Time to face the music: Summer is indeed coming to an end, with Labor Day weekend just around the corner. Sure, there are some things to look forward to—fall trends to get a head start on, must-have new wardrobe staples to snap up—but it’s safe to say that the majority of us don’t want to see those hot summer nights go. To that end, there is no better way to maximize what’s left of summer than to book a last-minute trip over Labor Day weekend.
Granted, you’ll be hard pressed to find an amazing hotel room on the Amalfi Coast this time of year, so perhaps it is time to try an overlooked European destination like Latvia. or look toward a locale that everyone else visits another time of year—Palm Springs, why not? Or how about Aspen in August? It’s relaxing, beautiful, and just as charming without the snow. And, lately, we’ve been obsessed with Scandi girl street style, and their capital of cool, Copenhagen, is certainly a bucket list destination worth visiting before fall’s chill sets in. We know that you’ve dithered all spring and summer long about booking a getaway for Labor Day, but now is literally your last chance. Check out these 11 destinations for summer’s last hurrah.
Palm Springs, California
While some may believe it is just too hot this time of year in Palm Springs, the truth is that dry heat is not so bad. You wanted to spend Labor Day weekend parked by a pool, anyway, didn’t you? During the off season, some of the region’s best hotels still have availability—like L’Horizon Resort and Spa—and there are still a ton of things to do. Namely, relaxing.
Though it is know as a ski (and society) mecca, Aspen in the summer is a delight for those who prefer an active getaway for the last lazy days of summer. With a plethora of hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and summer art programs (the city is home to the Aspen Art Museum, as well as a number of worthy galleries like Boesky West), summer is an excellent time to explore one of Colorado’s most beautiful locales. Tip: Stay at the five-star resort The Little Nell.
Craving that classic New England small-town charm? Kennebunkport, with its cookie-cutter fisherman’s village quaintness, might be the destination for you. While many of the cozy inns are already booked up this time of year, we recommend staying at The Press Hotel in Portland, Maine, part of the Autograph Collection, that still has a handful of rooms available for a Labor Day weekend getaway. Portland is also worth a visit for its old ports, museums, and breweries, as well as the nearby lighthouse and islands in Casco Bay.
Though many Brits are quite caught up with the debate of whether or not Brexit will truly happen, when it does, Ireland will be the last standing English-speaking country in the entire EU. There is a lot more brewing in the Irish capital than previously thought—it is evolving into a foodie capital, with London’s West End celeb staple The Ivy opening its first location abroad there, not to mention the thriving theater and art scenes. The iconic 196-year-old hotel in the city center, The Shelbourne (which has just renovated and opened up a new hotel bar, exclusive to guests only), still has availability for Labor Day.
Though not quite new news, eastern Europe has some of the continent’s most visually appealing old cities, rich in culture and history, along with a renaissance of chic modern hotels, bars, and restaurants. Riga, Latvia, is one of them. While some will be interested in the Soviet architecture, especially the looming Zaķusala television tower, the real beauty is found in the city’s art nouveau facades, wooden architecture, and medieval churches. Though Riga’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, newer boutique hotels are cropping up throughout the city, refreshing 18th-century private homes with modern amenities. Try the Dome Hotel and Spa, only blocks away from the riverfront.
The Balearic Islands, Spain
Yes, everyone you know was indeed in Ibiza this summer. From the Insta-famous fashion girls who spent a long weekend at Hacienda Na Xamena, thanks to of-the-moment fashion label Loewe, to half of the fashion world attending an epic bash thrown by photographers Mert & Marcus, Ibiza was 2018’s island of choice. Though perhaps not as touristy as the Amalfi Coast, this area of Spain does book up quickly, so skipping over to the nearby island of Mallorca isn’t a bad idea. Stay at the Cap Rocat, which received an honorable mention as one of booking site Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s “hotels with the sexiest bedrooms.” The fortresslike hotel, which was built into the side of a cliff, also features a drawbridge.
If Italy is an absolute must for you in the summer, we recommend skipping down to beautiful Puglia, where the romantic Borgo Egnazia—a collection of villas, beach clubs, and golf course that resembles a castle’s inner village—still has rooms available for a last-minute Labor Day weekend getaway. Be sure to hire a car and discover nearby Otranto and Lecce, and eat all of the rusticas you can get your hands on.
Big Sur, California
Who hasn’t been looking for an excuse to stay in a modern treehouse? Look no further than the Post Ranch Inn, in Big Sur, California. Each of the rooms at the Inn has been crafted from recycled redwood, and the views from all are out of this world, from the bright blue Pacific Ocean at sunrise to heavenly constellations at night. With three heated pools, a spa, and a restaurant serving Californian fare on site, there really is no reason to wander very far from your treehouse.
Shelter Island, New York
If one does not have to attend New York Fashion Week, they should consider spending the entire first week of September on Shelter Island, at one of our favorite hotels out east, The Chequit. Find solace in the island’s laid-back pace and non-Hamptons-ified vibe. Pick up groceries and sandwiches at Marie Eiffel Market and pack a picnic for the beach, go for an easy bike ride through town, or cozy up with a good book on The Chequit’s veranda.
Governors Island, New York
Governors Island is only a short ferry ride away from both lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, so it makes for an easy day trip for those who live in New York, or are visiting for the weekend. Bring or rent a bike to easily explore the activity-filled island, which includes views of the Statue of Liberty and destinations like Slide Hill. Thanks to Grey Goose, late-night ferry service will be offered on Saturdays to and from Governors Island, so you can be there all night, and enjoy dinner and drinks at one of the restaurants such as Island Oyster or Taco Vista. Or, if you’re looking to spend the night, visit one of the Collective Retreats’ new luxury tents.
On a Boat, Anywhere
Not very fond of being on land for the last long summer weekend? We don’t blame you. Through Boatsetter, a Airbnb-meets-Blade service, you can simply book a boat with captain at just at many chic locales in the world; think Positano, Italy; Spain; Australia; or closer to home, like the Hamptons. There are still boats available for a full or half-day throughout Labor Day weekend, so book now at Boatsetter.com.
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