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The good news is that Labor Day always brings a holiday weekend ... but the bad news is it also means the end of summer. (Don't worry though: autumn and all its splendors are just around the corner!) If you're craving a final summer fling or just want to get out of town for a few days, here are some great ideas for Labor Day weekend getaways around the country.
If you've never been to Saratoga, consider spending your Labor Day weekend in this adorable upstate town. This year's racing season ends on Sept. 3, so you can still place a few bets on the ponies at the town's historic racetrack. There are also plenty of restaurants (we love The Blue Hen along Broadway). Plus, Saratoga National Historical Park, the site of a major Revolutionary War battle, is nearby.
Get every last drop of carefree summer sun during a weekend getaway to Key West. This low-key island, on the southernmost tip of the Florida Keys, is where you go to kick back. Take a tour of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, snorkel in Dry Tortguas National Park, and lunch on conch fritters and margaritas in alfresco waterfront spots like Sunset Pier near Mallory Square.
For East Coasters who want an easy-to-reach weekend destination with oodles of historic charm, consider Montreal. This French-speaking city has a beautiful old quarter, where you'll find art galleries, museums, and wine bars along its cobbled streets. Take a spin on the Montreal Observation Wheel, and, if the weather is still warm enough, order poutine at an outdoor bistro.
Say goodbye to summer while surrounded by the natural beauty of one of our most famous national parks. Located in California's Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite has something for everyone. Hike to world-famous waterfalls, including Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Falls, and snap photos of the Half Dome rock formation and the Lyell Glacier.
If summer isn't complete without a walk on the boardwalk, then Seaside Heights is the place for you. This famous Jersey shore beach town is still buzzing over the Labor Day weekend. Take a dip in the ocean, ride the Hydrus roller coaster, play a few old-school arcade games, snack on funnel cakes and Philly cheesesteaks, hit some of the bars, and just enjoy the epic people watching.
Want to end summer with a bang? Head to Las Vegas. Sure, it's scorching in the Nevada sun, but that's what Sin City's legendary pool parties are for. Just about every resort offers these daytime alcohol-fueled bashes, including Wet Republic Ultra Pool at MGM Grand and Palms Pool & Dayclub at the Palms. If you're not too knackered in the evening, dine in hotspots like Scotch 80 Prime.
Get your culture fix in the Smithsonian's free museums during a weekend getaway in our nation's capital. Whether it's the National Museum of American History or the National Air and Space Museum, you'll find plenty of choices. You can also catch a Nationals game and walk along the waterfront in , a new entertainment and restaurant complex. Come September, the three-story Potomac Distilling Company will be opening, too.
There's nothing like a quick trip to Mexico’s Riviera Maya to satisfy your travel itch this Labor Day. Plus, staying at an adults-only all-inclusive resort like UNICO 20 º N 87 º W makes everything easier. This stylish newcomer is right on the beach, has restaurants overseen by popular Mexican chef Christian Bravo, and perhaps the best feature of all: swim-up poolside rooms!
Where to Stay: UNICO 20 º N 87 º W
You may know Vail, the charming Bavarian-style village in the Rockies, as a ski town, but summer really showcases the area's insanely beautiful scenery. Fun activities include hiking with llamas, taking a scenic gondola ride above wild-flower studded hills, and whitewater rafting. Dine in hotspots like Matsuhisa and Sweet Basil, and stop by Gourmet on Gore, an annual food and wine festival that takes place over Labor Day weekend.
Where to Stay: Hotel Talisa
If you're looking to spend the long weekend with the family, you can't go wrong with the Poconos. The kids will ditch their gadgets to splash down waterslides at Camelbeach, a massive outdoor water park that stays open through Labor Day. Also on-site is Aquatopia, an indoor water park that's open year-round, and nearby is mini golf and fun shops like Callie's Pretzel Factory.
Where to Stay: Camelback Lodge
Spend the Labor Day weekend in the Heartland with a trip to Hamilton County, a beautiful stretch of countryside just north of Indianapolis. Start the day at Eggshell Bistro in Carmel, then cycle along the Monon Trail, where you can stop for craft beer beside a fire pit in the rustic-cool outdoor patio at Union Brewing Company. Later, have a farm-to-fork meal in a converted barn at Rail Epicurean. The big news around town is the soon-to-open Nickel Plate Express, a 12-mile scenic train between Atlanta and Noblesville.
Where to Stay: Prairie Guest House
If lying on a tropical beach is more your speed, take a quick trip to the Bahamas. The main island of Nassau recently debuted the Vegas-style beachfront Baha Mar complex, featuring three luxury hotels, the Caribbean's largest casino, restaurants, a cigar bar, and activities like golf, tennis, and snorkeling. Go off-property to dine at Graycliff in downtown Nassau, and Fish by José Andrés and Sip Sip at Atlantis on nearby Paradise Island.
Depoe Bay on Oregon's coast is popular with those seeking a nature-rich getaway (it's a 2.5-hour drive from Portland). See 60-foot geysers, listen to the sound of waves crashing against the rugged shoreline, and watch for whales in Depoe View Park. Have a farm-to-table meal at Restaurant Beck.
For a coastal New England getaway, consider Portsmouth. On Saturday, the town hosts a farmers market, while on Sunday, there's an open house at the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse. Take a scenic drive along Route 1A, which has numerous state parks with gorgeous beaches, dine on oysters in The Franklin, and try a few craft brews in the tasting room of Earth Eagle Brewings.
With all the summer barbecues and stops for ice cream, you may have packed on a few pounds, so why not spend Labor Day weekend at Red Mountain Resort, an adventure spa amid the red rocks of southern Utah? This all-inclusive retreat has healthy meals and an array of activities that range from yoga and meditation to guided hikes through the surrounding sandstone canyons.
Where to Stay: Red Mountain Resort