It’s sad to imagine, but summer will soon be coming to an end. While we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves, it’s time to start thinking about fitting in one last vacation before those demanding fall schedules take over once again. And what better time than Labor Day weekend, then to celebrate the official end of summer in a meaningful way? AKA a good vacation.
If you haven’t made your travel plans yet, sis, now is the time to do it. If the beach is calling your name, perhaps the perfect getaway is a weekend in the Caribbean. Or, maybe exploring a new city in the U.S. that you’ve never visited before?
Though a few of these options might require a short flight, most of these are just a relatively short drive from the major cities on each coast. So stop procrastinating, and book your tickets to these inexpensive destinations for the three-day weekend (or week, depending on how those vacation days are set up!).
Midwest summer lovin’: Chicago
There is nothing quite like the summertime in Chicago. The weather is perfect, making you want to spend hours wandering around the city, taking in the people and attractions. If you’re a baseball fan or not, be sure to hit the ballpark for a Cubs or Sox game as it’s the thing to do in Chi-town, check out the city’s burgeoning nightlife scene, or fill up on Chicago-style dogs, deep-dish pizza, and Italian beef until your skinny jeans pop. I mean seriously, why is the food here so good? The Windy City also has plenty of free fun perfect for the family, such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, improv shows at Second City, delighting in Navy Pier’s fireworks at night, or making it feel like a home away from home at the Homewood Suites.
Discover the district: Washington D.C.
Not only are there a plethora of events geared towards young black professionals (Grilled Cheese Social, anyone?) so you can party until you drop, Washington D.C. is quite the educational destination for those looking to feed their mind, as well as their soul. Be sure to check out the new Oprah exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (aka the Blacksonian), or check out the wealth of free historical sights, museums and monuments, that the city has to offer. There's plenty of reasons to plan a D.C. jaunt for the holiday weekend — food, nightlife, hotels — but above all, the culture is what will excite you most.
A luxe beach getaway: Turks and Caicos
If you want to know what heaven is like, take a trip to Turks and Caicos. A great spot for lounging on the beach, indulging in some truly vacation-worthy food (calories don’t count on vacation), and experiencing a bit of luxury at some of the destination's best resorts, such as the Ocean Club, you’ll never want to leave the island once you arrive. Though the white-sand beaches and almost-hurts-your-eyes bright turquoise water seem a world away, the Turks and Caicos islands are actually only an hour-and-a-half flight from Miami and a short three hour distance from New York City.
Bougie black girl vibes: Martha’s Vineyard
A lowkey island south of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard has long been a favorite weekend destination for [bougie] black folks. The “Vineyard,” as it is affectionately called, is also the summer home for a number of celebrities, like President Barack Obama, Stephen Curry, Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee. Welcoming visitors off the ferries or by plane, you’re sure to run into someone you know in the Vineyard, or be met with lots of leisurely activities. In Oak Bluffs, you’ll find pizza and ice cream emporiums, and Edgartown is popular for its boutiques, grand whaling captains’ homes and charming inns. Here you’ll want to make sure to stop by Inkwell beach, or also have your pick of fresh seafood at a number of colorful seafood shacks along the harbor.
Southern comfort and fun: Houston
Beyoncé may have put Houston on the map, but the city definitely holds it own. What you might not know is that Houston has beautiful nature parks perfect for a day spent outside, a burgeoning art scene for the culture lovers, dozens of black owned restaurants and businesses “doing it for the culture” and some of the best Tex-Mex food that you’ll ever have in your life. What makes all of this even better, is that you don’t have to blow through all of the money in your purse, because it’s also one of the most affordable travel options you’ll have this Labor Day, as flights are typically low, and the drive is manageable from most southern cities, such as Dallas and New Orleans With all the great things to love about the city, it is no wonder why the population continues to grow at a faster rate and in greater numbers than any other metropolitan area in the country.
Art deco escape: Miami
For a flashy and sensory, yet multicultural experience this Labor Day, head to Miami. Trust us, this beachfront city is always a good idea. You get the beach, mixed with vibrant city life, arts galore, all infused with a mix of Caribbean and Latin languages and global cuisines. The men here aren’t too bad to look at either. We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to end the summer. Live it up like your favorite celebrity, by dining on delicious foods, partying at the hottest clubs, and round out each night in a stunning hotel (our recommendations: The Confidante Miami, Kimpton’s Angler and the Hilton Miami Downtown).
Courtesy of The Confidante Miami
A European adventure: Amsterdam
Less than a 7 hour plane ride from most East Coast cities, Amsterdam is a lovely city full of art, natural beauty and stunning architecture that makes for the perfect weekend or week long escape. Still known as a hidden gem (in comparison to other highly frequented cities in Europe such as Paris and London), there’s plenty to explore, with all its museums, monuments, restaurants, galleries and shops. Needless to say, there is certainly no shortage of things to keep you busy during your stay in Amsterdam. And with Amsterdam airport being one of the busiest and most efficient in Europe, it’s also quick and easy to reach the city from any major city in the U.S., so you won’t have to worry much about layovers and annoying travel schedules over the holiday weekend.
Caribbean beach resort getaway: Bahamas
The long-awaited Baha Mar mega-resort in Nassau officially opened last spring, and it’s everything that you’ve ever dreamed about and more. For those who want to escape to the beach this Labor Day, a trip to the Bahamas will offer a much-needed refuge and soothe the soul (and also a bit of turn up for those looking to have a good time). If you want to see what all the hype is about, make to stay at the SLS Baha Mar’s sprawling oceanfront property, with amenities including the Caribbean’s largest casino at 100,000 square-feet, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, a Bahamian interpretation of mainstays like Katsuya, Cleo and Michael Schwart’z Fi’lia, as well as the newly opened Bond nightclub and Privilege pool party. Go ahead and be a Bahama mama.
Slay through the six: Toronto
Ever since Drake was riding through the six with his woes, we’ve been wanting to know how that ish goes. But outside of cliche rap lyrics, this city offers up a delicious food scene, thriving nightlife culture, and many attractions that are suitable for any travel palate. As Canada's largest city, Toronto is also one of the world's most diverse with around half of its population born in another country, so you’ll be sure to feel right at home amongst our people. Toronto's most famous landmark and tourist attraction, the CN Tower, is one you’ll want to see, as it was once the world's tallest freestanding building and still houses the world's highest wine cellar. Drink up ladies.