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The 6 best places to visit in August that’ll surprise you

Just say "yes" to that summer break with a trip to these top locations.

Ah, summer holidays. The sun is shining, the days are long and it seems like everyone’s in a good mood. Come August, though, and if you haven’t taken advantage of those annual leave days burning a hole in your pocket, you haven’t got much time before it’s all over.

The only problem is that right now all your regular places are swarming with tourists and the prices are as high as the thermometer.

The solution? Try somewhere new these holidays and maybe tick off some of those bucket list items while you’re at it. Here are our top picks for August destinations that have a lot to offer no matter what type of vacation you’re after.


Building

1. Best city to visit: Vancouver

Warm days, cool nights and an electric atmosphere

There’s nothing like Vancouver in the summer and in August, you’ll get to take advantage of the great weather, all the lively festivals and a wealth of outdoor activities. The best thing about this time of year is that locals are enjoying it all along with you; from the lively patio scene to waterside picnics, the atmosphere is contagious.

August is also a great time for whale watching and getting out on a cruise to see the sights of the city from a whole new perspective.

  • August weather: 12-23°C, summer
  • Top August events: Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival, Powell Street Festival, Abbotsford Air Show, Vancouver Chinatown Festival, Pacific National Expedition Fair
  • Best for: Short breaks, culture, arts and entertainment

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Animal

2. Best budget destination: Caribbean coast, Costa Rica

Avoid the crowds and stay dry in this low-season secret

Summer in Costa Rica usually means the rainy season but savvy travellers know that if you just head east, you’ll find lush rainforests, tropical beaches and nesting turtles with much less rain than the rest of the country.

As it’s the low season, the crowds have long since thinned out and the already affordable prices have dropped even further. Aim for anywhere along the Caribbean coast such as Puerto Viejo for a laidback beach holiday or Tortuguero for wildlife spotting.

  • August weather: 21-32°C, rainy season
  • Top August events: Virgin of Los Angeles Day, Mother’s Day, San Ramon Patron Saint Day, Afro-Caribbean Culture Day
  • Best for: Beaches, unwinding, adventure, nature

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Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada

3. Best family friendly destination: Newfoundland

Get outdoors and experience a unique side of Canada

Head north for more comfortable temperatures and you’ll find a very underrated location where you can spot nesting puffins, dig for mussels, gather capelin and watch migrating whales and frolicking dolphins from the shore or by boat.

Gros Morne National Park is also a huge draw for visitors in this area with fjords and waterfalls to discover. Kids will enjoy getting up close to a real shipwreck and families looking for a challenge can hike to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain.

  • August weather: 12-21°C, summer
  • Top August events: Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, George Street Festival, Royal St. John’s Regatta
  • Best for: Short breaks, nature, adventure

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 14: Tjimurdance theatre perform in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on the Royal Mile on August 14, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The largest performing arts festival in the world, this year's festival hosts more than 3,000 shows in nearly 300 venues across the city. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

4. Best for events: Edinburgh, Scotland

With thousands of events to choose from, you’ll need a whole year to recover

You certainly know about the month-long Edinburgh Festival Fringe where hundreds of venues around the city feature some of the world’s best comedy and theatre, but you might not know about the myriad of other big festivals that bring hordes of people to the self-proclaimed Festival City.

Whether you’re into the arts or keen to see traditional music and dance from around the world, there’s truly something for everyone here. You can even take a break from all the noise and excitement at a festival that’s all about books.

  • August weather: 11-18°C, summer
  • Top August events: Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh International Book Festival
  • Best for: Culture, arts and entertainment

Find flights to Edinburgh


Island

Best for beaches: Aruba

Turquoise waters, secluded coves, inviting culture and a lively nightlife. What more could you want?

Pick this Southern Caribbean island to avoid the hurricane season and you’ll get to enjoy the summer sun in one of the most culturally diverse islands in the region. Whether you’re after a romantic getaway or a fun-filled family holiday, Aruba’s got you covered.

Even better, the low season means lower prices so you can save your dollars for all the eating, drinking and sightseeing you’re about to do.

  • August weather: 28-33°C, summer
  • Top August events: International Regatta, Island Fest
  • Best for: Beaches, unwinding, romance

Find flights to Aruba


Snowboarding

6. Best for summer skiing: South Island, New Zealand

Missing the cooler months? The snowsports don’t have to stop because it’s summer

Strap on your skis and head south when you’re ready to get back to some colder weather. Cardrona offers something for every level and Mt. Hutt has great skiing with a casual atmosphere.

Sure it’s a long flight but once you’re there you can choose to make it all about the snow or take some time to explore nearby Queenstown and Wanaka. One is known as the adventure capital and the other is poised to help you unwind.

  • August weather: -5-10°C, winter
  • Top August events: Winter Games NZ, Merino Muster
  • Best for: Snowsports, apres ski, families

Find flights to New Zealand


Top August events

  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Claiming the title of the largest festival in the world is no easy feat but The Fringe certainly lives up to the hype. This year there will be close to 4,000 shows taking place across the city.
  • La Tomatina: Get that throwing arm ready for the world’s biggest food fight in Valencia, Spain where it’s every man, woman and tomato for themselves.
  • Burning Man: It’s a week-long festival filled with artistic performances, installations, music and a whole lot of partying – one you’ve got to see to believe.

When is the best time in August to take a holiday?

For Canadians, August is one of the busiest travel months of the year because of the summer school holidays. The first week is a good one to avoid due to several regional public holidays including Quebec’s construction holiday.

The peak tourist season happens from mid-July to mid-August so if you’re planning a domestic break and trying to avoid the crowds and keep costs down, aim for later in the month.

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