By Marla Cimini
As summer winds down, Labor Day is an ideal time to savor one last taste of vacation. With sunny skies, warm temperatures and often fewer crowds, it’s an optimal weekend to relax and enjoy summer’s “last hurrah.”
These six destinations are perfect places for Labor Day weekend getaways:
Panama City Beach, Florida
Located on the famed Florida Panhandle, this town is the self-proclaimed home to “the world’s most beautiful beaches.” With more than 30 miles of breezy, scenic shoreline, Panama City Beach offers plenty of access to the sandy shore with each spot featuring an array of amenities, such as umbrella rentals and food stands. For Labor Day weekend, music lovers travel from far and wide to rock out to the city’s big Gulf Coast Jam, a popular annual concert with national headliners. Find a ready-made itinerary here.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Situated on a 60-mile stretch of pristine coastline, Myrtle Beach is called the “Grand Strand” and attracts repeat visitors year after year. Families love to celebrate the end of summer here: sauntering along the mile-long boardwalk, riding the Ferris wheel and other amusement park rides, splashing in water parks, playing mini-golf and more. Every Labor Day weekend, the city hosts its annual Boogie and BBQ festival with lively beach concerts – and plenty of tasty barbeque! Use this itinerary to make planning easy.
Known for its brilliant emerald-hued waters, world-class fishing, beach bars and fun family activities, Destin feels like summer even in the early fall. It’s an ideal vacation spot for couples as well as large groups to enjoy the holiday. Although many visitors prefer to hang out on the beach and simply enjoy the sunshine and rolling waves, this area offers lots of other options – such as kayaking, snorkeling, cruises and parasailing excursions – as well as a vibrant dining and nightlife scene. For help planning, reference our experience guide.
Palm Springs, California
Kicking off Labor Day weekend in the desert is a memorable experience for the entire family. Famous for its hot springs, the area is also home to many first-rate golf courses and spas. For some kid-friendly fun, hop aboard the sky ride on the Aerial Tramway, which offers panoramic views of the Coachella Valley with mountaintop access to hiking trails at San Jacinto State Park. With local museums, gardens and tours, and great shopping, galleries and restaurants, you can choose from an array of activities all weekend long. To plan, pull suggestions from our locally-curated destination guide.
Park City, Utah
Known worldwide as a top-notch ski resort town, Park City has much to offer during the warmer seasons – and Labor Day weekend is no exception. The city’s annual Miner’s Day parade takes place on Labor Day, an event that offers a glimpse at the town’s unique heritage as it evolved from a tiny mining town to a major ski destination. In addition to the parade, you can jump on a ski lift for hiking, mountain biking and zip lining – and stroll around town for cool art galleries, museums and great dining. For a long weekend, get activity and attraction ideas here.
Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountains are a picturesque place to celebrate the symbolic end of summer since this haven for nature enthusiasts offers over 800 lush hiking trails for all levels. Those seeking a more adrenaline-boosting weekend can head over to the famed Dollywood theme park for high-energy amusement rides, a water park and first-rate entertainment for the entire family. No matter what you choose to do, the Smoky Mountains offer an enchanting getaway. Skip the planning and download our week-long itinerary.
Freelance journalist Marla Cimini has a passion for travel, music and culinary adventures (combining all three whenever possible). Her articles have appeared in USA TODAY and numerous publications worldwide.