Summer begins to come to an end in August, which makes for an interesting time to travel. For many places in the United States, school is already back in session, which means family travel is decreasing. But for many other locations, particularly throughout Europe, August is a peak travel time.
August also marks the end of another season: festival season. Throughout summer, cities throughout the world come to life with huge events filled with music, food, dance, and much more. August is one of the busiest months for festivals, which also means that the crowds will be out in full force.
Although you may have to contend with many people and higher accommodation prices at your chosen August vacation destination, it’s worth it to see these incredible cultural events. Just keep in mind that you’ll likely want to book your flights and hotel stays far in advance if you’re planning on visiting a location with many festivals in August.
Planning an August vacation? We’ve put together a list of the best places to visit in August to help you get started. From sun-soaked beach destinations to cultural hubs rife with festivals, choose a destination from this list, and you’re bound to have an amazing time on your August getaway!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
The 15 Best Places to Travel in August
1. Spend August Celebrating in Helsinki, Finland
Europe is filled with incredible parties and festivals throughout the summer, especially in July and August. Although these massive events draw large crowds, many are worth the trip, like the Helsinki Festival. As Finland’s biggest cultural event and the largest arts festival in the Nordic countries, the Helsinki Festival lasts from mid-August into September.
During the festival, you’ll see hundreds of performances, many of which are free to attend. From live theater to musical acts to circuses to dance troops, every facet of the arts is covered for this one-of-a-kind event.
Earlier in the month, you can also find the Flow Festival, a music and arts festival that showcases a variety of musical genres, from rock to jazz to folk. Taking place in the historic power plant area of Suvilahti, this festival is industrial-chic, with many interesting displays of lights and technology to highlight each night’s acts. Don’t forget to check out the festival’s many afterparties at Helsinki’s clubs to keep the party going!
2. Enjoy the Festival Season in Edinburgh, Scotland
Spread across three weeks in August, the Edinburgh International Festival is a celebration of traditional arts, from theater to opera, taking place at several venues around the city. Meanwhile, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is kind of the Edinburgh International Festival’s eccentric sibling. Both festivals were started in 1947, with the uninvited production companies hosting performances at venues not occupied by the more formal festival.
That’s why, today, Edinburgh Fringe is an open-access event, meaning that if you have a show you want to put on, all you have to do is find a venue that will have you. Edinburgh Fringe is a far less formal festival that covers many more forms of art than the International Festival, and it’s also much larger, with far more shows and more people turning out for them.
3. Chow Down in Rockland, Maine
Looking for a festival you can really sink your teeth into? Rockland, one of the best places to travel in August, is hosting a festival that’ll let you get your fill of the famous Maine lobster.
The Maine Lobster Festival is a five-day event showcasing the best in local seafood. At the heart of the festival is, of course, lobster, and you can eat it in nearly every form imaginable, from lobster mac and cheese to lobster-stuffed risotto balls to lobster wontons. But you’ll also chow down on clams, chowders, mussels, cobblers, pancakes, and much more.
The festival also hosts a number of events throughout the five days. Watch chefs compete at the Seafood Cooking Contest, see competitors race across the water at the International Great Crate Race, wave at the newly-crowned Maine Sea Goddess at the parade, sip Maine-made wines at the Steins & Vines tasting event, participate in the fun run, or take your little one to do arts and crafts.
While you’re in Rockland, spend some time on and around the water. Walk along the Rockland Breakwater to see the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, take a kayaking tour, or sail on a schooner!
4. Celebrate the King in Memphis, Tennessee
Traveling with someone who can quote “Blue Hawaii” and knows the lyrics to every Elvis song, even from his early rockabilly days? Surprise them with a trip to Memphis, another one of the top places to travel in August. It’s in August that you’ll find Elvis Week, a huge city-wide celebration for the King!
Throughout the week, you’ll listen to conversations with those who knew Elvis best, watch special screenings of his concerts and movies, and hear live renditions of Elvis’s shows. You’ll also see some of the best Elvis impersonators in the world gather together for a one-of-a-kind contest. The week concludes with a beautiful vigil in honor of the King.
Music is at Memphis’s heart, so it’s no surprise that many of the best things to do in Memphis in August involve listening to tunes. In addition to Elvis Week, you can head to Peabody Memphis to listen to live DJ sets every Thursday night throughout the summer during their rooftop parties. Or go to the Overton Park Shell for the Orion Free Concert Series or the Memphis Botanic Garden for the Live at the Garden concert series.
For a different sort of festival, you’ll also find the Memphis Chicken and Beer Festival in August. Local restaurants will be serving up special chicken dishes, while you can also enjoy beer and more from tons of different vendors.
5. Listen to Music and Play on the Sand in Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona may be hot in August, but it’s got perfect beach weather, making it a prime destination for an August vacation. With the massive heat around this time of year, you’ll find that many residents have fled the city. You, too, likely won’t want to spend your days in the city itself, fanning yourself and trying to get some sweet relief as you sweat on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.
