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Go Outside, Play This Labor Day Weekend

Ed. note: This is crossposted from blogs.usda.gov. See the original post here.  Learn more about the history of Labor Day, and the history of the U.S. Department of Labor

What better way to spend a three-day weekend than outside with friends and family? America’s national forests and grasslands offer a wide variety of recreation opportunities ranging from backcountry camping far from civilization to developed picnic areas with all the facilities you need for the perfect end-of-summer barbecue with family and friends.

Of course, there are still fires burning in some areas of the country so check the status of your destination before heading out. Safety is key.

Here are a few ideas to help you plan your weekend:

Camping

Ditch the video games and cable box this weekend and spend the night outside. Check out Recreation.gov for the latest information on reservations for developed camp sites. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the national forests have plenty of undeveloped sites offering a more up-close-and-personal experience with nature. Check your local forest or grassland web pages for more information.

Watersports

Boating is a blast – and can be fun for all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a Class V adrenaline-flowing, stomach-churning, terror-filled tale to tell your grandkids one day, or just hoping for a relaxing float down the river or canoeing on a lake, you can find it on most of your national forests. Call your nearest national forest office for more information. And don’t forget your basic water safety rules, including always wearing a lifejacket!

Fishing

As long as you’re underway on that canoe, you may want to consider dropping a fishing line in the water. Fishing is great family fun, and can create memories that will last a lifetime. There are fishing opportunities all across the national forests, and few experiences can top reeling in that first whopper! Just make sure you abide by local, state and federal laws, including obtaining a local fishing license. You can find out more online or from your nearest national forest office.

Hiking

Walking has proven health benefits, and it’s even better with a little fresh air and scenery to boot. Your national forests and grasslands offer a wealth of hiking trails, from short loop trails to connections along the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails which can take you hundreds of miles through the breathtaking views and scenic wonders. Visit your nearest forest and get reacquainted with nature – you can take it at your own pace because there is a trail for everyone.

Picnics

What could be more American than a Labor Day picnic? Pack up your lemonade, apple pie, and a cooler full of food and visit one of the thousands of approved picnic areas scattered throughout the national forests and grasslands. Food always tastes better when you’re in the Great Outdoors with friends and family. Forget the job and the hassles of the daily grind – go outside, breathe in some fresh air, and whatever you do enjoy your Labor Day Weekend. You’ve earned it!