10 Best Places to Travel for Labor Day Weekend This Year
As summer begins to wind down, the time is now to start planning a final hoorah over Labor Day weekend. Whether you prefer splashing in a lake, hiking a mountain, exploring an urban city or just lying on a beach with a tropical drink, we’ve got you covered.
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Seattle may be best known for its rainy reputation, but the sun’s rays brighten up this seaport city in summer and into the fall. Start your weekend with a tall latte at the first-ever Starbucks before browsing the stalls at Pike Place Market and making your mark on the Gum Wall. Take a spin on the Seattle Great Wheel at Pier 57, then snap photos from atop the newly renovated Space Needle. Once back on the ground, be awed by colorful sculptures at Chihuly Garden and Glass, as well as the new MARVEL: Universe of Superheroes exhibit at the Museum of Pop Culture.
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Situated between Chicago and Milwaukee, Lake Geneva is a Labor Day getaway destination filled with beautiful public beaches, championship golf courses, horseback riding trails and dramatic multi-million dollar Gilded Age mansions that line the lake. While in Lake Geneva, it’s an absolute must to join a U.S. Mailboat Tour to watch the "mail jumpers" deliver the mail. Stop for carnival rides and corn dogs during the annual Walworth County Fair (Aug. 29 - Sept. 3) before settling in for a fireworks show at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa.
Enjoy the last days of summer with a tropical drink in hand on one of Cancun’s beautiful white sand beaches. Book a stay at an all-inclusive like Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, which boasts a lavish kids club, a relaxing spa, multiple pools and breathtaking ocean views. Explore ancient ruins at Tulum or fly over jungles and waterfalls on zip lines at Xplor, Cancun’s popular adventure park. Make a side trip to an island off the coast, like Isla Holbox or Isla Mujeres, to swim with gentle whale sharks who make their homes there through mid-September.
Vail may be a mecca for snow skiers, but summer and fall are ideal times to explore the area’s wildflowers, hiking trails and waterways. Get your adrenaline pumping at Epic Discovery, which offers summer tubing, gondola rides, ziplines, a ropes course and a mountain coaster. Go on a llama trek with Paragon Guides, then sign up for a three- or four-hour guided Vail Valley Food Tour to eat your way through the history of this alpine village in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Book a stay at the rebranded Hotel Talisa, which recently underwent an expansive renovation.
Make time for Canada’s largest city before the chill of winter arrives, and there’s no better time to go than Labor Day weekend. For one, there’s the Canadian National Exhibition, which runs Aug. 17 to Sept. 3. Better known as "The Ex," this two-week celebration includes air shows, carnival rides, parades, stage shows, food trucks, and craft beers. See all of Toronto from CN Tower’s new LookOut level, which includes floor-to-ceiling Window Walls. Or head outside for the thrilling EdgeWalk along the tower’s ledge more than 1,000 feet above street level.
Bar Harbor, Maine
See the first sunrise in the United States by making the short drive from Bar Harbor to Cadillac Mountain at nearby Acadia National Park. Bring a blanket and be among friends as you watch the sun slowly pop above the horizon in a wash of pinks, oranges and reds. Once the sun is up, walk along the Ocean Path for dramatic views at Thunder Hole and Otter Point or head back to town for wild blueberry pancakes at Jordan’s Restaurant. The lobster ice cream at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium is also a must while in Bar Harbor.
Lake Tahoe, California
For a relaxing long weekend by the lake, opt for the north shores of Lake Tahoe. Less than one hour from Reno, soak in the rays, rent a kayak or splash around in the crystal-clear lake waters at Sand Harbor State Park. Hikers will love the dreamy views from the top of Eagle Rock in Tahoe City. A gentle walk around Donner Lake at Donner Memorial State Park is also a must. Book a stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe and reserve time at the new Lake Club, which boasts an outdoor whirlpool, beach access, stand-up paddleboards and a private pier.
For a taste of Europe without flying across the Atlantic Ocean, plan a long weekend in Montreal. Walk along picturesque Saint-Paul Street, a charming cobblestone passage in Old Montreal between Notre-Dame Basilica and the heart of the historic district, Place Jacques Cartier. Stay downtown at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth, which is an easy walk to popular landmarks, like the exquisite Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral, as well as Mount Royal, a delightful park that overlooks the city. Pick up a 72-hour Passeport MTL Cultural to save on must-see attractions.
Oregon's Wine Country
There’s a lot to love about Oregon’s Wine Country, including the Willamette Valley and lesser-known Tualatin Valley. Cycle across wine country past vineyard-lined hills and lush farmland, or pair a vineyard tour with stops at U-pick farms for berries, lavender, apples and peaches, which can be picked from June through October. When not vineyard hopping, try your skills on a treetop course, like the Tree to Tree Adventure Park in Gaston, or enjoy a cup of delightfully local coffee at a coffee roaster like Insomnia Coffee.
The Caribbean is a quick trip for many, especially those on the east coast, so plan a long weekend in the Bahamas. There are plenty of all-inclusive resorts across Paradise Island, like Atlantis, with multiple restaurants, waterparks and palm-lined beaches that make it easy to relax and enjoy the holiday weekend. Another idea is to go island hopping along the stunning Out Islands of the Bahamas, like The Abacos. Climb to the top of a lighthouse at Elbow Cay or snorkel clear blue waters at Great Guana Cay before retiring for the evening at Abaco Beach Resort.