There’s only one month left to take advantage of primo summer fun, so make it a good one with a getaway to one of these trending destinations. Not only are they logistically sound – given airfare costs and flight lengths – but they’re all brimming with seasonal attractions, a variety of cultural events and must-visit hotels and restaurants. Now the only tricky thing is deciding which one…
Credit: Triple Creek Ranch
Bitterroot Valley, Montana
Get back to basics in western Montana where the natural beauty will make you forget crowded beaches and brunch spots. Spend sun-soaked days under the big sky getting to know your neighbors (the abundant wildlife) and nights in cozy cabins. And by all means make sure you book a scenic float trip, which is Montana’s version of a good old-fashioned boat party.
Why you should go in August: There are direct (slash inexpensive) flights to the Missoula International Airport from 12 major markets and then you’re a short drive to the valley from there. There’s no shortage of activities to take advantage of, especially during this peak season.
Where to stay: Triple Creek Ranch, a Montana Hideaway. Just 75 miles south of Missoula, the adults-only ranch that’s set on 600 acres of land in the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains is beyond breathtaking. Not only is there a plethora of Western adventures to partake in (cowboy lessons, horseback riding, fly fishing, and nature safaris to spy elk, bison and eagles), but the ranch just launched new mountain biking and hiking trails, along with a guided stargazing experience and yoga.
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Newport, Rhode Island
Live like a Vanderbilt in America’s “society capital,” where the days are filled with sailing trips, lobster rolls, and mansion tours. Definitely do not pass up exploring The Breakers (the biggest deal of Newport’s summer “cottages”) and The Chanler for one epic brunch in the outdoor terrace setting overlooking the Cliff Walk. If you think you’ve had good deviled eggs before, just wait until you sample The Chanler’s truffle version, which is life-changing.
Why you should go in August: For the famous Newport Jazz Festival (August 3 to 5), which is the premiere event of the summer season and was America’s first jazz festival, ever. There’s also Rosé Mondays on the Roof Deck at Grace Vanderbilt, Vineyard Vinyasa Yoga + Wine Tasting (August 28), and Heritage Fire at Gurney’s Newport (August 12), which will feature more than 30 chefs and 3,000+ pounds of sustainable live-fired food (with free-flowing wines) for one delicious feast in support of independent farming.
Where to stay: Hotel Viking. The iconic 90-year-old landmark, which is situated atop Newport’s Historic Hill neighborhood, recently underwent a massive renovation and the beloved property is back and better than ever. It’s also one of the most affordable accommodation options in what can be a pricey area, to say the least. Plus if you stay longer, you’ll save more. There’s also Spa Fjör on the property with a new summer menu of treatments and custom experiences available to book.
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Panama City, Panama
Panama has been buzzy recently (given its hotel and restaurant expansion in the last few years), but in order to really do it right, it’s wise to book a customized tour or vacation package through a local travel agency like Panama Vacations. They’ll help you split your time between the city and day trips to the San Blas Islands or the mountains of Boquete and provide reliable guides who speak English. Plus, it will end up cheaper than if you book everything à la carte.
Why you should go in August: August is actually an ideal time to visit since it’s a shoulder month and accessibility is easy from the U.S. (it’s only five hours from New York City, compared to other South American countries that can take double that time). Flights are also pretty reasonable this time of year (think hundreds, not thousands), and since it’s the beginning of “green season,” it isn’t as rainy as September, October, and November, so you get great weather at shoulder season prices.
Where to stay: La Concordia in Panama’s Old Town (Casco Viejo). This new boutique hotel has fewer than a dozen rooms so you’ll feel like you’re residing in your own private villa. But if you want to go the luxury route, there’s the new Isla Palenque, an exclusive private island resort nestled in the middle of the jungle in the Gulf of Chiriquí. As for dining options, there’s Brutto in Panama City for Argentine classics, Intimo for authentic Panamanian cuisine, and Donde Jose, where the mouthwatering food just keeps coming out, tasting menu-style.
Credit: NLand Surf Park and Brewery
You may not think Texas when looking for great places to travel in August, but Austin hits its high notes in the summer. Between the bespoke nightlife and cocktail scene, friendly locals, and the water-related activities, you’ll forget it’s in the 100s (at least temporarily).
Why you should go in August: Surfing in the middle of Texas? Why not? When you’ve got triple-digit temps for a whole month, water and beer are your best friends, and NLand Surf Park and Brewery brings both together. As the world’s only inland surf destination and brewery, NLand’s 14-acre surf lagoon makes waves for surfers of all levels. Another thing Austin is not short on is craft beer, and new East Austin concept The Brewer’s Table sets itself apart from the brewpub crowd with beer and food sharing the spotlight equally. There’s also refreshing and Insta-worthy bungalow bar Craftsman, which has the perfect summer drinks from the sharable Watermelon Margarita to the backyard Tiki Bar.
Where to stay: W Austin. Located in the heart of downtown and just steps from Lady Bird Lake (think standup paddleboarding, kayaking, and more), W Austin is one the best places to be during the summer. The hotel’s wildly popular WET Deck rooftop pool also has a full calendar of activities and Instagram-ready libations.
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If you’ve never been to the Emerald City, you’re missing out. If you have kiddos, you really should consider Seattle for a quick August trip since it’s such a family-friendly city. Another reason to go? When the rest of the country is sweltering with temps in the 90s and 100s, Seattle is totally comfortable and in the mid 70s.
Why you should go in August: Summer is the prettiest season in these parts, and August just happens to be on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to airfare prices. There’s also a calendar full of happenings this month, but whatever you do, be sure to check out nearby Woodinville Wine Country for tastings. Explore Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle with a Seattle CityPASS that gives you access to five of Seattle’s most popular attractions, and leave a day free for hiking, biking, and running, since the recreational options are endless.
Where to stay: Just 15 minutes outside of Seattle is the only hotel on the idyllic shores of Lake Washington, The Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa in Kirkland. In addition to two signature restaurants and a full-service spa, there are plenty of thoughtful amenities, stunning views, and waterfront adventures. Another bonus? It’s offering a “Stay More, Save More” 45th anniversary special, which means up to 30% off regular rates.