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27 Best Memorial Day Weekend Getaways

Updated: May 18, 2024

From patriotic parades to sunny beach destinations, these Memorial Day weekend getaways will help you kick off your summer in style

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U.S. Flags on the Beach
Patricia Marroquin/Getty Images

The best places to go for Memorial Day weekend

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, the urge to book a vacation is heating up too. And there’s no better way to start the summer than with an easy-to-get-to destination. But where should you go for Memorial Day 2024? We’ve rounded up some of the best Memorial Day weekend getaways that either have opportunities to celebrate America’s heroes with parades or special events or where you can just relax on your quick trip. And best of all, you can still find a deal, too. “Memorial Day is only a few weeks away, but there’s still time to lock in a travel deal, especially as our data shows round-trip airfare, hotel and rental car rates for Memorial Day weekend are down across the board versus last year,” says Christina Bennett, consumer travel expert at Priceline.

How we chose the best Memorial Day weekend getaways

To find the best Memorial Day getaways, we consulted with travel experts across multiple platforms, including Priceline, Chase Travel, Booking.com and Expedia to find out the top trending destinations for the start of summer and where the best deals are.

There’s especially good news for the latter, Priceline found that round-trip domestic and international airfares for Memorial Day Weekend are around 20% lower than the same time period last year ($342 domestic, $612 international), says Bennett.

Expedia Travel Expert Christie Hudson gave us these cost-saving tips: “The optimal booking window for summer flights typically falls between 21 to 60 days before departure, yielding approximate savings of 15% for both domestic and international trips.”

Want to keep the Memorial Day weekend fun going? You’re not alone says Karen Magee, president of Chase Travel Group’s Valerie Wilson Travel, who says “travelers are eager to kick off their summer plans, with many extending their holidays and taking the full week for vacation.” Sounds good to us!

Ahead, you’ll find the list of the best Memorial Day weekend getaways for the long weekend, whether you’re looking for an affordable family vacation or an adults-only weekend getaway.

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About the experts

  • Christina Bennett is a consumer travel expert and head of public relations and senior director of external communications at Priceline.
  • Christie Hudson is a travel expert and head of public relations at Expedia.
  • Karen Magee is president of Chase Travel Group’s Valerie Wilson Travel.
  • Angela Cavis is head of communications in North America for Booking.com.

Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot Anadolu/Getty Images

Best for a Flower & Garden Festival

Orlando, Fla.

If you’ve been thinking about visiting Walt Disney World and Orlando, Memorial Day is an ideal time for a trip, The weather isn’t summer steamy yet, the crowds are historically light (compared to other holidays) and, best of all, it’s the International Flower & Garden Festival time at Epcot, one of my personal favorite times to visit. The grounds are decked out with floral and topiary versions of favorite Disney characters (picture Beauty in a dress completely crafted from blooming flowers set on a fully landscaped terrace, with an attendant floral Beast, and you’ll start to get the idea). Plus, there’s a food festival element where you can purchase tastes of global cuisine (and cocktails and wine, too).

Keep the food and flower vibes going at the newly renovated, all-suites Caribe Royale Orlando Resort. The property, which is less than 10 minutes from Epcot via the hotel’s free shuttle, has eight on-site dining options, plus a large pool complex with a 75-foot waterslide surrounded by palm trees and lush gardens.

Pros:

  • The new Tiana’s Bayou Adventure ride will be opening soon after Memorial Day at Magic Kingdom
  • Nightly fireworks add to the holiday weekend fun
  • Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival also includes the Garden Rocks Concert Series

Cons:

  • There’s a possibility of early summer rainstorms

Tray Full of Barbecue and Sides Cavan Images/Getty Images

Best for foodies

Austin, Texas

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. More than a dozen of Texas’s top chefs, including Aaron Franklin of Franklin’s BBQ, will be whipping up Texas delights, while musical performances take center stage all day and night. And you can also feel good about visiting Hot Luck, since proceeds benefit the Southern Smoke Foundation, which supports food workers.

