According to AAA, millions of Americans will be hitting the road this 2019 Labor Day weekend. And, luckily, there are plenty of options for families looking for a last-minute easy vacation. Here are some of our top picks:
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Just a 70-minute drive from Manhattan, the booming shore town of Asbury Park has seen a major renaissance in the last decade and is now a beacon for the best in art, music, food and more.
Where to Stay: This summer marked the opening of the Jersey Shore’s first five-star luxury boutique property, Asbury Ocean Club Hotel. Designed by Anda Andrei and operated by David Bowd of Salt Hotels, the new property makes for the perfect refuge and retreat from everyday life, where expectations are exceeded and every whim is anticipated.
What to Do: Bowl the night away at the iconic Asbury Lanes: After a loving restoration keeping many of the original features, the newly-reopened Asbury Lanes was reborn as a state-of-the-art music venue whose wild history permeates every square foot.
Rock and Roll at The Stone Pony – Enjoy a show at one of the most iconic rock venues in the world. New Jersey natives like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi helped put the place on the map and top artists continue to build the venue’s legacy.
Make a hole in one at Asbury Park’s only mini-golf course – located just steps away from the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel, Asbury Park Amusements proves that mini-golf knows no age limits and is the perfect Labor Day weekend activity.
Relive your glory days at Silverball Museum – Immerse yourself in pure nostalgia at the Pinball Hall of Fame, a crowd favorite for locals and visitors alike. With over 600 games in rotation, visitors can always find their favorites.
Need to escape the hustle and bustle for the long weekend? If avoiding a crowded beach and embracing the “slow life” is more of your speed, take a trip to enjoy The Mount Rushmore State’s lush forests, quiet and serene meadows, and majestic mountains.
Fly into the capital city of Pierre or into the state’s art and culinary hub of Sioux Falls, take a road trip along the mighty Missouri River with stops at the Eastern side of the state’s quaint towns or set up a cozy campsite at and Lewis & Clark Recreation Area
Top best end-of-summer activities include:
The 134th South Dakota State Fair kicks off on August 29th, followed by a weekend of special events, concert performances and plenty to eat and drink including a beer garden and wine pavilion
A visit to the sprawling sunflower fields in all their glory – Roughly 875 million pounds are produced every year, making South Dakota — not Kansas — the true “sunflower state”.
Take a dive into the local food & beer at:
Bread & Circus – A downtown Sioux Falls favorite, Bread & Circus uses locally sourced ingredients, serving handcrafted food and drinks including “Naughty Fries” and the “Schnitzelwich” sandwich.
6th Meridian Hops Farm – Visit the family-run farm for their last open weekend of the season, where they will be offering short tours of the farm and homemade bite to eat with your beer.
Ben’s Brewing Co. – A brewery, taproom, and Yankton’s only speakeasy, Ben’s is the ideal spot to enjoy local brews, specialty cocktails and quality time with family or friends.
Experience the true West with a horseback ride along the riverbanks with Tinker Kennels.
Clear your mind in the peace and quiet of an afternoon fishing at Lower Brule Reservation.
Block Island, Rhode Island
Just a quick ferry ride from mainland Rhode Island, Block Island brings guests back to a simpler time where every moment is savored and small family-run businesses reign supreme. Visitors flock to Block Island in the summer, especially for Labor Day weekend, to savor the last days of summer before heading back to school with a quintessential New England feel.
Where to Stay: Stay at 1661 Inn, where the rooms boast sweeping ocean views and cottages and guesthouses will provide families enough privacy and space for a memorable trip, including Hendrickson House — in addition to six private rooms this house features two apartments, perfect for a big family, and Anchor House — which is a six-room house is perfect for sunset watching.
What to Do: While on Block Island, check out Fred Benson Town Beach, otherwise known as Crescent Beach, a family favorite beach on the island with moderate surf. Or, spend time searching for hundreds of glass orbs hidden around the island with Eben Horton’s Block Island Glass Float project, which is maintained by The Nature Conservancy.
The City of Brotherly Love’s world-famous historical landmarks makes for the perfect Labor Day weekend activity, from catching a glimpse of America’s most famous bell to visiting the birthplace of the American flag. Equally as noteworthy as the city’s rich history is the iconic Rocky statue, professional sports teams, vibrant art and culture scene, and extraordinary culinary offerings.
Where to Stay: Those seeking an experience that redefines luxury should look no further than The Rooms at Fitler Club. The recently opened, game-changing Fitler Club is the ultimate “work/stay/play” destination, where some of the city’s most sought-after accommodations allow guests to become a member of The Club for the duration of their stay. The Rooms at Fitler Club offer guests exclusive access to the club’s amenities including a world-class gym and spa (The Field House), a restaurant with a menu by renowned chef Mark Vetri (The Dining Room), a 50-seat movie theater (The Screening Room) and collaborative workspaces (The Study).
