Hello, Summer! The Top 45 Memorial Day Weekend Destinations in the US
Good news, friends! Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us. Bring on the grill-fired eats, picnics in the park, and, if you’ve caught a case of wanderlust this May, a long weekend out of town. The first day of Summer might not technically be until June 21, but let’s be real, the unofficial start of the season kicks off during the last weekend of May. Whether you’re searching for commemorative parades and events or rooftop soirees and live music, small lakeside towns or sprawling metropolises, three days of relaxation or action-packed adventure, read on for 45 US destinations that are perfect for an awesome long weekend this Memorial Day.
Key West, FL
If all you need for the perfect long weekend is a white sandy beach, palm trees blowing in the wind, and rose-colored sunsets over the ocean, Key West has you (more than) covered. Throw in a B&B in one of the pastel-colored villages and a bountiful coral reef for the icing on the cake.
Myrtle Beach, SC
Hello, beachfront boardwalks, dozens of arcades, underwater fish exhibits, outdoor patios perfect for sipping on Prosecco as the sun goes down, and an old-fashioned amusement park! It’s no wonder this coastal South Carolina gem has been lauded as a prime Memorial weekend getaway for decades.
Big Bear Lake, CA
If adventure is at the top of your list, this lakeside city in California is brimming with outdoor opportunities. Hike the winding mountain trails, explore San Bernardino National Forest, go tubing down water slides, or take in the views by kayak on the seven-mile lake.
Bar Harbor, ME
Cozy and quaint, this bayside town serves as the doorway to the famed Acadia National Park. Hike the nearby trails, go sailing, wake up early to watch the sun rise over the cobalt blue waters, and be sure to get your lobster fix.
San Diego, CA
From yacht parties to pub crawls to fundraising BBQs, there’s a calendar full of reasons to visit this breezy coastal city for a long weekend basking in the California sun.
Santa Monica, CA
Nothing but laid-back beach vibes are allowed in this palm-tree-lined pocket of LA. Rent bikes and pedal down the coast, eat an al fresco lunch surrounded by ocean views, and hop on one of the many waterfront rides at the beachfront amusement park Pacific Park.
Texas Hill Country
This rugged region of Texas is peppered with quirky towns, nature reserves, stunning sunset views, and more than 50 wineries. Catch a live music show and be sure to check out the food and wine events serving up fresh artisanal fare and local vino throughout the weekend.
What better place to honor the men and women who have lost their lives serving than in the national’s capital? DC will be awash with commemorative events, including the largest Memorial Day parade in the country.
New York City
Late May usually brings stellar weather to NYC, and Central Park and rooftop bars will be buzzing with life over the weekend. From parties to parades and BBQs to outdoor movie marathons, there will be no shortage of things to do in the Big Apple.
Late Spring is a wondrous time to get lost in the beauty of Chicago, with the weather warming up and outdoor activities kicking off for the Summer season. Go kayaking on the Chicago River, stroll down the Navy Pier (and catch the fireworks show!), and bike down the Lakefront Trail.
The Olympic Peninsula
A truly spectacular corner of the US, Washington’s Olympic Peninsula offers nature enthusiasts the weekend of a lifetime. Camp on the beach in Port Angeles, cruise up and down the Pacific Coast Highway, and go canoeing on some of the bluest lakes you’ve ever seen.
Gatlinburg was practically designed with the perfect relaxing long weekend in mind. Stay in city proper or rent a mountain cabin (bonus if you can score one with a hot tub!), and take in all the natural, whimsical wonder of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Cape Cod, MA
This hook-shaped peninsula in Massachusetts is dotted with historic lighthouses, charming little villages and fishing towns, freshly caught seafood shacks, and miles upon miles of beautiful beaches.
Santa Barbara, CA
Belted by the magnificent Santa Ynez Mountains, this breezy beach enclave is alive with local wineries, five-star restaurants, dramatic sunset views, and colorful Spanish-style villages. There’s a bundle of celebratory events planned, including a backpack tour to honor our veterans and a Memorial Day 5K.