Make the Four Seasons Austin your home base. You can’t beat its location right on Lady Bird Lake and just around the corner from the music and Rainey Street restaurants. It also boasts a great heated and cooled pool, with a bar, where you can catch some early summer rays and take a dip when you need a break from the festivities.

Pros:

  • Authentic Texas barbecue and top-notch live music
  • A chance to see the Congress Bridge Bats just before sunset, when approximately 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats take flight

Con:

  • The Texas heat and humidity are already revving up by Memorial Day

glass blowing in factory Kaca_Studio/Getty Images

Best for makers

Corning, N.Y.

Do you love beautifully colored glass, blown glass, crystal and more? How about the hit show Blown Away on Netflix? If you’re obsessed with glass (like I am now!), then there’s one place in the U.S. you have to head: Corning, N.Y., known as the “Crystal City” and home of the Corning Museum of Glass. This isn’t a single building, rather, it’s a 10-acre campus with 50,000 glass objects spanning 3,500 years. One highlight: making your own glass; I recently tried my hand—with a lot of help—at glass pulling, where the molten glass literally pulled with industrial tweezers turned magically into a flower—it was astounding. For Memorial Day weekend, the whole town goes glass-tatic with GlassFest, a three-day celebration of live musical performances, glass exhibits, art vendors, and delicious food and drinks all held in the charming Gaffer’s District, the walkable downtown area.

Stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Corning Downtown, a surprisingly luxurious feeling property offering reasonable prices, attentive service and a great location just a 5-minute walk from the museum and a few minute’s drive from downtown.

Pros:

  • Kids 17 and under always get free admission at the museum
  • The Finger Lakes, where Corning is located, is also home to Waterloo, the “birthplace” of the Memorial Day holiday
  • Hands-on opportunities to make your own glass

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to travel to if you don’t live in the northeast

USS Constitution - Boston, Massachusetts, USA
diegograndi/Getty Images

Best for history buffs

Boston

The city that played a key role in the American Revolution hosts a patriotic Memorial Day ceremony at the USS Constitution Museum. And, of course, Boston is one of the best cities for history buffs any time of the year. While there, you can walk the Freedom Trail, an easy-to-follow 2.5-mile path marked by red lines in the road, to visit 16 Revolutionary War landmarks. The route starts at the Boston Common and takes in the Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere’s House, Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument, the USS Constitution and the site of the Boston Tea Party, among other history-steeped spots.

Situated along the Charles River, the Royal Sonesta is in an ideal location for experiencing both Cambridge and Boston. Bonus: The hotel is pet-friendly, so you can bring Rover with you to celebrate too.

Pros:

  • Loads of Revolutionary War history embedded right in the city
  • One of the best science museums in the country
  • Myriad green spaces—perfect for a holiday weekend picnic

Con:

  • There tends to be a lot of traffic here
Musician playing guitar in the middle of the street in front of a microphone and with a saxophonist Cavan Images/Getty Images

Best for performing-arts fans

Charleston, S.C.

This South Carolina gem makes for a fantastic East Coast vacation destination any time of the year, but it’s particularly great when you’re looking for a place to go for Memorial Day weekend. That’s because starting on the holiday weekend, the Spoleto Festival USA will bring two weeks of theater, opera, jazz and symphonic and choral music performances to charming, cobblestone-lined Charleston. The festival fills the city’s historic theaters, churches and outdoor spaces with performances by renowned artists such as classical artist Yo-Yo Ma and jazz great Dianne Reeves as well as emerging performers.

Stay at the stunning Hotel Bennett, which oozes Southern hospitality and boasts and an ideal location right on historic Marion Square. Take a break from the festival with dip in the rooftop pool, a pampering treatment at the luxe spa, a treat at the French pastry shop or a classic cocktail at the swanky Camellias bar.

Pros:

  • Memorial Day weekend kicks off an annual two-week-long music festival
  • Charleston Waterfront Park, with lovely views of the Cooper River
  • Southern cuisine at top-notch restaurants

Con:

  • Spoleto’s most popular acts can sell out, so you need to buy tickets in advance

Lake Winnipesaukee DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Best for lake life

Meredith, N.H.

