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It’s time for the 2016 Labor Day Weekend Getaway…and it’s not too late for planning a refreshing change of scenery that gets you out of your living room. This year, September 2-5 could see more than 30 million travelers on the road, enjoying gas prices even lower than in 2015.

Visit A National Park

Happy 100th Birthday to our National Park Service, “America’s Best Idea.” Civil War battlegrounds, California redwood forests, coastal dunes and Appalachian trails are among 400 beautiful US National Parks throughout the land. More than two-thirds of the parks are free, and Every Kid in a Park program gives fourth graders free entry, along with active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability.

See Fireworks On The Water

The last blast of summer lights up the night sky, reflected on both sides of the river in Cincinnati. Lake Tahoe’s pyrotechnic extravaganza features a variety of patterns, shapes and designs. Boston lights up the harbor; Chicago illuminates Navy Pier; and Charleston, SC puts on a dazzling show at Folly Beach.


Photo Credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr

Do A Staycation

You’ve heard that New Yorkers don’t visit the Statue of Liberty and San Franciscans don’t take the cruise to Alcatraz Island. There are 51 metro areas in the country with at least one million people, each with attractions, museums and historic sites. A city break could be a wonderful opportunity to become a local expert. Take the kids or invite some friends along.


Photo Credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr

Play 18 Championship Holes

No membership required! Many municipal golf courses in the USA are among the best anywhere. From the world-famous Pebble Beach high up on Monterey’s 17-Mile Drive overlooking breaking Pacific waves to Harbour Town at Hilton Head Island, big names have designed championship challenges around gorgeous scenery at public courses.

Get Sandy

Once a year, San Diego reshapes itself as SAND-iego, when the four-day U.S. Sandsculpting Challenge takes over the B Street cruise ship terminal pier. Three hundred tons of sand are turned into incredible structures that take the imagination way beyond mere sandcastles. These ephemeral masterpieces are created by the world’s most talented sculptors. Enjoy musical entertainment, rides, tall ships, food trucks and fun for all ages. Do bring your camera…but don’t bring your dog.


Dine Out On A Deal

Miami Spice is a citywide two-month promotion offering three-course meals featuring signature dishes at reduced prices through Sept. 30. Nearby, Fort Lauderdale Dine Out Restaurant Week runs Aug. 15 through Sept. 30. Throughout Houston, Restaurant Weeks through Sept. 5 has dozens of restaurants in three counties offering set price menus for brunch, lunch and dinner to support local area food banks.

Swim In A Cool Lake

Summertime means boating, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding and picnicking. Swimming out to the raft and back in a clear, blue lake will make you feel like a kid again. Minnesota is “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” where the tourist board says there are actually 11,850. Lake Michigan’s eastern shore is blessed with sandy beaches and in Massachusetts, Concord’s Walden Pond provided inspiration for philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Oregon’s Crater Lake is the granddaddy of natural lakes, one of the deepest on earth.

Catch A Music Festival

In Grant Park, the 40th annual Chicago Jazz Festival attracts musicians from all over the country for four days of free, non-stop jazz. Philadelphia hosts the two-day Made in America Music Festival featuring artists curated by Jay-Z, Seattle stages its 45th year of Bumbershoot, St. Louis throws the Big Muddy Blues Festival, and in New York City, Labor Day Weekend brings Electric Zoo to Randall’s Island.


Photo Credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr

Think Harvest

Turn your toes purple stomping on newly harvested grapes at wineries from the Hudson River Valley to Napa Valley. Driving and wine tasting don’t mix, so book a lovely bed and breakfast to enjoy a weekend discovering America’s great and growing wine heritage. The top wine-producing states are California, Washington, New York, Oregon and Virginia.

Celebrate Americana

On Sunday, the Soldiers’ Chorus of The United States Army Field Band performs on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building. Sausalito, California stages their 64th annual art festival overlooking sparkling San Francisco Bay. Midwestern cities such as Kansas City throw a traditional Labor Day parade, and in college towns all over the nation, the football season kicks off on Saturday, Sept. 3.

This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr via Examiner.com for CBS Local Media

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