Five Places to Cool Off in August

These August vacation spots guarantee that you’ll beat the heat while having plenty of summer fun.
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Luray Caverns, Virginia
Luray Caverns, Virginia  (iStockphoto)

Without fail, August ushers in the sultry summer doldrums, when steam rises off the blacktop and the air has a distinctly hothouse feel. The summer of 2012 has been a particularly scorching one for the United States, with record-breaking temperatures from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast. You can, of course, cool off in any number of ways, by heading to higher altitudes or dipping into cool waters from sea to shining sea. Here, however, are a few August vacation spots where you’re guaranteed to beat the sweltering heat.

1. Lake Tahoe
Even during the dog days of August, most people find Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border of California and Nevada, too chilly for a swim. But the summer of 2012 might be just the time to dip into its crystalline, glass-green waters. Fed by icy mountain streams, Lake Tahoe is at its warmest in late summer, when the surface water can heat up to 65 to 70 degrees (from an average of around 50 the rest of the year). By comparison, summer temperatures of the Caribbean Sea are in the mid-80s. Even if you don’t take the plunge, you’ll have plenty of recreating to do around this popular August vacation spot that’s rimmed by snowcapped peaks and eternally blue skies. You can chill out on a paddle-wheeler cruise across the lake, take a fishing expedition, or go sailing, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding.

2. Luray Caverns
Any self-respecting bear knows the cooling effect of a dark, damp cave. But it’s doubly cool when the caves are as spectacular as those at Luray Caverns, tucked into the hills and hollows just outside of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. In fact, it was the caves’ cold air piercing a sultry August morning that led to their discovery in 1878. A tinsmith exploring the area felt a chill from a limestone sinkhole; further exploration revealed the series of beautiful caves below. In their 1.25 miles, the caves have glassy lakes and magnificent limestone formations. Be sure to bring a sweater or jacket, even if it’s broiling outside: The temperatures hover around 55 degrees all year long.

Published: 26 Jul 2012 | Last Updated: 27 Jul 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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