Straddling Meredith Bay, part of Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.’s largest lake, Meredith is the perfect place to kick off summer family fun in northern New England. Catch a movie under the stars at the historic Weirs Beach drive-in or cruise along the lake on the M/V Sophie C, which is actually the oldest floating Post Office (ca 1945) in the U.S.! For Memorial Day 2024, check out the 32nd Annual Memorial Weekend Craft Festival, three days of art, food and fun right on the water.

Mill Falls at the Lake is an activities-filled resort offering four different ways to stay: Church Landing and Bay Point buildings, situated directly on the waterfront, and the cozy Inn at Mill Falls and The Chase House with views of the water across the street from the lake. There’s delicious onsite dining, stargazing experiences, and onsite activities, including water sports, guided hikes, bike tours and yoga sessions, as well as a full-service spa.

Pros:

  • The beautiful Lakes Region of New Hampshire is ideal for a scenic drive
  • There’s great fishing here for anglers
  • Gunstock Mountain is approximately 10 minutes away with hiking and ziplining
    .

Cons:

  • It may be too cold to take a dip in the lake in late May

Jw Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort water slide via tripadvisor.com

Best for water park fun

Phoenix

If you’re looking for sun, you’ve come to the right place. Phoenix sees about 300 sunny days a year and is considered to be the sunniest city in the U.S., making it a perfect spot for guaranteed good weather for a Memorial Day weekend getaway. And the best way to enjoy the warm rays? At the newest water park in the region: AquaRidge WaterPark, a 140,000-square-foot pool experience featuring a lazy river, adults-only area and three heart-pounding waterslides with views of the Sonoran Desert.

The waterpark is located at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, which recently underwent an $80 million revamp. With 950 rooms with private patios and balconies, finding a room for the weekend shouldn’t be an issue. The resort is ideal for families, with a Family Escape Center on-site in addition to the included waterpark (non-hotel guests can purchase admission). There’s also a destination spa, 17 pickleball courts and an 18-hole golf course.

Pros:

  • Nearly guaranteed sunny weather
  • Waterpark fun for free with a hotel stay
  • Golfers can choose from nearly 200 area courses

Cons:

  • The desert sun can sneak up on you, so wear plenty of sunscreen

farm to table farm market in catskills, new york during memorial day weekend Maskot/getty images

Best for farm-to-table dining

Catskills, N.Y.

If you’re seeking out all-American fun, plus the best farm-to-table fare, look no further than New York State’s Catskill Mountains. Memorial Day kicks off fantastic farmer’s markets, outdoor dinners and live music season, too, including an American Songbook celebration, plus art openings, street fairs and a Memorial Day parade with fireworks.

For the perfect place to stay, look no further than Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Hunter, N.Y. A circa-1966 motor lodge turned retro-chic inn, it’s the ideal spot for appreciating New York’s great outdoors. For something totally unique, check into one of their 12-sided Rounds, private cabins featuring outdoor cedar soaking tubs, fireplaces and a central oculus for optimal stargazing. And the on-property restaurant, Prospect, uses veggies right from their bountiful, beautiful gardens, for the perfect farm-to-table experience.

Pros:

  • Gorgeous mountain views and scenery
  • Nearby hiking and biking trails like the Ashokan Reservoir Promenade and the Diamond Notch Falls
  • Two hours north of Manhattan makes this an easy country escape

Con:

  • The Catskills can still get a little chilly at night in late May

Crowd of people outside for a festival at MASS MoCA in North Adams Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Douglas Mason/Getty Images

North Adams, Mass.

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 Holze and James Turrell, among others. That said, this Memorial Day 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 food and beer options.

Looking for a place to stay? 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. Over Memorial Day weekend, you’ll be able to take advantage of the tree-lined pool out back too.

