Best Places for RV Travel this August

It’s time for the final hurrah of summer with peak sunshine

Like the preceding month, August is also named after another real person—Augustus, who was the first emperor of Rome and also the nephew of Julius Caesar. The month was originally supposed to be the sixth month, not the eighth, and was called Sextillis to reflect that.

Eleven Range Outlook, Sequoia National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sunny days and warm weather are the norm and here are our top places to enjoy them.

What does your ideal summer look like: Hiking in a national park? Soaking up the sun on a white-sand beach? Enjoying outdoor activities in a state park? Whatever your dream summer RV trip, one of these destinations will fit the bill.

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Planning an RV trip for a different time of year? Check out our monthly travel recommendations for the best places to travel in MayJune, and July. Also check out our recommendations from August 2019.

Joshua Tree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

California

From northern redwood forests to the High Sierra, the wild Big Sur coast to the expansive southern desert, you’re never very far from the next adventure in California. It’s a state with fabled drives—Highway 1 on the coast, 101 through the redwoods, 395 beneath the eastern Sierra—and national parks that need no introduction. But with 280 state parks and 18 national forests, the state has almost endless portals into wild country that suits pretty much anyone’s outdoor inclinations.

Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New Mexico

Artists, photographers, and moviemakers are crazy about New Mexico and the amazing quality of light which is why just naming the state conjures such familiar images for most of us. You know: huge, empty red-rock landscapes with big sunny skies and UFOs arrive on a regular schedule. But there’s more here, of course, including the dramatic Sangre de Cristo Range—the southernmost stretch of the Rockies—and ancient ruins of disappeared cultures. Whether you’re exploring high desert broken by mangled badlands, notching up trophy parks like Carlsbad Caverns, or diving deep into the 34 state parks or five national forests, you always feel you’re discovering something in New Mexico.

Penticton Channrl © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Float the Channel

August is the perfect month to go for a float down the Penticton (British Columbia) Channel. This quintessential Penticton bucket-list activity is fun for the whole family. Cool off in this gorgeous heat with your favorite floatie and friends as you enjoy a leisurely ride down the 4½-mile long channel. You can fill up your own flotation device or rent one from Coyote Cruises. They also provide shuttle transport back to the starting point. They also have some awesome new rental floaties and even some party floats for larger groups.

Menno-Hof Amish/Mennonite Information Center, Shipshewana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shipshewana, Indiana

The Shipshewana area is celebrated for being home to the third largest Amish community in the United States, for having the Midwest’s largest flea market, and for its reputation of hand-crafted wares. Enjoy buggy rides, visit an Amish working dairy farm, and experience delicious Amish cooking in beautiful Northern Indiana-Amish/Mennonite Country.

Badlands National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Badlands National Park

Weathered and windswept, Badlands is a desolate yet phenomenal sight. Its layers of sedimentary rocks date back millions of years, resulting in an ancient, fossil-rich landscape of ridges, buttes, and canyons. Saber-toothed cats may no longer roam but the mixed-grass prairies support numerous animals including white-tailed deer and coyotes. Catch a glimpse from one of the easy boardwalk trails.

Grand Canyon Railway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Board the Grand Canyon Railway

You don’t have to be a train buff: One of the world’s great rail journeys is the Grand Canyon Railway. Departing from the historic Arizona town of Williams, it chugs each morning on a 65-mile journey north to Grand Canyon National Park. On the two-hour trip you’ll wind your way over Arizona’s 5,000-foot-high Colorado Plateau passing the red buttes, prairies, and pinyon pines of the high desert along its scenic route. Performers in authentic Wild West costumes bring the past alive with onboard (and, yes) touristy) entertainment. Passengers will have time to explore the South Rim and check out two century-old train depots before returning in the early evening.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

“‘Heat, ma’am!’ I said; ‘it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”

—Sydney Smith

The Absolute Best Places to RV This August

For many, the month of August is the last chance to sneak in one final summer vacation before the lazy days slip away

Late summer is one of the most popular times to travel. The season may be entering its twilight phase, but the weather remains warm and balmy, the trees are green and lush, and the thought of another school year is still a distant reality.

For many, August is the last chance to sneak in one final vacation before the warm weather draws to a close.

And be sure to catch up on all our recommendations for the best places to visit in May, June, and July.

Oregon

Willamette Valley Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Oregon is the perfect transition from California—and Nevada—into the Pacific Northwest. The state begins with rugged coastline and temperate desert, much like northern California. Then it eases through the mountains into evergreen wilderness, making Oregon’s stretch of I-5 the most scenic section of that highway.

Historic Jacksonville © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The state’s also got fantastic beaches, most notably Cannon Beach and Seaside in the north, with their trademark Haystack Rock. There’s also Mt. Hood, the jagged peak that’s the most scenic point between Mount Whitney and Mount Rainier. Add in Crater Lake National Park, the Willamette Valley wine country, the undulating Painted Hills in the empty, open east, and you’ve got a state that holds its own as a coastal gem or a desert standout.

Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota

Mitchell Corn Palace © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Any drive through the Midwest will bring you face-to-face with cornstalks taller than you can imagine. The Mitchell Corn Palace in South Dakota celebrates all things corn—starting with this prairie town in the middle of nowhere. This “palace” looks like something straight out of Russia, built in 1892 to showcase South Dakota’s bountiful harvests. Touring celebrities and one of the world’s largest bird feeders await road-trippers who visit.

Edmonton, Alberta

Downtown Edmonton © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Capital of Canada’s Province of Alberta, Edmonton is North America’s northernmost large metropolis. August is a perfect time to visit, with the warm weather and lots of activities on the city’s agenda. This month brings festivals, music, food, and fun. The month kicks off with the Heritage Festival, followed by the Folk Music Festival, Cariwest Caribbean Arts Festival, Riverfest, International Fringe Theatre Festival, Rock Music Festival, and Blues Festival.

Rogers Place Arena © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The West Edmonton Mall, with over 800 stores and 100 restaurants, also houses the unique Fantasyland Hotel with themed décor in many rooms for guests who want to pretend they’re sleeping in Polynesia, Africa, a Western log cabin, or an igloo. Other area attractions include Fort Edmonton Park, Rogers Place and the Ice District, Elk Island National Park, and Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Festival.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Cades Cove in Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider this hamlet on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park the epitome of everything wonderful about Tennessee, plus a dang ski resort in Ober Gatlinburg, one of the southernmost in the country.

Gatlinburg © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

About 35 miles outside of Knoxville, Gatlinburg soon enough warms up for hiking, fishing, camping, and a truly impressive moonshine culture —check out the Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery for flavored moonshine you can’t get anywhere else. Carb-load at the Little House of Pancakes then take a short drive to the neighboring town of Pigeon Forge, where you can visit Dolly Parton’s amusement park, Dollywood. You’d have to go clear across the state to Graceland to revel in a more iconic Tennessee music playground.

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Congaree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A young park, created in 2003, Congaree is located 20 miles southeast of Columbia, the South Carolina state capital. It is a floodplain forest that floods about ten times each year, “the largest contiguous tract of old-growth bottomland hardwoods in the United States.”

Congaree National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take a hike through the lush backcountry full of Spanish moss, deer, woodpeckers, bobcats, and river otters. Go on a nighttime ‘owl prowl’ with a guide to hear owls calling and see glowing fungi on the cypress trees.

Worth Pondering…

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

—Miriam Beard