Instead, any tours you should be doing should be out on the water. Kayak and snorkel your way around Costa Brava, bobbing around in the turquoise waters, or take a sailing tour around Barcelona. If you book early enough, you might also be able to score coveted tickets to one of Barcelona’s boat parties. Or you can simply hit the beaches and enjoy a lazy day in the sand.
There are also several festivals happening throughout August, like the district parties of Festa Major de Sants and Festa Major de Gracia, street festivals filled with parades, live music, pop-up bars, and local traditions like the castellers, or human castles.
6. Revel in the Culture in Amsterdam, Netherlands
With long, warm summer days, Amsterdam is one of the best places to vacation in August. Due to the beautiful conditions, you’ll have to contend with sizeable crowds, but you’ll find that visiting during this time of year is well worth it.
You’ll get the best of both worlds when you visit Amsterdam in August. It’s warm enough for outdoor excursions, but it’s not hot enough to keep you from being able to explore the city during the day. However, you should come prepared in case of any rain.
During the summer is when you’ll find most of Amsterdam’s biggest festivals. August allows you to catch the end of the festival season and join in on the fun. Early August brings about Pride Amsterdam, one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ celebrations in the world.
Later in the month, you can catch World Cinema Amsterdam, which showcases movies from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For live theater, check out De Parade Theatre Festival, also happening later in the month. Throughout August, you can also see ARTIS ZOOmeravonden. Every Saturday evening, you can catch live performances at the ARTIS Royal Zoo, too.
Lasting for 10 days in the middle of August, Grachtenfestival is one of the biggest events in Amsterdam. This festival is on the city’s famous canals. The boats will be filled with musicians, and during the event, you’ll be able to hear more than 150 concerts throughout the city.
7. Marvel at the Beauty in Lucerne, Switzerland
Lucerne is a destination that’s steeped in romance and majesty, and there are few better times to explore the city than in August. When you take an August vacation in Lucerne, you’re in for warm weather that’ll allow you to get outside and experience the natural beauty around you.
Take a boat ride around Lake Lucerne or visit the Glacier Garden of Lucerne, formed by retreating glaciers 20,000 years ago. Or pay a visit and take in the incredible views from Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi.
In addition to natural beauty, Lucerne is also filled with stunning architecture that dates back centuries. Take a stroll over the famous Chapel Bridge, explore the historic and richly decorated Old Town, or walk along the Musegg Wall and its towers.
Although Lucerne hosts the Lucerne Festival several times per year, the Lucerne Summer Festival is one of the most popular. Lasting five weeks from early August, this festival brings together both local and international talent to perform over 100 concerts.
8. Drink at the Ruin Bars in Budapest, Hungary
An August vacation in Budapest may be crowded, as August is this historic city’s busiest month. But there’s a good reason why everyone wants to be here this time of year. August brings about tons of events and festivals.
Hop on a Danube River cruise on August 20 to watch the fireworks over the river on St. Stephen’s Day. That same weekend, you’ll want to head to the Buda Royal Palace to catch the Festival of Folk Arts, where talented artisans gather together to show off a collection of Hungarian folk art alongside interactive workshops, folk music performers, and traditional Hungarian treats.
Other festivals throughout August include bathing parties at the Szechenyi Baths and Sziget Festival, one of Europe’s largest open-air music events. If you’re looking for something free to do, you may also catch live music throughout Budapest at no charge, thanks to Zenélő Budapest.
Throughout August, you can visit one of Budapest’s most popular venues, the A38 Ship, a repurposed Ukrainian cargo ship. You’ll find concerts here throughout the month. And for another unique thing to do in Budapest, go on a one-of-a-kind bar crawl through the famous ruin bars. What were once neglected buildings have become some of the coolest bars in Europe!
9. Listen to Classical Tunes in Salzburg, Austria
August is one of the most popular months to visit Salzburg, but with the comfortably warm weather and many events, you’ll find the crowds don’t stop Salzburg from being one of the best places to visit in August.
The main draw for visitors in August is the Salzburger Festspiele, a five-week festival that starts in late July and lasts throughout August. Featuring music, comedy, drama, and much more, there’s always something to see and do in August, thanks to this festival.
Outside of the festival, there are many other stunning places to stop and spend time in Salzburg. Attend a concert at the Mirabell Palace & Gardens, a fairytale-like palace that dates back to the early 17th century and once played host to Mozart.
Speaking of Mozart, you can also pay a visit to his birthplace, which is over on Getreidegasse, now a beautiful pedestrian-friendly shopping street. The yellow building he spent much of his youth in is now a museum and open to visitors. For more beautiful architecture and museums to get lost in, visit DomQuartier Salzburg, a complex of baroque buildings with several interconnected museums and galleries.
10. Have a Night at the Museums in Berlin, Germany
With warm and comfortable days to explore the city, Berlin is one of the best places to travel in August. Filled with culture, there’s always something new to uncover here.
Start by delving into the past during the Long Night of Museums. Toward the end of August, 70 of Berlin’s museums open their doors for the night for free. You’ll hop on shuttles that’ll move you around throughout the night, taking in exhibits, workshops, concerts, and much more. Although you can’t see the over 700 events in one night, you’ll surely keep busy until morning.
