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Great Labor Day Lake Getaways

The final days of summer are closing in.  I find this always make me a bit sad.  Why?  Saying goodbye to summer is like saying so long to a fun friend that is both entertaining and full of ideas for amusing things to do.  Like running barefoot through the sprinkler, riding your bike on a bright sunny day, or making your favorite sundae.  Luckily there is Labor Day, the official end of summer goodbye party.  A time to escape and give summer a proper send-off.

See Related Post [4 Great Labor Day Mini Vacations]

This year I am drawn to the idea of a lake escape.  Or maybe I feel this way because it’s Shark Week. Lakes have so much to offer, you can easily fill a day or two with lazy activities or exciting adventures. Here are my top ideas for a Labor Day lake getaway:

Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois

Almost any three-day weekend is a good excuse to head to Chicago.  With summer hanging on by a thread, you should definitely rent a bike and ride along the waterfront, stopping for a nice lunch along the way.  The Navy Pier fireworks are always a good way to enjoy the lake experience into the night after a long day on the beach.  If you need a break from sun and sand, head over to Wrigley Field to take in a ballgame.  There is usually at least one game over the holiday weekend.


Lady Bird Lake, Austin, Texas

If you love outdoor fitness, water sports and live music, then Austin needs to be on your radar for Labor Day.  Leave the picnics and BBQ behind and get out on the trail for a walk and soak in the urban landscape.  You simply can’t beat Austin for live music and a fun night out, so take in a show and enjoy some amazing artists.  When you’re ready to enjoy the lake, try a SUP (stand-up paddle board) lesson or an afternoon floating around the city in a kayak.


Lake George, New York

If you’re looking for a fun, family vacation with a great location on the lake and amazing views, then you might try the Sagamore at Bolton Landing.  The property is pretty amazing and you can enjoy a drink on the deck or book your stay there.  The best thing about Lake George is you can make your own vacation with a variety of cabins, lodges and campgrounds all available in the area.  The only mandatory ingredient is to get out on the lake in a boat, cruise, kayak or fishing charter.  You’ll find yourself coming back year after year.


Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

You might think I’m crazy, recommending you go to a lake in the desert.  You have to trust me.  Lake Powell is a positively dreamy desert destination.  The thing I like is that you can book a houseboat and tour the lake throughout your long weekend, creating your own custom itinerary. Start in Bullfrog Bay, cruise up to Halls Creek Bay and then onto Moki Canyon.  You’ll find awe-inspiring rock formations, sandy beaches, amazing fishing and panoramic lake views without ever leaving your cabin on the water.  Perfection!!


Jackson Lake, Wyoming

One of the most beautiful lakes you will ever see is in the majestic Grand Teton National Park.  In my dreams, I’m sailing along this almost 15-mile lake located at the base of the Tetons.  The scenery is stunning and you can spend your hours watching wildlife, boating and sitting on the deck enjoying a cold one.  Oh and there’s the quaint town of Jackson Hole nearby where you can escape for live music, shopping and dinner.


Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Another family friendly and fun lake destination, Lake Coeur d’Alene, is a good place to just park it for a week and play in the water.  Enjoy the sunny beaches, water skiing, tubing, jet skiing, kayaking, fishing and touring the area by cruise or sea plane.  On the shore is an incredible golf experience which includes the world’s only floating green.  To make it really easy on yourself, stay at the Coeur d’Alene Resort where everything is right outside your front door.


Lake Tahoe, California

There’s so much that goes on at Lake Tahoe, your mind will spin just trying to fit it all into a long weekend.  Let’s be honest, you have to be smart and focused.  I recommend you do the following in no particular order.  First, enjoy the lake and shoreline doing your choice of water sports or just hanging out on the beach.  Drive and then hike up to Emerald Bay for the amazing vistas (arrive before 10 am).  Take your chairs, beverages and snacks and head to the water front for an amazing display of fireworks.  Get a seat along the shore where you are pretty close to the show which is choreographed to music.  You’ll have a nice relaxing weekend before you start back to work and school.


Do you do Labor Day at the lake?

More from Samantha Brown:

Go Jump In a Lake

11 Incredible Pools to Dive For

10 Best Boardwalks for Summertime Fun

East Coast Beaches with Nearby History

Most Patriotic Places in America


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. loved your story about favorite lakes, but you failed to mention one of virginia most beautiful lakes with over 220 miles of shoreline. they have called it the “lake tahoe of the east”. it would be great to have you come and visit and do a feature article about SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE just outside of Roanoke, Va. Are you “game” and up to the challenge.

  2. I visited Lake Powell a couple of years ago and the beautiful red & gold rock formations were absolutely beautiful.

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