The Labor Day long weekend has just passed us by. This national holiday is one of the last opportunities in the year to enjoy the sunshine before the cooler fall weather sets in. In all the bustle of summer, Labor Day tends to creep up on people. Suddenly, you realize your last summer long weekend is in front of you, and you don’t have anything planned. Well, the good news is that we’ve got you covered. Whether it’s for a last-minute weekend trip or research for next year, here are the US’s top seven Labor Day destinations.
1. Mammoth Lakes, California
While most people will flock to Lake Tahoe for Labor Day weekend, we have another lake vacation option for you that will be a lot less busy. Mammoth Lakes might have a reputation as a ski town, but summers here can be fantastic too. You can spend the weekend hiking or biking the trails, camping, and golfing. Most people fill up their days sightseeing some of the amazing natural attractions all around Mammoth Lakes. Our recommendations include driving to Devils Postpile National Monument, the 101-foot high Rainbow Falls, or Yosemite National Park. Or, take the Panoramic Gondola to the 11,053-foot summit of Mammoth Mountain for some marvelous views.
2. San Juan Islands, Washington
The San Juan Islands in Washington are a handful of islands off the coast offering whale-watching, farm-to-table dining, and quiet beaches. There’s something to do for everyone, whether you’re a family, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a group of friends. This will be the perfect Labor Day escape that you can make your own. Each of the major islands (Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan) has wineries, cideries, breweries, and farmer’s markets. If you’re on Orcas Island, take an adventurous hike to the top of Mount Constitution. Additionally, all these islands offer some of the best whale-watching in the country.
3. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a perfect summer destination, so you can expect it to be a little busy for Labor Day weekend. Still, this destination is well worth putting up with some crowds. The quaint B&Bs, small villages, and lighthouses all create an atmosphere of slower, peaceful living. You can tour the wineries and breweries, do some local shopping, visit one of the 83 museums, or spend days paddleboarding or kayaking on the water. You’ll especially love Cape Cod if you’re an art enthusiast. Cape Cod has been named one of the top 25 art destinations in the US. The entire area is full of art galleries, boutiques, and studios.
4. Virginia Beach, Virginia
This popular summertime destination is a fan favorite for Labor Day. People love coming here for one last lively weekend before the weather turns. Virginia Beach has a three-mile boardwalk that follows the coastline full of shops, restaurants, and pubs. Often, festivals and events happen all summer long near the boardwalk, so you have nonstop entertainment.
Some other fun activities include hiking First State Landing Park, climbing to the top of Cape Henry Lighthouse, and eating some fresh seafood at Tulu Seaside Bar & Grille.
5. Portland, Oregon
If you want a Labor Day weekend full of beer, coffee, and food trucks, Portland is your destination. Here is a quick guide to the perfect Portland weekend; first, make sure to stop at VooDoo Donuts and Blue Star Donuts for a sweet treat. Second, have your morning cup of Joe from Good Coffee, an Oregon staple with multiple locations. Third, find Yoshi’s Sushi’s food truck for a fantastic lunch. And lastly, explore Powell’s Book Store for a book. You can end the evening with some local brews from Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House. This is a quiet, relaxing way to end the summer.
6. New York, New York
New Yorkers all flew the city for Labor Day weekend to nearby retreats, like the Hamptons. This leaves visitors with a blissfully empty city. You can go to some of the most popular spots, attractions, and restaurants without massive crowds. Make it a truly summer weekend by having a picnic lunch at Central Park, booking high tea at The Plaza, and having drinks on a rooftop bar.
7. Vail, Colorado
A small town at the base of Vail Mountain, this small ski town is just as fun in the summer. Vail has things to do for everyone of all ages, whether you want to stay active or just relax. You can opt for a slow weekend of shopping, spa treatments, and fine dining. Or, you can have a jampacked weekend of golfing, riding the gondola, hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. This is one Labor Day weekend option that will leave any group happy.
So, the only question that remains is, which destination is right for you?