In my family growing up, Labor Day weekend was a camping holiday. Every year, my parents, two brothers and I loaded all of our camp gear into the family minivan for a trip to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park. And every year, we got there just in time—campgrounds in the park fill up fast over the holiday weekend, so we always had neighbors in the campgrounds on either side.
I didn’t mind. Campsites sort of blurred together on those weekends, so my brothers and I ended up hiking, playing, and eating s’mores with seemingly every kid in the park. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but it was probably the most socio-economically diverse group of kids I’d ever played with. Their parents were doctors, lawyers, machinists, schoolteachers, landscapers, custodians, and fast-food workers… and all of them had chosen to spend this three-day weekend in one of our country’s most beautiful places.
They (and I) were among the millions of Americans who choose to celebrate the Labor Day weekend on public lands. Campgrounds in most National Parks fill up during the first weekend of September—the holiday draws crowds on par with those of Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.