10 Great American Travel Destinations For Labor Day Weekend

Jennifer Polland

Over 34.7 million Americans are planning to travel for Labor Day this year — the highest number since the recession, according to AAA.

We found the best all-American getaways to celebrate Labor Day this weekend.

From the Gulf Coast to the San Juan Islands, these destinations are all near major U.S. cities, making it easy to jaunt over for a long weekend.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Under two hours from Boston and just across the New Hampshire-Maine border is one of the most picturesque fishing towns in all of New England.

Kennebunkport is home to numerous unique gift shops and restaurants, and you just might catch sight of President George H.W. Bush — his summer home is minutes from town.

Go on a whale-watching expedition and eat the freshest local seafood at Noonan's Lobster Hut in neighboring Cape Porpoise.

One of the top places to stay is The White Barn Inn, a charming inn with a European feel; rooms here start from about $800 per night over Labor Day weekend.

Hilton Head, S.C.

Just 45 minutes from Savannah and about four hours from Atlanta, Hilton Head is ideally located for southerners looking for a beach getaway on the Atlantic coast.

The laid-back island has top-rated restaurants, world-class golf resorts, packed beaches which are great for either laying out or riding bikes on the sand, and the charm and hospitality you'd expect from a southern destination.

There are tons of hotels, inns, and apartments for rent, but one of the most popular places to stay is the Inn at Harbour Town - Sea Pines Resort, where rooms start at about $320 per night over Labor Day weekend.

Carmel, Calif.

About 120 miles south of San Francisco, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a picturesque dot on the Monterey Peninsula with a population of just 3,722.

It's dog-friendly and known for its kitschy local arts and culture scene. It also has great fishing. Think twice about wearing high heels, though; Carmel law requires a high heel permit.

La Playa Carmel is a grand, old hotel that's allegedly haunted by the ghost of a woman who drowned herself in Carmel Bay — but that doesn't seem to stop vacationers from staying there. Rooms at La Playa start from about $615 per night over Labor Day weekend.

Mackinac Island, Mich.

Located in Lake Huron, Mackinac Island (pronounced Mak-in-aw) is easily accessible from Chicago and Detroit.

The small 3.8 square-mile island is the quintessential American getaway: think historic hotels, small ice cream and fudge shops, and horse-drawn carriage tours. There are also almost no cars on the island.

There are several charming inns and lodges on the island, like Main Street Inn & Suites, where rooms start from about $175 over Labor Day Weekend.

The Florida Keys, Fla.

Located at the utmost southern tip of Florida, the Florida Keys are technically part of the U.S. but they're so laid-back and tropical that they evoke the feel of the Caribbean.

Key Largo is just an hour from the heart of Miami and feels like it's a world away. Key West, located about three hours from Miami, feels more like the Bahamas than any part of Florida.

Enjoy scuba-diving, snorkeling, kayaking, golfing, and shopping. Drive a little further down the Overseas Highway to Duck Key, where you can catch a Labor Day fireworks show.

There are tons of quaint inns and B&Bs around the keys, but we like the Sunset Key Guest Cottages at the Westin, on a secluded island near Key West, for its whitewashed cottages, private plunge pools, and pristine beach. One-bedroom cottages start at $645 per night for Labor Day weekend.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. and Mont.

Nothing is more American than spending a national American holiday inside one of the country's glorious national parks — and Yellowstone is hands-down one of the most impressive parks in the country.

Spend the weekend gawking at bison, bears, elk, deer, and — if you're lucky — wolves and bald eagles. You can also wait for Old Faithful to erupt before exploring the multi-colored geysers nearby.

The best place to stay is inside the park at the historic Old Faithful Inn or any of the other eight lodges run by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, but they're almost all fully booked this weekend so late bookers can choose a hotel in West Yellowstone, Mont.

The San Juan Islands, Wash.

Outdoor enthusiasts love the San Juan Islands: there's cycling, kayaking, Orca whale-watching, hiking, and more. It also helps that the summers are cool and shady, making it easy to be active outdoors.

The islands are an archipelago in the Pacific, off the coast of Seattle. Only four islands are accessible by passenger ferry, the largest of which is San Juan Island.

A charming inn on Orcas Island is the Outlook Inn, where rates start at about $310 for Labor Day weekend.

Gulf Shores, Ala.

Located on the Alabama Gulf Coast, Gulf Shores is the go-to beach town for residents of Alabama and the neighboring Gulf states.

It's a family-friendly destination with miles of pristine white sand beaches along the Bon Secour National Wildlife refuge. There's also great seafood sourced straight from the Gulf, mostly served fried.

Magnolia Springs Bed and Breakfast is a charming little B&B with stained-glass windows, lots of large oak trees on the grounds, and sumptuous homemade breakfasts. Room rates start at $180 over Labor Day weekend.

Rehoboth, Del.

Rehoboth is an old-fashioned all-American beach town, with quaint saltwater taffy and ice cream shops and a bustling boardwalk. It also has a lively art gallery and gay nightlife scene. 

About 120 miles from D.C. and Philadelphia, Rehoboth is an accessible beach getaway that's great for families, singles, and couples.

The Hotel Rehoboth is a plush boutique hotel in the center of downtown Rehoboth; rooms start at about $359 over Labor Day weekend.

Palm Springs, Calif.

Palm Springs first gained its reputation as a glamorous weekend getaway from L.A. in the 1950s, and it's still one of the chicest escapes from the city.

The desert city has trendy boutique hotels, edgy art galleries and shops, and cool cocktail bars.

Stay in the sleek Ace Hotel, where rooms start from $259 over Labor Day weekend.

Now see the best American beaches for Labor Day.

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