Summer is by far the shortest season – or at least it feels that way. And Labor Day is the season’s unofficial last call; answer it with one final big blowout so you can stockpile enough warm, fuzzy memories to get you through the winter. Need a few ideas on where to go? Look no further. With fun things happening in all these destinations, you’ll find your top Labor Day travel ideas 2015 right here, a solid list of the best places to spend the long holiday weekend on any budget.
If you’re in the mood to party, head to Jupiter Beach Resort and discover the many watering holes along the beach town’s exclusive “Ale Trail.” You’ll find popular spots like Guanabanas, U-Tiki, Square Grouper and The Sandbar. For further imbibing, opt for a beer tasting at nearby Sinclair’s Lounge.
It’s not hard to convince yourself to go to this bustling Southern Caribbean island. Labor Day weekend is the time of the North Sea Jazz festival, featuring John Legend, Enrique Iglesia, Usher and more. Before making your way to the festival, gather your friends for al fresco dining at the Jun’s Sushi Bar inside the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort. For the island vibe, pair the restaurant’s legendary rum punch with the Curacao roll. Take in the unforgettable views of the sunset over Spanish Water Bay, the glistening Caribbean and the natural limestone in this 27 acre plantation.
That’s right—Detroit. The Motor City celebrates its Motown heritagewith the 35th annual Jazz Festival at a park along Detroit’s downtown Riverfront. This is billed as the world’s largest free jazz festival. The fun doesn’t stop there. Just a few miles north or Detroit is the Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Royal Oak, which will showcase hundreds of musical performers on nine stages, a fine arts show, and food, food and more food. The festival is $3, $5 after 3 pm, with much of the proceeds going to charities.
Start your exploration of Charleston with a morning stroll at the White Point Gardens, historic Battery and Rainbow Row and stop to chill at the Waterfront Park. If hunger calls, go Southern-style at Halls Chophouse, feast on the shrimp and grits and crabcake eggs benedict.
Then head over to Drayton Hall, one of the oldest unrestored plantation houses in the U.S. As night falls, check out The Vendue’s rooftop for views of the city and harbor and go downstairs to the Drawing Room for the favored foie gras with brandied fruit and fresh catch of the day, perhaps it will be the roasted grouper with Carolina gold rice.
Your weekend won’t be complete without shopping on historic King Street, a bite at Barony Tavern and a visit to The Charleston Museum.
The Labor Day Riverfest Weekend at Adventures on the Gorge on the New River Gorge National River is the time to take to the water. Whitewater raft on two of the best whitewater rivers in the country, the New River and the Gauley River. If water’s not your thing, there are four aerial adventures including two zip lines, an aerial adventure course and the world’s highest Bridgewalk, standup paddle boarding, rock climbing, fishing and more. Accommodations range from camping to deluxe cabins with hot tubs.
You’re not the only one who is sad to say so long to summer. The Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral is free and a place to come in costume and enjoy three New Orleans style Dixieland bands and “mourners” dealing with the passing of the good old hot days. When you’ve dried your eyes, take in the fine dining in Rehoboth, theart galleries and the kids can have their fun on the waterslides.
In Colorado Springs, Labor Day means liftoff. The Labor Day Liftoff is a fete where the star is 70 colorful balloons rising over the city. Stay a short drive away at the Garden of the Gods Club & Resort. In addition to the inspiring views of Pikes Peak framed by Garden of the Gods Park, guests receive lunch for two at the Kissing Camels Grille and two rounds of golf. Play tennis, enjoy the pool and full service spa and salon.
Just three hours from New York City, the Catskills are a doable getaway for many. The Catskill Mountain Foundation is offering a performance of Handel’s historic opera Acis and Galatea, Sunday, September 6 at the Orpheum Film and Performing Arts Center in Tannersville. If you’re feeling adventurous, there is nearly five miles of zipline. Then there’s Kaaterskill Falls, dropping in two tiers over 260 feet, the timeless beauty hasn’t lost its allure. When you’re ready to rest, stop by the recently opened Mama’s Boy Burgers, made with grass-fed, grain-finished Black Angus beef.
Just 90 miles outside of Los Angeles, nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead is dubbed “The Jewel of Southern California.” Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa is great place to discover what makes it a gem, right on the shores of the lake at an elevation of 5,106 feet in the San Bernardino National Forest. Take advantage of the many jeep and ATV tours, mountain bike, hike, or just relax.
If you saw the Perfect Storm, you’ve seen Gloucester. Now check it out for real. Labor Day weekend means Gloucester is alive with the Schooner Festival, which honors the major role the fishing schooner has played in the heritage of Gloucester and the rest of the eastern seaboard. Festival highlights include the Maritime Gloucester Heritage Day on Saturday and the Parade of Sail on Sunday. There are fireworks and more.
Why not toast the end of summer with a journey through the Yakima Valley Wine Country. Your cup will run over, with more than 100 wineries, along with the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail that provides various options for an itinerary dedicated to “hop heads” and those interested in other craft beverages like cider and distilled libations. There’s fun to be had elsewhere too, with ample opportunities for guided rafting trips.
Phoenix is all about fun for Labor Day weekend. The Phoenician has an “On the Boardwalk” theme that will include food trucks, carnival rides, and a special concert. Take advantage of the “Culinary Countdown” dining series where three of their resort restaurants will offer select multi-course menus at exceptional prices. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa will bedelivering cool family fun with eight tons of snow, 1,000 pounds of ice and a synthetic ice rink as it presents the Labor Day Weekend Big Chill.
Nobody does it like Miami. For fine art lovers there is the International Ballet Festival, which brings together film, art, literature and live performance. Sept. 4-7 is South Beach Bike Week with bike shows, contests, vendors, food, photo exhibits, and of course parties. You’ll also be in town for Miami Spice. Top restaurants like Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau, Prime Fish and Red Ginger showcase their best inventions at a discount. The Eden Roc and SLS South Beach are offering discounts for the weekend. Plus, don’t miss the White Out Labor Day party at Hyde Beach on Friday.
For a last-minute Caribbean getaway, think Breezes Bahamas Resort & Spa. The all-inclusive resort right on Cable Beach offers amenities like three pools, a swim-up bar, free windsurfing lessons, and more.
The Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina in St. Lucia has just put the finishing touches on a multi-million dollar renovation. Come see for yourself and then hike the Pitons, golf, explore the shops at Marina Village, and what’s Labor Day without ice cream, stop by the Bayside Café. Scuba dive or take a sunset cruise for two.