PCH Road Trip
Serrated cliffs that fall into the hazy Pacific, rolling vineyards, charming art villages, sea lions and otters, and breathtaking vistas at every turn – why choose just one location when you can drink in all the spectacular West Coast has to offer along the Pacific Coast Highway?
Just when you thought this historic Southern city couldn’t get any more idyllic, you turn down a cobblestone street and find a horse-drawn carriage waiting to take you for a stroll. This colorful city is brimming with culture and charm – spend the weekend feasting on authentic Southern fare, listening to free live music, and picnicking on the lawn of Marion Square.
Lake culture and live music collide in this hip Texas city, and are there any better activities for when the sun is shining and the weather is warm than those? Be sure to stop for fuel at one of the city’s more than 1,200 food trucks for Texas BBQ; kimchi fries; or tacos, tacos, and tacos.
Straddling the border of California and Nevada, this sprawling freshwater lake might be famed for its nearby ski resorts, but the peaceful retreat offers just as much allure as the seasons become warmer. Kayak, paddleboard, hike, bike the Truckee River Bike Path, or merely enjoy the tranquility of the crystal blue waters.
Come the end of May, the snow has melted, the cobblestone streets have thawed, and this sparkling waterfront metropolis becomes a playground of outdoor activities, live shows, outdoor happy hours, and commemorative events in one of the US’s most historic cities.
Glacier National Park
Many of the facilities will be open in this magnificent national park in northern Montana for Memorial Day, so gather the family or friends for a weekend of whitewater rafting, bicycling, hiking, and some of the freshest air you can imagine.
The end of May means one thing in Vegas – it’s officially pool party season! If you’re craving a little rowdiness this Memorial Day, head out West for a neon-light-filled long weekend in the Nevada desert.
Hudson Valley, New York
Hello, foodie haven! This forested pocket of New York state is celebrated for its rich farm-to-table culinary concepts, but the views can be just as filling as the farm-fresh fare. Spend the weekend amidst the stunning natural surroundings at the 150-year-old Mohonk Mountain House – a Victorian castle resort flanked by 40,000 acres of forest.
Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, this casual college town is consistently rated as one of the happiest and healthiest cities in the US. When you get a taste of the craft beer scene, vibrant art collectives, and fresh mountain air, you’ll instantly see why.
Willamette Valley, OR
Stretching over 150 miles in the PNW, this rolling valley is dotted with babbling rivers, parks and green spaces, quirky towns, and more than 500 vineyards and tasting rooms. May also happens to be wine month in Oregon, so it’s the perfect time to enjoy the fresh Spring weather and taste some of the finest Pinot Noirs in the world.
Santa Catalina Island, CA
You might feel like you’re in an entirely different country, but there’s no passport required for this picturesque island off the coast of Southern California. Peppered with hiking trails, dive sites, stunning vantage points, and high adventure activities, this rocky island is only a short ferry ride from the LA area and will make you feel like you’re a world away.
San Juan Island, WA
Whale-watching, camping, waterfront parks, hiking, kayaking – this rocky island in northwest Washington is ready for action.
Palm Springs, CA
A vacay favorite for the rich and famous, this trendy desert town is exploding with springtime activity, from rugged hiking trails to vintage boutique shopping. The desert can get rather warm in the Summer months, so late Spring is the perfect time to go before the temps start to crest 100.
The beauty of this spectacular slice of Arizona is that you can make your trip as wild and exhilarating or relaxing and meditative as you’d like – the choice is yours! Hike, stargaze, go on a Pink Jeep Tour, get pampered at a spa, meditate in a treehouse (offered at L’Auberge de Sedona), or merely get lost in the vastness of the surrounding red rock buttes.
Jackson Hole, WY
It’s tough to choose what’s more enchanting – the drive into Jackson Hole or the magical views of the surrounding Grand Tetons once you arrive. There’s so much to pack into a weekend getaway – stagecoach rides, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, hang gliding, and even a mountain safari.
