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Last Minute Labor Day Trip Ideas

Mary Zakheim
Written by Mary Zakheim

If you’re anything like us, you have a hazy idea of what you want from your Labor Day vacation: friends, sun and fun. Buuuut… You haven’t really done anything to plan. Yet. You’ll get to it, right? To make your decision easier, we’ve put together a shortlist of all the easiest options that us last-minute planners can actually make happen. All you need is a group of friends and a spontaneous flair and you’ll be ready to go. Check out our top picks for last-minute adventures that even the most procrastinating of trekkers can pull off by tomorrow.

Go Camping in a National Park

There are 58 national parks in this country (not to mention the whopping 6,624 state parks). Odds are, there’s one near you. So pack up your backpack (or aim to sleep in your car) and get ready for a fun-filled adventure that takes advantage of the beautiful landscapes that our country has to offer. Make sure to check the website of your local national park to make sure you know if you have to pay a fee to enter, which campgrounds usually fill up fast or any other intel that’s good to know before you head out on the open road.

Find a Fun (Free) Festival Nearby

Labor Day usually means free stuff all weekend, courtesy of our doting cities and towns. A lot of places around the country are keen to get the community together to celebrate our three-day weekend — complete with live music, tons of food and entertaining performances scattered all over town. Almost every town has something to offer: from Detroit’s HUGE free jazz festival to Philadelphia’s free weekend of live music, towns all across the country are putting on big events that lets the locals gather and celebrate their day off.

Cool Off at the Local Watering Hole

No, we’re not talking about hitting up a bar (though, now that you mention it…), we’re telling you to find a river, lake or ocean nearby where you can lay down a couple of towels, bring a picnic basket and really enjoy your well-deserved day off. If you can, grab a couple of ‘tubes and plan to float down a river: snacks, drinks and friends in tow.

Gamble Your Little Heart Out

Grab a cigar, your clique and a pre-selected amount of money to spend and head for the hills (or rather, the casino) to test your luck at the blackjack table. Remember to bet responsibly! Check out if your local casino has a Labor Day performer passing through town and try to catch some live music to celebrate your surefire winnings (we’re optimists, okay?). Most casinos have a hotel attached, where you can really celebrate the weekend in style — hopefully after an entire day of straight jackpots.

Fly Somewhere Unexpected

Sometimes, airlines post deals super late in the game. No promises, but it’s worth a check today to see if somewhere on your bucket list is just waiting to get crossed off. Whether it’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go or just a random eeny, meeny, miny, moe decision, chances are, you’ll come back with a couple amazing stories, some valuable lessons and an inescapable sense of adventure.


About the author

Mary Zakheim

Mary Zakheim

When she is not figuring out what the middle button on her headphones is for, explaining the difference between Washington State and Washington D.C., arriving to the airport too early or refusing to use the Oxford comma, you can usually find Mary in the mountains, at a show or on her couch.

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