What to Do:
Jay-Z’s Made in America music festival is back for its 7th year from 8/31 – 9/1 featuring a full weekend of performances from some of the biggest names in hip-hop and R&B like Cardi B, Travis Scott, Lizzo and more. Residents and visitors alike flock to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the epic two-day event.
The Longwood Gardens fireworks show is unlike any other. On 9/1 at 8:15 pm, fireworks are accompanied by a dazzling fountain show with fountains and lights choreographed to music from hit movies like The Greatest Showman and Footloose.
Attend the wildly popular Volksfest, happening from 8/31 – 9/2, which features authentic German food, beer, entertainment, vendors, rides for kids and much more.
Catch a cruise, enjoy America’s favorite pastime and relish in the fun at Philadelphia’s first outdoor roller rink for the last weekend of Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest.
Say “howdy” to Dallas because “The Big D” is the perfect last-minute getaway to say goodbye to the summer season. The city always boasts fun things to do, but this Labor Day weekend line-up will be one to remember.
Where to Stay: Book a room at the Hilton Anatole and take advantage of the property’s waterparks’ final weekend. Make a splash at the 360-foot lazy river and two 180 foot-long waterslides, then venture into the city for these fun activities:
What to Do:
- This Labor Day Weekend, the 3rd Annual Riverfront Jazz Festival delights music lovers for three consecutive days with a renowned lineup of talented artists from around the world such as Erykah Badu and Louis Gossett.
- Fashionistas from all over the world are flocking to Dallas for the Dior: From Paris to the World exhibit, which makes its second and only other U.S. stop at the Dallas Museum of Art. The stunning exhibit includes a selection of more than 100 haute couture dresses, original sketches, photographs and other archival material that highlight the more than 70 years of legacy and global influence of the House of Dior. The last day to take in all the beauty is Sept. 1.
Candytopia is a marshmallowy mini theme park that features more than a dozen rooms and environments with larger-than-life interactive art installations and full sensory experiences.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science features a temporary exhibit created by world-renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya– Art of the Brick. This work of art is the world’s largest and most elaborate display of pieces constructed using only LEGO® bricks. This family-fun exhibit can only be experienced until Sept. 2!
St. Pete/Clearwater, FL
Home to record-breaking 361 days of sunshine per year and some of the best beaches in the U.S., St. Pete/Clearwater is an under the radar destination that combines a funky Florida vibe with an artsy and authentic local experience. With low-cost flights into the Tampa International Airport and low hotel rates, St. Pete/Clearwater is the ideal last-minute Labor Day getaway.
Where to Stay: Stay at The Vinoy with rates starting at $252 per night. Within walking distance of everything Downtown St. Pete has to offer, The Vinoy is the chic Florida beach hotel with historic elegance and a modern sense of independence.
What to Do: Enjoy the final days of summer soaking up the sun by the pool or St. Pete Beach. Challenge friends and family to a game of tennis or golf or charter a boat and experience St. Pete by the water.
In addition to the plethora of outdoor activities, such as swimming with horses and see-through kayaking with manatees, travelers can indulge in culinary delights with the “Gulp Coast” Craft Beer Trail and the multitude of restaurants on Central Ave in downtown St. Pete.
Travelers can take a break from the sun and spend time indoors at top museums such as the Imagine Museum, The Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. From white sand beaches to top art and culture, there’s something for everyone this Labor Day Weekend in St. Pete.
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City is the Las Vegas of the East Coast with its world-renowned casino resorts and hotels, award-winning restaurants, four-mile-long boardwalk, six-mile-long beach, daily headline entertainment, luxury spas, and diverse shopping experiences. Easily accessible from the New York and Philadelphia metro areas, the city is within driving distance of one-third of the country’s population.
Where To Stay: This Jersey shore hotspot is home to Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa an unparalleled resort-casino with 15 eateries, including fine-dining restaurants by world-renowned chefs like Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck and Michael Symon.
What To Do: After a day on the boardwalk, stop by Borgata’s Gypsy bar for tequila and music, followed by a night of slots and casino games.
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
Imagine blue skies and white-sand beaches on the uninhabited islands along the Gulf of Mexico. Savor the last few days of summer with an easy island getaway to Sanibel and Captiva to escape the crowds, two coastal sanctuaries off of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Instead of crowded beaches and costly theme park tickets, the two unspoiled islands have an “old Florida” ambiance, with no stoplights, chain restaurants, or buildings higher than a palm tree.
Where to Stay: Nestled on the tip of Captiva, South Seas Island Resort is a haven for families and nature lovers, situated on 300 acres of protected wildlife with 2 miles of secluded beachfront.
What to Do: With over 60 percent of Sanibel and Captiva preserved for wildlife, visit a local preserve like the 6,400 acre J.N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and explore the thousands of acres of trails on foot or on a bike or by kayak alongside resident wildlife like the Florida Manatee.
Due to the island’s unique geography, its beaches showcase over 250 varieties of colorful seashells, like the elusive Junonia. Rare specimens are displayed at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, the only museum in the U.S dedicated entirely to seashells.
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