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Labor Day weekend is that amazing time of the year when you can comfortably enjoy outdoor activities but totally decorate for Fall! And I am so here for both! As I resisted the urge to start baking the first of many batches of pumpkin cookies, I created a list of family vacation ideas to enjoy during Labor Day weekend while the weather is still incredible.
Discover a New Beach
Now is not the time to plan your normal beach vacation that involves 1200 people in a 20 square foot radius. But, there are some great secluded beaches that are calling your name like;
- Assateague Island- East coasters can avoid big crowds at Assateague Island in Maryland. It's the perfect weekend getaway. As a nature sanctuary, you'll see many wild horses roaming free.
- South Manitou Island- Instead of an ocean trip, what about a beautiful lake? Check out South Manitou Island in Michigan - only accessible by ferry. Lighthouses, privacy, beaches. It's the perfect altered vacation spot.
- Kelly's Island- Not far from Sandusky, OH is Kelly's Island. Also accessible only by ferry, the island has a quaint, adorable small-town feel with plenty of outdoor, socially distant activities to do. Leave your car behind and explore on a moped or a golf cart.
- Carova Beach- With a lack of paved roads, Carova Beach in North Carolina is a relaxing, quiet beach that offers tons of privacy.
- Orient Beach State Park- In North Fork in Suffolk County, New York, you can leave the crowds behind and enjoy biking, kayaking, or a family cookout right on the beach.
- Enderts Beach- If you're willing to hike to Enderts Beach in California, a coastline covered in sand and wild-flowers provide the perfect atmosphere for a private day on the beach.
- Roque Bluffs- Maine provides beautiful landscapes, amazing seafood, and a great destination for a beach getaway. Roque Bluffs gives enough room to spread out and enjoy the bay or the ocean at your leisure.
Rent a Boat
Think about it. It's late summer, it's hot, everyone wants to be around water. Rent a boat! It's the ultimate seclusion keeping your family away from those annoying teenagers that refuse to wear a mask but still manage to get in your bubble space (Bitter! Party of one!). A few things to consider before packing up and heading to the lake:
- Check your state laws on licensing. Some ask for a driver's license, however, others are more strict and require a boating license.
- Consider age requirements. There are age requirements for children depending on the boat you're renting. This can be mandated by the rental company and state law. For example; some states require that a child be no younger than 3 months on a boat and 3 years on a watercraft.
- Bring a giant cooler and food! Consider you'll be on the boat for several hours without access to anything but water and sun. You can't bring too much water or too much food.
- Don't forget music. You won't regret bringing a device to play music for your day on the lake… Even if it is the Frozen soundtrack. Have you listened to Frozen II? It's not bad really. I need to get out more.
- Buy your own life-jacket. Most rental companies provide life-jackets and are sanitizing them between customers, however, you can pick up a relatively inexpensive life-jacket for your kid so you don't have to worry about the fit or germs.
Visit a Farm
Of course, this would be the year that my kid is FINALLY old enough to enjoy a zoo. I just can't bring myself to risk the crowds. But there is another option - farms! There are so many that allow visitors and kids to get up close and personal with the animals.
And let's be honest, Fall is basically here. That means corn mazes, hay bale rides, pumpkin patches, apple picking… Farms are one of the most festive and fun places to visit whether you have kids or just want a date night. Just sayin…
If you're worried about germs, check out their online reviews or their website to see what precautions they are taking. Or call and ask directly. Safety first.
Explore the Botanical Gardens
I am within 3 miles of a botanical garden and didn't explore it until 2 weeks ago. Shameful, I know. Since then, I've been 3 times! If you haven't taken the kids yet, start planning. It's a great option when trying to socially distance.
Want to make a special trip of it? There are incredible botanical gardens all over the US.
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens- From the children's garden to the domed Conservatory, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Virginia is worth the visit. Meander through 50-acres of beauty.
- Longwood Gardens- Located in Kennett Square, PA, Longwood Gardens shouldn't be missed. A beautiful water lily display surrounded by four and a half acres of indoor gardens. Now is a great time as the fountains were just completed from a $90 million renovation.
- Desert Botanical Garden- Most of us don't think 'desert' when the word garden is mentioned, but Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ changes that. 50,000 plants across 140 acres prove that the desert is breathtaking too.
- Portland Japanese Garden- A strolling pond, tea garden, sand and stone garden, flat garden, and natural garden create a serene Japanese inspired atmosphere considered second to only Japan itself.
- Missouri Botanical Garden- Featuring one of the world's largest collections of rare orchids, this 79-acre garden has so much to offer including an indoor rainforest for the ultimate escape.
Love gardens? Don't Miss Exploring Celtic Garden with Kids in Galway
Think Outside the Box
Don't worry. You're not alone. I'm going insane too. And that mother over there? She's one kid tantrum away from completely losing her mind. I think the keys to getting through all of this is to give ourselves grace knowing that being on edge is okay, relying on each other because we're a global village, and thinking outside the box.
With that said, it's time to start planning for a nice long weekend with family. The last big holiday with beautiful weather - I think we all need to take advantage.
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