Jetty Island. Credit: Alvin Smith via Flickr CC
While not the official end of summer, Labor Day weekend does mark the transition from summer to fall — or to school, at least, for many families.
It's a busy long weekend for camping and quick getaways. But for those of us sticking around town and looking to savor every drop of summer 2019, we've rounded up some fantastic ideas for Labor Day weekend family fun.
1. Jetty Island
This man-made island that's a summer paradise of sand and water is open daily through its last day of the season, Monday, Sept. 2. Head to Everett to catch the ferry — the ride takes 5 minutes — and make it a glorious family beach day. If you go on the very last day (Sept. 2), you can help keep the place clean by participating in the annual Trash Bash.
2. All aboard!
Who doesn't love trains? It's a great weekend to hop on a scale mini train ride on the Great Northern & Cascade Railway, or aboard Kitsap Live Steamers' mini trains. The Northwest Railway Museum is running Labor Day weekend trains, and it's the last few days this summer to hop aboard the steam train — and other rides — at Remlinger Farms.
3. Olympia Harbor Days
Tour the incredible vintage tug boats docked at the harbor, then watch the tugs race around Budd Inlet at this fun-filled festival celebrating local maritime history and industry. Families will dig all the activities, including RC tug boats, face painting, Legos, pirate stuff, snow cones and lots more.
4. Fair-time fun
Fair options abound over Labor Day weekend! Check out the wallabies, Clydesdales, carnival rides and Demolition Derby (extra fee) at the last weekend of The Evergreen State Fair. It's the opening weekend to "do the Puyallup" at the Washington State Fair, and kids enter for free all weekend. Check out new butterfly and dragon exhibits, in addition to adorable farm animals and arena competitions such as barrel racing or the dog show. For extra Western atmosphere, saddle up and head over the mountains for pro rodeo action and county fair fun at the Ellensburg Rodeo and Kittitas County Fair. There's a pancake breakfast and Western parade Saturday, plus families will love historic Frontier Village at the fair.
5. Family swim
Cannonball! Labor Day weekend is the last open weekend for many of our region's super outdoor swimming pools, including Seattle's scenic Colman Pool, Kirkland's Peter Kirk Pool, Henry Moses in Renton and Tacoma's Stewart Heights and Kandle pools. In fact, Tacoma's pools are open for free Labor Day swims on Monday. Sunday is the last day for a swim at this stunning and unique South Sound-area quarry pool. If water slides are your jam, Wild Waves is nearing the end of its season and it's the last weekend of the season at Birch Bay Waterslides north of Bellingham.
6. Bremerton Blackberry Festival
Berries are a staple of our Northwest summer and this local berry fest serves up all manner of delicious family fun on Bremerton's beautiful waterfront. In addition to tasting blackberry desserts (and wine for grown-ups), there's a kids' dash and family fun run, a chalk art competition, live music, comedy and magic at the kids' stage and the chance to ride the foot ferry over to Port Orchard.
7. Free fun
Spent all your vacation dough? Luckily there are free activities that let you have an adventure without spending a cent:
Sunday, Sept. 1, is one of the last few Bicycle Sundays where families can practice developing pedaling skills on a car-free ride along Lake Washington Boulevard. Pack a picnic for a stop at Seward Park.
The Center for Wooden Boats offers free Sunday boat rides all year long, but a Labor Day weekend jaunt onto Lake Union sounds like the perfect way to get a from-the-water view of Seattle's summer sights.
Explore the Ballard Locks, one of our area's top-visited tourist attractions, while listening to the pleasant sounds of free outdoor concerts, the last few of this season. Musical acts play Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 2 p.m. Tip: It's a band of ukeleles on Saturday!
Go on a guided search for wildlife living in a local, lakeside park. You might spot shorebirds, turtles, beavers and more. No need to register, just pop in for this free monthly Sunday walk taking place Sept. 1.