Top 10 Last Best Things To Do In August
Just about this time, as sunny, sweet July comes to a close and August rears its fiery head, many Montanans ask themselves the same question: Where did the summer go?! Although I have spent many years lamenting the notion of a disappearing summer, this year I am going to try something new. I am approaching August with an open mind. I won’t judge it for its harsh temperatures, fire inducing winds, and ever-increasing back to school advertisements. I’m hitting the re-start button and having my “second-summer” if you will. If you can relate to any of these feelings, I share this list with you in the hope you will share with others, and they will inevitably share their go-to August adventures with you. We didn’t endure eight months of snow to succumb to an abbreviated version of our beloved Montana summer. June is fleeting and often damp, July is jamming, and August is all the sweeter, knowing what is sure to follow. So, please join me in a short salute to August in Montana, our “second summer,” and be sure to participate in every last best thing you, your family and friends set out to achieve.
Sweet Pea & SLAM Festivals
Bozeman’s most beloved festivals take place the first weekend in August each year; Sweet Pea is a three-day festival of the arts, with music, a fun run with multiple distance events, parade, and art and entertainment in many forms. first week/weekend in August, downtown & Lindley Park. Music lineup: http://sweetpeafestival.org/performances/. The 2021 Summer SLAM will look a little different this year hosting 45+ Montana artists at 3 locations: Bogert Park, Story Mansion Park, and the Emerson Lawn on August 7th (ONE DAY ONLY) from 11am-7 pm, FREE for all ages.
Beat the Heat
Dip your toes in cool waters of Bogert Pool. As a friend told me, come August, the pool is finally warm enough to swim in comfortably! Located at 325 South Church, you can easily walk, bike, or drive yourself or a carpool of kids down for a dip. All children must be supervised by an adult! Swim hours vary, so be sure to visit www.bozeman.net for the most up to date schedule.
Visit the M.O.R.
One of the best investments we made for our family when we moved here was our annual membership at The Museum of the Rockies. With the rotating exhibits, The Living History Farm, multi-age focus, early access to camp registration, and the evening and weekend activities, such as Hops and History lectures, the MOR really is MORE. The Taylor Planetarium cools and calms everyone down on a hot summer day. The museum can get busy, but early morning and evening hours tend to quiet down a bit. Visit www.museumoftherockies.org to plan your August visit.
Climb the “M” before 6 am
Join the early birds for a glimpse of the Gallatin Valley before the heat and the crowds arrive. With a choice of paths of various difficulty, you are sure to find the route that works for you and your ability.
Shakespeare in the Parks
Shakespeare in the Park Summer Series returns to travel the state of Montana! And if you are lucky, you can catch the matinee of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, from 3:45-5:45 pm at Sweet Pea in Lindley Park on August 6, or Cymbeline on August 8, from 5-7 pm in Lindley Park, or August 9 at 6 pm on the lawn at Chico Hot Springs.
Visit a Farm Stand
If you failed to sign up for a summer CSA (like me), and can’t always make it downtown or to the Fairgrounds for the Farmers’ Markets, yet love the idea of picking up fresh vegetables or eggs from a local farm, make a point to visit one of these farm stands during the week.
Gallatin Valley Botanicals: 250 Chester Lane, Bozeman, (Rocky Creek Farm). They offer a twice a week farm stand for produce pickup Tuesdays and Saturdays. Find out more by calling 406-599-2361 or visiting www.gallatinvalleybotanical.com
MSU Towne’s Harvest Farm Stand located at the MSU Horticulture Farm barn at 2730 West Garfield St. Offering certified Organic vegetables grown by MSU students every Thursday from 4-6 pm from July 15th - October 7th, 2021.
Enjoy a Historic Walking Tour
Join The Extreme History Project every Wednesday evening for a walking tour through a different historic Bozeman neighborhood. Walks cost between $8-12, visit https://extremehistoryproject.org/ for more info and to find tickets via Eventbrite.
The first summer we moved here, we relied on the advice of near strangers to guide us through our summer adventures. Since we had kids, many people suggested the ever-popular Eagle Mount’s Digger Days event, featuring larger than life trucks and big-rigs of all kinds. For $5 on August 28, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., you can experience what it’s like to live amongst the giants. Visit www.eaglemount.org to learn more about this organization and the fundraiser that helps support their mission!
Hit The Rivers
August brings the heat, but it is also the perfect time to wade in some rivers and streams as the water recedes just enough. Missouri Headwaters State Park encompasses the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin Rivers. Lewis and Clark stayed here in 1805, and the geography, history and natural beauty of the confluence is an ideal August destination. It can be hot mid-day, so pack some snacks, water and your water shoes, and venture out early morning or late evening. The website details activities and special events, including the Speaker Series, which takes place in the evening. Visit www.stateparks.mt.gov for more information!
Pack a picnic
This is our favorite go-to activity when we just need a change of scenery. We aren’t rushing to set a table, eat and clean the kitchen in record time. And for some reason, PB&J inevitably tastes better next to a river, or under a tree, or in a field. Some of our favorite picnic spots include: our backyard, Hyalite Canyon, banks of the Madison in any of the day spot areas, the fish hatchery, and the Headwaters Confluence, which happens to be one of the prettiest picnic spots we have found yet.
This commitment to celebrating August has come from conversations I have had with friends over the past few years we have lived in Bozeman. I am inspired by their ability to make summer last, well into August, when I seem to find myself in a semi-depressed-back-to-school-funk. While I am home worrying about what’s to come, they are out enjoying what they have made the most of: Summer. With gratitude and celebration, here’s to August, our “Second Summer,” and the friends, family and community, which help make it so worth the wait.
Angie Ripple edited and updated this list for 2021.