Last minute summer vacation ideas

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.


  1. Each one is bursting with incredible natural wonders.
  2. You can save money on accommodation by camping.
  3. 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:

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.

Malibu, CA

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.

Branson, MO 

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:

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.

Memphis, TN 

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:

But if Elvis isn’t your thing, here are a few more reasons to visit Memphis this summer:

Portland, OR 

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:

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.

The Bahamas 

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.

We often overlook so many affordable places in the U.S. because they don’t receive the same hype as heavy hitters like New York City or Los Angeles.

All you need to do is become a tourist, commit to getting out of town for the weekend, and just explore!