August may be lacking a national holiday, but there's still plenty to do across the U.S. during this busy travel month. Warm weather and end-of-summer vibes mean you can enjoy a host of events all across the country, from rodeos to music festivals. You likely won't be the only one planning a last getaway before school starts, so finalize your plans early if you'll be traveling and expect extra-large crowds in the most popular destinations. The exception to that is big cities, which may be emptier than usual as residents also head out on vacation.
Maine Lobster Festival
The Maine Lobster Festival is canceled in 2020 and will return August 4–8, 2021.
The Maine Lobster Festival dishes out more than 12 tons of lobster each year during this internationally-recognized event on the central coast. An August fixture in Rockland since 1947, the festival draws tens of thousands of locals and visitors, and of course, lots of butter. Feast on bisque, rolls, mac, and wontons all made of lobster, while you learn about the state's revered crustacean and the people who make a living harvesting it from Maine's chilly waters.
127 Corridor Sale
Also known as the World's Longest Yard Sale, the 127 Corridor Sale extends for 690 miles from Addison, Michigan, all the way to Gadsden, Alabama, primarily along U.S. Highway 127, crossing through Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia along the way. Thousands of vendors come out to the side of the road to sell goods along the entire stretch, whether they're professional crafters or just locals cleaning out the garage.
It always starts on the first Thursday in August and lasts until Sunday, so drive over and check out the deals this year from August 6–9, 2020. Safe social distancing measures and face masks are requested for this year's event to protect shoppers and vendors.
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Join half a million people and head to Sturgis in the Black Hills of South Dakota for a two-wheeling extravaganza. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, a yearly event since 1938, is the country's oldest and largest gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts. It celebrates biker culture with tattoo and beard contests, community rides, and motorcycle races. This leather-optional event gives you plenty to do, whether you ride or not, with a 5K for the health-conscious and a pub crawl for those who want to party. Plus there's live music and a Street Food Throw Down where over 100 vendors compete to be "The Best of the Best."
Bring out your bike if you have one for this 10-day event from August 7–16, 2020. If you're already in the area, it's easy to get to nearby landmarks such as Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, and the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo
Tune up your best "Yeehaw!" and travel to the picturesque mountain town of Payson, Arizona, for the World's Oldest Continuous Rodeo which has been held every single year since 1884. The three-day event features bull riding, calf roping, a parade, music, and food. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association sanctions the event and rodeo riders from around the world travel to compete for hefty prizes.
The 2020 event kicks off with a welcome party on August 18, but the bulk of festivities and rodeo events take place from Thursday to Saturday, August 20–22. Tickets are required for rodeo shows and often sell out, so reserve your tickets early to get a seat. Some parts of the weekend have been modified in 2020, notably the annual parade which is canceled for this year's event.
Burning Man is canceled in 2020.
In the temporary communal metropolis of Black Rock City, Nevada, Burning Man brings together about 70,000 free-spirited individuals participating in the creation of experiential art, from impromptu performances to complex light installations to larger-than-life-size sculptures. The weeklong experiment in self-expression ends with the ritual burning of a 40-foot-tall wooden figure (hence the event's name). Burning Man typically starts the last week of August and extends through Labor Day weekend.
This four-day music fest in Chicago's historic Grant Park on the Lake Michigan shore got its start in 1991 as a touring concert of alternative bands. After a few rocky years, the stage went dark. But after landing in the Windy City in 2005, Lollapalooza added a wider variety of styles to its lineup, including techno, hip-hop, and pop, with around 180 performances on multiple stages throughout the park. The August event draws more than 200,000 fans each year.
The Lollapalooza at Grant Park is canceled in 2020, but event producers are hosting a virtual event including performances from the city, archival sets, performances from international versions of Lollapalooza, and more. Sign up on the event webpage to be notified how you can take part in this year's event, even if you aren't in Chicago.
Monterey Car Week
Monterey Car Week is canceled in 2020 and will return August 6–15, 2021.
Monterey Car Week culminates in the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, a dream come true for automobile aficionados. On the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, 200 curated collectible cars compete for recognition in style, technical merit, and historical accuracy categories. Throughout the week leading up to the signature event, classic cars fill the streets of Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel-by-the-Sea, with numerous opportunities to check out the beauties up close.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York is canceled in 2020.
At Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York, August brings the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival. The headliner event of the two-day festival taking place since 1990 features serious racers competing for prizes in open, mixed, and women's divisions. Invitational races let festival sponsors, charity organizations and nonprofits, seniors, and families in on the fun. Spectators can watch the races for free and enjoy cultural performances, traditional arts and crafts demonstrations, and a global food court.
The Travers Stakes
The Travers Stakes has been moved up to August 8, 2020, but spectators are not allowed at the racetrack this year.
Dubbed "Saratoga's Midsummer Derby," the Travers Stakes, originating in 1864 in Saratoga Springs, New York, might be summer's most exciting two minutes as 3-year-old thoroughbred horses compete for more than $1 million in prize money. But the fun takes place all week leading up to the race, traditionally held on the last Saturday in August. During the Travers Festival, the quaint town of Saratoga Springs welcomes sports fans with restaurant week deals, live music, racing events, and themed parties.
Outside Lands is canceled in 2020 and will return August 6–8, 2021.
Summer and music go together like birds and bees, and outdoor festivals bring out the best in the season. Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park presents San Francisco's superlative character in a three-day mishmash of music, art, and noshing opportunities, with, as you might expect, a gentle social undercurrent propelled by the D.A.V.E. (Discussions About Virtually Everything) series of speakers.
The annual Elvis Week at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, celebrates the life and legacy of "the King" with tribute artists competing for the title of Ultimate Elvis; pilgrimage tours to Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi; a Mississippi Delta Blues Tour; an auction of Elvis memorabilia at Graceland; and fittingly, a dance party. Live music performances, talks, meet-and-greets, and good eats round out the schedule of events that stretch from August 6 to 18.
Ticket sales for Elvis Week are cut back for 2020 to reduce crowd sizes, meaning events will be less crowded and more intimate.
Seafair Weekend Festival
The Seafair Festival is canceled in 2020 and will return August 6–8, 2021.
The culminating weekend of Seattle's summerlong Seafair Festival, this event takes place during the first weekend in August at Genesee Park on Lake Washington. A Boeing air show features the Blue Angels, while hydroplane racing, world-class wakeboarders, and BMX bike stunt riders keep things exciting back down on Earth.
Little League Baseball World Series
The Little League World Series is canceled in 2020.
Up-and-coming young ballplayers aged 10 to 12 from around the globe travel to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, each August to show off their skills in the Little League Baseball World Series. Regional U.S. teams face off against teams from Asia-Pacific, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe-Africa, Japan, Latin America, and Mexico regions.
Iowa State Fair
The Iowa State Fair is canceled in 2020 and will return August 12–22, 2021.
State fairs take place across the U.S. throughout summer and fall, but Iowa's State Fair may well deliver the ultimate country experience. For 11 days every August since 1854, the Iowa State Fairgrounds has hosted more than 1 million visitors looking for carnival thrills, 4H action, fried food, and quirky memorabilia. Headliner music performances at the Grandstand over the years have included Sonny and Cher, the Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, and the Oak Ridge Boys.