7 Best Labor Day Fishing Destinations in the US
Sep 18, 2019 | 8 minute read
Reading Time: 8 minutes

Labor Day Weekend is all about taking a break from work, escaping the city, and spending quality time with friends and family. And what better way to do all that than by going fishing? With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of the best Labor Day fishing destinations around the country.

An American flag stuck in a collection of sand castles on a white beach, with blue sea in the distance

We had a few criteria when making this list. Each spot needed beautiful nature and incredible angling, within easy reach of some of the nation’s biggest cities. On top of that, the fishery had to offer something for anglers of any skill level, and on every budget. With all that in mind, here are our top picks of where to fish this Labor Day Weekend.

Grand Haven, MI

A yellow sandy beach in Grand Haven, Michigan, with a red lighthouse next to the water in the distance

Sitting on the eastern coast of Lake Michigan, within easy reach of Detroit and Chicago, Grand Haven is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing weekend away. The town ticks all the boxes: sandy beaches, a bustling boardwalk, wooded walks, and of course, awesome angling. 

Grand Haven’s signature species is Chinook Salmon. These are the biggest, tastiest, and most prized Salmon species out there. And as luck would have it, the Salmon bite is on fire in early September. Head out on a local fishing charter, and you’re almost guaranteed to take home a feast at the end of the day.

A man and a boy posing with a Chinook Salmon on a boat

Not great on boats? No worries! You can enjoy huge hookups without ever leaving land. The Grand River flows right through town and is full of Salmon, Steelhead, Walleye, Bass, and so much more. Fish right in town, or head upstream to shady spots like the beautiful Riverside Park.

Once you’ve caught your fill of fish, you can enjoy everything else the town has to offer. Take a vintage trolley bus to see the sights and learn about the town’s history. Hit the beach for some good old-fashioned fun in the sun. Round off the day with a spectacle of color and music at the Grand Haven Musical Fountain. Whatever you decide to do, you’re in for a great time.

Rockport, TX

An aerial view of Rockport, Texas, with lots of fishing piers stretching into the water

Rockport is all about having a great time on the water. The city is an ideal place to escape to the coast for sun, sea, and sand. What’s more, it’s just a couple of hours from San Antonio and Houston, and an easy day’s drive from DWF. In short, it’s the perfect place to spend Labor Day Weekend in Texas.

The first thing you’re going to want to do is head out and land some fish. Why? Because with so many tasty species to choose from, you’ll need the whole weekend just to eat your catch! Explore the bays to reel in Redfish, Seatrout, Flounder, and Sheepshead while your captain takes you on a tour of Matagorda Island and Aransas Wildlife Refuge. Don’t forget your camera.

A happy female angler holding a redfish, with a male angler holding a fly fishing rod behind

Up for more of a challenge? How about taking on Tuna. September is a great time to try for Blackfin offshore, and you can even find Yellowfin on longer trips. Throw in Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, and an always-open state Red Snapper season, and you’re seriously spoiled for choice.

There’s just as much variety back on dry land – even once you’re done with swimming, sailing, and generally making the most of Rockport’s amazing beaches. Learn about the city’s seafaring heritage at the Texas Maritime Museum. Get cultural with a visit to the Rockport Center for the Arts. Whatever you do, you’ll have a fishy feast waiting for you at the end of the day.

Kent Island, MD

A wooden walkway leading over lush greenery on Kent Island, MD, with blue sky and clouds in the distance

Kent Island is an oasis of calm just a stone’s throw from one of the country’s busiest metropolitan areas. Cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and you arrive in the charming town of Stevensville, MD, home to world-class guitars, great beers and wines, and more tasty seafood than you’ll know what to do with.

Of course, the obvious thing to do with it is catch it! Jump on a charter, and you’ll be out battling big Striped Bass, Fluke, and Bluefish before you know it. You can also drop some traps to add delicious Blue Crab to the day’s haul. You’d better come hungry!

An angler holding a Striped Bass on a charter fishing boat

If you don’t want to spend the whole day on the water, you can still catch some tasty fish by heading to one of the island’s fishing piers. Make some casts or set some traps while the family relaxes on the beach. Kent Island has plenty of hiking and biking trails, so you can even combine fishing with an active tour of the area.

Don’t spend all your time outdoors, though – Stevensville has some real treats, too. See some of the country’s finest guitars being crafted. Learn about the town’s history and pick up some souvenirs in the Arts & Entertainment District. Prefer a winery tour or a locally-brewed beer? Stevensville has plenty of both! Just take your pick of fun activities and enjoy.

Astoria, OR

The town of Astoria, Oregon, one of the best Labor Day fishing destinations in the US. Green trees are in the foreground, with white buildings behind and the blue water of the Pacific Ocean in the distance

Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day as a public holiday. Beaver State residents have been enjoying some well-earned rest since way back in 1887, and where better to enjoy it than Astoria? The city balances history, nature, food, and drink to give you a great time, whatever you’re after.

As always, let’s start with the fish. There aren’t really any bad places to fish in Oregon, but a few things make Astoria stand out even by local standards. The city sits on the mouth of the Columbia River, with easy access to both fresh and saltwater spots. Safe to say, both of them are full of fish.

