Each of us has a unique vision of our perfect end of summer getaway. Labor Day, depending on where you visit, can be quiet and peaceful or boisterous and vibrant.
I have highlighted a few of my favorite getaway spots that are perfect for three, four, or more days to celebrate the end of summer and the approaching autumnal equinox. They are listed in no particular order.
Note: Some information in this piece was obtained during a sponsored press trip, but all recommendations are my own.
The skies darken early in the fall in Fairbanks making way for the Aurora Season which begins August 21 and runs to April 21. This is a great time of year to see the dancing lights. The temperature averages between 35 and 55 degrees (Fahrenheit). It’s winter-coat cold, but not freezing your toes off. Book the Fall Arctic Circle Aurora Drive Adventure, a day (and night) journey searching for the brilliantly colored Northern Lights.
Enjoy a stroll through the Boreal Forest with a herd of goofy reindeer at Running Reindeer Ranch. Gentle and friendly, the reindeer love a walk in the woods and don’t mind if you tag along. This family-run ranch is dedicated to the welfare of the reindeer, the domesticated cousin of a caribou.
Visit Explore Fairbanks, it’s your go-to site for planning your getaway stay.
Where To Stay: Pike’s Waterfront Lodge is quintessential Fairbanks with modern accommodations and Alaskan backcountry decor.
Always sunny and warm, Noord is the place for your toes-in-the-sand getaway. Palm Beach is long and lovely, creating a playground border between the high-rise hotels and the turquoise water. You will love the Caribbean vibe, exploring the outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing on a float soaking up the glorious sunshine.
Dinner on the beach, no shoes required, is the ultimate in celebrating the gorgeous Aruban sunset. At Atardi, your table is steps away from the gentle moonlit surf. Soak up an exquisite dining experience paired with the most gorgeous backdrop nature could provide.
Where To Stay: Choose the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino on Palm Beach, where guests can enjoy luxury accommodations, excellent dining, and an adult-only pool — a lively family-centric pool is also an option. The exclusive, adults-only Tradewinds Club offers guests a private check-in, complimentary food and beverage options daily, a Tradewinds Club dedicated concierge, and reserved access — the ultimate in pampering.
Denver is one of those cities that draws you in again and again. Spread out and friendly, there is so much to see and do. Any time of year, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a good idea.
Embark on the Denver Graffiti Tour in the RiNo (River North) Arts District and take a peek inside the street art movement that is sweeping across the world. The Arts District changes each spring when Crush Walls brings their annual art festival to life. Over 80 public and commissioned pieces from local and international graffiti artists bring color and life to this urban neighborhood. Denver’s foodie scene is an eclectic mix of regional and international restaurants.
Where To Stay: Hotel Clio is a glamorous Cherry Creek option for your Denver stay. Enjoy views of the Rocky Mountains while exploring this chic neighborhood.
Plan a music-centric getaway to Memphis. The infamous Beale Street is where you can dance the night away and be whomever you want to be. Walk the hallowed grounds of Graceland and relive the life of Elvis — his successes and tragedies. Wander down to Charles Vergos Rendezvous for the best barbecue ever. Be sure to check out all the dining rooms; the joint is a musical who’s-who museum.
Where To Stay: The Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis is in the center of all the Beale Street action. Head up to the rooftop whiskey bar, Beck & Call, for amazing views and an adult beverage.
Provincetown, P-town to locals, is a vibrant vacation community at the tip of Cape Cod. Hop aboard the Provincetown Fast Ferry and be walking down Commercial Street in less than 2 hours. Enjoy a water view dinner at Pepe’s Wharf — ask for a table on the porch. The Cape is the perfect spot for fresh seafood and restaurants with waterfront views. Finish off your visit with a trip to Lewis Brothers Homemade Ice Cream — it’s the best.
Where To Stay: Gabriel’s Provincetown Hotel is located just a block away from the center of P-town’s exuberant downtown — close enough to enjoy the fray, but far enough away for a quiet repose.
6. Key Largo
Get a good workout with all the water sports available in the Keys. Paddle away on a guided Mangroves and Manatees Eco Tour, explore the coral reefs on a Scuba Diving or Snorkeling adventure, or sail away on the Cruisin’ Tiki — a floating tiki bar.
