13 Labor Day Getaways to Make the Last Weekend of Summer Unforgettable

Labor Day weekend is almost upon us, and that means it’s officially time to say goodbye to summer. To make that three-day transition into autumn a little bit easier, we suggest giving summer the going-away party it deserves by taking a trip somewhere new and exciting over the long weekend. 

Whether it’s spending a wild weekend in Vegas or soaking up the final days of warm weather with a camping trip to Yellowstone, we’ve compiled a list of 13 totally manageable, three-day escapes that will help you end summer on one unforgettable high note. From picking out a last-minute place to stay to finding fun things to do on the road, consider your Labor Day weekend already planned for you, no matter where in the country you are. 

Image: El Capitan Canyon

St. Helena, California

Obviously drinking is a large part of any long weekend (let’s be real guys), but maybe you’re a bit more about the vino these days than the vodka. If that’s the case, then spending Labor Day weekend in wine country makes for the perfect getaway. Enjoy the beginning of harvest season and tour the vineyards, taste the wines, and indulge in some good food by making your way to St. Helena, California.

WHERE TO STAY: The Harvest Inn

Nestled between vineyards, the Harvest Inn is an intimate, cottage-style hotel located near the center of St. Helena. From the inn’s vineyard terrace, enjoy stunning views of the vines while sipping on a selection of local favorite wines from the bar.

THINGS TO DO: Take a ride on the Napa Valley Wine Train, swing by the scenic Gargiulo Vineyards, and explore the gorgeous CIA campus in St.Helena.

See Napa Valley while enjoying some of the region’s finest wine and food options by boarding the Napa Valley Wine Train for a lunch or dinner tour. Stop by Gargiulo Estate to experience one of Napa’s most stunning vineyards and sample delicious wines. Due to the small size of production and the intimate nature of their tastings (they only allow one small party at a time), call in advance to make a tasting appointment. For the foodies out there, stop by the Harry Potter castle-esque Culinary Institute of America and feast your eyes (and stomach) on what the newest generation of chefs has to offer.

WHERE TO EAT: Buster’s Southern BBQ, Press, The Restaurant at Meadowood

OK, so maybe Buster’s Southern BBQ is in Calistoga, but it’s so worth the 20-minute drive. Locals and tourists line up down the street to wait for the region’s most amazing freshly smoked brisket, succulent ribs, pulled pork, and house hot sauce that comes (aptly) with a warning. For something a bit more formal, try Press, which serves one of the best steaks in Napa with an equally impressive wine list housing some of Napa’s best and smallest producers. If you’re going to go all out, you probably want to head over to The Restaurant at Meadowood, where you can enjoy an elaborate tasting menu made personally for you from some of the freshest ingredients Napa has to offer. 

Image: Creative Commons

Austin, Texas

Keep Labor Day weird by making your way to the artsy-meets-western city of Austin, where three days is plenty of time to soak up the music, food, and bar scene.

WHERE TO STAY: Hotel San Jose

Modern meets retro in all the right ways in this motor court-turned-bungalow-style hotel. It’s stylish, central, and you can even bring along your dog.

THINGS TO DO: Swim in Barton Springs Pool, get your drink on along Dirty 6th Street, and walk the trails at Lady Bird Park.

Swim in Barton Springs’ massive pool (we’re talking three acres!) fed by underground spring water. Go all out like a college freshman on spring break at Austin’s famous bar strip (Dirty) 6th Street, and walk off your hangover the next day by taking a loop around Lady Bird Park .

WHERE TO EAT: Pleasant Storage Room, Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile, La Mancha Tex Mex

Sip a craft cocktail and overproof rum punch alongside Cuban-style street food at Pleasant Storage Room. Enjoy delicious ranch-to-table fare at Jacoby’s Restaurant and Mercantile, and chow down on some of the region’s classic Tex-Mex cuisine at La Mancha Tex Mex Tavern.

