The Best Labor Day Weekend Getaway Destination On The West Coast

Labor Day is just around the corner, so you might have already started making your plans. If you haven't, don't worry, as there's still time to conjure up an amazing getaway. There are several great options for ideal destinations for a three-day weekend, with some of the most popular destinations being Raleigh, San Francisco, and Tampa. If you're still on the fence about where to go, and you want to get just a little off the beaten path without sacrificing, might we suggest you head to the West Coast to one of the best places in the USA to spend Labor Day?

Santa Cruz, California is an ideal locale for any three-day weekend, but particularly for the month of September. Located approximately 30 miles from San Jose International Airport, and with airlines such as JetBlue, Southwest, Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines offering direct flights from several major US cities, you'll have no problem navigating a last-minute getaway to Santa Cruz, even on a particularly busy holiday weekend.

Logistics: lodging, weather, and how to get there

As mentioned, the nearest airport to Santa Cruz is San Jose International Airport, but if you don't want to fly, driving is a great option. Santa Cruz also has an Amtrak station which brings passengers close to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

Despite Labor Day generally being a high-demand weekend, Santa Cruz prides itself on having "less crowds, better vibes." Sticking true to the city's motto, lodging and accommodation options are plentiful, with some of the best options being the Best Western Plus Capitola By-the-Sea Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott Santa Cruz, Four Points by Sheraton Santa Cruz/Scotts Valley, and Brookdale Lodge.

The weather in Santa Cruz in September typically sees a high of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, and a low of 56 degrees Fahrenheit. However, since Labor Day is in early September, you can overall expect warmer weather.

Put your mind at ease knowing you can visit Santa Cruz on one of the busiest weekends of the year and still eat like royalty at some of the city's best spots. When it comes to dining, Santa Cruz has a wide selection of restaurants, both old and new, many of which don't require a reservation. Head to Linda's Seabreeze Café for breakfast, head to Pleasure Point for a scoop at The Penny Ice Creamery, and grab a bite of branzino at Lago di Como for dinner.

What to do in Santa Cruz

Now, for the best part. Why, out of all of the places you could travel to, should you choose Santa Cruz, California? What even is there to do there?

One of the most popular attractions near Santa Cruz is visiting Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is California's oldest state park, and the picturesque natural beauty of the massive redwood trees is well worth a visit for a peaceful, serene experience. Año Nuevo State Park is another must-visit, where Elephant seals can be spotted year-round (though, note they are primarily seen December through March).

Santa Cruz is a beach town, so no visit is complete without a stop at some of the top beaches, including but not limited to Natural Bridges State Beach, Santa Cruz Main Beach, Capitola Beach, Sunny Cove, and Pleasure Point Beach. Make sure to take a walk along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, especially for family-friendly activities like playing laser tag and roll-a-bingo, or heading to the arcade.

While we don't encourage you to leave Santa Cruz, if you find yourself pining for something a bit more fast-paced, San Francisco is only an hour from Santa Cruz, making it an easy day trip. Wine-lovers, rejoice because Santa Cruz is less than two hours from Napa, one of the best US wine destinations.