A happy man holding a Chinook Salmon with water in the background

Hit the sea, and you can haul in Lingcod, Dungeness Crab, and even Halibut if the season’s still open. You may also catch the end of the Albacore Tuna season offshore. Venture up the Columbia River, and you’ll be battling monster Steelhead and Salmon. And that’s without even starting on the endless small streams and lakes that litter the local area.

If that all sounds exhausting, you’ll be glad to hear that Astoria is full of quirky coffee shops and amazing eateries to rest after a hard day’s fishing. You can also take a waterfront trolley ride to enjoy the view while giving your feet a break. Save some energy for the climb up to the Astoria Tower, then end the day by sampling a range of beers made in-house at the Fort George Brewery.

Point Pleasant, NJ

The waterfront in Point Pleasant, NJ, with a US flag flying on the right and green-blue water in the foreground.

For many of us, the Labor Day weekend is about making the most of the end of summer. It’s a chance for a hassle-free holiday where you can do as little as you like. If you’re after a chilled out beach break that won’t break the bank, Point Pleasant is the place to be. The town has all you need for a fun family vacation, and it’s close enough for millions of Americans to enjoy it on a day trip.

For the anglers among you, Point Pleasant offers an all-you-can-fish buffet. Between the Manasquan and Metedeconk Rivers and the deep blue of the Atlantic, you can reel in a monster in every direction. Fish the river mouths for Stripers, Bluefish, and Weakfish, or head upstream to find Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass.

A Yellowfin Tuna jumping at a fishing lure next to a boat, with a gaff pole hooking into the fish

However, if you’re after the real action, you’ll want to get offshore. September is the best time to take on Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna on a deep sea fishing charter. Head out on an all-day extravaganza, and you might even hook a Marlin.

You don’t have to catch fish to enjoy it, mind you. Point Pleasant has a ton of family-friendly restaurants serving up fresh seafood by the barrel. Take a stroll along Jenkinson’s Boardwalk and you’ll find plenty of options, as well as rides, games, and miles of sandy beach. In short, the town has all the makings of a classic family day out.

Dana Point, CA

An aerial view of Dana Point harbor, with lots of white charter boats in the marina in the center and coastline stretching into the distance

Dana Point seems custom-built to make the most of the surrounding sea. The city’s set around a huge harbor, and the rest of the waterfront is either sandy beach for swimming or high cliffs for taking in the view. What’s more, it’s a short hop from both L.A. and San Diego, making it a dream spot for a Labor Day escape.

You only need to take one look at Dana Point’s Harbor to know that there’s some awesome fishing here. Early September is big game season, with monster Sharks like Threshers and Makos tearing through the deep canyons offshore. If you’re looking for a feast, Bigeye Tuna are also around, as are Yellowtail. You’d better come prepared on a deep sea fishing trip.

An angler holding a large Yellowtail Amberjack on a boat

Fish aren’t the only monsters swimming around here. Dana Point is famous for the huge numbers of whales that show up offshore. September is when the biggest of the bunch are in town: blue whales. Either head out on a specific whale watching tour or keep an eye out while you’re catching your dinner on a fishing charter. They’re not hard to spot.

The fun doesn’t stop once you get back to town. Join a surfing or paddle boarding class to pick up a fun new hobby, or just relax on the beach to perfect that end-of-summer tan. The city also has more museums and art galleries than you could ever see in a weekend. And did we mention the sunsets? Seriously, we can’t think of a reason not to go to Dana Point.

Gloucester, MA

A view from the ocean of Gloucester, Massachusetts, with old church spires poking above the houses

Gloucester is one of those places that make you feel instantly relaxed as soon as you arrive. Its pretty brick streets are lined with cafes and boutiques that are just begging to be explored. The harbor is full of small boats heading out in search of fish or returning to port ladened with the day’s catch. It’s a city you can really sink your teeth into, while escaping the stress of day-to-day life.

If Gloucester is a place you can sink your teeth into, just wait until you see the fish you can catch here. September is prime Tuna season, with big Bluefin giving anglers the fight of their life. As if that wasn’t enough, monster Mako and Blue Sharks patrol these waters, feeding on the big schools of Mackerel that call the area home.

A smiling angler standing with a giant Bluefin Tuna next to a boat at a dock

Even from shore, you can hook your fair share of brutes. Bluefish and Striped Bass are a common sight when fishing on the rocks. Hard-fighting False Albacore are also around to add extra action to the already star-studded cast.

Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a relaxing Labor Day destination? Absolutely! Gloucester is a great place to do as much or as little as you want. You could spend hours walking the area’s wild beaches or just sit down with a coffee and watch the boats sail by in the annual Schooner Festival. Whatever you do, you can do it in a quaint, friendly little city with some serious history.

The Perfect Labor Day Fishing Destinations

A US flag hanging off a charter fishing boat in a marina, with a pink evening sky in the distance

Every one of these towns and cities will make for an unforgettable Labor Day Weekend. They all have world-class angling and plenty to do off the water, too. They manage to balance nature, culture, and family fun. It all comes down to where you are and what you’re after.

Do you have a favorite Labor Day fishing destination? Which of these places have you been to before, and what did you catch? Let us know in the comments below. We’re always happy to hear from you!

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