Image: Creative Commons

Montauk, New York

Enjoy small town beach life this Labor Day and take a quick trip outside of Manhattan to Montauk, where you can stroll the beaches, surf, and unwind.

WHERE TO STAY: Ocean Resort Inn

This low-key inn located just steps away from the beach (as well as from the town itself) allows you to enjoy all that Montauk has to offer.

THINGS TO DO: Visit Montauk Point Lighthouse, spend a day at the beach, and take surfing lessons.

Visit the iconic Montauk Point Lighthouse (which also happens to be the oldest one in the state), spend a day swimming and sunning at Hither Hills State Park, and get a surfing lesson from a pro to complete the Montauk experience.

WHERE TO EAT: Harvest on Fort Pond, The Dock

Enjoy expertly prepared seafood at Harvest on Fort Pond, where the food and views are equally as amazing. Or, do like the locals and stop by The Dock for satisfyingly simple clams on the half shell and cold beers.

Image: Creative Commons

Vancouver, Canada

For people on the West Coast, taking a trip out of the country for Labor Day weekend is fast, feasible, and worthwhile in the form of Vancouver, Canada. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a cascading, tree-laden mountain range on Canada’s Pacific Northwest coast, Vancouver is a virtual paradise for the active outdoor adventurer and foodie alike, and it’s only a short, two-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle. So pack up your hiking/eating shoes, and get ready to celebrate Labor Day weekend Canadian style.

WHERE TO STAY: OPUS Hotel Vancouver

This boutique hotel in the heart of Vancouver’s trendy Yaletown neighborhood is sleek, modern, and is surrounded by one of the city’s best food and bar scenes. Inside the intimate and stylishly decorated OPUS, you’ll find the award-winning Italian spot La Pentola della Quercia, and the buzzing Opus bar, where you can enjoy a specialty cocktail like “The Bramble.”

THINGS TO DO: Visit Stanley Park and Granville Island, and hit up a Victory Square block party.

It’s hard to decide what to do in Vancouver when you’re only in town for three days, but visiting Stanley Park, where you can bike along the scenic seawall, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and even hike along its more than 1,000 acres of beaches and trails, is a can’t-miss. Next, hit up Granville Island, home to a diverse selection of artisan shops, glassblowing and metalwork studios, seaside restaurants and bars, and Vancouver’s best public market chock-full of local farmers’ produce, specialty ingredients, artisan meats, and an unbeatable food court. After that, hang out with locals at the Victory Square block party, Vancouver’s unofficial end of summer celebration where you can catch performances by local musicians, DJs, and chow down on some food truck bites. Best part? It’s all free.

WHERE TO EAT: La Quercia, Go Fish, Maenam, Hawksworth

Vancouver’s fresh produce and seafood help it stand out as one of the West Coast’s best dining scenes. For expertly prepared Italian fare, try Adam Pegg’s La Quercia, where you can enjoy an elegant tasting menu featuring classic and innovative northern Italian dishes, or order from the chalk board menu that changes daily; either way you won’t be disappointed. Tip: If you’re hungry, go for the unbeatable sous-vide steak Florentina for two, and thank us later. For lunch, locals flock to seaside shack Go Fish to enjoy some of the best fish and chips available in Vancouver. If you’re a fan of Thai food, Maenam is the place to check out, as it serves up modern and deeply flavorful takes on classic dishes, as well as Thai-inspired cocktails. Last but not least, we have Hawksworth, whose talented chef of the same name prepares unforgettable West Coast-inspired dishes in a luxurious fine dining setting.

Image: Creative Commons

Santa Barbara, California

Make your way to Santa Barbara and enjoy the trifecta of beautiful seascapes, delicious wines, and good food for your Labor Day weekend vacation.

