Many Americans will have a long weekend coming up for Labor Day. If that includes you, you’re probably thinking about how to make the most of it. The good news is that there are fun things to do on Labor Day all across the country.
Maybe you don’t have the time or budget to travel around the world. But you might want to get out of your hometown. We’ve put together our favorite things to do on Labor Day by region.
How to find the best things to do on Labor Day for your family
- Know Your Audience – Don’t needlessly complicate things by forcing a trip on those in your group. For example, if you’re the only history buff, maybe reconsider checking out that local historical landmark.
- Know Your Target Area – Of course, if you’re fine with traveling long distances, there’s really no limit. But even within the confines of your situation, you can find lots of things to do on Labor Day.
- Know Your Budget – Few things can derail a getaway quicker than money troubles, so don’t overextend yourself. And that’s the good thing about breaking down the best things to do on Labor Day by region: It’s often more affordable to keep the trip closer to home.
Things to do on Labor Day: Northeast United States
If you’re in the New England area, you already know you’re surrounded by historically significant sites. And the natural beauty of this region is stunning. But there are probably more than a few hidden gems you’ve yet to discover. Here are five of our favorites:
1. Coastal Crossing, New Hampshire
Road trips are great. But if you’re trying to find things to do for Labor Day, you might not have enough time for a lengthy drive. That’s why we think New Hampshire’s coastline is a great option. You probably already know it’s a fairly short drive. In fact, you can catch all of the scenery in under 20 miles. Taking a day to explore this stretch of the coast provides tons of opportunity. Of course, there are the beaches, which are some of the nation’s most beautiful. But there are also great places to stop along the way. We recommend visiting Fort Constitution and the incredible hotel Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle.
2. Kennebunkport, Maine
Maybe you’d prefer a trip to the beach. In that case, you’d be hard pressed to find a more picturesque location than Kennebunkport. There are any number of things to do on Labor Day here. Culture, history and nature’s majesty are on constant display. Local artists and business owners keep the community atmosphere alive. Plus, there’s a chance you could run into a powerful political player or two. This Maine getaway is the summer home of former President George H.W. Bush. Plenty of world leaders have also vacationed here.
3. Castle Island Park, Massachusetts
Boston is home to one of our favorite all around things to do on Labor Day in New England. You will probably find something there to interest even the pickiest travelers. First of all, there is the historical significance of Fort Independence on the site. The entire park spans 22 acres and provides plenty of diversions. Walking trails, beaches and other impressive amenities abound. This destination closes for the season on Columbus Day. So Labor Day is really the last big holiday to enjoy what Castle Island Park has to offer.
4. Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania
Another great way to spend Labor Day is with a central landmark in American history. You probably know it for the crack that runs down its side, but if you haven’t seen it in person, you probably don’t know the whole story. It has served as a symbol for numerous civil rights movements ever since. And the words etched at the monument still resonate with visitors every year. “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof,” the message reads.
5. America’s Stonehenge, New Hampshire
If you’ve got kids, or even if you don’t, you’re bound to have fun at America’s Stonehenge. Combining history and mystery, this is a site you won’t soon forget. First of all, it’s just a cool construction. Something this unusual must offer some interesting things to do on Labor Day, right? Walk a trail about a half-mile long and explore all the stone structures. There are altars, chambers and other interesting monuments. Then there is the added element of investigation. Experts still haven’t completely identified its meaning. In fact, they aren’t entirely sure which group of inhabitants is responsible for building it!
Things to do on Labor Day: Southern United States
Southern hospitality is welcome all year round. But we think getting out to explore the South is especially fun late in the summer. Whether you want to relax or you’re looking for excitement, it’s all the better with a big glass of iced tea.
