Bid farewell with a last-minute Labor Day deal By Katrina Brown Hunt
Want to squeeze out every last drop of summer? There’s still time for one last hurrah. Kid-friendly resorts around the country are rolling out the red carpet with last-minute Labor Day weekend specials aimed at families. Here’s a sampling of places where summer’s going out with a bang:
Where: Scottsdale, AZ Why: Because this palatial desert resort finds many ways to transcend the triple-digit temps. For starters, there are nine acres of pools, a Funicians kids’ club, afternoon teas and a $25 million art collection, complemented with family-friendly audio tours. Over the holiday weekend, you can enjoy hula-hoop contests, badminton tournaments, poolside movies, and evening waterslide games. The 100 Days of Summer Special starts at a refreshing $169 a night (come fall, regular rates will creep up to $375).
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Where: Seven Springs, PA Why: Because kids can have a big finish to their summer by cruising down a 1,980-foot alpine slide, climbing the rock wall, or flying through the air on the Eurobungy. There’s also bowling, disk golf, game rooms, and chairlift rides. Meanwhile, grown-ups can recharge for the coming school year at the full-service Trillium Spa. The Labor Day Celebration Package costs $199 per person, and includes a two-night stay, daily breakfast, Italian dinner buffet, and an all-access wristband for all of the cool activities. Kids 11 and under can stay and play for free.
Where: Grapevine, TX Why: Because this lakefront Texas resort beats the heat with a rambling waterpark that features a 6,000-square-foot lagoon, lazy river, 27-foot-tall winding waterslide, two horseshoe-shaped hot pools, and a dedicated toddler pool. There’s also a game pavilion with bocce ball, croquet, and good ol’ shuffleboard. Labor Day weekend offers special pool games, movies, temporary tattoos, hair-braiding, fireside ghost stories, and an afternoon “Silly Hour” for kids (meaning half-price slushie drinks). The SummerFest deal starts at $259 a night and includes daily breakfast for four, as well as waived parking and resort fees (which would normally add up to about $30 a day). To get the deal, you have to book by phone at 817/778-2000.
Pheasant Run Resort
Where: St. Charles, IL Why: Because this family-friendly golf resort and spa near Chicago has a roster of outdoor activities that include live music, pool games, and a poolside barbecue. In the evenings, families can watch movies under the stars or roast s’mores over a bonfire. The Kids’ Klub will be open all weekend for arts and crafts, and grown-ups can check out the comedy club or the on-site live theater. The Holiday Weekend Summer Splash package starts at $129 a night and includes a $25 dining voucher, tokens for the Swamp Arcade, free ice cream, and kids craft activities.
Resort at Squaw Creek
Where: Lake Tahoe, CA Why: Because this is one of the last chances to enjoy the warm weather fun before ski season kicks in. You can bike, take guided hikes, or go fly fishing at this recently renovated, 400-room hotel, and there’s also great kayaking nearby. Over the weekend, kids 17 and under can play golf for free (with a paying adult) on the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course, and by the pool there will be barbecues, dive-in movies, s’more roasts, bocce ball, and tie-dying. The Labor Day Family Bed & Breakfast Package starts at $219 a night and includes breakfast for a family of four.
Where: Wheeling, WV Why: Because this picturesque golf resort and spa is a mini-city in itself, with a planetarium, glass museum, and even a 30-acre zoo. Families can rent paddle boats or go fishing on Schenk Lake, take in a few rounds of mini golf, or go horseback riding. Weekend festivities will include fireworks, a live symphony performance, a woodcarving show, and an historic re-enactment. The three-night Labor Day Summer Finale package starts at $480 for two adults and includes lodging, a welcome reception, daily breakfast, zoo and museum admission, and many activities. There’s an additional charge of $15 to $20 a night for each child, depending on age. You can also opt for a two-night package, staying Friday and Saturday night, for $330.
Where: Pine Mountain, GA Why: Because this year marks the 14th anniversary of the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens. The weekend kicks off on a high note with a beautiful balloon glow on Robin Lake Beach, when rows of tethered balloons will be illuminated. Balloon launches will take place on Saturday and Sunday, along with kid-friendly activities such as trampolines, tethered balloon rides, mini golf, laser tag, a car show, live music, and a 5K fun run. The Sky High Hot Air Balloon package starts at $179 a night and includes breakfast for two adults ($8 extra per child ages 6-12), four tie-dye t-shirt tickets, and admission to the balloon festival and other attractions, including the butterfly center and Callaway’s famous gardens.
Where: Pismo Beach, CA Why: Because this kid-friendly resort offers luxurious accommodations, a beach, and easy day-trip access to Hearst Castle, a local children’s museum, and a zoo. Labor Day weekend at the resort will feature live music, nightly wine-and-cheese tastings for adults, and dive-in movies. Families can go biking, kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding nearby, while the complimentary kids’ club offers crafts, tidepooling, and s’more-making. The three-night Labor Day Summer Finale package starts at $209 a night and you can add breakfast for two for just $15 (kids 5 and under eat free). You can also add Monday night for just $99.
Wild Eagle Lodge
Where: Eagle River, WI Why: Because, if your family loves the outdoors, this quiet lakeside retreat is a perfect place to say good-bye to summer. Think sandcastles on the private beach, boating, fishing, campfires, and sports galore. On Sunday, the Kid’s Fishing Jamboree ends with prizes and ribbons for little anglers who reel in a big one. There are also scavenger hunts, ice-cream-making, movies on the lawn and a giant outdoor version of Twister. The two-night Labor Day Family Getaway starts at $500 for a family of four and includes $10 worth of resort bucks per person, one game of bowling per person, and Sunday brunch.
Point Sebago Resort
Where: South Casco, ME Why: Because this camp-style family resort, located on one of Maine’s most pristine lakes, delivers a whirlwind of activities, ranging from flag football and kayaking to social games (cue “family double dare”) and hayrides. Kids get time with their peers at Chippy’s Playhouse, while teens get their own hangout with video and table games. The three-night Labor Day package starts at $310 per adult, and includes accommodations; eight buffet meals, including one lobster dinner; mini golf; myriad free entertainment and activities; discounted golf greens fees; plus a one-hour lake cruise. You’ll pay an additional $45 to $90 per night per child, depending on age (kids three and under are free).
Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa
Where: Thompsonville, MI Why: Because this family-owned ski resort will wrap up this summer with a “Pure Michigan” party: a big farmers market with lots of local crafts, a pool party for the kids, sack races, corn-on-the-cob-eating contests, and movies. The resort also boasts Michigan’s only alpine slide, a waterpark, and an adventure zone with tubing, kayaking, and biking. The Labor Day Weekend Half Off Sunday special gets you half off on Sunday night when you book Friday and Saturday. We found three-night packages that averaged $174 a night.
Where: St. Pete Beach, FL Why: Because this beachfront property has plenty of family-friendly activities both on and off the sand, as well as fireworks and a big buffet to end the summer season. Kids can take a ride (or several) down the waterslide, play mini golf, get their faces painted, do carnival games, or compete in limbo or hula-hoop contests. The three-night Endless Summer Labor Day package starts at $194 a night for a family of four and bundles entertainment and buffet tickets, as well as niceties such as a parking pass, paddleboat use, and a beach cabana.