Have you heard the phrase "dog days of summer"? It refers to the oppressively hot and humid weather often experienced in August in New England at the tail end of summer. Eight months into the year, winter is a distant memory, and New Englanders begin to long for autumn's milder days and refreshingly cool nights. Soon, kids will head back to school, schedules will intensify, and daylight hours will contract. So, if you haven't planned a New England summer getaway, August is your last chance!
New England's beaches are an obvious choice, whether you have a day off or an entire week. Find the perfect Rhode Island beach that calls to you, or enjoy the warmest ocean temperatures of the year up north at Maine's beaches. Temperatures tend to stay more bearable along the coast, but lodging prices are tougher to tolerate during this peak beach month.
August marks the start of agricultural fair season in New England. In Connecticut, for example, there is practically a fair every weekend. This is the month to find fresh peaches at lush orchards. It's the ideal time for a family farm escape before the school year starts up again.
New England Weather in August
Average temperatures for the region stay in the low 80s Fahrenheit, with average low temps dipping into the mid-60s (and, in the northern part of the region, the upper 50s).
Average August Low/High Temperatures
- Hartford, Connecticut: 63 / 82 F (17 / 28 C)
- Providence, Rhode Island: 63 / 81 F (17 / 27 C)
- Boston, Massachusetts: 65 / 80 F (18 / 27 C)
- Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts: 63 / 79 F (17 / 26 C)
- Burlington, Vermont: 59 / 79 F (15 / 26 C)
- North Conway, New Hampshire: 55 / 78 F (13 / 26 C)
- Portland, Maine: 58 / 78 F (14 / 26 C)
August's heat is often broken by thunderstorms, so be prepared for bursts of inclement weather. You'll tend to find cooler temperatures in mountainous regions (like New Hampshire's White Mountains), which have beckoned to city dwellers looking to escape the heat for two centuries.
What to Pack
Summer clothes rule in August (pack shorts, T-shirts, sundresses, bathing suits, sunglasses, and sandals), but you'll want to be prepared for cooler nights and air-conditioned restaurants with a light jacket or sweatshirt. The closer Labor Day looms, the more likely you'll be thankful you packed a pair of jeans or long pants to wear after dark. Bring sneakers or other sturdy footwear if you plan to hike or sightsee on foot. And a rain jacket or umbrella may serve you well. too.
Top August Events in New England
Put an exclamation point on summer's last "Hurrah!" Here are some of the best events and festivals happening in New England this month.
- July 31-August 4: Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine
- August 2-4: Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island
- August 3-11: League of NH Craftsmen's Fair in Newbury, New Hampshire
- August 3 and 17: WaterFire in Providence, Rhode Island
- August 4: Boston Seafood Festival in Boston, Massachusetts
- August 16-18: Machias Wild Blueberry Festival in Machias, Maine
- August 17: Jaffrey Festival of Fireworks in Jaffrey, New Hampshire
(Note: Tickets must be purchased online in advance.)
- August 17-18: Gloucester Waterfront Festival in Gloucester, Massachusetts
- August 24-25: Schemitzun Powwow in Mashantucket, Connecticut
- August 30-September 1: Rhythm & Roots Festival in Charlestown, Rhode Island
Best Destinations for August in New England
Truth is: There really isn't a place in New England that isn't fun in August. But here are a few destination ideas to spark your vacation planning.
- Hampton Beach in New Hampshire is a perennial favorite summer spot. Kids love the invigorating surf, and parents can rest easy knowing Hampton Beach has some of the cleanest water in New England. With beachside amusements galore and a host of concerts and special events, Hampton Beach stays lively throughout August and into September, when the annual Hampton Beach Seafood Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary the weekend of September 6-8.
- Harvest season is ramping up, making August an ideal time to visit New England farms. Get lost for a spell in the vibrant Sunflower Maze at Lyman Orchards in Connecticut, which only blooms in August. Book a family farm stay at New Hampshire's Inn at East Hill Farm. You can even pick early apples in August at Massachusetts' Red Apple Farm.
- August has traditionally been the month for presidential visits to Martha's Vineyard, so if you want to vacation in the style of the Obama family, make this Massachusetts island your destination.
- Summertime in Vermont is a feast for the senses, and if you like to quench your thirst with beer, this is the number one state in New England — and maybe in the nation — to tour craft breweries.
August Travel Tips
- August is peach season in New England. Look for sweet New England-grown peaches at farm stands and orchards or pick your own at Nashoba Valley Winery.
- If you'll be in Boston in August, make reservations early for Dine Out Boston deals at participating restaurants August 18-23 and 25-30, 2019.
- The Tanglewood summer concert season continues in August, and nothing beats spreading out a blanket and savoring a gourmet picnic before a symphony or chamber ensemble performance or a memorable evening with a popular artist like Gladys Knight or Melissa Etheridge.
- If you're Maine-bound in August, check the schedule of free summer concerts at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport.