Jetty Island. Credit: Elisa Murray
While not the official end of summer, Labor Day weekend does mark the transition from summer to fall — and to school, 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 2022, 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, Sunday, Sept. 4. Head to Everett to catch the ferry — the ride takes 5 minutes — and make it a glorious family beach day.
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 also running Labor Day weekend trains for a scenic ride between North Bend and Snoqualmie Falls.
3. Olympia Harbor Days
Tour the super-cool vintage tugboats 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 of the activities, including tugboat races, face painting, Legos, pirate stuff, handmade ice cream and lots more.
4. Fair-time fun
Fair options abound over Labor Day weekend! Check out the lumberjacks, 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 a new dinosaur exhibition, in addition to adorable farm animals and arena competitions such as the rodeo. 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 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. If waterslides 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 live music, loads of fun family activities 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:
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: Show up for street organ music on Sunday!
Go on a guided search for wildlife inhabiting 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. 4.
Bonus: Not free, but you can save a bundle with this deal in honor of National Cinema Day on Saturday, Sept. 3: See a movie for only $3 at participating major theater chains and independents. All showings, even new releases, IMAX and 3D films are included!