Labor Day with kids
By Mimi Slawoff
Niagara Falls is a fantastic place to visit this Labor Day Weekend. (Flickr: Scazon )
Although Labor Day Weekend typically marks the end of summer vacation for families, it’s also a great time for a last minute, quick getaway for a few more days of fun in the sun.
As summer fades to fall, it’s not too late to hold on to sun-filled days with outings to a beach, the mountains and countryside, or wherever your family enjoys a quick escape. For many families, Labor Day Weekend is the last opportunity until the next holiday to enjoy favorite activities together before settling into a school routine. Whether your family prefers rustic or luxury trips, these five quick Labor Day getaways are surefire ways to cap off your summer vacation with a smile.
Camping at a State or National Park
If your family is nutty for nature, there’s nothing better than hiking in a forest, fishing on a lake, sitting around a campfire, and sleeping under the stars. From mountains and beaches to valleys and deserts, America’s family-friendly state and national parks have wondrous sights to explore. Hear thunderous waterfalls in Yosemite National Park and Niagara Falls State Park, stand beneath giant redwoods in Sequoia National Park and hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Kids will always remember a family vacation where they get to ride bikes on mountain trails, sit on a rock in a river, climb through a cave, and spot deer and other wildlife close up.
Endless Summer Beach Getaways
Hop on a plane and head to Puerto Vallarta for a weekend getaway. (Photo: Michelle Rae Uy )
Since the summer season isn’t actually over, there’s still time for a sand and surf family vacation. Escape crowds for a quiet family vacation on the shores of peaceful Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Both the historic Osthoff Resort and kid-friendly Siebkens Resort face the lake (perfect for kayaking). Southern California’s beaches are in top form for swimming and water sports. In secluded Dana Point, you can ride bikes from Laguna Cliffs Marriott to the beach and cozy harbor in Dana Point, ideal for SUP. From L.A., it’s a short flight to Puerto Vallarta, where the family-friendly oceanfront CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is a fantastic take off point for water adventures in Banderas Bay.
Sail Away on a Weekend Cruise
Sail away on a weekend cruise with the Royal Caribbean. (Credit: Royal Caribbean )
There’s something so rejuvenating about a weekend cruise. Maybe it’s that once you’re on the ship, there’s no need to drive anywhere, cook or plan your itinerary. Everything is in one place and there’s something for the entire family to enjoy. Soak up fresh ocean air as you lounge by a pool, play on a sports deck, take in a show, eat all you want, and explore exotic ports of calls. Onboard amenities for kids include children’s programs and themed character meals. Carnival Cruise offers three-night sailings to Mexico while Royal Caribbean and Norwegian feature two and three-night sailings to the Bahamas.
Gallop to a Dude Ranch
Alisal Guest Ranch is a fantastic place to spend Labor Day Weekend. (Courtesy Alisal Guest Ranch)
Round up the kids for a weekend of horseback riding, cookouts, swimming and more at a dude ranch. Take your pick from rustic to swanky family-friendly ranches in the west. For example, though you won’t be roughing it, you’ll get experience the wrangler life at the laid-back luxury Alisal Guest Ranch, a working cattle ranch in California’s Santa Ynez Valley. After a day of riding horses on scenic trails, golfing, swimming and playing tennis, enjoy a gourmet meal and relax in your plush room decked out in western décor. Amenities for kids include riding horses, meeting barn animals, gathering eggs, and crafts. Rates include breakfast and dinner.
Fun Cities to Visit with Kids
Head up to Seattle for an urban weekend getaway this Labor Day. (Flickr: Jonathan Miske )
For the urban minded, San Francisco, Seattle and San Antonio are fun cities to explore with kids. Unless you have nerves of steel, forget about driving in hilly San Francisco. Instead, ride the fun trolleys, take a walking tour (see where locals eat and shop), explore kid-friendly museums, and cruise to historic Alcatraz Island. While Seattle’s Pike Place Market may not be of much interest to young kids (but don’t skip this foodie landmark), they’ll love Seattle Center, a 74-acre urban park home to several attractions (including the 605-foot-high Space Needle) and outdoor festivals. San Antonio’s claim to fame is the scenic River Walk (stroll on cozy pathways and take a narrated boat tour) and The Alamo, the site where Texian heroes battled General Santa Ana’s army in 1836.
Michelle Rae Uy contributed this to MiniTime. She is a travel writer based in Los Angeles and MiniTime’s Head of Content, who spends her free time on adventures and film photography.