1. Downtown Athens, Georgia
Some downtown areas are incredible. But touring Lower Manhattan, for example, could swallow an entire week or more. If you have a day or a long weekend, we recommend downtown Athens. This is a fairly quiet college town. But it also holds some really interesting treasures. First of all, there is the local music scene. You can trace the roots of bands like R.E.M. and the B-52s to this eclectic community. And of course it is steeped in history. There is a beautiful botanical garden and a great art museum. Whatever you want to do on Labor Day, it’s probably tucked away somewhere in this historic square.
2. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Just minutes away from Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, there is plenty to do for a trip of any length. But if you’re pressed for time, there are incredible things to do on Labor Day in Gatlinburg. The mountains are incredible on their own. You are sure to feel a sense of awe just traveling in this region. Whether you’re with the whole family or a special someone, you’ll be right at home in this mountain getaway.
3. Winery Tours, Alabama
Alabama wineries? If you have already tried the local wines made with the native muscadine grapes, you aren’t surprised. And if you don’t know about any of the 14 wineries, we think it’s one of the states best things to do on Labor Day. Make sure you check the individual establishments for their hours. But it is easy to pay a visit to several great local gems. And if you aren’t much of a wine fan, not to worry. Numerous great small batch beers can be part of any tour you take in the local brews.
4. Brevard, North Carolina
Tucked away in one of the state’s most appealing areas is Brevard. The small town is located in the Pisgah National Forest and offers a variety of natural wonders. It also has a quaint and fun downtown area. And it is very close to some other amazing locations.
While you’re in town, be sure to check out local stores and eateries, and round out your holiday trip with a tour of any local historical sites. Plus, there are lakes, hiking trails and other ways for nature lovers to get their fix. If you have a few extra days, there are some other interesting towns just a short drive away.
5. Bayou Tour, Louisiana
You probably already associate Louisiana with the bayou, among other features. But how much do you really know about this distinctive feature? Chances are, if you add a bayou tour to the things to do on Labor Day, you’ll come out with some useful knowledge. At the very least, we think it’s a pretty thrilling way to spend a day.
Areas including the Manchac Swamp offer guided tours of the area, and it is just generally an interesting time for tourists. After you clean up, there is plenty to do to unwind in the region. Depending on how long you have in your holiday trip, there are great sights in nearby New Orleans. And on the other end of the spectrum, visit a real ghost town to see what is left of Ruddock, Louisiana.
Things to do on Labor Day: Midwest United States
Flyover country? We don’t think so. If you live in America’s heartland, you already know how common the treasures are. But we’ve selected a few of our favorite things to do on Labor Day in this region.
1. Door County, Wisconsin
There are lighthouses all up and down the nation’s coastlines, but on the shore of Lake Michigan they take on a different look. We particularly like the Cana Island Lighthouse in Door County. There are an even 100 steps to the top, where you can look out from the picturesque spot. And the environment is especially quaint with narrow roads and rolling hills.
The lighthouse dating back nearly 150 years adds to the historical feel of this area. And you’ll find plenty of other interesting roadside stops on your journey. There are unique and delicious restaurants all around. You can also find art studios and other fun diversions in nearby Ellison Bay and Fish Creek.
2. Silver Dollar City, Missouri
If your crew loves theme parks that have an actual theme, Silver Dollar City in Branson might just be for you. In fact, few destinations offer as many things to do on Labor Day. Families have been having fun here for years. The park will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Labor Day.
There are dozens of rides and attractions, and everything is based around life in a mining village 200 years ago. Among the interesting shows and exhibitions are candy making and blacksmith demonstrations. Kids and parents alike enjoy exploring a natural cave at the location. And there are holiday-related celebrations at various points throughout the year.
3. ‘Field of Dreams’ Movie Site, Iowa
If you’ve seen the movie, you might already know the site has been preserved. But if you haven’t been, you probably don’t know all there is to offer. One of the most iconic sites in movie history comes from right in the heart of the Midwest. And it is still ready to be explored today.
Nearly 30 years after Kevin Costner starred in “Field of Dreams,” there are tons of attractions at the location. Fans of the movie just might consider it a pilgrimage. But even those who haven’t seen it can appreciate the significance.
