Want to squeeze out every last drop of summer? There's still time for one last hurrah. Kid-friendly resorts around the country are rolling out the red carpet with last-minute Labor Day weekend specials aimed at families. Here's a sampling of places where summer's going out with a bang:
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
Where: Orlando, FL
Why: Because this next-door neighbor to SeaWorld offers early entry and other VIP perks inside the theme park -- plus, it has its own water park. The Renaissance Orlando's R Aqua Zone has two twisting waterslides, a separate zone for toddlers, and interactive features such as periscope guns, a water windmill, and a gyroscope spinner. On Labor Day weekend, there will be games, pancake making, movies, hair braiding, and breakfast with Shamu. Best of all, you can also still take advantage of this summer's introductory Splash & Stay rates, which start at $89 per night -- about 25% off regular rates.
Where: Scottsdale, AZ
Why: Because this palatial desert resort finds many ways to transcend the triple-digit temps. For starters, the Phoenician has nine acres of pools, a kids' club, afternoon teas, and a $25 million art collection complemented with family-friendly audio tours. Over the holiday weekend, you can enjoy old-school activities such as ice cream socials, water balloon tosses, movies, and badminton tournaments. The Summer's Retreat special feels almost retro, too, with rates starting at a civilized $179, and which also includes a $50 daily resort credit and 50% off a second room. Keep in mind that come fall, regular rates will creep up to $395 per night.
Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Where: Seven Springs, PA
Why: Because kids can have a big finish to their summer by cruising down a 1,980-foot alpine slide, climbing the rock wall, or flying through the air on the Eurobungy. There's also bowling, disk golf, game rooms, and chairlift rides. Meanwhile, grown-ups can recharge for the coming school year at the full-service Trillium Spa. The Labor Day Celebration Package costs $194 per person, and includes a two-night stay, breakfast daily, an Italian dinner buffet, and an all-access wristband for all of the cool activities. Kids 11 and under can stay and play for free.
Gaylord Texan Where: Grapevine, TX
Why: Because this lakefront Texas resort beats the heat with a rambling water park that features a 6,000-square-foot lagoon, a lazy river, a 27-foot-tall winding waterslide, two horseshoe-shape hot pools, and a dedicated toddler pool. There's also a game pavilion with bocce ball, croquet, and good ol' shuffleboard. Labor Day weekend offers special pool games, movies, temporary tattoos, fireside ghost stories, and an afternoon "Silly Hour" for kids (half-price slushie drinks); there's even a Dad's Eat Free brunch that delivers nearly $30 in savings for the big guy. The SummerFest deal starts at $259 per night and includes breakfast daily for four, as well as parking and resort fees, which would normally add up to $32 per day.
Pheasant Run Resort
Where: St. Charles, IL
Why: Because this family-friendly golf resort and spa near Chicago has a roster of outdoor activities that include live music, pool games, and a poolside barbecue. In the evenings, families can watch movies under the stars or roast s'mores over a bonfire. The Kids' Klub will be open all weekend for arts and crafts, and grown-ups can check out the comedy club or a live production of Neil Simon's They're Playing Our Song. The Holiday Weekend Summer Bash package starts at $139 per night and includes a barbecue for four, tokens for the Swamp Arcade, free ice cream, and kids' craft activities.
Resort at Squaw Creek
Where: Lake Tahoe, CA
Why: Because this is one of the last chances to enjoy the warm weather fun before ski season kicks in. At the Resort at Squaw Creek, you can bike, take guided hikes, or go fly-fishing at this recently renovated 400-room hotel, and there's also great kayaking nearby. Over the weekend, kids 17 and under can play golf for free on the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course (with a paying adult), and by the pool there will be barbecues, dive-in movies, s'more roasts, bocce ball, and tie-dying tee-shirts. The Labor Day Family Bed & Breakfast Package starts at $209 per night and includes breakfast for a family of four.
Where: Wheeling, WV
Why: Because this picturesque golf resort and spa is a mini-city in itself, with a planetarium, a glass museum, and even a 30-acre zoo. Families can rent paddle boats or go fishing on Schenk Lake, take in a few rounds of mini golf, or go horseback riding. The festivities during Labor Day weekend will include fireworks, a live symphony performance, water fountain displays, a woodcarving show, and a historic re-enactment. The three-night Labor Day package starts at $419 for two adults and includes a welcome reception, breakfast daily, zoo and museum admission, and many activities. There is an additional charge of $15 to $20 per night for each child, depending on age.
Where: Pine Mountain, GA
Why: Because this year marks the 13th anniversary of the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens. The weekend kicks off on a high note with a balloon glow on Robin Lake Beach, when rows of tethered balloons will be illuminated. Balloon launches will take place on Saturday and Sunday, along with many kid-friendly activities such as face painting, tethered balloon rides, inflatable water slides, mini golf, laser tag, a car show, and live music. The Sky High Hot Air Balloon package starts at $179 per night and includes breakfast for two adults (add $8 per child ages 6-12), four tie-dye T-shirt tickets, and admission to the balloon festival and other attractions, including the butterfly center and Callaway's famous gardens.
Where: Pismo Beach, CA
Why: Because this kid-friendly cliff-side resort offers luxurious accommodations and beachfront access, plus a Labor Day package that wrings out three more fun-packed days of summer. Nearby sights include Hearst Castle, plus a local children's museum and zoo. Labor Day weekend will feature continuous live music and nightly wine-tastings for adults, while the kids enjoy fresh baked cookies. Families can go biking, kayaking, fishing, and horseback riding nearby, and the complimentary kids' club offers crafts, tidepooling, and the all-important Wii. The three-night Labor Day Summer Finale package starts at $689 and includes accommodations with a free room upgrade, breakfast daily for four, and BBQ lunches. Add Monday night for an additional $99.
Wild Eagle Lodge
Where: Eagle River, WI
Why: Because, if your family loves the outdoors, this quiet lakeside retreat is a perfect place to say good-bye to summer. Think sandcastles on the private beach, boating, fishing, campfires, and sports galore. On Sunday, the Kid's Fishing Jamboree ends with prizes and ribbons for little anglers who reel in a big one. There's also tennis, kayaking, volleyball, swimming, and a playground. The two-night Labor Day Family Getaway starts at $500 for a family of four, and includes motor boat rentals for the entire stay, $10 worth of resort bucks per person, one game of bowling per person, and Sunday brunch.
Point Sebago Resort
Where: South Casco, ME
Why: Because this camp-style family resort (see WeJustGotBack.com's review), on one of Maine's most pristine lakes, delivers a whirlwind of activities, ranging from flag football and kayaking to social games (cue "family double dare") and hayrides. Kids get time with their peers at Chippy's Playhouse, while teens get their own hangout with video and table games. The all-inclusive three-night Labor Day weekend package starts at $310 per adult. You'll pay an additional $40 to $90 per child, depending on age (kids 4 and under are free). The package includes accommodations; eight buffet meals, including one lobster dinner; mini golf; free entertainment and activities; discounted golf greens fees; plus a one-hour lake cruise.
WeJustGotBack.com is an award-winning family travel site, featuring reviews of kid-friendly hotels and resorts, expert planning advice, readers' travel tips, and more. Want an easy way to find out about vacation deals? Sign up for our family travel e-newsletter. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Family Travel Forum.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Family Travel Forum.