Memorable Memorial Day Vacation Ideas

memorial day ideas

With Memorial Day coming up, you’re starting to want to party in the usual festivities to commemorate those who have fought for our country. As places begin to open up, you can still do plenty of activities during memorial day weekend. 

1. Great Smokey Mountains 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Laurel Falls, Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge, TN Memorial Day Vacation Ideas
Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Laurel Falls, Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge, TN

Known for being America’s most visited park, the Great Smokey Mountains is great for those who enjoy hiking. Around Memorial Day, Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival takes place. It’s a tradition near the mountains, and as the name suggests, it has plenty of tasty barbeques and easy on the ears bluegrass music. 

2. Big Bear Lake 

Big Bear Lake, California
Big Bear Lake, California

Fun and excitement takes over this small-town area. Take a trip down to the luxury lakefront village of Big Bear Lake. For the history buffs out there, you will love learning about the history of California’s Gold Rush period of the 1800s. You can pan for “gold,” which includes real gemstones, fossils, and geodes. The town’s local winery is located in the heart of town and offers a complete list of all types of spirits, including red and white wines, ales, hard cider, hard seltzer, and more. Grab a bite to eat and stop in the nearby store to take home your favorites samples along with appropriate food pairings. 

3. Annapolis  

Annapolis, Maryland
Annapolis, Maryland

Travelers who want to pay their respects to the men and women who served our country can do so in the great town of Annapolis. Pack everything you need for a picnic and go outside to watch the Memorial Day Parade through Main Street. Or you can take a stroll through the rest of Historic Annapolis, where you’re destined to see rows upon rows of American flags.  

4. Charleston 

Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina

A southern favorite, this town is full of American pride and history, which makes it the perfect place to celebrate Memorial Day. With average May temperatures staying in the high 70s and minimal rain, the colorful gardens are in full bloom. Go on boat tours and learn about the history of the city while cruising through the Charleston Harbor. Best of all, Memorial Day starts off Charleston’s world-renowned Spoleto Festival, which consists of 17 days and nights of dancing, dance, theater, symphonic and jazz music, and more! 

5. Washington DC 

Washington Monument in Washington DC
Washington Monument in Washington DC

Honor military personnel with a respectable visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where an impressive amount of over 400,000 fallen soldiers, veterans, and even their family members are buried. On the National Wall, you can walk along the long slab of granite with names of more than 58,000 Americans who died during the Vietnam War. Washington DC fully embodies and pays homage to our fallen soldiers. The National Memorial Day Concert is hosted at the Capitol Building and is a fun event full of talented performances. 

6. New Orleans 

the Jackson Square in New Orleans
the Jackson Square in New Orleans

There are plenty of events that take place over Memorial Day weekend. The New Orleans Wine and Food Experience is one of them. It combines the city’s cuisine with delectable wines. The National World War II Museum not only offers its visitors fascinating exhibits, but it also marks the significance of the holiday with a performance by the Marine Corps quintet. You are in for quite a show! 

7. Denver 

Denver Downtown
Denver Downtown

Denver has become an increasingly popular place for millennials. LoDo, as the cool kids call Denver’s downtown, has plenty of venues for shopping, restaurants, and amusement. This year, Denver Day of Rock will turn the neighborhood’s 16th Street Mall into a huge block party with live music, great food stands, and even beer gardens. Get wet at Water World or check out the Downtown Denver Arts Festival

8. St. Louis  

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri 

On Memorial Day weekend, you won’t be disappointed with the Bluesweek Festival, which features three days of blues, food, and cold beer at the Soldiers’ Memorial downtown. If you want something more outdoorsy, the Missouri River Irish Fest is also taking place Memorial Day weekend in St. Charles. You can sign up for hikes with tour guides through the Cahokia Mounds. Unless you’d instead take your own path with a couple of friends or family, you can also check the local art museums, theaters, and golf courses. 

9. Chicago 

The Bean in Millennium Park, Chicago
The Bean in Millennium Park, Chicago

Check out Chicago’s annual parade before having fun as the fireworks go off at Navy Pier later in the warm evening. Chicago offers a full weekend of festivities, including The Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, which will occur that Saturday and Sunday. The Red, White, and BBQ festival and competition also takes place nearby in Westmont. You can enjoy the live music, chili tasting, and an all-you-can-eat BBQ. 

10. Atlanta 

Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta Jazz Festival is such a popular and exciting event for Memorial Day weekend. It produces excitable crowds to Piedmont Park for free performances from amazing performers in the jazz circuit. There will also be plenty of fun outdoor activities for the entire family and a laser show at Stone Mountain Park

Memorial Day is a holiday to celebrate and pay respects to those who fight for a country. It is the time to remember them, but if I see the time to celebrate them and spend time with loved ones who are still here with us. This divers list instructs you have a great memorial day. 


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