Pros:

  • Massive modern-art center
  • The Solid Sound Festival, with musical guests, comedians and kids events
  • A-OK BBQ and Bright Ideas Brewing on the MASS MoCA campus
  • Hiking the Mohawk Trail from Boston to the Berkshires

Con:

  • Local hotels fill up fast for the festival

planes in the sky in missing man formation THOMAS WATKINS/Getty Images

Best for the aviation-obsessed

Palm Springs, Calif.

On Memorial Day weekend, the Palm Springs Air Museum, home to dozens to historic airplanes, hosts its annual Flower Drop & Air Fair 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. Just an FYI, though: The poppy is actually the traditional flower of Memorial Day.

With three saltwater pools and 11 acres of citrus groves, olive trees and flower gardens, the new Tommy Bahama Miramonte Resort & Spa is perfect for a long weekend soaking up the desert sun in the Coachella Valley. It also has two bocce courts and eight fire pits to snuggle around at night while you recount the day’s adventures.

Pros:

  • The annual Flower Drop & Air Fair ceremony, along with air shows and flight exhibitions
  • Joshua Tree National Park is nearby
  • The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the longest rotating tram in the world

Con:

  • You’ll need to rent a car to explore the greater Palm Springs area

Omaha Beach D-Day Memorial grandriver/Getty Images

Best for D-Day remembrances

Normandy, France

June 4, 2024, marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the storming of the beaches at Normandy, a 24-hour siege that turned the tide of the Nazi regime and ultimately brought an end to WWII. A visit for Memorial Day is especially poignant as we remember the thousands of American soldiers who gave their lives here.

The easiest way to visit is on an escorted tour with Viking River Cruises. Their “Paris and the Heart of Normandy” itineraries along the Seine include not only time in the City of Lights (which was one of our Best Places to Go in 2024) right before the 2024 Olympics, but also thoughtful visits to the Caen Memorial Museum, the American Cemetery and Omaha Beach, all in the company of a highly knowledgeable professional guide. My recent trip to see the memorial sites are something that I’ll always remember. One highlight, a wreath laying ceremony at the cemetery just for my Viking ship cohort, with the service members on board as honored guests saluting at the front of the group. Chills, truly.

Pros:

  • Viking’s Seine cruises are just 168 guests on specially crafted ships that can sail the narrow Seine in true comfort
  • Other ports stops include the Giverny Gardens which inspired Monet
  • There’s no additional cost on a Viking River Cruise for the guided tours of the D-Day sites, Paris or Giverny

Cons:

  • The most popular sailing dates may sell out

Historic Fort Adams, RI Pyroe/Getty Images

Best for paying tribute

Newport, R.I.

Newport, R.I. will host the dramatic and acclaimed Boots on the Ground for Heroes Memorial, which is on display for the public during Memorial Day 2023 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 Club Wyndham Long Wharf, perfectly situated on Newport’s waterfront—it’s one of our favorite places to go for Memorial Day weekend. An excellent choice for families or friend groups, the resort offers large, condo-style units with up to three bedrooms, roomy living spaces and full kitchens. You can even book a private chef to whip you up a local summer feast—for free!—as part of a Club Wyndham stay.

Pros:

  • The area’s many gilded historic mansions
  • A sailboat ride along the Atlantic Coast
  • The Newport Cliff Walk offers a fabulous, free adventure

Con:

  • The weather can still be a bit chilly over Memorial Day weekend

Turrets on navy battle ship with blue sky background phakimata/Getty Images

Best for saluting our sailors

Los Angeles

For Memorial Day 2023, Los Angeles will celebrate the country’s armed Sea Services with a full week of naval events along the waterfront for Fleet Week. You can tour active-duty ships, visit the Battleship Iowa, catch a concert and even watch naval-aircraft flyovers, among other Fleet Week activities. And, of course, aside from the Memorial Day activities, you’ll get to enjoy all that Los Angeles has to offer, from its trendy bars, clubs and restaurants to its Hollywood allure. Don’t be afraid to be a tourist—you’re on vacation, after all! If you have some extra time, follow one of these California road-trip routes to get you to your destination and so much more.