Where To Stay: Playa Largo Resort & Spa is a stunning Florida Bay beachfront getaway with a private beach and a zero-entry waterfront pool. This Labor Day weekend, Playa Largo is hosting a beachfront barbecue complete with snow cones, beer buckets, and refreshing margaritas — a beach-centric luxury getaway at its finest.
September 1 is International Cabernet Sauvignon Day, and what better place to celebrate than at d’Art Wines. If you love great wine, Lodi Wine Country should be on your getaway list. With over 85 boutique wineries to sip your way through, your wine exploration will be diverse and delicious.
Where To Stay: Relax in the perfect Lodi stay at Wine & Roses. Their casually elegant rooms are truly “California Dreamin.”
The red rocks of Moab are perfect for outdoor adventures. Plan a visit (reservation required) to Arches National Park, where you can see Balanced Rock, Delicate Arch, and more. Book a seat on the Hell’s Revenge Tour for a wild ride across the desert you won’t soon forget.
Where To Stay: Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton is a dream destination. After a day in the rugged landscape, sink into modern luxury to rest your head.
9. Santa Barbara
Calling all foodies who love the beach, palm trees, and sunshine. Santa Barbara’s cuisine scene is definitely getaway-worthy. The Santa Ynez Mountains are the perfect backdrop for a weekend of enjoying coastal California sunshine. A short walk from the beach is the Santa Barbara County Courthouse. This stunning Spanish Colonial-style building is beautiful inside and out; the self-guided tour is a must-do.
Where To Stay: Exquisite views from the rooftop pool give off that lux Riviera vibe in the perfect getaway stay at the Kimpton Canary Santa Barbara.
The gorgeous “Garden Island” in the Hawaii chain is a wonderful spot to commune with nature. The Napali Coast State Wilderness Park and Waimea Canyon State Park are filled with dramatic cliffs, stunning waterfalls, and tropical valleys — scenery eye-candy.
Where To Stay: Stay at the Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu. When you finish exploring, just sit by the pool and chill before heading out to a fabulous dinner.
11. Hilton Head
If your ideal weekend getaway is all about golf, Hilton Head is the perfect East Coast golfer’s destination. With close to two dozen public and private golf courses, scratch golfers and newbie duffers will have a wide selection of playable courses. Stop by Hudson’s on the Docks for authentic, low-country cuisine. A quick day-trip to pretty Daufuskie Island is a fun way to while away a sunny day.
Where To Stay: The Marriott Hilton Head Resort and Spa is the perfect spot to relax on the beach after playing a round of golf.
Antique hunters will adore exploring the shops in Milford. Milford Market Antiques is home to over 40 antique dealers offering an array of furniture and brick-a-brack. The New Hampshire Antique Co-op offers lots of opportunities to poke around. They have over 200 dealers with lots of goodies to add to your decor.
After a day of antiquing, Greenleaf restaurant is a lovely spot to share a small plate with friends. Try the silky ricotta gnocchi with venison and mushrooms, or the yummy local cheese board for starters. Enjoy entrees like the spiced rack of lamb with fava beans, or their classic herb-crusted cod with seasonal veggies for a fabulous dinner. The menu reflects Chef Chris Viaud’s — a season 18 Top Chef contestant — commitment to working with local farmers to secure the freshest products available.
Quiet and charming, Cooperstown is home to all things baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum takes center stage and is a bucket list item for every baseball fan. The Cooperstown Beverage Trail will introduce you to a wide variety of spots including Honeypot Farms Meadery and Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard.
Where To Stay: Perched on the shores of Otsego Lake is The Otesaga, a resort-style oasis complete with a golf course, fine dining, and on-the-water fun.
Visit Banff and Lake Louise tourist bureau for all the up-to-the-minute happenings in the region.
Where To Stay: A quintessential Banff stay at the Moose Hotel & Suites will put you right in the center of downtown Banff. It’s walking distance to restaurants, shops, and hiking trails.
Bimini is an idyllic island a short flight or ferry from Fort Lauderdale. It is just the spot for a quick weekend getaway. Your stress will simply wash away as you embark on a Bimini adventure.
Where To Stay: Relax in the kick-back vibe at the luxurious Resorts World Bimini Beach. Lounge in a private cabana or swing with a great beach book in a hammock. It is a little slice of getaway heaven.
Labor Day Weekend Getaways
Getting away for a long weekend adventure is always a great idea. Finding a spot to celebrate the end of summer, where you can do what you love, is the best idea.