Labor Day Road Trips
Summer is on its way out the door but before the cool, fall weather sets in, take the opportunity for a Labor Day road trip. Now that the bustling travel season during the summer months has died down, pack up the car for one last hoorah before the leaves change and the ground turns cold to prepare for winter.
Labor Day destinations
If you live on the West Coast, consider a trip down the California coastline along iconic Highway 1, the only way to see some of the breathtaking views of California’s scenery. Highway 1 stretches 123 miles between Big Sur Coast Highway and the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway. Be sure to check out Pebble Beach, the redwoods of Big Sur, sea otters on the Pacific bluffs and stare in awe at Hearst Castle, which is nestled on the rocky shoreline.
Big Bend National Park
They weren’t kidding around when they said everything is bigger in Texas - including Big Bend National Park. There’s the 30-mile Maxwell Scenic Drive that will take you through some of the most photograph-worthy vistas anywhere, such as the long-forgotten ranches of rangers, terracotta cliffsides and a view of the sky like you’ve never seen before. After driving this pathway, don’t forget to stop in Rio Grande for a rafting trip that will help you cool down the heat during these last few days of summer.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Just a tank of gas away from Washington, D.C., is Blue Ridge Parkway. This drive connects the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks all the way from West Virginia to Tennessee. On this trip you can stop in Lexington, Va., to take the same footsteps of Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. There’s also the small town of Mount Airy, N.C., which served as the basis for Mayberry from "The Andy Griffith Show."
Florida’s Gulf Coast
Thinking of heading south this Labor Day? Try Florida’s Gulf Coast along Highway 98 between Tallahassee and Silver Springs. There are wildlife refuges, citrus fields and ruins of early Spanish settlements. Before you head back home, go snorkeling with manatees at Crystal River Archaeological State Park.
Skip the Hamptons this holiday with a trip to North Fork on Long Island instead. There are market stalls situated along Route 25 and a number of vineyards that offer tastings. If you love seafood, try the clams at Claudio’s and end the trip with a ride on the Greenpoint institution’s historic carousel.
The Midwest isn’t a region to be missed this Labor Day. The shorelines of Lake Michigan are pristine this time of year and a drive along U.S. 31 from Saugatuc to Mackinac Island on the western coast of Michigan makes for the perfect Labor Day road trip. For some fun in the sand, try a climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore or a ferry ride to Macinac for an exploration of Lakeshore Boulevard.
North Carolina’s Barbecue Trail
Barbecue lovers unite along North Carolina’s Historic Barbecue Trail for a road trip this Labor Day. The trail winds through the state and offers travelers tastes of pork shoulders braised in a ketchup-based sauce or pig roasts doused in a blend of vinegar and spices. There are more than 500 miles to explore with 24 delicious establishments along the way.
No matter where you live in the U.S., a Labor Day road trip can give you one last weekend of relaxation to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall.