Team Outdoorsy
by Team Outdoorsy
Posted August 13, 2019

It’s so close — just a couple weeks away, in fact — you can almost hear it. The sound of laptops shutting softly, feet shuffling, chairs swiveling, and the main office door emphatically closing with a clack behind one coworker after another as each makes their escape for Labor Day weekend. 

Don’t get left behind. 

Picking a place to travel can be the hardest part about taking a break. Sometimes it’s not the most obvious destinations that win us over in the end — a fact we found rang true in our inaugural Labor Day weekend report. 

In total, Outdoorsy renters have booked more than 213,375 days of travel over Labor Day weekend in the U.S, with campervans and Class Bs being the most popular type of recreational vehicle to rent. If you’re looking to find where everyone’s heading this Labor Day, the most popular outdoor destinations are:

No. 1: Rocky Mountain NP in Colorado
No. 2: Olympic NP in Washington
No. 3: Joshua Tree NP in California
No. 4: Columbia River Gorge in Oregon
No. 5: Lake Michigan in Michigan

If you’re more of a city dweller and are looking for the hottest cities to spend the long weekend, Portland, Oregon; Denver, Colorado; and Golden, Colorado are where travelers are heading.

Still in search of a way to unwind and soak up some z’s and Vitamin D this Labor Day? We’ve got a few (okay fine, five) suggestions on where you should go. The below locales invite you to make the most of the 3-day weekend by experiencing what it truly means to get away. Whether you’re packing for a family of six or just for you and your furry best friend, Outdoorsy has RV, campervan, and trailer rentals to suit your unique travel style. 

First things first: grab a popsicle and read on. Below are the surprising locales Outdoorsy renters are traveling to over Labor Day weekend that — lucky for you — still have some sweet rentals available. 

Dog sledding in Anchorage, Alaska.

No. 1: Anchorage, Alaska

People don’t come to Alaska to check out the hottest new restaurant or latest museum exhibit. They come to Alaska because they want to do something different; because they want to have an adventure. We can’t think of a better basecamp than this city nestled between the mountains and the sea. Need further convincing? The average high temperature in August is 64 degrees. 

What to do: Start your day off on the right foot with an order of avocado toast topped with Alaskan reindeer sausage at Middle Way Cafe. Hit the trail for Flattop Mountain, which challenges hikers with a 200-foot scramble and rewarding summit views of Mount Denali. Kayak the Cook Inlet and soak in views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains. Reward your active self with a scoop of Alaskan spruce tip ice cream from small-batch shop Wild Scoops. Tour the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a sanctuary that takes in injured wild animals. Satiate your seafood craving at The Bubbly Mermaid, which serves up nearly three dozen hot and cold oyster offerings. 

What not to miss: Take a dog sled tour across the alpine snowfield of Punchbowl Glacier. 

Where to park: Next to Resurrection River, looking up and down the valley of Exit Glacier at Seward KOA. Although this campground is a (scenic) 2-hour drive from Anchorage, you’ll be rewarded with sublime mountain views in all directions — not to mention free showers with heated floors (the perfect antidote to a day of playing in the Alaskan wilderness). 

Hub Coffee Roasters in Reno, Nevada.

No. 2: Reno, Nevada

Positioned approximately 40 minutes north of Lake Tahoe, Reno is often seen as a gateway city to somewhere else — a place for just passing through, be that to the sandy lake shores, to Burning Man, or to a bustling casino. But take a second look and you’ll see that the “Biggest Little City in the World,” with its influx of hipster hangouts, can do just fine attracting visitors on its own.

What to do: Kick your endorphins into gear with a mid-afternoon mountain bike excursion on Mount Rose, which opens to skiers and snowboarders come winter. Flex your muscles at the world’s tallest outdoor climbing wall — an extension of Basecamp climbing gym that rises 164 feet above the funky Reno arch. Connect with your wild side as you wander through the world’s largest archive of Burning Man art and artifacts at the Nevada Museum of Art. Kick up some dust on a 4-wheeling adventure to a hidden natural hot spring in the Nevada desert. Invigorate your palate and answer the call of your appetite with a smorgasbord of small plates at The Depot, a craft brewery and distillery housed in a restored historic railroad building. Find a souvenir for your favorite friend or family member at The Basement, an amalgamation of artisan storefronts that includes an apothecary, florist, chocolate shop, and various clothing designers.
What not to miss: People watch with a pour over from Hub Coffee Roasters, a charming cafe complete with an umbrella-shaded patio overlooking the Truckee River. 

