wonderfully warm days to enjoy the festivals, flowers, and food all over the city all month long.

Things to do in Portland, Oregon

  • Elephant Garlic Festival – Music, food, and fun for the whole family at the Elephant Garlic Festival, celebrating… elephant garlic! (Mid August)
  • Dahlia Festival – Stroll through nearly 40 acres of dahlias at the Dahlia Festival, have a picnic, listen to live music, visit the gift shop, and more. (All August)
  • Portland Burger Week – Chow down at Portland Burger Week with dozens of options of burgers to choose from, all for a great price. (Mid August)
  • Portland Sunday Parkways – Portland Sunday Parkways is a time when the city opens up the streets for people to get out and walk, bike, and skate. (All August)
  • Guided Silver Falls Hike and Wine Tour – Full description 
  • Hike the forests and waterfalls of the Willamette Valley, have a picnic lunch, and visit unique boutique wineries; get your tickets here.

If you’re only taking a weekend away, read this guide for the best itinerary for a 3 day trip.

Portland waterfront

13. San Francisco, California in August for Cooler Cali Temps

If you don’t want to spend the summer melting but still want the California vacation, San Francisco and the 60-something degree weather is the best places to go in August in the US for you. 

There is always something new to see every time you come between music festivals, picnics, cruises, and even a trip to an infamous prison. 

Things to do in San Francisco, California

  • Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival – Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival has dozens of bands, attractions, food vendors, and visual artists. (Early August)
  • Presidio Picnic – Bring the whole family to Presidio Picnic, where you can eat from dozens of different food trucks, participate in yoga and Zumba classes, walk the park trails, and more. (All August)
  • Alcatraz island – Visit Alcatraz Island and learn history through self-guided audio tours and see the exhibits.
  • Lick Observatory – Take a self-guided tour of the Lick Observatory to see the telescopes, have a picnic, and check out the views from the top. 
  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise – On this cruise, you’ll go along San Francisco’s waterfront and under the Golden Gate Bay Bridge as you watch for wildlife and check out the sights; get your tickets here.

If you’re planning to spend your vacation in Cali, read this guide for the ultimate bucket list.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - red bridge over water on blue sky day

14. Boulder, Colorado in August for Shakespeare & Gigs

30 miles north of Denver, Boulder is one of the best places to vacation in August in the US for all sorts of music and arts festivals.

Spanning from Shakespeare to local rock concerts, you’ll have a great time in the outdoors in the 80-something degree weather, getting the best of the city’s culture first hand. 

Things to do in Boulder, Colorado 

  • Colorado Shakespeare Festival – For over 60 years, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival has been a favorite with locals and out-of-towners to enjoy professional theatre under the stars. (Early August)
  • Band on the Bricks – Band on the Bricks has everything from rock to reggae and everything in between in the perfect outdoor weather. (Early August)
  • Colorado Irish Festival – Enjoy live music, dancing, bagpipes, and family entertainment at the Colorado Irish Festival. (Mid August)
  • Red Rocks Amphitheatre – The Red Rocks Amphitheatre is the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world; locals come for guided tours, hiking, biking, shopping, dining, and a summer concert series.
  • Guided Boulder Hike & Beer Tour – Enjoy a 3-mile trail hike in the fresh air and finish with a cold beer; get your tickets here.
Denver Colorado. Red Rocks Amphitheater with blue skies

Final Thoughts 

August is a world-wide top time to vacation, you can go to the big citites, the beach, or even the mountains and there will be tons of fun for your entire family.

Want to find the best places to visit in the USA in September? Check out this guide.

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