5 Ideas for Taking a Labor Day Staycation This Year

Amid the rush of the back-to-school season, but before the pressure of the upcoming fall holidays is fully upon us, Labor Day is a perfect opportunity to take a pause between the lazy days of summer and the onset of autumn. Of course, many Americans take this opportunity for one last getaway. One recent survey found that more than half are planning to take a trip for the holiday weekend in 2022.

But why not shake things up a bit (and get a break from sky-high gas prices) by slowing down and enjoying a staycation instead? A staycation offers an ideal way to unplug, unwind, take in your typical surroundings with fresh eyes, spend time with loved ones—or all of the above. Here are some ideas to make a successful stay-at-home holiday for yourself and your family, whether you’re in the mood for outdoorsy adventures, solo downtime, fun activities, or bonding experiences.

A staycation offers an ideal way to unplug, unwind, take in your typical surroundings with fresh eyes, spend time with loved ones—or all of the above. Click To Tweet

1. Get outside.

Once September rolls around, it feels official: Cooler weather is a-comin’. Therefore, Labor Day is a great time to soak up the late summer sun’s rays before we switch over to the crisp nights and cozy sweaters ahead. Scan your local area for nearby nature preserves, parks, hiking trails, beaches, lakes—anything outdoorsy will do, as long as you get yourself outside for some fresh air and sunshine. Or enjoy nature’s bounty by visiting a local pick-your-own farm or a farmers market, then bring home those fresh ingredients to whip up a home-cooked meal. Encourage the entire family to pitch in to help create some bonding time and encourage healthier eating habits.

2. Take a spa day.

Who says Labor Day has to involve big backyard barbecues with tons of food and socializing? It’s fine to politely decline all of the invites this year and treat yourself to a getaway day at the spa this weekend instead. You might find that a massage, pedicure, or facial sets you up for a smoother transition between seasons, allowing for some rejuvenation time before the busier fall season packs everyone’s schedules to the brim with weekend sports, homework, and holidays. Some spas also offer fitness centers with exercise classes, pools, saunas, or steam rooms, so plan ahead and allow for plenty of time to make the most of your visit.

3. Explore your own town.

Often, we take a lot more initiative to do new and exciting things when we’re on vacation than when we’re at home—where we spend most days of the year. Kind of backwards, right? Switch up this stuck-in-a-rut mentality by taking this Labor Day weekend to visit an up-and-coming neighborhood in your city, a nearby town that you haven’t visited in a while, or that new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try. You can even stroll around your own home—anyone’s local street looks totally different when walking or biking, versus speeding by in a car. Or take in some local culture and people watching with a visit to a local theater, concert, Labor Day parade, or museum. You might even get to know new people in your community or connect with old acquaintances while you’re out and about. The point of this approach is to experience your own area as if you were a visiting tourist—chances are, you can see plenty of attractions you haven’t seen in a while, or maybe ever.

4. Arrange a creative day.

Whether you’re flying solo or spending time with the entire family for Labor Day, there are so many ways to tap into the creative spirit this holiday. Visit a pottery painting studio or art gallery; create paintings, crafts, or collages at home; make chalk art outside on the pavement; or go on a scavenger hunt in nature, then bring home the materials to create a family masterpiece. Or go a bit deeper with older children by encouraging everyone to create a vision board for the school year ahead—what would they like to make happen by graduation month, or by the end-of-year holidays? It’s a great way to check in with everyone, set goals, and spend quality time together, all with one fun activity.

5. Go nowhere.

Is the main point of your staycation to avoid all of the to-dos? Or are you always such a go-go-go-getter that you barely have time to catch your breath, even on so-called holidays? Give yourself a day—or the whole weekend—to do nothing. Or, at least, nothing structured; just see where the day takes you. Dust off that old board game you haven’t played in a while, curl up with a great book on the lawn chair, enjoy a fragrant cup of tea, practice mindfulness, spend some time journaling, take a soothing bath, do a relaxing meditation or stretching session…whatever makes you feel zen. After all, it’s Labor Day weekend—you’ve earned a break from your usual labor routine, and now is the best time to take it.

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