“Golden Hour at Emerald Bay” header courtesy Frank Schulenburg
It’s Labor Day and, hopefully, you found some shenanigans to stumble into and are having a kickass time. But we know that, realistically, quite a number of you would have liked to get outta town and experience something new but couldn’t quite make it happen this year.
This list is for you.
In honor of this American holiday, below we’re going to take a U.S.-focused look at a few select Labor Day vacation destinations from coast to coast. Every one is all but guaranteed to be the send-off your summer deserves.
1. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Want to get off the beaten path? If you’re the outdoorsy type and are feeling that call of the wild, you’ll adore Grand Teton National Park. Fishing at Jenny lake, horseback riding expeditions, a plethora of hiking trails, and some of the finest mountain scenery in the lower 48. We’re talking bison, elk, moose… not your garden variety critters here. In sum: majestic af.
2. San Juan Islands, Washington
Unlike Grand Teton, there’s a good chance the San Juan Islands aren’t even on your radar but, trust us, there’s an undeniable and unique appeal here. This is its own little paradise lying but a ferry ride from Washington state. Part of an archipelago, it houses the highest mountain in the area. Beyond the panoramic vistas, towering peaks and gorgeous waters, there’s a particular jewel—Orcas Island, home to spectacular killer whales. How often do you get to watch orcas in their natural habitat? (Totally a rhetorical question; we already know the answer to that one!)
3. Savannah, Georgia
Skipping almost clear across the country, we gotta talk about a southern belle that’s sweet, charming and totally worth your attention: Savannah. This gorgeous Georgian gem is known for its idyllic charm, historic homes, and cobblestone streets, but it’s also a prime Labor Day destination. Tybee Beach’s Island Pier and Pavilion hosts the Labor Day Beach Bash (live music, etc.) and the weekend also features the Savannah Craft Brew Fest.
Oh, and speaking of beer, you booze hounds are gonna love Savannah’s open container law—the city allows possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Winning!
4. The Forks, Maine
Want something a little more… extreme… than Savannah? The Forks up in Maine has got you. Its Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort is considered tops in the state for whitewater rafting. The junction of the Kennebec and Dead Rivers make for excellent riding—class III and IV rapids are here in spades. The resort offers condos, cabins, campgrounds, and RV accommodations… not to mention cold craft brews.
5. Lake Tahoe, California
You knew we just had to have Cali reppin on this list! Now, we understand you usually associate Lake Tahoe with the winter, but this place will dazzle the hell outta you in summer, too. Fifty-five acres of beaches and forests are calling, including the largest alpine lake in the country. On offer to lucky visitors: hiking, biking, kayaking, scuba diving, and more. And if you’re not up for camping overnight, there’s even a Ritz-Carlton complete with whirlpool and a private pier to pamper ya.