25 Last-Minute Memorial Day Getaways You Won’t Want to Miss
From patriotic parades to sunny beach destinations, don't miss these great vacation getaways for Memorial Day weekend around the United States to help kick off your summer in style.
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Welcome summer with a Memorial Day getaway
As the weather warms up and the days get longer, the urge to book vacations is heating up too. And what better way to start the summer than with an easy-to-get-to destination in the United States—but where to go for Memorial Day 2022 weekend? We’ve rounded up some of the best spots in the country that either have opportunities to celebrate America’s heroes with parades or special events, or have great ways to kick off the summer with outdoor adventures. Before hitting the road, be sure to check out which restaurants are open on Memorial Day. And if you’re not traveling for the long weekend, consider these Memorial Day activities for a family-friendly staycation.
Walk in the footsteps of the founding fathers in Philadelphia
Immerse yourself in Americana in the City of Brotherly Love for a quintessential Memorial Day getaway. Stop at Independence National Historic Park, called “America’s Most Historic Square Mile,” to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, along with the Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin Museum, and National Constitution Center. BTW: Do you know the difference between Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day?
Stay in the heart of Philly at the Four Seasons Philadelphia. Since it occupies the top 12 floors of the 1,120-foot-high Comcast Center, you’ll be at the pinnacle of not only the tallest building in Philadelphia, but also the highest hotel in the U.S. Another “high”light? The infinity pool with a skyline view that feels like you’re swimming on the wings of a plane.
- Catch the free Philly Pops Memorial Day 2022 Tribute at the Mann Center on May 27.
- Rent a kayak, rowboat, swan, or dragon boat from Paddle Penn Landing.
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Dine and dance in Austin
Austin loves to throw a party, and Memorial Day is no exception. You can celebrate the holiday in true local style at the Hot Luck Live Food & Music Festival, which combines two favorite Austin activities: chowing down on top regional cuisine and listening to rollicking bands. Top chefs Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ and Chris Shepherd of UnderBelly will be whipping up Texas delights, while Superchunk and DJ Jazzy Jeff headline the musical performances. And you can also feel good about visiting Hot Luck, since proceeds benefit the Southern Smoke Foundation, which supports food workers.
Make the hip Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt your home base. It’s just a block from Lady Bird Lake and around the corner from the music—Austin is one of the best cities for live music—and Rainey Street restaurants. The whole hotel is infused with a music theme, from the brass instruments hanging from the lobby ceiling to the vintage record players in the hip rooms. Plus, there’s a great pool deck, with a bar, where you can catch some early summer rays and take a dip while you’re taking a break from the festivities.
- Tour the Texas State Capitol building. The National Historic Landmark building is marked by its dome and sunset red granite.
- Take in the Congress Bridge Bats just before sunset, when approximately 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats take flight.
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Get busy building at LEGOLAND New York
For a Memorial Day getaway the kids will love, head to the new LEGOLAND New York, which opened last summer in the rolling hills of Goshen, New York, about an hour outside of New York City. The immersive theme park is geared squarely at the 2-to-12 age range, with hands-on LEGO-building activities, just-scary-enough rides, plenty of play spaces, and, new for summer 2022, a splash-tastic water park. (Do you know these patriotic quotes that honor America?)
For an even more LEGO-filled stay, book a room at the super cool LEGOLAND Resort. The rooms feature bunks for kids and, yes, plenty of LEGOS to build with in the rooms, plus separate king-size sleeping areas for the grownups (but don’t worry, you’ll still have lots of fun decor on your side of the room, including giant LEGO artwork and light-up Ninjago decor in those themed rooms).
- Start the day with free breakfast, included with resort rooms.
- Shop the BIG Shop for exclusive and hard-to-find LEGO kits.
- Splash at the water playground, opening summer 2022.
Enjoy Fleet Week in Los Angeles
For Memorial Day 2022, Los Angeles celebrates the country’s armed Sea Services with a full week of naval events along the waterfront. You can tour active-duty ships, visit the Battleship Iowa, catch a concert, and even watch naval aircraft flyovers, among other Fleet Week activities. Find out why the poppy is the symbol of Memorial Day.
For a central Los Angeles location, it’s hard to beat the modern Godfrey Hotel Hollywood, which boasts a chic rooftop bar and great onsite restaurant, in addition to a prime location.
- Walk through the Frida Kahlo Immersive Exhibit.
