The end of summer is coming fast, so it’s time to start planning your last hurrah for 2023.

Whether you want to tackle Utah’s hiking trails or escape to a Caribbean beach, these destinations are easy last-minute Labor Day weekend getaways.

Plan a drive on America's most iconic road trips

An arched bridge leading toward a city skyline, with water reflecting a lilac sky above; labor day weekend
View of Minneapolis from St Anthony Main © Yang Yang / 500px

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Most come to Minneapolis for its art, parks and diverse food scene; many stay for the Minnesota Nice. This Labor Day weekend count up all the "have a nice days" you receive while experiencing the Midwestern metropolis’ magic.

Peruse the exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, which has a fantastic collection of 20th-century art and photography from around the world. For a slice of real Midwestern Americana, make sure to check out the Minnesota State Fair, which wraps up Labor Day weekend. It’s the largest state fair in the US by attendance.

Best places for live music in Minneapolis

Mother with son and daughter hiking in the Wasatch Foothills above Salt Lake City
The Wasatch Range is loaded with great day-hike opportunities © Mike Tittel / Getty Images

Salt Lake City, Utah

By late August and early September, Salt Lake City is winding down from summer and patiently waiting for winter to arrive. The kids are back to school and the skis are still stowed away in attics. That means hotel rooms are discounted and hiking trails are virtually empty.

You might be surprised at the variety of Utah-brewed beers available these days but check out the Bayou, where there are about 300 local and international options on the menu. Then grab dinner at one of downtown's many great restaurants. Just outside the city, take a hike up into Neff’s Canyon for sweeping views of the Wasatch Mountains and SLC below.

The best of Salt Lake City's great outdoors (and indoors)

Seattle, Washington

Seattle shines during the summer when the chance of rain is low and the warm weather gets Seattleites outside and on the trails. Labor Day heralds summer’s swan song, but it’s still a great time to visit the Emerald City. The weather has cooled from peak summer highs, and the same goes for tourists: September is generally a quieter time of year.

That means the city highlights like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle have all their Seattle delight without the crowds. Labor Day weekend also sees Bumbershoot, Seattle’s annual music and art festival – and one of the largest in the country.

The 11 best beaches in Seattle

Notre-Dame Basilica in Montréal © Getty Images

Montréal, Québec

For a taste of France without the long flight and pricey airfare of going to Europe, head across the border to Montréal for the long weekend. It’s easy to get a feel for the joie de vivre in this cosmopolitan city where the first-language is French but most people speak at least some English. 

Take advantage of summer weather and the long days with patio dining all over town, especially in the atmospheric Old Port (Vieux-Port de Montréal) neighborhood, along the St. Lawrence River, where the streets are lined with cobblestones below and centuries-old architecture above. 

For a pleasant bike or stroll, check out the Lachine Canal, just outside of downtown. On hot days, you can cool off with kayak, canoe, SUP, or pedal boat rentals.

Woman in red walking across a pretty American downtown
Begin in Portland, Maine, for adventures along the coast © Getty Images

Midcoast Maine

If you haven’t quite had your fill of lobster and seaside vistas this summer, it’s time to get yourself to Maine. Start in Portland for the city’s great restaurants and breweries, plus easy access to hiking in Bradbury Mountain State Park, then continue to Midcoast Maine and its charming towns like Camden and Rockland. 

Get in a hike with incredible views of Camden Harbor from the top of Mt Battie in Camden Hills State Park, check out the Andrew Wyeth paintings at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland or stroll the 1-mile stone breakwater to the historic Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse that welcomes ships into Rockland Harbor.

A woman sitting at the waterfront in Brooklyn
A woman sitting at the waterfront in Brooklyn © Westend61 / Getty

New York City, New York

It’s always a good idea to go to New York City, the city you can never really finish exploring, and there are plenty of perks to visiting over Labor Day weekend. If the weather is sweltering, you can spend numerous temperature-controlled hours at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Museum of Natural History (the latter especially good if you have kids in tow). Broadway shows are air-conditioned, too. 

A boat ride is also a great way to catch cool breezes. There might be lines for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, so consider the ferry to Staten Island or a trip on NYC Ferry's water taxis as alternatives. If a day at the beach sounds like a good idea, there are lots of nearby options, including Brighton Beach and Coney Island, which are easily accessed on the (air-conditioned) subway.

Another perk of visiting on Labor Day weekend is that with so many locals traveling, it can be a good time to score hard-to-get restaurant reservations. If you’re looking for fun things to do on Labor Day itself, check out the huge West Indian Day parade in Brooklyn. 

A boat sailing through blue waters, with a narrow island in the background
The Bahamas is an easy island escape for Labor Day weekend © Peter Sitterli / 500px

The Bahamas

It’s been a time of celebration on the islands of the Bahamas, which commemorated its 50th anniversary of independence in July. And though many of the events will be over by Labor Day, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a place to party over the long weekend. 

Head to Fish Fry (the area also known as Arawak Cay) in Nassau for some good food, drink and tunes. For a slower pace, venture to Cable Beach with its white sand and sparkling turquoise waters.    

Admittedly, September is hurricane season, so keep an eye on weather reports and make sure your travel insurance includes a policy that includes cancellations due to extreme weather. 

5 top Bahamas road trips for exploration and relaxation

Three women cheers with golden beers aboard a wooden boat in Mexico
Celebrate the end of summer at Xochimilco Gardens in Mexico City © Getty Images


Proximity to the USA makes a quick weekend trip to Mexico a fantastic idea any time of the year. September is the low season, and though the coasts are susceptible to hurricanes, inland parts of the country, like Mexico City and Monterrey, experience cooler temperatures ideal for roaming in and out of fashionable boutiques and cafes.  

Charleston, South Carolina

Come early September, Charleston’s muggy summer weather has abated, leaving the city’s historic streets prime for walking. Stroll through the historic French Quarter to get a sense of the city’s past, with stops at sites like the Old Slave Mart Museum for a stark look at a place where human beings were sold bought and sold, or the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon to tour a former prison used by the British during the Revolutionary War.

For a brighter side of the city, grab some Instagram-worthy shots of the pastel-colored buildings along Rainbow Row. This Labor Day weekend, the Low Country Jazz Festival takes the stage at the Gaillard Center, the city’s new performance art center. 

Grab your swimsuits, y’all: Charleston’s best beaches

This article was first published Jul 29, 2019 and updated Aug 8, 2023.

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