Labor Day weekend is a great time to escape the office or take one last trip before long schooldays kick off. But not all destinations are created equal: In fact, some places are much more expensive to fly to over Labor Day weekend than others.
So Hopper rounded up 6 great flight options, where prices are cheaper and free activities abound. But you better book soon: These prices won't last, and airfare will only get more expensive as Labor Day approaches.
First up: the land of Mickey and Minnie, Harry and Hermione, and all the wild residents of a vast Animal Kingdom. Flights to Orlando for Labor Day weekend are surprisingly affordable, owing in part to the lateness of Labor Day this year, which cuts into the school schedule, as well as the hotter-than-hot temps in Florida. Sample fares to Orlando can be found from New York for just $236 with JetBlue when flying non-stop. From Boston, expect to pay around $300. From Atlanta, pay as little as $78 with Spirit. (Yes, that's just $78. Think of all the turkey legs you could buy.)
Fun free activities: Don't empty your entire bank account at Disney. Instead, check out downtown Orlando's many art galleries and museums, explore the 4,400-square-foot Lego Imagination Center, or head to Disney's BoardWalk in Lake Buena Vista for free entertainment (like dueling pianos).
The nation's capital is a great deal for Labor Day (and it's a perfectly patriotic getaway at that). Plenty of service to DC's three major airports — Reagan National, Dulles, and BWI — mean plenty of price competition between major airlines. Sample fares include $182 from Boston, $152 from New York, and just $138 from Chicago when flying non-stop with Frontier. Even West Coasters can find good deals: both Virgin America and Frontier are dishing up flights from the mid $300 range.
Fun free activities: The entire Smithsonian complex is world-renowned for its museums and institutions. A few favorites include the National Sculpture Garden, perfect for an early-morning stroll; the National Air and Space Museum (where you can explore aviation history up close); and the Hirshhorn Museum, filled with modern art and cool new exhibitions.
New York City can feel like the hub of the universe, and with so much service from so many airlines, it's not hard to uncover a great deal for Labor Day weekend. From all over the East Coast, expect to pay around or under $200 to New York City's three major airports. (The best deal we uncovered? A measly $130 from Boston to NYC!) Even from Seattle, flights are less than $300; from San Francisco, just $376 non-stop with United. Hello, Big Apple.
Fun free activities: Aside from the people-watching you can do just about anywhere? Head to the free and fascinating Bronx Museum of the Arts, catch a live TV show taping of your favorite late-night show, or hop a complimentary tour with the Central Park Conservancy to uncover all of the famous public space's secrets.
Temperatures may soar during your stay, but with all the jazz to listen to (and beignets to nibble), you may not even notice. Unlike its peak season of Mardi Gras, Labor Day is relatively affordable in New Orleans, with lower priced flights and cheaper hotel rates. We found flights to NoLa's Louis Armstrong Airport going for just $118 from Atlanta, $174 from Dallas, and less than $300 from both Chicago and New York City. (Hint: Fly out of Newark for flights starting at just $220 on United.)
Fun free activities: Simply walking around Bourbon Street is always free, of course, and you can nab a free walking-tour map from vendors. Or get out of the hustle and bustle: Take a complimentary ferry ride to Algiers Point or take the free streetcar to Audubon Park, where 300-some acres of green space, plants, and ponds offer outdoor activities.
For West Coasters, there's no better Labor Day destination than Las Vegas. Flight prices are wonderfully cheap from Los Angeles ($86 non-stop with Spirit); San Francisco ($129 non-stop with JetBlue); and Portland (just $176 with Spirit or Delta). But those of us on the East Coast needn't feel left out of all the Sin City magic: Spirit and Frontier offer cheap flights from Atlanta, NYC, and Washington D.C. Best of all, hotel deals in Vegas are never scarce, as you can find rooms for well under $100 per night.
Fun free activities: The massive saltwater aquarium at The Silverton is a kid-friendly activity away from the crowds, the juggling and magic acts at Circus Circus are always a good bet, and the fountains at The Bellagio dazzle each night. (And, of course, adults can always nab a free drink while gambling, so head to those penny slots.)
Surprise: You could be flying internationally over Labor Day weekend ... for a whole lot less. Porter Airlines offers extremely well-priced round-trips to Toronto from Newark ($197), Boston ($262), and Chicago ($268). Best of all, these flights take you to the Canadian metro's Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which is just a short ferry ride from downtown — meaning you won't have to splurge on an expensive cab. To top all that off, Porter offers free booze and snacks both in-flight and at the airport.
Fun free activities: Catch a free outdoor movie screening at the Harbourfront Centre, head to one of many neighborhood block parties, or hike the outdoor parks that dot Toronto (High Park includes a free petting zoo for kids). But your best summertime option is to experience the newly reopened Toronto Island labyrinth, a 15,000-square-foot maze on Centre Island.