Labor Day is often considered to be the last long weekend primed for summer travel, so it isn’t surprising that so many Americans head to the airport at the end of August/early September for a final summer jaunt.
In the past, popular vacation spots have included international destinations like Lima, Peru. However this Labor Day, according to more than 3 million Fly.com user searches, America’s top 10 most popular travel destinations are looking a little different.
Not only are travelers solely searching for domestic flights, but the West appears to be particularly attractive this year – thanks, in part, to new entrants Seattle and Denver.
At the top of the Fly.com list is Las Vegas, which climbed from last year’s runner up position to claim the number 1 spot – edging out New York City, which dropped to second place.
The East Coast continues to be represented by the Big Apple, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. However the big upset was Cancun, Mexico, which moved up from last year’s sixteenth place to round out the 2013 top ten.
Last year finishers, San Juan (Puerto Rico), San Francisco and Lima, Peru, all failed to place.
So what is the draw for this year’s Top 10? Read on to find out some of the things you can see and do at each destination this Labor Day. And remember to visit Fly.com for the best Labor Day airfares.
America’s Top 10 Destinations and their Labor Day Appeal
#1: Las Vegas
Known to attract as many as two million or more visitors over the Labor Day weekend, it is not surprising that, this year, Vegas was able to move up to the #1 spot. More importantly, casinos and local establishments are only too happy to cater to the influx of travelers and they make sure you have plenty to keep you entertained. But you don’t have to dip your hand into your wallet for everything; check out the FREE Rock of Vegas summer concert series, which runs through August 31st.
#2: New York City
Now in its 45th year, the West Indian American Day Parade and Carnival enjoys the distinction of being New York City’s biggest cultural festival. Attracting millions of Brooklynites, New Yorkers and tourists alike, the Labor Day parade is a colorful celebration of Caribbean culture and heritage.
There is a reason why Orlando keeps popping up into Fly.com user search top 10 lists – especially for the spring and fall – and that is the weather is gorgeous. Even though it is a holiday weekend, you can expect major attractions like Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal to be less busy than over the summer school holiday.
If music is your thing, head over to the North Coast Music Festival. Billed as “Summer’s Last Stand,” it is your chance to see more than 50 different line-ups from various independent Chicago promoters. Music styles range from electronic, house, and jamband to hip hop and indie rock.
#5: Los Angeles
Why not combine two classics at once? Head on over to the Paramount Pictures Studio (the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Hollywood) for The Taste’s Labor Day Block Party featuring BBQ, BBQ and more BBQ, as well as various demonstrations and cook-offs from local prominent chefs.
Like Brooklyn above, Honolulu reserves the Labor Day weekend for cultural celebrations. Now in its 30th year, the Okinawan Festival attracts more than 50,000 people each year from all over the world. Expect to find delicious Okinawan food, as well as traditional arts, crafts and entertainment.
#7: Fort Lauderdale
Sun, sand and sea – what more is there to say?
Two words – Bumbershoot baby! Now in its 43rd year, Bumbershoot is North America’s largest urban arts festival and, as such, consistently draws artists from a myriad of genres – including music, film, comedy, dance, theatre and the visual arts.
Denver is extremely beautiful in the summer. There’s usually a lot to do in the city – including the Denver Zoo, which is one of the best in the country. Additionally, it’s only a three-hour drive from the mountains where you can enjoy outdoor pursuits like hiking, horseback riding, camping, etc.
Lastly, for all you food lovers, A Taste of Colorado, which brings together dishes from more than 50 local Coloradoan restaurants, will take place over the Labor Day weekend.
** Fly.com used data collected from more than 3 million user searches and extracted domestic and international flights with departure dates Aug. 24 – Aug. 31 and return dates Sept. 2 – Sept. 8. The study period included all searches conducted June 1 – July 19, 2013.