- Join an Old Hollywood walking tour with April Clemmer.
- Splurge on fab food and wine at Grandmaster Recorders, the former recording studio of David Bowie and Stevie Wonder.
Commemorate the birthplace of Memorial Day in New York State
Wondering where to go Memorial Day weekend? The holiday actually has a hometown—Waterloo, New York, in the Finger Lakes region of central New York—and it’s the ideal place to learn about Memorial Day history. It’s here where the idea to remember the patriotic dead was first suggested in 1865 and then made a formal holiday in 1868 by General John Logan. Today the modern-day celebration involves a parade, a fireworks grand finale, and plenty more to keep you busy during the day.
Keep the historic feelings going with a stay at the 19th-century Belhurst Castle in nearby Geneva, New York.
- “Ooh” and “aah” at the illumination ceremonies at the American Civil War Memorial.
- Hop on a horse-and-wagon tour.
- Watch presidential and Civil War reenactors, including Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
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Celebrate Yellowstone National Park’s big birthday
Memorial Day 2022 kicks off the summer travel season, which is usually peak time to visit the country’s national park system. And while all the U.S. parks are special, this is the year to celebrate Yellowstone, America’s (and the world’s) first national park, which turns 150 this year. Signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant, the country’s first national park was set aside to preserve and protect the scenery, cultural heritage, wildlife, and geologic and ecological systems in their natural condition for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. Visitors have flocked to Yellowstone ever since. It’s a great road trip and the perfect spot to try out a National Parks Pass too.
For anyone who loves the idea of camping but doesn’t want to give up sleeping on a bed, Under Canvas luxury tents are for you. The lodging is located just ten minutes from the park’s west entrance, so by day, you can explore the park, then come home to your own private, safari-style canvas tent. The tents are on elevated decks with actual super-comfy beds and private en suite bathrooms.
- Watch Old Faithful geyser.
- Wander around Mammoth Hot Springs thermal basins.
- Awe at the vibrant colors of Grand Prismatic Springs.
Show your patriotic side in Washington, D.C.
The largest Memorial Day parade in the country, the National Memorial Day Parade, takes place every year in Washington, D.C. Watching hundreds of servicemen and women march down Constitution Avenue, past the White House and the Washington Monument, is a moving reminder of what this holiday is really all about, and it instills a powerful sense of national pride.
With an ideal location on the edge of Georgetown, the Four Seasons Hotel ticks all the boxes for a perfect Memorial Day getaway. Among the draws of the homey-feeling property are a pool and a swoon-worthy brunch at Seasons restaurant (including an entire room of desserts!). Should you have any downtime, stream one of these Memorial Day movies.
- Head to the Wharf waterfront neighborhood and rent a kayak to paddle past some of D.C.’s most famous attractions.
- Stop in any Smithsonian Institution that catches your fancy—they’re all free. (Note: The National Museum of African American History & Culture requires free-timed passes.)
- Visit the Adam’s Morgan neighborhood to sample a cornucopia of international cuisines.
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Bloom with possibilities in Carlsbad, California
With San Diego to the south and Los Angeles to the north, Carlsbad might be easy to drive past on the way to better-known Memorial Day destinations. And that would be a shame, because this under-the-radar seaside gem offers all the SoCal charm without the big price tags or packed highways that come with the holiday weekend.
For quintessential Southern California beach vibes, book a room at the Cassara Carlsbad, which offers multiple pools, a splash pad for little ones, and shuttle service to the seasonal Flower Fields attraction. Still planning exactly where to go? Many of these affordable spring break destinations also make for fun Memorial Day weekend getaways.
- Immerse yourself in the 60 acres of blooming ranunculus that make up the colorful Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch.
- Bring the kids to LEGOLAND California, geared toward 2- to 12-year-olds with lots of hands-on activities and just-the-right-size rides, including the first-of-its-kind LEGO Ferrari build and race.
Cheer with fireworks and festivals in Chicago
The Windy City is a great Memorial Day getaway, with a plethora of festivals to kick off summer in style. Among the top options are Chicago Friday Night Flights, craft beer tasting in the shadow of Wrigley Field, and the Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest in the waterfront Lakeview neighborhood, with tribute bands, artists, and beer and wine vendors. The Chicago Memorial Day Parade marches through downtown after a wreath-laying ceremony at Daley Center Plaza. And finally, the weekend caps off with fireworks from Navy Pier.