The city also hosts a variety of festivals throughout August. Late in the month, you can attend the German-American Folk Festival, a 60-year-old event that showcases American-style food, music, and family-friendly entertainment.
Or you can listen to music of all sorts of genres at Pop-Kultur, formerly known as Berlin Music Week. Earlier in the month, you can catch the Citadel Music Festival for more live musical performances.
Throughout the month, you can also see performances courtesy of the Tanz im August Festival, with various dance showcases, or the Young Euro Classic, with youth orchestras throughout the globe coming together to perform both classical and modern music.
11. Enjoy the Nearly All-Day Sun in Seattle, Washington
The weather in Seattle is perfect for outdoor adventures during a vacation in August. It’s the month with the second-least amount of rainfall, and it’s warm enough without making you overheat.
Three national parks are nearby Seattle: Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and North Cascades National Park. You’ll want to venture out of the city and over to the parks for some hiking on August 4. It’s the anniversary of the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act. In celebration, all entrance fees to national parks are waived!
Also in early August is the Seafair Weekend Festival, which is set on Lake Washington. Featuring boat races, air shows, and much more, it’s an event that’s sure to delight the whole family.
For even more family fun, you can attend the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire during weekends throughout the month. From jousting knights to lyrical bards to circus performers of all kinds, there’s plenty of entertainment to keep you coming back weekend after weekend all August long.
12. Hop Around the Channel Islands
Like many European locations this month, August is a big festival season for the Channel Islands, an archipelago in the English Channel off the coast of France. This chain of islands is experiencing some of its warmest weather this month as well, making for one of the best vacation spots in August.
Over on Alderney, you’ll find the biggest annual carnival on any of the Channel Islands in August. During Alderney Week, you’ll celebrate at a massive, week-long party filled with galas, parades, races, contests, and more.
On Jersey, August is when you’ll find the Battle of the Flowers, one of the biggest events on the Channel Islands. Known for its parades, featuring floats exploding with color and creativity, the battle results in someone being crowned winner, but you’ll feel like you’ve won the jackpot yourself when you get to experience this one-of-a-kind event.
Meanwhile, over in Guersey’s L’Eree Old Aerodome, you’ll see the West Show in August, which celebrates the islands’ agricultural traditions. Featuring rides, contests, music, and local foods, it offers tons of fun for the whole family.
13. Experience Sun-Filled Days on the Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Croatia is exceedingly hot in August, which is why you’ll want to head to the coast for your August vacation. The weather is just right for spending days on the gorgeous beaches, and the party scene is particularly strong throughout August. While you will have to deal with many other visitors, you’ll find that crowd levels will lessen as the month goes on.
Throughout the month, you’ll discover one of Croatia’s best festivals in Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Lasting from mid-July to the end of August, you’ll find open-air stages throughout the city with opera, dance, and theater performances galore.
While Dubrovnik has become a popular spot over the course of the past decade thanks to it being featured on “Game of Thrones,” there are many other places to uncover on the Dalmatian Coast. Uncover the remains of a Roman palace in Split, check out the famous Sea Organ and Sun Salutation in Zadar, or visit the Cathedral of St. James in Šibenik.
14. Go Snorkeling in Cairns, Australia
Cairns is another popular August vacation destination, despite August being a busy time to travel to this Australian city. But it’s busy for a good reason. Traveling during this time allows you to avoid both the wet season and the jellyfish season, also known as the “stinger season.” While the wet season runs from November to March, the stinger season is a little longer, going from November to May.
You can’t guarantee that you won’t run into one in August. But when you go during this time, you’ll be less likely to come across a stinger, especially some of Australia’s more deadly varieties, like the box jellyfish.
The weather in Cairns in August can be a little on the cool side, though plenty warm enough to spend your days on the beach. You may want to don a wetsuit if you plan to go in the water, though, especially if you want to take advantage of some of Cairns’ incredible snorkeling.
Take a snorkeling or scuba diving tour along the Great Barrier Reef to see one of the most amazing sights in the world. To see another side of Cairns, hop on the Kuranda Scenic Railway to venture through the rainforest or take to the sky in the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
15. Spend Your Days in the Water at Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe is best known for its fantastic winter sports scene, but this California destination is also one of the best places for an August vacation. In August, California kids are back in school, making popular summer vacation spots quieter than in June and July. In addition to the drop-off in crowds, Lake Tahoe’s weather also makes it ideal for a late-summer getaway.
Take a boat cruise to explore Emerald Bay, or hop on a kayaking tour to get out on the water yourself. Or simply hit the beach and go for a swim in the clear blue waters! As an alpine lake, Lake Tahoe is always cold, so be prepared for some rather chilly water.
If you’re more into the scenic hills and woods than the lake itself, hike around Lake Tahoe for some amazing sightseeing. You can even visit some historical sites, like the Vikingsholm Castle. What was once a summer home is now a part of the Emerald Bay State Park, and you can tour this incredible example of Scandinavian architecture in the summer.
There you have it! The 15 best places to visit in August. What’s your favorite place for an August vacation? Let us know in the comments!
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our favorite travel books!