Where to park: On the banks of the Truckee River, with a scenic view of the surrounding mountains at Reno KOA at Boomtown.  

No. 3: Fort Worth, Texas

Mix modern-day cowboy culture with skyscrapers, world-class museums and award-winning cuisine and you’ve got a city that’s having a moment; a city that’s a challenge for travelers to steer away from. 

What to do: It would be a sin to come to this town in the Texas panhandle without ordering a proper chicken fried steak, but the Magnolia fried chicken breakfast biscuit at Brewed — a modern twist on the classic — satisfies this requisite. Walk it off and shop for a new pair of cowboy boots in Fort Worth’s trendy Southside District. Get cultured in cowgirl history at The National Cowgirl Museum, which features artifacts such as Annie Oakley’s wedding ring and gun. Take a hike through the sandstone cliffsides at Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Channel your inner speed demon and challenge your vertigo at Six Flags Over Texas. Cool off with a libation at Whiskey Ranch, where you can play a game of cornhole while gawking at views of the downtown skyline.   

What not to miss: Watch a cattle drive at the Stockyards National Historic District and be transported back in time to the set of a James Dean western.  

Where to park: Under the shade of a sprawling pecan tree at the Weatherford/Fort Worth West KOA

Rafting the river.

No. 4: Boise, Idaho

Once a stop along the Oregon Trail, today Boise is Idaho’s most populous city. Tucked beneath the beckoning call of the Rocky Mountains, this western city lies on a plain with a fairy tale-like name: Treasure Valley. Here, pockets of pristine wilderness can be found just as easily as modern art museums and fine dining establishments — making Boise easily lovable, whether you’re seeking rejuvenating nightlife or rest under a sparkling night sky.  

What to do: Fuel up for a day of exploration and adventure with an order of Wagyu steak and eggs at Wildroot Cafe and Market. Head south of town to watch a live raptor demonstration at the World Center for Birds of Prey. Sharpen your scent-ses with a stroll around the Julia Davis Rose Garden, which holds more than 2,000 rose bushes inside a 43-acre park. Spy on mountain goats and elk with a hike along the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway. Join a Salmon River float fishing trip and wind past old gold mining towns and bubbling hot springs. Recuperate the calories you’ve burned with an Ice Cream Potato — a devilish concoction found only at Westside Drive-In — where frozen ice-cream is compressed into the shape of a russet potato, then rolled in cocoa powder and topped with whipped cream.
What not to miss: Order the calimotxo, a red-wine-and-Coke libation, at one of the city’s many restaurants and cocktail bars steeped in Basque culture and charm. 

Where to park: Where the high desert meets the land of two legendary rivers — the Salmon River and the Snake River — at Boise/Meridian KOA

Feeding the giraffes.

No. 5: Columbus, Ohio

It’s easy to get swept away in Columbus. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the city’s history, find intriguing new discoveries in the revitalized downtown, or be inundated by its copious flora and fauna offerings, adventure awaits. Whoever says you have to leave the city to get away from it all clearly hasn’t been here.

What to do: Seek out a fresh pastry and iced latte at Fox in the Snow. Amble through German Village, one of the city’s first neighborhoods settled in the 1800’s, with red-brick homes lining narrow, brick-paved streets. Get lost in one of the 32 rooms at The Book Loft, an independent bookstore. Treat yourself to a half-pound cream puff (and perhaps a German-style beer too) at Schmidt’s Restaurant & Sausage Haus. Rent a bike and pedal the Scioto Mile, a paved path running beside the Scioto River and spanning most of Columbus’ downtown. Stand in awe as you watch the interactive water and light displays at Bicentennial Park. 

What not to miss: Get a taste of life on the African Savannah by feeding the giraffes their daily dose of leafy greens at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, home to more than 9,000 animals representing nearly 650 species from around the globe. 

Where to park: Just outside the city limits at the Columbus North KOA, which touts a stocked 5-acre fishing pond, petting zoo, heated swimming pool, splash pad, gem mine and an old-fashioned country store. 

Team Outdoorsy

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