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Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer, with many of us heading back into school schedules and fall routines. If you're like my family, you may dream of one last weekend getaway or family vacation -- and then end up doing back-to-school shopping or house projects because nothing else got planned. 


Planning Labor Day fun doesn't have to be complicated or pricey. If you're looking for easy ideas to make your holiday weekend exciting, relaxing, or the perfect way to say goodbye to summer, try these tips for what to do and where to go this Labor Day weekend.





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See a City in 24 Hours


A beautiful San Francisco street corner with palm trees and old buildings. Explore a new city for Labor Day fun and a weekend vacation.

A quick, one-day trip means there's no pressure to see and do everything. Just have fun! Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash.



Challenge yourselves to drive to a nearby city and plan the ultimate 24-hour itinerary. When our family makes a quick trip to a new town, we usually breeze by a few well-known attractions, walk around the historic or downtown areas, find a local place for dinner, and then rest up before hitting the zoo or a museum the next day. 


Not sure where to start? Try picking a theme for the visit -- walking tours, food tours, museums, etc. -- and make a schedule that matches. Stay in a high-rise hotel to get a perfect view of your destination or find an AirBnb in a historic area (bonus points if it has a pool). 


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Relax at a Resort


A resort pool with umbrellas and beach chairs, with a blue lake and mountains in the background. Get away to a resort for Labor Day fun.

Unwind poolside and let someone else worry about meals. Photo by Lisa Wagstaff on Unsplash.



Treat your family to an indulgent weekend at a resort that fits within your budget and schedule. Exotic destinations like Hawaii or Mexico are a dream, but you can also find amazing resorts in the continental U.S. with no planes or passports required.


Enjoy an indoor water park with no weather worries by staying at Anaheim's Great Wolf Lodge. With dining options throughout the resort, you can hide your car keys and settle in with everything you need for the whole weekend. If palm trees and ocean waves are more your style, then try Terranea, a family-friendly luxury resort about an hour south of Los Angeles. 



Pro-Tip: Find someone to watch the kids and make this an epic date night or girls' getaway.



Plan an Outdoor Adventure


Empty canoes on the edge of a lake at sunrise. Plan an outdoor adventure for Labor Day fun.

If the activity involves water and adventure, then my kids are game (even when it involves early alarms, long hikes, or lots of exercise). Photo by Paul Nicholson.



Looking for a way to connect with tweens and teens over the holiday weekend? Go outdoors and find adventure! Kayaking, tubing, and caving have been popular activities with my boys. (You can combine two of those activities in one trip by cave kayaking in the Channel Islands.)


Take the adventure to the next level by camping out at the end of the day. Not ready to commit to a tent and camping supplies? Rent an RV or go glamping with a full-service company like Tentrr



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Retreat to a Cabin


A stone cabin on a mountainside. Retreat to a cabin vacation weekendfor relaxing Labor Day fun.

State parks are one of our favorite ways to find last-minute, affordable vacation ideas. Photo by Christy Nicholson.



If you're looking to get out into nature with a low-key, affordable option, reserve a cabin at a nearby state park. I love cabins as no-brainer weekend getaways -- I don't have to worry about paying for parking, finding sleeping bags, or listening to noisy hotel guests. This is an especially good option for parents with young kids who need a slow weekend before diving into a busy school year. 


Try a historic beach cabin at Crystal Cove State Park, or drive north and stay among the sequoias at Calavera Big Trees State Park. You can plan easy walks through nature or just bring books and board games and let everyone relax in a quiet setting. 






Plan a Family Beach Bash


Green beach chairs and a matching umbrella with the ocean in the distance. A child is playing in the waves. One last beach visit is a great recipe for Labor Day fun.

Say goodbye to summer, but not to adventure. There's more fun to be had all year long! Photo by Paul Nicholson.



There's no better way to bid summer farewell than a celebration at the beach. If your family already visits the shore each weekend, shake things up by trying a new beach away from your usual spots. If you've tried everything along the nearby coast, visit a lake beach instead or hike to a pristine swimming hole. 


Settle in for a fun day and go all out to create that summer party vibe -- beach balls, picnic food, and popsicles. Set the kids loose in the waves (keeping a cautious eye on them for safety, of course!). Then relax by the water, enjoy the scenery, and say goodbye to summer and hello to all the good things the next year will bring.  



Christy Nicholson is a writer, editor, and recovering perfectionist from Nashville, Tennessee. When not traveling with family, she enjoys cozy days at home reading, gardening, making music, and wrangling two awesome kids. Christy writes at Any-Worth.com about travel and sustainable living.





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