Summer is halfway over, but there’s still time to get away, even for a long weekend. It’s the season to be outdoors, get on the road, and enjoy fresh air and nature’s surroundings. Many of our picks for the best places to travel in August will take you to hiking trails, mountains, rivers, forests, and lakes — invigorating places to reconnect with the outdoors if you’ve been staying in lately.
There’s good news from the Caribbean region as reopenings are planned, and the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos are now welcoming visitors to their resorts and beaches. Nantucket Island’s cool weather and casual style will make many summer travelers happy, and fresh local seafood is another attraction. Further south, the oysters, crabs, and bounty of the sea also beckon visitors to Virginia’s Northern Neck peninsula. On the West Coast, Monterey Bay is home to an impressive aquarium and spectacular scenery.
The Poconos offer mountain air, whitewater rafting, and a convenient trip for east coasters. Further west, Park City’s mountains are the place for camping, hiking, and outdoor fun by day and a welcoming downtown by night. New York State’s Finger Lakes feature historic houses and along with outdoor activities.
Travel to the Hawaiian Islands, a favorite vacation spot of travelers around the world, has been limited for the past few months. We’re featuring Oahu as a reminder of a place to look forward to visiting when the islands are open for tourism once again. Naturally, you’ll want to check on the latest safety guidelines at any destination you choose, as restrictions are being lifted gradually and vary by location.
Northern Neck, Virginia
Billed as the place “where the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers meet the Chesapeake Bay,” this area of Virginia is a short road trip from Washington D.C. and several other mid-Atlantic cities. Surrounded by water, this peninsula offers a bounty of seafood including Virginia Oysters, rockfish, and blue crabs, as well as fresh produce from farmers markets and roadside stands. The historic towns are favorites for antique shopping and browsing art galleries and artisan boutiques. The Northern Neck Heritage Trail Bicycling Route, part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, includes four relatively easy routes for exploring fishing villages, historic sites, and farmlands. Several state parks in the area include Westmoreland State Park where visitors can fish, camp, hike, and seek out the variety of bird species such as American bald eagles, great blue herons, gulls, ospreys, kingfishers, and other waterfowl. Add some cideries, and restaurants to your itinerary and feast on local seafood . Stay at the newly-enhanced Tides Inn, historic and luxurious, offering a variety of ways to enjoy the sea and its culinary bounty. There’s also a golf course, marina, sailing school, and children’s program.
2. Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania
An easy road trip of about a hundred miles from New York City and Philadelphia, the Pocono Mountains, referred to as “The Poconos,” offer waters sports, camping, historic towns, hiking, wildlife viewing, waterfalls, fishing, golf, and rustic settings for relaxing away from the city. Once called “Honeymoon Capital of the World” and known for kitschy heart-shaped bathtubs, the area is prized for its forested mountains, nine state parks, and two national parks including the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area with 40 miles of rivers, hiking and biking trails, and more than 100 miles of scenic roadways. Expansive Lake Wallenpaupack features six recreation areas, walking trails, campsites, and boat slips. Tour the lake by boat, ride the whitewater on one of several area rivers, or canoe and kayak in calmer waters. Campgrounds, RV parks, cabins, and B & B’s provide a range of places to stay along rivers, lakes, and streams or amid shady wooded areas. Camelback Resort offers a range of accommodations from guest rooms to three-bedroom suites along with indoor and outdoor waterparks, the Appalachian Express Mountain Coaster, ziplines, mountain adventure park, spa, fitness center, and a variety of restaurants.
Park City, Utah
Summer weather in Park City is just about perfect with lots of sunshine, little rain, daytime temperatures in the low 80s, and cool nights. Visiting the two state parks near Park City would be a great start for enjoying the season. Rockport State Park is centered around Rockport Reservoir for boating, fishing, water skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking, and other water sports. Campsites, yurts, cabins, and RV sites are available. Wasatch Mountain State Park offers fresh mountain air, campsites, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and golf. Utah Olympic Park’s zipline, rope course, exhibits, and rides are a family favorite in summer. Back in town, it’s always fun to stroll down historic Main Street and imagine its past as a boomtown during the peak of silver mining in the area. Now the site of the annual Sundance Film Festival, Main Street is also home to clubs, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and upscale hotels. Washington School House, a boutique 13-room luxury hotel, features a heated pool terraced into the hillside, antique furnishings, and exquisite touches with a nod to its historic beginnings as an actual 1889 schoolhouse. The luxurious year-round Montage Deer Valley offers a range of accommodations. Take a scenic drive among mountain passes and winding roads to see lakes, waterfalls, rock formations, natural springs, hiking trails, and historic sites.
Finger Lakes, New York
A scenic drive of about five hours from Manhattan, Philadelphia, or Boston is all it takes to get to the rolling hills, forests, waterfalls, and miles of shoreline in this 9,000 square mile western New York region. A year-round destination, the Finger Lakes area, so named because the eleven lakes are long and narrow like fingers, is lovely in summer. Formed by glaciers about two million years ago, the Finger Lakes’ more recent history included homes of notable figures like Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and Mark Twain. Growing in the region began in the early 19th century, and the area is the largest producer of east of California. Breweries, cideries, and distilleries also welcome visitors for tours and tastings. Boating, swimming, fishing, and water sports are popular in summer along with hiking, biking, and exploring museums. Letchworth State Park, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” features waterfalls, forests, and trails for hiking and horseback riding. Zipline over the forest canopy at Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures. Campsites, hotels, and motels provide a range of lodging. For luxury and comfort on the banks of Canandaigua Lake, stay at the family owned and operated Lake House on Canandaigua. Opening mid-August, the hotel includes a pool, hot tub, spa, wellness center, and dining options.
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