4. Gateway Arch, Missouri
We revisit Missouri for one of the most iconic monuments in the country. And since it has welcomed visitors for 50 years, we highly recommend it. In person, the arch is utterly impressive. Such a tall man-made arch will probably boggle your mind. But then when you take a ride to the top, you’ll truly appreciate its scope and size.
The Midwest has a lot of things to do on Labor Day. A region known for the great outdoors certainly knows how to enjoy a nice summer weekend. But we think any trip through the U.S. should include a stop to the Gateway Arch if at all possible.
5. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Indiana
Another great option for things to do on Labor Day with kids, this is one of our favorite children’s museums. There is fun, entertainment and education on each of its five floors. Find attractions, crafts and exhibits to engage kids (and parents) of all ages.
And it’s located in Indy, so there’s plenty in the area to do to fill out a long weekend. Even if you’re just in town for a day, there are some cool locations near the museum. One of our favorites is the Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop. It’s nearby and makes a great treat after a long day of learning and fun.
Things to do on Labor Day: Western United States
The last region on our list is home to some great historical sites and breathtaking natural beauty. It also provides a wide range of unique communities. Here are some of our favorite destinations.
1. Hoover Dam, Nevada
The Hoover Dam is one of the most visually stunning man-made structures on the planet. We think anybody who has the chance to visit should make the trip. There are tours, attractions and lots of history on display.
Plus, if you have longer than an afternoon to spend, Hoover Dam is located amid a few other key destinations. About four hours away is the Grand Canyon, another must-see American site. You can also take a short drive to Las Vegas. If you can’t find things to do on Labor Day there, you’re not looking hard enough.
2. Pike Place Market, Washington
One of the most iconic sections of Seattle is Pike Place Market. This farmer’s market has been around for well over a century, and it still delights locals as well as visitors.
You can always find plenty to do in the area, and that includes things to do on Labor Day if you’re in the region. Make sure to sign up for a class or demonstration while you’re there. It’s a classic experience that is never exactly the same, so even if you’ve been to Pike Place before, it might be worth a fresh look.
3. Hollywood Walk of Fame, California
You already know Hollywood is the epicenter of the entertainment industry. But if you haven’t made the trip down the Walk of Fame, you’re probably missing out. Find out where your favorite entertainers are honored, and rediscover a few you forgot along the way.
There are countless things to do on Labor Day in Los Angeles. But we think this is a perfect destination for a holiday outing. First of all, it’s outside and allows you to explore at your own pace. Plus, it’s in an iconic and fascinating area of Hollywood. If you’ve got some extra time during your trip, there are countless of other great ways to have fun.
4. Lake Tahoe, Nevada and California
There are some beautiful water features in the United States, but one of our favorites is Lake Tahoe. Not only is the natural beauty undeniable, it is also a unique location.
For starters, this is an area that is wholly transformed by the changing seasons. So seeing it in late summer gives you a great perspective. In a few months time, the area probably will be packed with snow and skiers. But if you are looking for things to do on Labor Day, we think enjoying the great lake weather is worth consideration.
5. Redwood National and State Parks, California
You’ve probably heard of these majestic trees. But if you haven’t driven through these forests and seen them yourself, you won’t understand their sheer scale. Visiting the Redwood parks with any group and everyone is likely to be amazed.
We think taking a leisurely tour provides many things to do on Labor Day. Make sure the parks you want to visit are open before heading out. There are great opportunities for photos and making a lot of great memories in one of the nation’s most awe-inspiring locations.
Bonus: Center on Contemporary Art, Washington
This one is only open on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. Located in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, the Center on Contemporary Art helps define the city. There is an eclectic mix of art and other installments within a historic building.
In addition to the art of this and other area museums, there is a lot to fill a day or a weekend. Just the coffee heritage would be enough to make a caffeine addict’s dream come true. Seattle is one of the most interesting cities on the West Coast. And Pioneer Square is one of its coolest areas.
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