By Lyn Mettler
In many parts of the U.S., August means the dog days of summer and school back in session. But there are a few spots in the U.S. and around the world where the weather is just peachy and the crowds are thinned. If you time it right, August can be a delightful month for an end-of-summer vacation. Here are our top recommendations:
Beaver Creek, Colorado
While the rest of the U.S. may be sweltering in the heat, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado you don’t even need air conditioning! Many of the condominium complexes and hotels in the resort village of Beaver Creek, which is close to Vail ski resort, don’t even come with A/C.
August makes a wonderful time to enjoy the great outdoors, taking a hike from your Beaver Creek accommodations up to Beaver Lake, horseback riding to Beano’s Cabin for an upscale mountain dinner or even ice skating in the village rink. Beaver Creek is a great destination for kids with rock walls, gem panning, mini golf and a ropes course at the base of the mountain. Plus, you can never go wrong with a chair lift ride up the mountain.
If you’re planning a visit to the City of Light during the summer months, TripAdvisor suggests visiting the week of August 8-14, where prices are 25 percent below their summer peak. Paris in August is usually a mild 70 degrees, perfect weather for milling about this walkable city, exploring its many markets, cafes, museums and shops. However, be aware that many Parisians go on holiday this month, so some local purveyors may be closed. On the upside, it’s usually less crowded as well.
Enjoy the outdoors since the weather is warm by visiting Disneyland Paris and Zoologique de Paris, by taking a walk through Parc Astérix or Jardin d’Acclimatation, or by enjoying a cruise down the Seine.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
The largest of the Canary Islands, which is a chain of islands just off the coast of Morocco in the Atlantic Ocean, Tenerife is warm and welcoming year round with an average temperature of 73 degrees. Largely unknown by Americans, though a popular destination for Europeans, the island has 43 miles of beach and more than 40 protected natural areas whose landscapes range from desert to mountains.
The island offers miles of hiking trails, year-round whale watching and an abundance of golf courses. It’s also known as a great star-gazing destination with clear skies, no pollution and black nights. Quest Travel is Tenerife’s official tour operator in the U.S., and can assist with activities, flights and more.
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
Want the feel of Europe without having to travel overseas? Elizabeth Avery, founder of Solo Trekker 4 U, suggests Quebec City, which she says is one of her favorite worldwide destinations. Less busy than Montreal, she describes it as having the feel of France with historic sites, old city walls, little cafes, formal dining options, bed and breakfasts and the famous Hotel Chateau Frontenac — but at a much lower cost than an overseas trip. Summer activities include whitewater rafting, kayaking, hiking and horseback riding along with a variety of seasonal festivals.
According to TripAdvisor, the least expensive week to visit London in the summertime is August 1-7, just in time to get in one last trip in before the beginning of the school year. The weather hits its highest temperatures in August, reaching into the 60s, always a plus in the oft-rainy city. If you have kids, there are plenty of child-friendly activities this month, as local schoolchildren are also out for summer holidays. Try the Science Museum, Natural History Museum or Southbank Centre.
In August, you can also check out the Queen’s digs at Buckingham Palace, taking a gander at the State Rooms, as she is also away on summer holiday. There are also open-air movies at Somerset House, featuring both classics and current hits. Of course, you can also do all the regular attractions like visiting the London Eye and Tower of London, seeing a musical and riding “the Tube.”
Santa Barbara, California
In Santa Barbara, just north of Los Angeles, you get mountains, the beach and wine country all rolled into one. With average highs in the mid to upper 70s in August, the weather is simply perfect. Spend plenty of time in the lovely downtown strolling through its many paseos, which are plazas filled with shops and restaurants that seem to wind for miles off the main streets, go for a wine tasting in the hip “Funk Zone” area of the city, watch the sunset over Santa Barbara Harbor and tour the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara founded in 1786.
Enjoy a day trip to Santa Barbara’s wine country, including the Santa Maria Valley, Los Olivos and Solvang, the town made famous in the movie “Sideways.” The Simpson House Inn bed and breakfast makes a delightful home for your visit to beautiful Santa Barbara and is within walking distance of downtown.
Lyn Mettler is a freelance travel writer, who blogs at GotoTravelGal.com. She is also author of “The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass and Flying Free Around the U.S.”
Photo Credit: Vail Resorts and Visit Santa Barbara