WHERE TO STAY: El Capitan Canyon

Located 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, El Capitan Canyon provides an idyllic escape in the form of a nature resort consisting of cozy cedar cabins and canvas safari tents scattered among the oak and sycamore groves of a nature preserve. But as nature-y as it may be, El Capitan caters more toward those who are into “glamping” rather than camping. Spa services, Wi-Fi, fireplaces, and jacuzzis round out this experience.

THINGS TO DO: Explore by bike, visit Stearns Wharf, and go wine tasting.

Biking is definitely the thing to do in Santa Barbara, and, incidentally, is one of the best ways to sight-see around town. Find the perfect bike for you on Spinlister, a bike, ski, and stand-up paddle board renting site where you can rent from a variety of bikes belonging to area locals. Next, hit up Stearns Wharf where you can check out the local fishermen hauling in the daily catch, take in the ocean view, or stop for a bite at one of the pier’s many restaurants and bars. For the wine lovers out there, Santa Barbara’s got you covered there too. Visit the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, or explore the Urban Wine Trail for wine tasting in the city.

WHERE TO EAT: Les Marchands, Toma, Brophy Bros.

Enjoy small bites alongside perfectly paired wine chosen by Master Sommelier Brian McClintic and winemaker Eric Railsback at Les Marchands. For Mediterranean fare in an upscale environment, give Toma a go. If seafood is more of what you’re after, try the casual local haunt, Brophy Bros. 

Image: El Capitan Canyon

Las Vegas, Nevada

What better way is there to celebrate a day dedicated to the achievements of hard work than by really letting loose and embracing the long weekend party style? Basically none. So if you want to let your hair down, spend some of your hard-earned money, and make up for all those extra hours at the office, go all out this Labor Day weekend by spending it in Las Vegas. 

WHERE TO STAY: The SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

This sleek new addition to Las Vegas’ North Strip just opened its doors Aug. 23 with a star-studded midnight grand opening celebration, and it is the hottest ticket in town right now. With nine diverse places to get your food fix, ranging from the elegant Bazaar Meat by José Andrés to the Umami Burger Beer Garden and Sports Book, not to mention seven different bars and clubs (including super club LiFE where you can catch such acts as Laid Back Luke, Dirty South, Deep Dish and Pete Tong this Labor Day weekend), you’ll never have to step foot outside the hotel if you don’t want to.

THINGS TO DO: Catch a set by Calvin Harris, enjoy Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere, and make a splash at a pool party at Wet Republic.

There’s plenty to do in the adult Disney Land that is Las Vegas, and during Labor Day weekend the city seems to go into over-drive. Embrace the Vegas way and spend your day at one of the infamous pool parties such as Wet Republic’s Steve Aoki Party, catch Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere exploring the mystery of life, then finish the night off with a Calvin Harris DJ set at MGM’s Hakkasan.

WHERE TO EAT: Lotus of Siam, Rose.Rabbit.Lie, Joel Robuchon

The Las Vegas dining scene offers great variety in both cuisine and experience. Venture off the strip to Lotus of Siam for what is often revered as some of North America’s best authentic Thai food. Not sure what to order from the more than 150 choices? Try this fail-safe guide and don’t miss out on any of the best dishes. For a more dramatic dining experience, check out Rose.Rabbit.Lie, a one-of-a-kind nightclub, bar, live entertainment venue, and restaurant all rolled into one where you can sit back and enjoy whole roasted Alaskan red king crab, caviar tacos, and freshly bottled cocktails made table-side. If breaking the bank and enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime fine dining experience is what this Labor Day is calling for, then look no further than Joel Roubuchon at the MGM Grand, where you can feast on an unparalleled 16-course tasting menu from the chef who holds the honorific title of having the most Michelin stars of all time.

Image: SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino

Wilmington, North Carolina

Explore the shores of North Carolina by visiting the beach town of Wilmington, where you’ll find great food, great beaches, and people who know how to have a good time.

WHERE TO STAY: Hit up Airbnb for this weekend getaway.

With way too many adorable downtown and beachside cottages to choose from in Wilmington, Airbnb is without a doubt the way to go in terms of finding accommodations.

THINGS TO DO: Visit the USS North Carolina Battleship, stroll down the Riverwalk, and make a trip to Wrightsville Beach.

Visit the historic WWII Battleship USS North Carolina (because, obviously), take in the sights of Cape Fear River and downtown Wilmington on the Riverwalk, and visit Wrightsville Beach for some fun in the sun.

WHERE TO EAT: Sweet and Savory Cafe, Dock Street Oyster Bar, Rx Restaurant and Bar

Hit up Sweet and Savory Cafe for an over-the-top breakfast menu, Dock Street Oyster Bar for local seafood steamers and peel-and-eat shrimp, and Rx Restaurant and Bar for a menu that changes daily revolving around fresh seasonal ingredients that will not disappoint.

Image: Creative Commons

Sedona, Arizona

A short trip from Phoenix, Sedona’s incredibly beautiful landscape and myriad of outdoor activities make it ideal for the adventurer’s weekend getaway.

WHERE TO STAY: Inn Above Oak Creek

An oasis located alongside a scenic creek winding through the red Sedona rocks, the Inn Above Oak Creek places you in the heart of the sweeping Sedona wilderness.

THINGS TO DO: Go for a hike and tour a Sedona vortex.

With more than 160,000 acres in the Coconino National Forest, there is an endless supply of breathtaking trails to explore. While you’re at it, swing by one of Sedona’s famous vortexes, which are pockets of high spiritual energy that are believed to exist between rock formations. You can even go on special Sedona vortex tours – what have you got to lose?

WHERE TO EAT: Elote Cafe, Sedona Memories Bakery, L’Auberage

Indulge in some authentic Mexican food at Elote Cafe, grab a tasty post-hike sandwich at Sedona Memories Bakery, and, if you’re in the mood for a splurge, treat yourself to a decadent French-inspired meal at The Creekside Restaurant at L’Auberage.

Image: Getty Images

Folly Beach, South Carolina

Embrace the ways of the Lowcountry and make your way to South Carolina’s Folly Beach for the perfect mixture of southern hospitality and beachy vibes.

WHERE TO STAY: Tides

You’re probably going to be spending most of your time at the beach, so go for a hotel that limits your distance to it, like Tides, which sits directly on the shore.

THINGS TO DO: Charter a boat, try out a stand-up paddle board, and day drink.

Charter a boat with Island Hopper Boat Charters for an eco tour or shelling trip to remember. Or, take a guided paddle board tour and later get your day drink on at a local favorite like Surf Bar, because it’s Labor Day weekend and you’re at the beach. 

WHERE TO EAT: The Smoking Pot, Bowens Island Restaurant 

Get a real taste of Lowcountry cooking from the Smoking Pot, a true experience that “brings our pot to your spot,” steamers and all. For seafood cravings, swing by Bowens Island Restaurant and feast on the local selection – think oysters, fried shrimp, and more.

Image: Creative Commons

Los Angeles, California

Spend your last weekend of the season in the perpetual city of sun by making your way to Los Angeles.

WHERE TO STAY: The Chateau Marmont

Frequented by Hollywood and music’s elite, expect to catch a glimpse of a celebrity or two at this classic Sunset Boulevard hotel, where you can lounge by the pool or grab a drink at their iconic bar in true LA style.

THINGS TO DO: Walk along the Santa Monica Pier, get in a few good eats at The Taste food festival, and be a tourist by the Hollywood sign.

Stop by the Santa Monica Pier and take a ride on the Ferris wheel, indulge in all the best food that Los Angeles’ top chefs have to offer at the Taste ( L.A.’s food festival happening over Labor Day weekend), and get super touristy and take your picture in front of the Hollywood sign.