It’s hard to beat the Pendry Chicago hotel for both location and history in the Windy City—it occupies the completely reimagined 1920s-era Carbide & Carbon Building, an iconic Art Deco landmark situated right along the Chicago River and Michigan Avenue. From its rooftop Chateau Carbide, you’ll be able to spot the fireworks over the lake while munching on French-inspired bites.
- Tour the Museum of Science and Industry, with a replica coal mine and a real German U-boat from WWII.
- Dig into Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza.
- Hop on a river cruise for expansive views of the city’s architectural highlights.
- Catch a Chicago Cubs game to get into the home-team spirit.
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Hit the beach in Asbury Park, New Jersey
Serene beaches, low humidity, sunny days, and temps in the 80s. Sounds nice, right? Well, that is exactly what Asbury Park, New Jersey, has to offer this Memorial Day 2022 weekend. Located about 70 minutes from New York City, Asbury Park offers a mix of golden Atlantic Ocean beaches and rollicking entertainment (this is where Bruce Springsteen famously got his start at The Stone Pony, after all). You’ll find outdoor concerts, movies, and even summer tea dances at spots like The Asbury Hotel, Baronet theater, and Stone Pony.
Stay at The Asbury Hotel, which will be opening its scene-y pool in time for Memorial Day fun. Here, guests can try local beer poured from The Asbury’s poolside VW van with snacks from the onsite food truck, or take in the ocean views from the hotel’s rooftop bar, Salvation.
- Make time for Asbury Lanes, a historic landmark and vintage bowling alley.
- Take in an outdoor summer concert at the Stone Pony.
- Stroll the Asbury Park boardwalk for food and fun.
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Bop along to music and arts in North Adams, Massachusetts
This art-infused Berkshires town is the home of MASS MoCA, a contemporary arts center boasting both visual and performing arts venues in the sprawling former Sprague Electric Company Plant. Multiple buildings across 16 acres house massive murals and works by Sol deWitt, Jenny Holzer, and James Turrell, among others. While the area is known for its quintessential New England fall foliage, come Memorial Day 2022, all eyes—and ears—will be focused on the Solid Sound Festival. Headlined by Wilco, the multifaceted music festival features multiple stages and several days of live music in addition to a comedy lineup, events for kids, and plenty of notable food and beer options.
It’s hard to beat Porches Inn for its access to MASS MoCA. Right across the street from the arts complex, the inn is actually a series of mill worker houses that have been transformed into a cozy boutique bed-and-breakfast. Each room is unique, and many have their own porches. Memorial Day weekend, you’ll be able to take advantage of the tree-lined pool out back too.
- Dine at A-OK BBQ and Bright Ideas Brewing on the MASS MoCA campus.
- Hike the Mohawk Trail from Boston to the Berkshires.
Listen to live music in a vineyard in Loudoun County, Virginia
Located just 25 miles outside of Washington, D.C., Loudoun, Virginia, is an exquisite culinary and heritage destination. The verdant rolling hills here boast more than 40 award-winning wineries and 30-plus craft breweries, as well as farm-to-table dining on actual farms. There are also historic villages and charming small towns to visit, including Middleburg, the capital of Virginia horse country.
The ideal place to stay is Salamander Resort & Spa, tucked into the grasslands in Middleburg. The spacious resort offers horseback riding, fishing, falconry, biking, and ziplining, along with archery and axe throwing. There are also indoor and outdoor swimming pools, programs for kids, an immersive spa, and several dining spots that highlight the bounty of the county’s wineries, breweries, and farms.
- Listen to local musicians while you sip and soak up the sunshine at Loudoun’s wineries and breweries.
- Kick off the season on Memorial Day weekend at Dirt Farm Brewing.
- Check out the popular Tarara Winery Summer Concert Series.
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Take in a show at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut
Yes, you can play the slots or roll the dice at the craps table, but that’s just the start of the activities at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in central Connecticut. For one, it’s a great place to watch a show—Foxwood’s Broadway Series kicks off with Fiddler on the Roof over Memorial Day weekend. If you can’t make it, consider heading later in the summer to catch Waitress or a favorite comedian like Wanda Sykes (June 3) or Amy Schumer (August 19) or a taping of The Masked Singer (June 16). For the young—and young at heart—there’s zip lining, go karting, bowling, and more.
