Can you believe September is here already? Labor Day has always been recognized as the sign that summer is over and fall is here. While the weather may still be warm (or hot) where you live, society ultimately deems the holiday as the change of seasons. In an effort to get in those last moments of summer bliss, many will opt for a quick Labor Day getaway with family and friends.
Whether you fly out to Vegas to get in those last few pool parties of the year, or you head to more laid back spots like Tampa and the white sands of St. Thomas—planning a quick escape for the long weekend is the perfect refresh you need before heading into fall.
EBONY’s Lifestyle Director-at-Large—and expert traveler—has curated some of her top recommendations for your potential Labor Day getaway. If you ever need additional vacation inspo, be sure to check out her Instagram page, @brokeandabroadlife. Check out her picks below.
The great thing about St. Thomas, and the US Virgin Islands in general, is that you can get the “out of the country” experience without needing a US passport. As a US territory, US citizens can visit without showing the little blue book—although we always suggest traveling with one if you can. With a passport, you can easily take a ferry over the island of Tortola. But either way, there are quick flights over to the other USVI territories as well as Puerto Rico, making your trip a 2-for-1.
St. Thomas is a short flight away for most East Coast cities, and you can always find competitive fares since budget airline carriers also have stops there. The Margaritaville St. Thomas property is a popular hotel option for those who visit beyond just a cruise stop. While there, we suggest visiting Blue 11, a multicourse dinner experience curated by a Black chef who also employs an entirely Black male wait staff. The food is absolutely delicious, and they are very accommodating of dietary needs and restrictions. Other must-do things are spending the day on Coki Beach and ordering adult beverages from the local vendors, as well as booking a tour with Virgin Island Eco Tours.
In full transparency, flight prices will likely be high to head to Vegas for the holiday, but it will be worth it. Many travelers hit up ‘Sin City’ to partake in the last few pool parties of the year—and if you know, you know. Additionally, the city has a thriving culinary scene with some of the world’s most sought-after restaurants including Nobu, Carbone and others.
Some of our favorite hotel options are: Virgin Las Vegas, Aria, and the Bellagio. Unfortunately, you will miss Usher’s residency show during this time, but it’s the perfect excuse to book a flight later in the year once he returns.
One of Florida’s more slept-on cities in comparison to Miami and Orlando, but Tampa certainly holds its own as far as offerings. The city has great hotels including the Hard Rock Hotel Tampa and the JW Marriott. The area’s waterfront is a fun area to find things to do, and if you want to get your fill of local eateries, check out the Heights Public Market. There’s everything from over-the-top ice cream sundaes to burgers and international cuisine in this building.
Of course, you can’t go to Tampa and not spend time on Clearwater Beach. Known as one of the US’s most beautiful beaches, you can also spot dolphins bobbing along the shores as well—so it’s truly like being in the Caribbean without leaving the country. For families, Busch Gardens is a short drive away.
This is certainly an option anytime of the year, but getting to Aruba is pretty painless from most major cities these days. You can find plenty of direct flights with many of the major carriers running daily. Once there, get ready to kick back and take on this unique island that merges desert life with sun and sand.
The hotels are broken into zones, the high rise zone—which is where you’ll find your chains like Marriott and the Ritz—and low rise where you’ll find more local offerings like Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort. While there, be sure to book an off-road tour experience to Arikok National Park, where you can also swim in the island’s natural pool. As far as beaches, there really isn’t a bad spot to set up for the day. If you’re into culture, the San Nicolas neighborhood is home to many of the country’s Black businesses as well as history.
This is for those with kids, or the kids at heart. Disney World is always a vibe, and although childless adults will feel as if it’s not for them, it actually is. Yes, it’s going to be warm in Orlando, so be sure to keep the sunscreen, handheld fans and sunglasses handy.
Magic Kingdom recently opened its newest attraction, TRON, in April, and let’s just say this isn’t for the faint at heart—but it’s an amazing ride. Beyond the typical rides and character spotting across the parks, we suggest that the adults spend a day at EPCOT to drink their way around the world—literally. Start in Mexico with top shelf margaritas and make your way to France for Rosé and Grand Marnier slushies, but don’t forget to hydrate along the way.