From the largest bar crawl in the South to a commemoration with cannon and musket firings, this picturesque Georgia city has a packed lineup in store for its Memorial Day visitors.
Hilton Head Island, SC
Time seems to slow on this dreamy island off the coast of South Carolina. Soak up all the R&R you can on the sugary beaches, check out the Island Art Festival, and be sure to leave enough room in your suitcase because the Tanger Outlets will be hosting its huge annual Memorial Day sale.
Manitou Springs, CO
An artsy town tucked into the shadow of Pike’s Peak, Manitou Springs is a refreshing mix of historic buildings, art shops and boutiques, craft beer and modern culinary concepts, and tons of opportunity for outdoor adventure. If you’re feeling brave, grab a water bottle and climb the Manitou Incline – 2,744 steps in total!
Grand Lake, CO
You’ll feel like you’ve stepped inside a storybook in this quaint lakefront town nestled along the largest natural body of water in Colorado. It might be called the snowmobiling capital of the state, but its seemingly endless water activities and outdoor recreation make it a prime Memorial Day destination, too.
The Emerald City is promising a full schedule of celebratory events this year, including fancy dinner cruises, folk and jazz music festivals, a city-wide bike ride, a scavenger hunt, and a host of commemorative ceremonies and events.
Just off the coast of Cape Cod, this tiny island makes up in idyllic charm what it lacks in size. Lighthouses, stunning sunrises, cobblestone streets, and historic architecture make Nantucket the perfect three-day escape for those looking to rest, relax, and soak up authentic New England charm.
Route 66 Road Trip
Get your kicks on the country’s most famous road trip route. Connecting Chicago and LA over the course of 2,500 miles, Route 66 provides a front-row seat to dramatic vistas, famous motels and gas stations, and a ton of tourist attractions. May typically offers prime road trip weather, so get the snacks and playlist ready!
Mammoth Lakes, CA
With granite cliffs, massive limestone towers, and gushing waterfalls, this tiny lake town is as majestic as it is exhilarating. And because of its prime position in the Sierra Nevadas, the lifts are still open on Memorial Day. With the live music and specials surrounding the holiday weekend, you can expect a party!
A vibrant enclave on the shore of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a wonderful option for those seeking tranquility, authenticity, lovely scenic views, and a ton of lake-centric activities.
Ocean City, MD
Spend your weekend on Ocean City’s famous beachfront boardwalk, where you’ll find arcades, thrill rides and roller coasters, and fresh seafood restaurants and outdoor bars. Memorial Day kicks off the resort’s Summer season, so the activities will be in full swing, from fireworks to water sports.
Life is easy on the colorful streets of this famously spirited city, where there’s live music around every corner and beignets so soft and melty, they just might bring a tear to your eye. The holiday weekend will bring huge musical sensations at the Bayou Country SuperFest and perfect crawfish boil weather.
Dripping in European charm, this Danish-inspired city in Southern California serves its visitors numerous local wineries, a famed craft beer scene, art exhibits and museums, and ample boutique shopping.
Late May is a downright beautiful time of year to explore the stunning national parks that surround this glistening enclave in the Utah wilderness. Be sure to book everything you want to do early (camping, rafting, tours, etc.) as it’s one of the busiest times of the year for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.
If you’re coming from the West Coast, a quick jaunt to Hawaii is worth the few hours you’ll need to spend in the air. The Lantern Floating Ceremony at Magic Island is a longstanding Memorial Day tradition that will totally take your breath away – much like the astounding natural surroundings of America’s 50th state.
The Music City is rocking during the long weekend – stand in awe at the Nashville Balloon Festival, run a 5K or 10K, or, in true Nashville fashion, check out one of the many concerts that will be lighting up Music Row.
Lake Placid, NY
This cozy Adirondack Alpine village is nestled along the crisp blue shores of Lake Placid and offers visitors a ton of outdoor activities perfect for its temperate late Spring climate. Walk along the many lakeside trails, kayak, go mountain biking, and camp under panoramic views of the stars.
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