For a central Los Angeles location, it’s hard to beat the Godfrey Hotel Hollywood. In addition to its prime spot on Cahuenga Boulevard, this modern structure also boasts a chic rooftop bar and great onsite restaurant. You’ll feel like the star you’ve always dreamed of being.

Pros:

  • Fleet Week events, including flyovers and a concert
  • A walking tour of Old Hollywood with Hollywood historian April Clemmer
  • Grandmaster Recorders, a fabulous restaurant and bar housed in the former recording studio of David Bowie and Stevie Wonder

Con:

  • Traffic in Los Angeles can be challenging

Close up of bartender pouring draft beer in glass Dziggyfoto/Getty Images

Best for beer lovers

Chicago

The Windy City is one of the top places to go for Memorial Day weekend, 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, which features tribute bands, artists and plenty of drinks. 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 Chicago—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.

Pros:

  • The Museum of Science and Industry, which has a replica coal mine and a real German U-boat from World War II
  • Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza
  • Chicago Cubs games

Con:

  • It will still be too cold on Memorial Day to swim in Lake Michigan (for non-Chicagoans, at least)

The United States Capitol Building in Washington DC with a view of the water in front lucky-photographer/Getty Images

Best for showing off your patriotic side

Washington, D.C.

It’s hard to beat Washington, D.C., when it comes to a patriotic celebration for the holiday weekend. The National Memorial Day Parade, which takes place every year in the nation’s capital, is the largest of its kind in the country. Watching thousands 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.

Of course there are plenty of other attractions to keep you busy on a D.C. trip, one of the reasons, says Bennett, that Priceline has seen an increase of more than 20% for searches for hotels in the District. While you’re in town, be sure to check out the many free national monuments and Smithsonian museums as well as the fun restaurants and nightlife in the district’s distinct neighborhoods.

With an ideal location in the heart of the city, The Dupont Circle Hotel ticks all the boxes for a perfect Memorial Day getaway. Among the draws of the homey-feeling property are a swoon-worthy brunch—I’m obsessed with the towering French toast!—at The Pembroke restaurant and the outdoor, greenery-filled Doyle bar, which is the ideal spot for D.C. people-watching.

Pros:

  • The National Memorial Day Parade, the epitome of patriotism
  • Renting a kayak at the Wharf waterfront to paddle past some of D.C.’s most famous attractions
  • Smithsonian museums and national monuments are all free
  • A cornucopia of international cuisines in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood

Cons:

  • Expect the nation’s capitol to be crowded for this well-attended event
  • Some Smithsonian museums require timed tickets and can completely sell out for holiday weekends

planes hanging inside WWII museum in New Orleans, LA Education Images/Getty Images

Best for World War II history

New Orleans

If you think of New Orleans and picture amazing food, the bayou, jazz and Mardi Gras, you wouldn’t be wrong. But did you know the National WWII Museum is actually the No. 1 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 right on the National WWII Museum’s campus. The Art Deco–style property pays homage to WWII-era presidents, and its rooftop bar, Rosie’s on the Roof, offers sweeping views of the city along with World War II artifacts, such as General George S. Patton’s piano.

Pros:

  • A closer look at World War II
  • Sweet fried beignets served round the clock at Café Du Monde
  • Wooden trolleys traverse the city and the charming Garden District

Con:

  • The ever-popular French Quarter can get crowded on holiday weekends

Historic Home: Savannah, Georgia Marje/Getty Images

Best for historic architecture

Savannah, Ga.

Savannah’s historic charm, lush gardens and 22 beautiful town squares make it an ideal getaway. While strolling through the “Hostess City,” you’ll see so many gorgeously restored historic homes, you’ll lose count; the city boasts that 40% of its 2,500 buildings have architectural or historical significance. Savannah also happens to be a particularly excellent spring destination, especially when the Savannah Music Festival fills the city with jazz, global and folk music. And for the seasonal switch to summer, you can catch the annual Memorial Day Parade that marches past the city’s historic homes, as well as a waterfront fireworks display.

