This blog post was updated on May 18, 2022.
Memorial Day is traditionally a holiday of commemoration, apart from signaling the start of summer activities. While we’re all for honoring those who served, we happen to think it’s possible to both pay homage to our brave service members and celebrate America’s great cities while we’re at it!
Whether you’re up for a parade through the streets or a quiet museum tour, we’ve found the most exciting attractions where you can brush up on your history while also having fun this Memorial Day weekend. Here’s a handy list so you can have plenty of cool options to choose from!
Charleston, South Carolina
Charming Charleston is a city that blends history and modernity. From its pastel plantation houses and cobblestone streets, to its trailblazing restaurants and bars that have gained national recognition, the city has lots in store for visitors. You can drop by the legendary Middleton Place, the former home of Arthur Middleton (a signer of the Declaration of Independence), to frolic around 65 acres of what the Garden Club of America has dubbed “the most important garden in America.”
You’ll even experience 18th and 19th century plantation life thanks to costumed craftspeople stationed on the grounds and a stable yard complete with live heritage breeds. When you’re through, take a stroll along the Battery Promenade for a view of Fort Sumter, where the shots that marked the beginning of the Civil War were fired!
St. Louis, Missouri
A St. Louis weekend escape is just perfect for families with small kids in tow. Think picnics, lounge chairs, open spaces, and prices that won’t drain your bank account – plus plenty of free activities!
While you might be suffocated by the throngs of tourists at some other parades, the Alton Memorial Day Parade marches on without an absurd number of onlookers. The first Alton parade was held just three years after the Civil War and the tradition continues to this day. Free and open to the public, the parade honors our veterans with floats, flags, and true American spirit.
New York City, New York
If you need an excuse to finally embark on your dream Big Apple getaway this Memorial Day weekend, we have a solid one: the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade. This parade is an NYC institution that kicks off at 11 am, makes its way along Fourth Avenue and ends with a 21-gun salute by the U.S. Army at Fort Hamilton.
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You may have not heard much about this pristine little town, but there’s a lot of things to do here on Memorial Day weekend. Spend an afternoon at Riverbend Park to experience Florida wildlife and embark on a family canoe ride under a canopy of trees. In the park’s historic district, you’ll even find a preserved battlefield from the early 18th century Seminole War, which occurred between the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
Once you’ve experienced all the green you can handle (don’t forget the bug spray!), take a trip to the historic Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, which was overtaken by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. While it’s closed on Memorial Day, you’ll be able to visit from Tuesday to Sunday. Your family will also have the chance to tour the WWII Naval Housing Building’s exhibit on local history and enjoy picturesque outdoor attractions, including the Keeper’s Workshop, Tindall Pioneer Homestead, and Pennock Plantation Bell.
Palm Springs, California
This resort city, smack-dab in middle of the California desert, is an excellent choice when it comes to looking for cheap Memorial Day flights! Whether you want to engage in golfing, art gallery browsing, or poolside lounging, you are sure to lose yourself in the stunning natural beauty of this California desert landscape.
Ready to visit some historic and fun cities for Memorial Day weekend? Start looking for last minute flights to begin your adventure!