woman canoeing memorial day

Memorial Day is just around the corner. For many people, Memorial Day weekend feels like the official start of summer. This is your sign that you should use this long weekend for a getaway. So relax, explore somewhere new, and enjoy the excellent weather! 

Here are the top 10 best Memorial Day weekend getaway destinations you should be considering. 

1. Washington, DC

If you’re feeling patriotic this Memorial Day, then consider spending the weekend in Washington, DC. While you’re there, you’ll see a few military ceremonies and the famous National Memorial Day Parade. The Parade includes floats, marching bands, and uniformed veterans marching down Constitution Avenue.

Also, consider catching the free National Memorial Day Concert that happens every year in Washington. 

After the celebrations, don’t forget to enjoy the city a little! You can try some of the amazing restaurants found in Washington, such as The Dabney. Check out the Eastern Market, the city’s biggest food and art market. Or, go kayaking down The Wharf. There’s so much to do in the city, you’re guaranteed to have a jam-packed weekend of fun. 

Street view of Washington, DC

2. New Orleans, Louisiana 

If there’s any city that knows how to have a good time, it’s New Orleans. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to visit NOLA because the weather is sunny and warm, so you can enjoy walks around the French Quarter. While you visit, make sure you have all the classic New Orleans dishes, including Po-Boys, Gumbo, Jambalaya, fresh seafood, and more.

And, of course, you have to have some fresh beignets. The best beignets in the city are from Cafe Beignet on Royal Street. 

New Orleans is considered the birthplace of jazz, so in the evenings, visit one of the many incredible jazz clubs in the city. Or, take a steamboat cruise down the Mississippi River to see the views of New Orleans from the water! 

French Quarter, New Orleans

3. Miami, Florida

Make your way to Miami for some fantastic Memorial Day celebrations. You’ll find that Miami comes alive this long weekend with fireworks, an annual Beach and Air Show, and a Music Explosion festival. 

When you’re not enjoying these festivities, you can spend some time relaxing on the beach, visiting the upscale restaurants, or taking a day cruise.

memorial day in miami

4. Charleston, South Carolina

There’s something so charming about Charleston, which is why it was ranked third on our list of cities to visit in the spring. The old buildings, rich history, and horse-drawn carriage rides make you feel like you’ve escaped to another era. And, the end of May is a perfect time to visit, right before the unbearable summer heat comes in. 

Memorial Day weekend is the official start of the Spoleto Festival. This three-week festival hosts both art and music performances throughout Charleston in jazz, dance, music, plays, and more. You’ll be able to catch a few performances during your Memorial Day visit.

As you explore the city, make sure you stop by the Fort Sumter National Monument in honor of Memorial Day. Afterward, visit Sullivan’s Island Beach for a relaxing afternoon at the sandy white beach. 

Charleston also has a great nightlife scene. Consider stopping for a distillery tasting tour at High Wire – Charleston’s first distillery since prohibition! 

Charleston, South Carolina

5. The Finger Lakes, New York

The Finger Lakes, New York, is the perfect Memorial Day weekend destination. Along with being a great holiday spot, Waterloo is known as “the birthplace of Memorial Day.”  

Located outside of NYC, the Finger Lakes spans 14 counties and has 11 skinny lakes. This is a great countryside weekend escape for city folk. It’s also a popular wine region, so you can spend a full day on a wine tour sampling all the local wineries.

If you love nature – make sure to visit Watkins Glen State Park and relax at Keuka Lake. 

The Finger Lakes for Memorial Day weekend
Via @skan_drone on Instagram

6. Seattle, Washington

Seattle celebrates Memorial Day weekend with its annual Northwest Folklife Festival. It’s the perfect time to visit this city as you get four days and nights packed with events around the city. Founded in 1972, this festival looks to celebrate the culture and arts of the Pacific Northwest. Entrance to the festival is free and includes live music, performances, and artist sales. 

The end of May is also a great time to visit Seattle because you might just luck out and catch some rare Seattle sunshine. This will make doing some of the classic Seattle tourist activities – like seeing the first Starbucks and exploring Pike Place Market – much more enjoyable. 

Seattle, Washington

7. Atlanta, Georgia

Visit Atlanta for Memorial Day weekend and you’ll catch the last week of one of the country’s most prominent jazz festivals. The Atlanta Jazz Festival is a free event that runs the entire month of May. Various venues around the city offer free performances of new and seasoned jazz performers. So visitors coming to the city during May will feel like there’s a nonstop celebration going on. 

While you’re here, don’t forget to check out the world’s largest aquarium, the Georgia Aquarium.

Atlanta, Georgia for Memorial Day

8. Portsmouth, New Hampshire

If you want to spend a weekend away in a small town, Portsmouth in New Hampshire is the ideal escape. This small town is on the Piscataqua River, giving water views against 17th and 18th-century buildings. 

You can honor Memorial Day by stopping by Northwest, a maritime museum featuring a former research submarine USS Albacore. 

You’ll have a great weekend exploring the small town – shop at the boutiques, eat at the local restaurants, and stroll down the streets by the river. Portsmouth is known for its craft brewery scene, so make sure to plan out an afternoon brewery tour around the city. 

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

9. Big Bear Lake, California

Most people think of Big Bear Lake only for its winter activities. However, by Memorial Day, the summer is shining and gives opportunity to plenty of fun summer activities. You can rent a boat and spend all day relaxing on the lake. In addition, visitors can fill up their weekend hiking, golfing, and even ziplining. 

Big Bear Lake Memorial Day weekend

10. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mackinac Island is an incredible Memorial Day escape. However, you’ll want to book your ferry tickets in advance and get to the island early, as this weekend tends to be one of the busiest times for this small town. 

One of the reasons is because of the For Michilimackinac Pageant. This pageant is the longest-running, historical performance in the Nation – performing for over 50 years in a row now! This performance is a thrill to watch as over 400 people take place in the reenactment.  

After watching this performance, spend the rest of your weekend enjoying this small town. You can book a service at one of the spas, visit the butterfly garden, or charter a sailboat. 

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Memorial Day weekend is a great time to escape somewhere new, so book your getaway today!