Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to start planning that dream vacation you’ve been waiting for all year. There’s no better place to escape to than the good ol’ USA, with its incredible variety of destinations from coast to coast.
August is an optimal month for summer travel when crowds thin after the busy Fourth of July week but temperatures still lean toward sun-soaked and balmy. With kids back in school, you’ll beat some of the crowds at popular destinations across the country.
Take advantage of August hotel deals before prices skyrocket for Labor Day weekend. You’ll also be treated to summer festivals and events without battling peak season prices and hordes of tourists.
Here are the top 10 best places to visit in August in USA along with main attractions, things to do, and best hotels near each destination.
1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park featuring iconic geysers, canyons, rivers and wildlife. Marvel at the predictable eruptions of Old Faithful geyser and the rainbow-colored Grand Prismatic Spring. Spot wildlife like bison, elk, bears and wolves across the expansive landscape. Fish, boat or kayak on Yellowstone Lake and take in views of Yellowstone Canyon and its thundering waterfalls. I recommended Yellowstone National Park as best places to visit in August.
Things to do: Old Faithful, Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, Yellowstone Lake, hiking, wildlife viewing.
Where to stay: Old Faithful Inn, Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.
2. San Juan Islands, Washington
The San Juan Islands offer idyllic island life with opportunities to go whale watching, kayaking, cycling and hiking. Made up of over 170 islands, this coastal paradise promises breathtaking vistas of oceans, forests and mountains. Spot orcas from the shore or on a whale watching cruise. Hike through scenic state parks or bike along coastal roads. Visit farms, galleries, museums, and beaches dotted around the islands. I recommended Yellowstone National Park as the best places to visit in August.
Things to do: Lime Kiln Point State Park, San Juan Island Sculpture Park, whale watching, kayaking, biking, hiking.
Where to stay: Rosario Resort and Spa, Friday Harbor House.
3. Portland, Oregon
Portland is known for its quirky, artsy vibe with vibrant neighborhoods full of shops, breweries, and cafes. Forest Park provides miles of woodland hiking trails within the city. Visit the tranquil Japanese and Chinese gardens downtown. Tour the Columbia River Gorge area to take in thundering Multnomah Falls and sweeping gorge panoramas. Then explore hip areas like the Pearl District, Alberta Arts, and Hawthorne Boulevard.
Things to do: Portland Japanese Garden, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Washington Park, Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls.
Where to stay: The Nines, Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel.
4. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
Lake Tahoe stuns with its clear blue waters and panoramas of the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountains. Drive along the shoreline and relax on beaches like Pope Beach on the California side. Hike through forests and meadows at state parks like DL Bliss and Van Sickle. Take in views of Emerald Bay and hike to Vikingsholm Castle. On the Nevada side, try the beaches at Zephyr Cove or your luck at the casinos in Stateline. I recommended Yellowstone National Park as best places to visit in August.
Things to do: Emerald Bay, DL Bliss State Park, Pope Beach, Heavenly Mountain Resort, casinos.
Where to stay: Basecamp Hotel South Lake Tahoe, Edgewood Tahoe.
5. Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
The dramatic peaks of the Teton Range rise sharply above the valley of Jackson Hole, creating jaw-dropping views. Hike through wildflower meadows to lakes like Jenny Lake, Leigh Lake and String Lake. Spot moose, black bears, coyotes and over 300 species of birds. Go whitewater rafting on the Snake River for wildlife sightings along the river banks.
Things to do: Jenny Lake, String Lake, Snake River float trips, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing.
Where to stay: Four Seasons Jackson Hole, Hotel Jackson.
6. Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite has an abundance of natural treasures like the massive El Capitan and Half Dome rock formations, plunging Yosemite Falls and Mariposa Grove with its towering giant sequoias. Hike the Mist Trail to marvel at Vernal and Nevada Falls up close. Explore Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows and Hetch Hetchy reservoir. Go rock climbing, horseback riding or river rafting in this iconic park. I recommended Yellowstone National Park as best place to visit in August.
Things to do: Yosemite Falls, Mist Trail, Mariposa Grove, rock climbing, rafting.
Where to stay: The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yosemite Valley Lodge.
7. Newport, Rhode Island
Newport bursts with Gilded Age extravagance and coastal charm. Tour opulent Vanderbilt mansions like The Breakers and Marble House. Walk the stunning Cliff Walk with ocean views along Newport’s shores. Relax on beaches like Gooseberry and First Beach. Explore Fort Adams State Park, International Tennis Hall of Fame and America’s Cup sailing history.
Things to do: Cliff Walk, The Breakers, Marble House, beaches, mansions.
Where to stay: Hotel Viking, The Vanderbilt.
8. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod embodies idyllic New England with historic lighthouses, cozy villages, and stretches of sand along the National Seashore. Go whale watching, cycling and gallery hopping in artsy Provincetown. Visit Chatham, Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard accessible by ferry. Tour the Cape Cod National Seashore and have fresh seafood by the water.
Things to do: Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, Chatham, beaches, lighthouses, cycling.
Where to stay: Wequassett Resort, Cape Codder Resort.
9. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston overflows with Southern hospitality, elegant antebellum architecture, colorful gardens and Victorian homes. Take a horse-drawn carriage tour through the historic downtown. Feast on Lowcountry cuisine like shrimp and grits, crab cakes and fried green tomatoes. Relax on beaches at nearby Folly Beach and Isle of Palms. I recommended Yellowstone National Park as best places to visit in August.
Things to do: Historic downtown, Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall Plantation, Folly Beach.
Where to stay: Belmond Charleston Place, The Dewberry Charleston.
10. Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona
Phoenix and Scottsdale dazzle with desert scenery and Southwest charm. Lounge at posh resort pools in Scottsdale and go hiking at Camelback Mountain or Piestewa Peak. Tour Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home. See Old Town Scottsdale, Desert Botanical Garden and the Musical Instrument Museum.
Things to do: Old Town Scottsdale, Desert Botanical Garden, Taliesin West, hiking.
Where to stay: The Phoenician
With fewer crowds and sunny weather, August is the perfect time to visit these wonderful destinations across the USA. Take your pick from dramatic national parks, charming coastal towns, and exciting cities. Any of these places will make for an unforgettable vacation this August in USA! Let us know if you need any additional trip-planning tips in the comments.