Group of friends hiking through nature on Labor Day

Labor Day is practically made for fun. Landing right at the heels of summer, it’s a chance for one last hurrah before autumn sets in and we begin to bundle up and bunker down for a few months spent evading the chill by binge-watching Netflix and preparing for the less leisurely holidays to come. It’s the perfect respite from back-to-school preparations and the daily 8-5 grind. Here is a list of awesome ways to make the most of your Labor Day weekend.

1. Take a hike.

From amber waves of grain to majestic purple mountains, the U.S. is filled with natural treasures. The three-day weekend is the perfect opportunity to venture out and get in tune with your wild side. Pack up your tackle box and head to the lake for some late-season fishing, or take a trip to the seaside to enjoy one last dip in the waves before the weather turns too chilly.

State and national parks are also great places to visit for a day or the weekend. The early September weather is perfect for a long hike, with typically clear skies and moderate temperatures. It’s also ideal for camping. Many parks and lake sites include camping and cabin rentals, and there’s nothing quite as relaxing as a warm late-summer night spent roasting s’mores under the stars. Check out Cabela’s and Backcountry.com for awesome deals on everything from fishing rods to knapsacks before you head out.

Pair of shoppers going to a big sale

2. Shop the sales.

Everyone needs a little retail therapy now and again, and what better time to get some than on one of the biggest sale days of the year? It’s an especially great time to shop for back-to-school supplies and clothes, so if you are a student or parent of a matriculating student, check out stores like Old Navy, Target, and Kohl’s for some killer deals on everything from backpacks to blue jeans.

On the other hand, if you’re evading the dreaded “s” word, or aren’t a student or parent of a student, there’s no shortage of awesome deals on a variety of other products as well. Labor Day is also the best time of year to buy summer clothes at deeply discounted prices. To make the most of your purchases, check out the clearance racks at shops that are also offering storewide deals or Cash Back so you can double-dip on some savings. And just because you’re buying a tank top in September doesn’t mean you won’t be able to wear it until June. Consider picking pieces that you can layer underneath cardigans and jackets so you can start enjoying your savvy shopping haul right away, and all year long. Some stores touting killer Labor Day sales include Banana Republic, Macy’s, and Amazon.

Group of friends having a barbecue

3. Host a backyard cookout.

Break out the grill for one last cookout before summer’s end. Barbecues are the perfect weekend get-together, a chance for you and your friends to really kick back, relax, and enjoy some backyard volleyball or badminton. Don’t have a ball or a net? You can grab one from Dick’s Sporting Goods while enjoying 5% Cash Back and some killer discounts through Ebates.

Since nobody wants to work on Labor Day, make things easy on yourself and your wallet by asking your guests to bring a dish to share, potluck style. With everyone pitching in, there’s no need to worry that any one partygoer won’t have something to eat, which is especially helpful if you’ve got friends with dietary restrictions or allergies. You can provide the entrees, which you can get some awesome deals on from Safeway. If you’re providing the alcohol, you can also ask guests to bring a mixer, or if you’re going BYOB, provide a few mixers yourself. If you’re planning far enough in advance, order online at Amazon to save yourself some time.

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The Smart Shopper Editors

From the latest tech to the hottest fashions and everything in between, the editors at The Smart Shopper are in the know and ready share their expertise. Check out our posts on shopping secrets and product trends for those who live for a little retail therapy.

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