Not ready to let summer go?
With only one month left until fall kicks into gear, there is still time to catch some rays, get your passport stamped, and explore a new destination.
The best part?
You don’t need a massive travel fund.
Below, you’ll find some of the top last-minute summer vacation ideas around the US and abroad that are affordable and give you a dose of adventure.
Explore The U.S. National Parks
When it comes to affordable summer vacations, the US National Park System takes first prize.
- Each one is bursting with incredible natural wonders.
- You can save money on accommodation by camping.
- Fill your itinerary with hiking trails, kayaking, scenic flights, and more.
…But which national parks are the best to visit when planning a last-minute summer vacation?
Here are some of the best to consider:
- Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
- Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska
- Mount Rainier National Park in Seattle
- Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
- Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
- North Cascades National Park in Washington
Remember, only some national parks would be a great choice for the summer vacation. Desert destinations like the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona are best left for the spring, whereas the parks further north (especially in Alaska) are usually only accessible in the warmer months.
The thing about visiting California in August? You know you’re going to have picture-perfect summer weather.
The best place to soak it all up is in the seaside city of Malibu.
Between the rocky peaks, you’ll find a laid-back surf culture, a string of oceanfront homes, and plenty to see and do without breaking the bank.
- Hike the Solstice Canyon Loop.
- Stroll the Malibu Pier.
- Visit Malibu Creek State Park.
- Eat dinner at The Old Place
- Catch a tan at Carbon Beach.
Is Branson nowhere near your top 10 must-visit destinations in the US?
Then, it’s time to adjust your rankings!
I recently explored the Ozark town this summer and absolutely loved it.
…But what makes it so special?
Well, you’re within easy reach of nature. Picture cozy cabins on the edges of trout-filled lakes, hiking trails for all fitness levels, and incredible natural attractions like the Marvel Cave.
Back in town, escape the summer heat and visit one of the many museums like:
- The Titanic Museum
- Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum
- Hollywood Wax Museum
In the evening, grab tickets to one of the 100 live shows in the city. You’ll find everything from national theater productions to musicals, concerts, and comedy shows.
Skip the crowds in Nashville and head to Memphis to squeeze out the last drop of summer.
In August, the city hosts its annual Elvis Week. For nine days, you can immerse yourself in the legacy of Elvis Presley at Graceland and take part in events like:
- Candlelight vigil
- Conversations on Elvis
- Elvis tribute artist contest
But if Elvis isn’t your thing, here are a few more reasons to visit Memphis this summer:
- Peabody Rooftop Parties: Every Thursday in summer, the hotel hosts a live DJ with multiple bars and a dance floor overlooking the Mississippi River and Downtown Memphis.
- Memphis Chicken and Beer Festival: Held at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium, you can sip your way through various craft beers, enjoy live entertainment, and feast on chicken dishes from local restaurants.
- Book a Music Tour: Learn about the unique musical history of Memphis and how legends like Johnny Cash, B.B. King, and other legends got their start in the city.
There is no bad time of year to visit Portland, but the summer months are when the city really shines.
Especially in August.
With warm temperatures all month long, soak up the outdoor music festivals, indulge in Portland’s food scene, and explore the nearby hiking trails.
Here are some of the top things to do in Portland in August:
- Dahlia Festival: 40 acres of flowers, live music, and more.
- Vanport Jazz Festival: Watch nationally renowned jazz artists.
- William Byrd Festival: Experience the works of William through a series of concerts, an organ recital, and liturgical services.
- Portland Adult Soapbox Derby: Takes place at Mt. Tabor Park, an extinct volcano.
If you want something else to add to your Portland itinerary, visit neighboring Mt. Hood. Only 90 minutes from the city, it’s home to the tallest peak in Oregon and seemingly endless opportunities for adventure.
- Tackle one of the hiking trails.
- Spend a night camping in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.
- Go skiing (Yes, even in the summer!)
Is your passport collecting dust in your draw?
Then, you have the perfect excuse to brush it off and book a trip to the Bahamas.
As August rolls around, we’re going out of its shoulder season and into low season, which means one thing:
Crazy deals on Bahamas vacation packages.
While the weather is hot and rainy, the dip in demand means you’ll have an easy time scooping up deals at resorts, flights, and tours.
Plus, you’ll have those gorgeous white sand beaches all to yourself.
Need some inspiration for where to stay in the Bahamas?
These are my current go-to’s:
Fill Your Next Weekend With Adventure
Still on the fence about where to go for your last-minute summer vacation?
Open up good ol’ Google Maps and see what places are within a 2-3 hour drive from where you live.
Find a spot you haven’t been to before, and book a weekend trip to check it out.
All you need to do is become a tourist, commit to getting out of town for the weekend, and just explore!