Labor Day is a day to reflect upon the early struggles of America’s working force, when workers’ rights were non-existent and benefits were subject only to the generosity of employers. Were it not for the formation of unions, the rights and benefits we now often take for granted would be no better than they were then. Unions fought long, difficult, and, at times, deadly battles. For this, we give thanks.
We also slather on sunscreen, fire up the barbecue, and quaff an adult beverage or two. Despite Labor Day’s true meaning, to most Americans it simply signifies the bittersweet end of the slower moving summer. Most of us celebrate Labor Day as one final blowout over the course of a three-day weekend. It’s coming up soon. Have you decided where you’re going yet? If not, time’s a-wastin’.
To keep you from having to do too much research, maybe one of the following suggestions will strike your fancy.
1 Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Gather up your crew and head to the mountains of Gatlinburg. Rent a small cozy cabin for two or a large two-story chalet for twenty of your closest friends and/or family. Once you arrive in the town of Gatlinburg stop at a grocery store and stock up on food and supplies. If you’re the drinking type, don’t forget your hops and spirits.
There is plenty to do in town but since you’re limited to a three-dayer why bother? The cabins have hot tubs, pool tables, foosball, cable television, stereos, full living rooms, huge balconies with grills, and full kitchens with all utensils. You might be in the woods but you won’t be roughing it.
2 Cedar Key, Florida
Not nearly as crowded as the overrun beaches in most of the rest of the state, Cedar Key is tucked away in an all but forgotten area of Florida’s Gulf Coast. While others are heading to Clearwater and Daytona, follow the path less traveled for a relaxing weekend in old style Florida.
Take your pick from several hotels, campgrounds/RV lots on the beach, or private rental homes. There is no better saltwater fishing in the entire state and boat captains are on hand to take anglers out to catch them. Lots of them. The pier is full of fresh seafood restaurants and pubs, some with live acoustic style music, along with gift shops and such in town.
Cedar Key is the perfect location to kick back and chill for a few days.
3 The Pocono Mountains – Pennsylvania
With 150 lakes and hopefully a touch of Fall foliage, the Pocono’s offer the best in relaxation or an opportunity to host the party of the year. Whitewater raft, hike some trails, tour the vineyards, watch deer from the back porch of a weekend rental home or turn up the music and never leave the house.
If you’re the outdoors type there are lots of campgrounds, or if you’re a couple looking to relax, try one of the many quaint B&B’s. If gambling is more to your liking you’ll want to visit the casino and if NASCAR is your thing, check out the tricky-triangle track. Golf, spas, excellent dining and a host of other activities await weekend travelers.
4 The Catskills – New York State
There is absolutely no better place to escape the daily grind than in the Catskills. This portion of the Appalachian Mountains is nothing short of Paradise with its mountain streams, lakes, lush forests, abundant wildlife, small quaint towns, and a peaceful serenity beyond compare. It’s a slice of Zen.
The freshest of meals are served in farm to table restaurants. Waterfalls are within hiking distances, fly-fishing is the best anywhere, and camping under the stars is an awesome soul-enriching experience. Of course, there are private homes and cottages for rent if sleeping indoors is more to your liking.
5 Las Vegas, Nevada
Not everyone wants to relax over Labor Day. For those people, Las Vegas is the ticket. See some shows. Lose some money. Gorge yourself at buffets. Visit a few of the local hotspots. Lounge by a hotel pool. Whatever someone could want, outside of a slow comatose couple of days, it’s all waiting in Wayne Newton’s hometown.
6 Seattle, Washington
Do as Seattlelites do and spend your time outdoors without ever leaving the city. The Emerald City has thousands of acres of parks to sprawl out on and the city is cool and eclectic with a coffee-house vibe. Chat with new and interesting people in the local pubs and enjoy world-class dining in a hodgepodge of fusion restaurants.
There is no shortage of music in Seattle from grunge to folk to the unclassified so if you’re a lover of live bands you won’t be disappointed. While you’re there, take a walk along the seaside.
7 Yosemite National Park – California
Surround yourself with the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park. Hike to magnificent waterfalls as you breathe in the freshest of clean air or just drive through and marvel at its majesty as you snap photos.
Stay in one of the nearby hotels and take day trips through the park. For a really relaxing time pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the birds chirping as you chew on bologna sandwiches.
8 Seaside Heights – New Jersey
Nothing spells Labor Day like Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore. It’s a bustle of activity on this weekend and the fun never stops. Enjoy some rides, dive into a world-famous funnel cake, or spread out a towel and soak up some rays.
If you work up a thirst you can stop in at one of the bars or you can appease your appetite with a Philly cheese steak. But the most popular event of all is partaking of the epic people watching opportunities. They are incomparable.
9 Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth is New England at its finest. On Saturday the town hosts a farmers market and every Sunday there is a free open house at Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse.
A drive down highway A1 provides a gorgeous New England view and there are many local restaurants in which to slurp a dozen oysters and cool down with a craft brew.
Labor Day is rapidly approaching so if you plan on getting away for the weekend now is the time to figure out where you’re gonna go. Hopefully, these seven locations will give you some ideas. Whatever you do, please go somewhere. Happy travels.