Thinking of booking a last-minute getaway for Labor Day Weekend or just looking for a new destination to explore? Consider trading in the cliché, notorious party spots for an elevated, tropical locale that isn’t packed with of hordes of tourists. Thankfully there are a range of lesser known options that are accessible through direct flights from most major U.S. cities so you can easily pop in and out during a long-weekend. In addition to convenience, these off-the-beaten path locations are filled with culture, immersed in nature, offer tons of activities, top-tier spas, and restaurants, so you can truly rest and rejuvenate before the business of fall is in full swing. 

Ready to escape? Check out the sunny hideouts below for guaranteed breathtaking views, gorgeous lodging, white-sand beaches, and most importantly, minimal crowds.  

Bonaire Island

Boasting year-round warm weather, travelers looking for a Labor Day escape can enjoy the sun, sea, and sky of the world’s first “Blue Destination,” the Dutch Caribbean Island of Bonaire. With no street lights, lots of flamingos, and a population of just 20,000, this easy breezy paradise is a hidden gem for adventure seekers ready to explore with outdoor activities such as biking, kayaking, land sailing, and kite surfing. Visitors can be adventurous eaters too thanks to a growing culinary scene where guests can indulge in true Caribbean flavors and local dishes like the iguana soup or grab a drink at the new, chic bar, Tiki & Co. The unspoiled island’s appeal is found in its untouched nature, its warm locals, and their culture and through the lively and colorful town center of Kralendijk where guests can shop goodies from local artisans. Bonaire is the ideal escape to explore the off-beaten path backcountry with natural charm in every corner and plenty of space to roam.

Zihuatanejo, Mexico 

Image: courtesy of hotel Thompson Zihuatanejo.

This personal piece of paradise along the Pacific is idyllic for those looking to enter fall, relaxed and grounded. The charming and relaxing fishing village of Zihuatanejo is along the crystal clear waters of Mexico’s Pacific Coast and has long been a hideaway for creatives like Andy Warhol. The quiet town is located just north of the more bustling Ixtapa so guests can easily venture out to chase waterfalls, hit the beach, or ride bikes on a path with gorgeous bay and mountain views between Ixtapa and Zihua. The sophisticated beachfront boutique hotel Thompson Zihuatanejo is the perfect Labor Day destination for those looking for a true escape. Post activities stroll the property’s refuel with a chef-led seafood lesson on the sand, indulge in an intimate mezcal tasting on your private terrace, or unwind with a craft cocktail in hand in one of the property’s infinity pools (including an adults-only one).

Martinique Island

The French Caribbean island of Martinique’s 450 square miles offer idyllic beaches, dense tropical forests, pristine rivers and the iconic Mount Pelée volcano. Most people don’t know that the lush location is also one of the most eco-friendly locations in the region. Two-thirds of the island is designated protected parkland, offering a wide range of activities like a network of 27 marked hiking trails wending through 80 miles of beaches, bays, and mountain rainforests. To stay, consider the tropical Domaine des Bulles eco-lodge hotel situated in the midst of a nature preserve. The resort features four different transparent bubbles – Mineral, Water, Air and Robinson where you can stay and feel completely immersed in the surrounding greenery. Each bubble has a private bath and garden and property now boasts a spa and communal table utilizing products from the vegetable garden, so you can fully commit to ‘going green’. 

St. Vincent and the Grenadines Islands

Image: courtesy of Mandarin Oriental, Canouan

Part of the Caribbean archipelago of St Vincent and the Grenadines (which is made up of 32 isles and cays that also comprise Mustique and Palm Island), Canouan only measures five square miles across – but is made up of 1,700 lush acres and is home to a large coral reef. To stay, the luxury five-star resort Mandarin Oriental, Canouan is an all-suite and all-villa resort island hideaway, set on a private estate. The ground floor suites all have screen doors that open directly onto Godhal Beach and access to a breathtaking infinity pool. When you feel like exploring, there are plenty of options: deep-sea fishing, or a visit to the Tobago Cays on a catamaran, which will take you to where parts of Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed; you can snorkel and spot turtles in the clear waters or merely bask in the sun with a picnic lunch on deck. 

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala 

Image: courtesy of Casa Palopó

Guatemala's spectacular Lake Atitlán is famous for its natural beauty, three majestic volcanoes and 12 colorful Mayan villages that dot its shores. Casa Palopó is perched on the hills that surrounding the lake. The private home turned boutique hotel offers just 15 uniquely decorated guest rooms and suites, adorned with colorful walls, Latin American artwork and locally handwoven textiles — all perfectly complemented by its invigorating views. Cultural experiences include Mayan shaman blessings on property, tours through Lake Atitlan’s villages, and visits to local artisans - as well as voluntourism opportunities via Pintando Santa Catarina Palopo. Another bonus? Rates for Labor Day Weekend start from $258+ per night.