The weekend that marks the end of beloved summer is here.
If you’re like me, good ole Labor Day has crept up on you. You’ve been busy booking a trip for shoulder-travel season and totally spaced that you’ve got a three-day weekend in just a matter of days.
It’s time to find an alternative getaway to take advantage of the long weekend. After all, gas prices could be the lowest they’ve been in 11 years for Labor Day.
And why wouldn’t you join in on the weekend when, according to the US Travel Association, your fellow Americans will be spending $13.5 billion?
Folks can be happy that while there’s a ton happening in town, like the LA County Fair, The Taste and the Shoreline Jam Music Festival, you can always skip town for some relaxing getaways to Mount Baldy or at El Capitan State Beach.
There are sweet deals on Mount Baldy cabins for two-night stays, but if money’s tight, throw some blankets, pillows, food and beer in the trunk and dose off at El Capitan to the tune of crashing waves.
Peeps, if you’re up for booking a last-minute flight or going on a road trip, Lake Tahoe might be where it’s at this weekend.
You can also satisfy your end-of-summer cravings while stocking up on winter ski and snowboard gear before prices start going up. Note: There will also be fireworks. Sold!
Friends, we haven’t forgotten about you. Whidbey Island is your idyllic location for a peaceful getaway, just a 30-mile ferry ride from Seattle.
You can hike Ebey’s Landing or sail around Penn Cove, taking in the wildlife and verdant scenery of Island County.
Residents can try out Hood River for a funky small town vibe in the Columbia Gorge. Wind-surf or take a long hike with an end-of-day venture to Mt. Hood, only an hour away.
There’s also the Oregon coast, if the ocean is calling your name before the leaves begin to change. If it were me, I’d be headed to Tillamook to check out the home of the greatest cheese.
Locals, it may be time for you to make the trip up to the One World Observatory, if you haven’t already. There’s no better view of the city you love.
If getting away from the hectic shuffle is what you want, the Jersey Shore may be your answer, as its boardwalks have bounced back beautifully after the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.
Channel your inner kid and play some carnival games; eat fried foods, and float in the water. Grub on some killer seafood, and don’t forget the classic American ice cream cones while you’re out there.
Cue the adorable Instagram post for your standard vanilla with rainbow sprinkles.
For a big splash away from the beach, hit the slides and pools at Raging Waters or the Ocean Oasis Waterpark. It’s the best adrenaline rush to round out your summer.
An off-the-beaten-path alternative for those in the Northeast may be a long road trip, or last-minute flight toward upstate New York, Vermont or New Hampshire.
Hang out on Lake Champlain; go berry picking off the highway, and stock up on your maple syrup.
For everyone else, there’s still time for…
It might be the only Labor Day getaway for true, 24-hour, endless surprises.
All the major DJs will be in town, if you can squeeze into one of the outrageous clubs like Marqee, Tao or Hakkasan. But if nighttime isn’t your scene, they’ll also be at the pool parties.
The Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival is on this weekend with some of the best jazz, country and R&B music paired with booze at high-altitude.
FYI: No Doubt, Hozier, Lenny Kravitz and The Fray will be in attendance.
They don't call it Labor Day; they call it Park City Miner’s Day around those parts because it’s been a loud and lively tradition since 1898.
In Park City, residents celebrate their mining heritage all weekend with community meals, live music, a 5k and a parade.
You can join in the Running of the Balls, where you’ll adopt a ball and race it down Main Street. You could win airline tickets, ski season passes and more, all thanks to your ball.
Lastly, go crazy! Channel your inner spontaneous, wild, impetuous self, and book a plane ticket with a budget airline. Or, just snag a hot-second deal out there.
WOW, airlines can get the East Coasters to Iceland or Europe for around $350 one way. If you're in the Southeast, you can hop over to Puerto Rico with no passport required.
West Coasters can go down to Cabo or Puerto Vallarta, and maybe they can trek up to Todos Santos for a relaxed beach experience with morning yoga and good surf.
Above all, just get out and do something this weekend. Whether it's a day outdoors with friends, or a long walk or run with your dog, enjoy the long weekend with someone you love.
The forecast looks good for most the country (sorry, Southeast), so make this the best Labor Day ever.