Yes, we know Labor Day is next weekend—but there are still deals to be found for the summer’s remaining Great American Getaway. According to new data from Expedia, four of these destinations have some of the lowest round-trip ticket prices from anywhere in the country, on average. Add to that city-specific itinerary suggestions from our editors, and you have the makings of an actual last-minute vacation. Just don’t wait too much longer to book, mmmkay?
Average flight to LAX: $285 round-trip
Grab vegan Mexican at Gracias Madre; take in sweeping views of the city from atop Runyon Canyon; and definitely do The Broad. If the city heat is too much to bear (temps may hit the high 80s over Labor Day weekend), head 20 minutes out of town to find beaches that haven’t been totally overrun by other travelers: Carbon Beach (Billionaire’s Beach) in Malibu, Leo Carrillo State Park, and Paradise Cove are your best bets; avoid Venice, Manhattan, and El Matador, unless you want to spend half your day fighting for beach parking. —Megan Spurrell
Average flight to ATL: $330 round-trip
Would-be travelers often pass over Atlanta in favor of Nashville or Charleston, but that’s a mistake. It has one of the South’s most interesting art scenes—check out the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and the High Museum of Art housed in buildings by Renzo Piano and Richard Meier—on a rainy day. (Yeah, there might be thunderstorms next weekend.) If the weather cooperates, walk the BeltLine, a historic railway corridor turned multi-use trail and green space; pick up puffy tacos for lunch at Superica inside Krog Street Market, a food hall housed in a 1920s warehouse; and spend hours in Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s answer to Central Park. —Katherine LaGrave
Average flight to O’Hare: $265 round-trip
Given how easy it is to reach Chicago from anywhere in the U.S.—plus two major airport hubs—you can count on flight deals on the regular. Only here for a few days? Your best bet is to stay downtown, within walking distance of the Magnificent Mile. Chicago has a great hotel scene—and you can see our favorites here. Start right away with a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, which will orient you and give you an ideal primer of Chicago’s history (and how its stunner of a skyline came to be). From there, hightail it to one of the beaches, like Oak Street or North Avenue, where you can lay out, swim in Lake Michigan, play volleyball, or sit outside with a cocktail in hand at a nearby restaurant. (Speaking of restaurants: The city’s food scene is incredible, so we wouldn’t blame you for just traveling to eat all weekend.) —Corina Quinn
Average flight to Denver: $290 round-trip
I’m heading to Denver this three-day weekend to visit my brother, and while he’s great, I’m most excited to stop by Call, an all-day café that made Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurants list. To walk all those tartines off, we’re planning to tramp around Red Rocks Park (home to the jaw-dropping amphitheater). Last stop: Death & Co.’s only outpost outside of NYC at the relatively new Ramble hotel. —Meredith Carey
New York City (and Hudson)
New York City is an excellent pick for Labor Day, in large part because the city is, well, pretty much half empty. Take advantage of it by sliding in at hard-to-get tables like Le Coucou, Wildair, and Charlie Bird, booking a cheap(er) hotel room, or catching some tennis at the U.S. Open. Want to tack on some days upstate, or just get out of town for all of it? Head north to picturesque Hudson, which is a two-hour Amtrak train ride from Grand Central. Once there, shop for antiques along Warren Street (pictured), head across the Hudson River to Crossroads Brewing Company, and book dinner at Wm. Farmer and Sons. You can thank us later. —K.L.G.
I know, you’re thinking Why Idaho? I get it, I would have asked the same question if I hadn’t been bowled over just last week on my visit to the Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve, an internationally recognized park that has almost no light pollution, just north of Ketchum, Idaho. Translation: You can see the full Milky Way just stepping outside after the sun sets. During the day, hike through the Sawtooth National Recreation Area (head to Titus Lake for an easy, family-friendly trek or Pioneer Cabin if you want a challenging day hike). Stop by Warfield Distillery for an evening drink and then wait until the sun has fully set (about 11 to 11:30 p.m.) to drive along State Highway 75 to enjoy the stars. —M.C.