WHERE TO EAT: Fig & Olive, Playa Provisions, San Gabriel Valley, Grand Central Market

Grab a summery cocktail and a happy hour aperitivo plate at Fig & Olive, head to Playa Provisions to pick up a gourmet picnic to enjoy at the beach, make your way to San Gabriel Valley and explore some of L.A.’s best authentic Chinese cuisine, and head to Downtown’s Grand Central Market for L.A. favorites like Eggslut and Wexler’s Deli

Image: Creative Commons

Monhegan Island, Maine

Just a short, 10-mile ferry ride off the coast of Maine, Monhegan is a quaint island home to fishermen, artists, and those simply drawn to its picturesque scenery. Head out there for the long weekend to enjoy some island time like a real New Englander.

WHERE TO STAY: The Island Inn

This charming inn overlooks Monhegan Harbor, giving you a prime viewing spot to catch those breathtaking New England sunsets in all their glory.

THINGS TO DO: Visit the Monhegan Brewing Company, explore the artists’ colony, and walk the island.

Go for an afternoon beer tasting at the Monhegan Brewing Company and take a growler home for a drinkable souvenir. Walk around the varied artists’ galleries and check out the local art. Meander along the island’s 17 miles of walking trails.

WHERE TO EAT: Island Inn, The Barnacle, The Fish House

Make your way to The Barnacle for fresh pastries and coffee for your morning breakfast. Stop by The Fish House to feast on homemade crab and lobster rolls, and hit up The Restaurant at the Island Inn for perfectly executed New England classics like ocean water steamed lobster and seafood stew.

Image: The Island Inn on Monhegan 

Savannah, Georgia

Embrace the heat (because it’s only going to get colder) and make your way to Savannah for a history buff/booze lover’s dream vacation. Home to one of America’s oldest historic neighborhoods (where, it’s worth noting, you’re allowed to openly drink on the streets), it’s impossible not to have an awesome long weekend in Savannah.

WHERE TO STAY: The Gastonian

This historic bed and breakfast located in the heart of downtown Savannah is the perfect opportunity to get a first-hand brush with Savannah’s romantic, old world feel.

THINGS TO DO: Take a trolly tour, walk River Street, drink an alcoholic slushy, and catch a local band.

Without a doubt, the best way to see everything Savannah’s historic district has to offer is to take a hop-on, hop-off trolly tour. In the early evening, walk along River Street and take in the sights of the Savannah River. Be sure to grab an alcoholic slushy for the road from Wet Willies, because you’re classy like that. After dinner, make your way to Bay Street Blues Bar, a dive bar favored by locals where some of Savannah’s best blues, jazz, and funk musicians come to play late into the night.

WHERE TO EAT: The Olde Pink House, Zunzi’s

Head over to Zunzi’s and try the Conquistador Sandwich that Travel Channel’s Adam Richman named “The Best Sandwich of the South.” For dinner, embrace the historic nature of the city and get a table at The Olde Pink House, a timeless Savannah spot serving elegant Southern fare and seafood.

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Yellowstone National Park

Arguably the most scenic park in North America, Yellowstone is the perfect place to go for your long weekend if you’re in the mood for camping. Grab your gear and get ready for a memorable weekend of hiking, exploring, and drunken campfire songs.

WHERE TO STAY: Camp on-site!

With more than 12 campgrounds located within the sprawling park, there’s lots to choose from in terms of camping out. Pick a site near the park you’d like to explore most, and make a reservation online to assure you get a spot.

THINGS TO DO: Explore like no one’s business

The park boasts more than its share of famous sites over its 3,000 square miles, including the Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – many of which you can hike to. In order to make the best of your weekend, pick one or two must-sees that are close to each other and keep to that area for exploration.

WHAT TO EAT: Whatever you pack 

Go the way of the true camper and make your own food at the site. Pack your go-to camping faves and remember to bring lots of water, stuff for s’mores and plenty of booze (you’ll thank us later). If you get stuck without food (or just don’t feel up to cooking), not to worry. There is a range of places to eat within the park, varying from fast food to fine dining.

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