Labor Day in California

Places to Have Fun on Labor Day and Ideas for Getaways

Busy Day on Stinson Beach
••• Busy Day on Stinson Beach. ©2014 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

 

Labor Day isn't the end of summer weather in California, but it does mark the end of the summer travel season as families get geared up for the coming school year. 

 

The last big holiday of summer is one of the nicest long weekends of the year. Most California coastal locations get some of the best weather they will get all year long.

Top Labor Day Festivals in Northern California

  • Sacramento: Gold Rush Days is a family-friendly weekend festival held in Old Town Sacramento. It celebrates the Gold Rush that made California famous.
  • Fort Bragg: The Paul Bunyan Days festival is named for the bigger-than-life logger and his giant blue ox. They say it will take you back to the days of the Wild West.
  • Sonoma County: Sonoma Wine Country Weekend is a multi-day food and wine festival that showcases the county's agriculture and its vintners.
  • Sausalito: The Sausalito Art Festival is a juried show with high-quality artwork and crafts, along with food and wine. It runs all three days of the holiday weekend.
  • Apples in the Sierra Foothills: Labor Day weekend marks the opening of most Apple Hill ranches

Labor Day Fun in Southern California

  • San Diego: The  Festival of Sail is all about those gorgeous tall ships. It features family-friendly activities and mock cannon battles to watch
  • Los Angeles: The Taste is on of LA's many delicious festivals, with lots of local celebrity chefs and bartenders on hand
  • Pomona: The  Los Angeles County Fair lasts most of the month of September, but it starts around Labor Day and is a great way to say goodbye to the summer.

If you're looking for more places to celebrate the Labor Day in the Los Angeles area, you'll find a full listing at Los Angeles for Visitors.

Labor Day Fireworks

Independence Day is the traditional time for fireworks, but quite a few places have them over Labor Day, too. They include Sea World San Diego, South Lake Tahoe, and Disneyland.

Great Labor Day Getaways in California

In Palm Springs and other desert locations, the thermometer is likely to still top out at well more than 100° F, too hot for us to even think about going there. However, with a 3-day weekend, you can get a little further away from home than usual. These are a few places that would make a great Labor Day Getaway:

  • Catalina Island: An extra day on Catalina is always welcome, and you don't have to worry about driving home in that awful end of holiday weekend traffic - you just take the boat instead.
  • Eureka:  It isn't the town with the quirky sheriff and the talking house you saw in the TV show But  Eureka, California is a nice little place on the northern coast that's filled with charming Victorian-style homes.
  • Rent a Houseboat: For a great end-of-summer blowout, grab some friends and rent a houseboat on Lake Shasta or the Sacramento River Delta.
  • Mount Lassen: This volcano last blew its top in 1915, but you'll still find plenty of fire and brimstone simmering beneath the surface. And some great scenery all around. Labor Day weekend is a good time to go before the roads close for winter snow.
  • Mendocino: Pretty scenery and relaxing surroundings make "Mendo" a good place to rest up after a busy summer. And it's far enough north that an extra day to make the trip will be a big help.
  • East of the Sierras on Hwy 395: Before Tioga Pass from Yosemite closes for the winter (which can happen as early as November), take a quick trip over the Sierras to Mono County to visit the mother lode of ghost towns and one of California's most scenic lakes.

Labor Day on California Highways

The California Highway Patrol always increases their presence on highways during Labor Day weekend, so you'd be prudent to keep your speed in check.

Labor Day weekend is also one of Cal Trans' favorite times to work on road projects, which may include major road closures. Visit their website to check for road closures or call 800-427-7623.