- Dine at Cedars Steak & Oysters for a meal that’s not to be missed.
- Shop the nearby Tanger Outlets for deals. No matter where you spend the holiday, these are the stores that are open on Memorial Day.
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Be dazzled in Miami
Miami explodes with celebrations and events in honor of Memorial Day weekend, including the Miami Beach Air & Sea Show, Music Explosion, and Fireworks Extravaganza. After the festivities, there are a number of secluded and private-feeling beaches where guests can go to relax in the sun.
For a comfortable stay right on the beach, check into The Shelborne South Beach, an Art Deco oceanfront resort. The stylish art-filled hotel is noteworthy inside and out, including the heated pool with floating chairs. The Shelborne offers townhome-style suites for those traveling with families or small groups, providing a spacious, flexible alternative to booking multiple rooms.
- Eat breakfast at Pura Vida, a café with a healthy menu of fresh local ingredients, with options such as smoothies, bowls, and all-day breakfast.
- Splurge on modern Asian offerings, including Chinese and Japanese fare, at Tanuki Miami.
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Honor American heroes in New Orleans
If you think of New Orleans and picture great food, the bayou, jazz, and Mardi Gras, you wouldn’t be wrong. But did you know The National WWII Museum is actually the number one attraction in New Orleans, according to TripAdvisor? It’s also a great destination for the whole family to reflect on the meaning behind Memorial Day. Through hands-on exhibits, the museum explores the American experience in the war, why it was fought, how it was won, and other lessons that are still relevant today.
History-enthusiasts will want to book their stay at The Higgins Hotel New Orleans, located on The National WWII Museum’s campus. The art deco–style property pays homage to WWII-era presidents and has a rooftop bar called Rosie’s on the Roof that offers sweeping views of the city along with WWII artifacts, such as General George S. Patton’s piano.
- Indulge in sweet fried beignets around the clock at Café Du Monde.
- Dress up for lunch at Commander’s Palace, a local icon.
- Take the trolley to the Garden District.
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Immerse yourselves in the performing arts in Charleston
Beginning over Memorial Day weekend, Spoleto Festival USA brings two weeks of theater, opera, jazz, and symphonic and choral music performances to charming Charleston, South Carolina. The festival fills Charleston’s historic theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding, as well as emerging performers.
Stay at the HarbourView Inn, where professional docents from the Principal Gallery host weekly presentations on the therapeutic benefits of the artistic process.
- Walk along Charleston Waterfront Park for lovely views of the Cooper River.
- Stroll along King Street.
- Dine on Southern cuisine.
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Get your motor running in Indianapolis
“Gentlemen, start your engines.” Who hasn’t heard the immortal words that launch the Indy 500 race every year? So why not take a trip to Indianapolis to spend Memorial Day weekend finding out what all the excitement is about? Other than the actual race, Motor Speedway mania will be revved up with 500 Festival celebrations that include road races, parades, and activities for kids.
For an equally exciting overnight, try the Crowne Plaza Historic Union Station, where you can sleep in an original Pullman train car.
- Wander through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
- Chase after your kids at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
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Get folksy in Seattle
The Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle is turning 50 this year, and its Memorial Day weekend celebration includes four days of free American and international ethnic, folk, and traditional performances. Other events include cultural dance workshops, storytelling sessions, film screenings, cooking demonstrations, and more, all tailored to the theme of this year’s fest: “Metamorphosis: In with the old, in with the new.” The best part is that some of these events are participatory, which means you can join in all the singing and dancing action.
Motif Seattle Hotel offers the perfect retreat in the heart of the city’s downtown, with a rooftop lounge and both a heated indoor pool and an outdoor swimming pool, so you’ll be able to take a swim no matter what the Seattle weather offers up.
- Stroll through Pike Place Market.
- Marvel at Chihuly Museum.
- Ride up the Space Needle.
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Enjoy free jazz in Atlanta
One of the largest free jazz festivals in the country, the Atlanta Jazz Festival features dozens of artists performing over Memorial Day weekend in Piedmont Park. This year’s headliners include Herbie Hancock, the Baylor Project, and George Benson. There are lots of other inexpensive things to do in Atlanta too.
The modern Loews Atlanta Hotel is just a short walk away from the Piedmont Park venue and is popular with scene makers and musicians, so you never know who you may see in the lobby.
- Eat at Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q.
- Pay respects at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
- Tour Centennial Olympic Park.
