Best last-minute Labor Day weekend getaways for 2022

street view on Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 24, 2017: USA; Shutterstock ID 1964255125; your: Tasmin Waby; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: Demand Project
Savoring the last few moments of the summer at Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota © Yang Yang / 500px

The end of summer is coming fast, so it’s time to start planning your last hurrah for 2022.

Whether you want to tackle Utah’s hiking trails or escape to a Caribbean beach, these destinations are easy last-minute Labor Day weekend getaways.

An arched bridge leading toward a city skyline, with water reflecting a lilac sky above; labor day weekend
View of Minneapolis from St Anthony Main © Yang Yang / 500px

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Most come to Minneapolis for its art, parks and diverse food scene; many stay for the Minnesota Nice. This Labor Day weekend count up all the ‘have a nice days’ you receive while experiencing the Midwestern metropolis’ magic.

Peruse the exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, which has a fantastic collection of 20th-century art and photography from around the world. For a slice of real Midwestern Americana, make sure to check out the Minnesota State Fair, which wraps up Labor Day weekend. It’s the largest state fair in the US by attendance.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

This low-key beach doesn’t get the press that Daytona or South Beach do, but it packs all the ocean fun of those other strips of sand without the hubbub. Flights into Orlando are cheap, and a proliferation of rental cars that are even cheaper means getting here (it’s an hour drive) is as easy as saying ‘life’s a beach.’

Rent a surfboard at one of the many beachside stands and hit the waves, which are some of the Sunshine State’s best. After, stock up on souvenirs at the shops along Canal Street Historic District.

Mother with son and daughter hiking in the Wasatch Foothills above Salt Lake City
The Wasatch Range is loaded with great day hike opportunities © Mike Tittel / Getty Images

Salt Lake City, Utah

By late August and early September, Salt Lake City is winding down from summer and patiently waiting for winter to arrive. The kids are back to school and the skis are still stowed away in attics. That means hotel rooms are discounted and hiking trails are virtually empty.

Swing by Gracie’s to sample the Utah-local microbrews before grabbing dinner at The Copper Onion. Just outside the city, take a hike up into Neff’s Canyon for sweeping views of the Wasatch Mountains and SLC below.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle shines during the summer when the chance of rain is low and the warm weather gets Seattleites outside and on the trails. Labor Day heralds summer’s swan song, but it’s still a great time to visit the Emerald City. The weather has cooled from peak summer highs, and the same goes for tourists: September is generally a quieter time of year.

That means the city highlights like Pike Place Market and the Space Needle have all their Seattle delight without the crowds. Labor Day weekend also sees Bumbershoot, Seattle’s annual music and art festival – and one of the largest in the country.

A chateau-style building under an orange sky, with green trees and grass in the foreground; labor day weekend
The Château Frontenac first opened in 1893 © Posnov / Getty Images

Québec City, Québec

A slice of European cool is just a short trip away in Québec City. North America’s oldest European settlement is packed with an Old World feel, with classic bistros and sidewalk cafes along cobblestone streets. Pick up a croissant and café au lait at Paillard before strolling through Parc de l’Esplanade. Above it all stands the elegant Château Frontenac hotel, the fairytale-like icon of the city.

Art deco buildings under a gray sky
Detroit's art deco architecture gives the city a unique appeal © rlassman / Shutterstock

Detroit, Michigan

The fair city of Detroit has suffered its slings and arrows, but it’s emerged a city transformed. Derelict buildings have been turned into distilleries, art galleries and restaurants, while the downtown area has retained a special art deco appeal that has a ring of good times past, with plenty more yet to come.

This Labor Day weekend, two festivals kick off, capturing twin art forms that make this city great: music and design. The first is the Detroit Jazz Festival a free fete of live performances from jazz legends from around the world. The second is the Detroit Month of Design, which will celebrate the city’s legacy of creativity with lectures, special exhibitions and events.

A woman sitting at the waterfront in Brooklyn
A woman sitting at the waterfront in Brooklyn © Westend61 / Getty

New York City, New York

Labor Day in the US began in New York City in 1882, when the city’s workers went on strike and took to the streets for a march calling for better working conditions. To get a sense of the history of that period, stop by the Tenement Museum, which recreates two tenement buildings from the 19th century and tells the stories of the immigrants who called the buildings home.

Elsewhere, enjoy the city’s staggering amount of major museums relatively crowd free – our favorite is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is celebrating American fashion with an incredible exhibition of men’s and women’s dress dating back to 1805.

A boat sailing through blue waters, with a narrow island in the background
The Bahamas is an easy island escape for Labor Day weekend © Peter Sitterli / 500px

The Bahamas

With consistently warm water, salty ocean breezes and idyllic coastal nooks and crannies across 700 islets and islands, the Bahamas is a charmer year-round. Late August and early September is shoulder season in the Bahamas, meaning fewer visitors.

In a long weekend, you can catch a quick flight Nassau, where you can exclaim ‘shiver me timbers!’ at the Pirates of Nassau museum, catch a jitney (local minibus) for beach-side bar hopping, and take a dip in the crystalline waters at Cable Beach.

September is statistically peak hurricane season, so check that your travel insurance has a policy on cancellations due to extreme weather.

A sunset bike ride on Folly Beach Pier
A sunset bike ride on Folly Beach Pier © KenWiedemann / Getty

Charleston, South Carolina

Come early September, Charleston’s muggy summer weather has abated, leaving the city’s historic streets prime for walking. Stroll through the historic French Quarter to get a sense of the city’s past, with stops at sites like the Old Slave Mart Museum for a stark look at a place where human beings were sold bought and sold, or the Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon to tour a former prison used by the British during the Revolutionary War.

For a brighter side of the city, grab some Instagram-worthy shots of the pastel-colored buildings along Rainbow Row. This Labor Day weekend, the Low Country Jazz Festival takes the stage at the Gaillard Center, the city’s new performance art center.

Introducing the USA
This article was first published on July 29, 2019 and updated on August 16, 2022

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