13 places to visit in August for every type of traveler

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Jenny Cheng/Business Insider

  • The best places to visit in August are already on savvy travelers’ lists.
  • Business Insider looked at airfare trends, climate data, and peak travel times to find the best places to visit in August 2018.
  • They include tropical paradises in the Caribbean and Malaysia, a fudge festival in Michigan, and a Buddhist celebration in Sri Lanka featuring elephants and fire-dancing.

August is one of the most popular months to travel for Americans, with millions of people squeezing in one final summer vacation before the weather cools down.

Choosing the perfect destination for an August vacation isn’t easy. You may find yourself favoring northerly locations that are simply too cold any other time of year – think Oslo, Norway, where the sun doesn’t set until close to 10 p.m., or Mackinac Island, Michigan, which draws thousands of travelers to its famous Fudge Festival each August.

You can also check out some of the greatest scenes in nature in August – it’s when the breathtaking rice terraces in Ifugao, Philippines, are at their greenest, and it’s also the dramatic culmination of one of nature’s grandest events, the Great Migration in Kenya.

We looked at airfare trends, climate data, and cultural calendars to select 13 vacation spots that are some of the best places to visit this August. Take a look at the places we recommend for an August trip, and plan away.


Mackinac Island, Michigan

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August is the perfect time to visit Mackinac Island, the scenic island between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

On Mackinac Island – pronounced “mackinaw” – visitors can enjoy the sunny weather while boating, fishing, and parasailing. On land, you can hop between historic sites like Fort Mackinac and Fort Holmes, both key sites in the War of 1812.

And sweet tooths will have something to celebrate too: the Mackinac Island Fudge Festival, which takes place every August and allows the many fudge shops on the island to show off their best work.


Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

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Martha’s Vineyard is heralded as one of the most classic summer getaways in the United States.

The charming island south of Cape Cod is dotted with quaint New England homes, relaxing sandy beaches, and iconic lighthouses. The sunny summer weather in August sets the perfect stage for a boat outing or a shopping trip to the town’s eclectic upscale boutiques.

And although Martha’s Vineyard has a reputation for being expensive, it’s possible to enjoy what the island has to offer on a budget – you just have to do a lot of planning.


Seattle, Washington

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The perfect time to visit the Emerald City is in August, when the sun is shining and you’ll be able to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

Seattle’s iconic Pike’s Place Market is an excellent way to spend an afternoon – especially if you can find the secret shops that most tourists don’t know about. You can also wile away the day island-hopping across Puget Sound, or for the more culinarily inclined, sampling the best of Seattle’s food, coffee, and beer scenes.


St. John’s, Canada

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Most of the year, it’s too cold for a comfortable vacation to St. John’s, the capital of Canada’s Newfoundland and Labrador province.

But that all changes in the summertime, and especially in August, when temperatures rise to the high 60s Fahrenheit. Popular outdoor activities for travelers include hiking, berry picking, and animal-watching – whales and puffins are common sights in August.

There’s plenty of St. John’s culture to soak in, too. Take a stroll downtown and check out the city’s brightly-painted houses, and admire artisan crafts in the Quidi Vidi fishing village. You can get a panoramic view of the city from Signal Hill, and history buffs will want to make a stop at Cabot Tower, honoring the discovery of Newfoundland by John Cabot.


Anguilla

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August is the tail end of peak tourism season for Anguilla, the Caribbean island paradise east of Puerto Rico.

In Anguilla, you’ll have your pick of 33 beaches, each with pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters. Snorkeling, diving, and glass-bottomed kayaking remain some of the most popular aquatic activities here. Each shore offers a different scene – you’ll find secluded getaways, laid-back beach bars, and much more here.


Copacabana, Bolivia

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While Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana neighborhood is renowned for its pristine beaches and tourist attractions, it’s the Bolivian town of the same name that should be on your radar this August.

Located on the shore of Lake Titicaca, Copacabana is a haven for fans of nature and hiking, as well as some of the best seafood in South America. Be sure to check out the Copacabana Cathedral and nearby Isla del Sol.


Barcelona, Spain

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There’s never a bad time to visit Barcelona, but you can’t beat summertime in Spain’s vibrant cultural center.

Use the warm weather to explore the city’s maze of winding streets – you may get lost, but there’s no better way to discover cafes, shops, and other gems. Take a stroll through Park Güell and admire the funky, colorful architecture, and enjoy some tapas and wine at your choice of rooftop bar.

The urban Barceloneta beach can provide an unexpected getaway, and the medieval-style Sagrada Familia cathedral is a must-see to get a glimpse into the city’s religious heritage. You could spend weeks in Barcelona – there’s really something for everyone.


Oslo, Norway

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You’ll get a rare taste of sunny weather in Oslo if you visit the Norwegian capital in August – temperatures typically average close to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Of course, summertime as far north as Oslo means you’ll get plenty of daylight, as the sun in August usually doesn’t set until close to 10 p.m. Take advantage of the long days by exploring Akershus Castle, dating back to the 1200s, and admire the artwork and picturesque views at Ekebergparken Sculpture Park.


Krakow, Poland

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Krakow, Poland, is the perfect blend of history and nightlife.

Tourist favorites in Krakow include Wawel Cathedral, St. Mary’s Basilica, and the Schindler’s Factory museum, each of which gives a glimpse into Poland’s religious and political history. If you’re more the outdoors type, Planty Park is a prime locale for sunbathing, catching great views of the city, and people-watching.

After the sun sets, enjoy Krakow’s world-famous bar and restaurant scene, and don’t forget to pop into a cafe for a late-night snack – Krakow prides itself on its cake and ice cream.


Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

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Every year, one of the grandest spectacles in nature culminates in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve – the Great Migration.

The annual migration sees more than 2 million wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles make the treacherous journey across the Serengeti in search of greener pastures. Along the way, predators such as lions and crocodiles lie in wait for the incoming herds, providing tense drama for intrepid sightseers and nature lovers.

The migration typically reaches the national park in late July or August, so plan your safari in advance to ensure you get a good vantage point.


Kandy, Sri Lanka

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Thousands of tourists flock to Kandy, Sri Lanka, every August to witness the Esala Perahera, an elaborate Buddhist celebration featuring costumed elephants, pounding drum rhythms, and fire-dancing. The multiday celebration, also known as the Festival of the Tooth, is Kandy’s way of paying tribute to Buddha’s Sacred Tooth Relic – the Temple of the Tooth is one of Kandy’s most famous buildings.

Apart from the religious festival, there is plenty to justify a trip to Kandy, from dance exhibitions to peaceful botanical gardens and leisurely strolls around Kandy Lake and the nearby Giragama Tea Plantation.


Ifugao, Philippines

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The rice terraces of the Philippines’ Ifugao province are truly a sight to behold.

The 2,000-year old terraces sprawl across several towns including Banaue and Batad, with each cluster taking the shape of the mountains that surround it.

August is rainy season in Ifugao, when the rice terraces are at their greenest and most picturesque. Nature enthusiasts won’t want to miss seeing one of Earth’s natural wonders in all its glory.


Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

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The Perhentian Islands on Malaysia’s east coast are home to some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia, and that’s saying something.

Snorkeling and scuba diving are two of the most popular activities on the islands – the diverse aquatic life includes reef sharks, giant turtles, and vibrant, multicolored coral reefs. Other popular activities include jungle trekking and, depending on which shore you choose, club-hopping at night.

Each shore on the Perhentian Islands has a different vibe, ensuring that every type of traveler will be satisfied, from party animals to couples looking for a quiet getaway.