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Run for a cause in Nashville
A great Memorial Day 2022 weekend getaway, Nashville offers a number of celebration and commemoration ceremonies, such as the Fort Negley Memorial Program, held annually on the Saturday before Memorial Day, to honor all serving members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the Memorial Day Classic 1 Mile, 5K, and 10K in-person or virtual races.
There’s no better place to stay on race day than Graduate Nashville, right in the heart of downtown. Book its Let’s Live for Tonight Package and you’ll get a late, 3 p.m. checkout along with other goodies.
- Hike through “Night Visions” at the Nashville Zoo.
- Listen to live music at local honky-tonks.
- Meander through the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Walk in the steps of heroes in Newport, Rhode Island
Newport, Rhode Island, will host the dramatic and acclaimed Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial, which is on display for the public during Memorial Day 2022 at Fort Adams. The moving memorial features nearly 7,000 military boots, each affixed with an American flag and bearing the name of an American service member killed in action in the Global War on Terror. The historic fort that dates back to 1799 is also open for self-guided tours for visitors looking to explore one of the most complex fortresses in the country.
Stay at the new Hammetts Hotel, perfectly situated on Newport’s waterfront. The property offers deals year-round, including a special military appreciation discount.
- Visit the historic mansions.
- Take a sailboat along the Atlantic Coast.
- Explore the Newport Cliff Walk.
Explore the Secret Coast of Mississippi
Bursting with southern hospitality and charm, Mississippi’s “Secret Coast” boasts 62 miles of scenic shoreline and welcomes families and visitors with warm weather and sunny skies. Another draw: the annual Sounds by the Sea, an open-air Memorial Day concert featuring patriotic selections and fireworks, presented by the Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra. Bring your picnic basket, blanket, and lounge chairs, and enjoy the music and show, all overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Make your base at the Grand Centennial Hotel in Gulfport, which features a zero-entry pool and a lazy river.
- Visit the Biloxi Lighthouse.
- Dine on Gulf seafood, including oysters.
- Take a boat trip long the coast.
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Honor the military in Myrtle Beach
Every year, Myrtle Beach hosts Military Appreciation Days to observe the city’s military history. The celebration features various free events, including the Military Appreciation Days Parade and picnic. And, of course, there are those 60 miles of Atlantic Coast beaches.
Stay at the Island Vista Resort, a local family-owned resort that’s in a quieter, more residential part of the beach and has multi-bedroom suites perfect for families.
- Splash in the Atlantic Ocean.
- Stroll the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.
- Take a spin on the Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel.
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Keep your eye on the sky in Palm Springs
On May 30, Palm Springs Air Museum in California hosts Flower Drop & Air Fair, an annual Memorial Day ceremony. Throughout the day, visitors can watch air shows, visit flight exhibitions, and see a World War II reenactment. The ceremony culminates with the Flower Drop Memorial Service, a fly-by with planes in “missing man formation” (a salute to fallen military members) followed by a B-25 Mitchell Bomber that drops 3,000 red and white carnations on spectators below.
The Renaissance Esmeralda Resort & Spa is perfect for families with its spectacular sand-beach pool, plus corn hole and ping pong to keep everyone happily occupied and a fire pit at night.
- Take a detour to Joshua Tree National Park.
- Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the longest rotating tram in the world.
- Play golf and tennis.
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Celebrate the queen’s Platinum Jubilee in London
For an international Memorial Day weekend getaway, consider hopping across the pond, where big happenings are afoot as Queen Elizabeth prepares to celebrate her 70th year on the throne. The peak party events all happen in the last week of May and the first week of June. Among the highlights: Belgravia in Bloom celebrates the Queen’s historic reign in flowers, and the Life Through a Royal Lens exhibit displays photos of the last seven decades of royal life at Kensington Palace. The big party starts on Thursday, June 2, with Trooping the Colour, a birthday parade for the queen.
You can watch the festivities from the perfectly situated Brown’s Hotel, nestled in the heart of Mayfair and not far from the palace, a bastion of royal elegance, plush rooms, and elegantly decorated dining spaces. Brown’s is celebrating its own special anniversary this year—185 years.
- Walk the halls of Kew Palace, the home of former monarchs George III and Queen Charlotte.
- Enjoy afternoon tea in The Drawing Room at Brown’s.
- Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
- Visit Westminster Abbey, the site of coronations for all British monarchs since 1066.