Stay at the Mansion on Forsyth Park, a luxurious boutique hotel in the heart of the historic district. Set in a grand Victorian-Romanesque home, it comes complete with an art gallery and a relaxing spa.

Pros:

  • Easily walkable city
  • The Telfair Museums house multiple arts buildings, which you can visit for just one fee
  • SCAD (Savannah College of Art & Design) has created a “beach,” an immersive art installation complete with sand, sea sounds and beach chairs

Con:

  • No real beach access in the city

INDY CAR SERIES: APR 9 Indianapolis 500 Open Test Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Best for racing fans

Indianapolis, Ind.

“Gentlemen, start your engines.” We’ve all 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 (which is on Sunday, May 26, this year), Motor Speedway mania will be revved up with 500 Festival celebrations that include road races, parades and activities for kids. If you’re feeling the need for speed on a personal level, you can put the pedal to the metal on the speedway via the Indy Racing Experience. If you do go, you’ll be in good company—per Expedia, searches for travel to Indianapolis are up 35% this spring and summer.

For an equally exciting overnight, try the Crowne Plaza Historic Union Station, where you can sleep in an original Pullman train car. Located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, it’s in a prime spot for you to visit many of the area’s attractions easily, whether you’re taking a family-friendly vacation or an adults-only one.

Pros:

  • The Indy 500, which is held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum
  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Con:

  • Be prepared for big crowds for one of racing’s most popular events

Scenes from the 47th annual Folklife Festival at the Seattle Center, Friday, May 25, 2018. (Genna Martin, seattlepi.com) San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

Best for folksy types

Seattle, Wash.

The Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle is now more than a half-century old, 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 and cooking demonstrations, all tailored to the theme of this year’s fest—”Lagom,” a Scandinavian term that the festival’s official website says is an “exploration of our ability to find balance.” The best part is that some of these events are participatory, which means you can join in all the singing and dancing action.

The Hilton Motif Seattle offers the perfect retreat in the heart of the city’s downtown, with a rooftop lounge, 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.

Pros:

  • Pike Place Market, the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the country
  • Chihuly Museum, which features stunning glass sculptures in exhibits open to the public
  • The Space Needle, built for the 1962 World Fair—and which you can go to the top of for amazing views of the city

Con:

  • Seattle isn’t exactly known for clear skies and sunny weather, regardless of the weekend

2018 Atlanta Jazz Festival Marcus Ingram/Getty Images

Best for jazz lovers

Atlanta

Who doesn’t love free stuff when traveling? The Atlanta Jazz Festival is one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country, and it will feature dozens of artists performing over Memorial Day weekend in Piedmont Park. Multiple international acts will take the stage Saturday, Sunday and Monday, starting in the afternoon and extending into the evening hours, and this year’s headliners include Wynton Marsalis, David Sánchez and Jazz at Lincoln Center. There will be a wide array of food and beverage vendors too, so you can dine while you groove. And you should definitely check out the adjacent Art Market for one-of-a-kind creations.

The modern Loews Atlanta Hotel is just a short walk away from the Piedmont Park venue, so you really can’t beat the location. Plus, it’s popular with scene makers and musicians, so you never know who you may see in the lobby!

Pros:

  • Three days of free jazz at the Atlanta Jazz Festival
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
  • Centennial Olympic Park, where you can take tours

Con:

  • Pepsi lovers, beware: It’s hard to find anything but a Coke in Coca-Cola’s headquarter city

St. Jude Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Marathon, 1/2 Marathon & 5K Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Best for runners

Nashville, Tenn.

A great Memorial Day 2024 weekend getaway, Nashville offers a number of celebration and commemoration ceremonies. There’s 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 races. After the race (or instead of, if you’d rather just enjoy Music City), amble down Broadway to check out the live bands that take the stage at honky-tonks and bars noon through night. If you’re in town ahead of the holiday, you can attend the live “Salute the Troops” concert May 21 at the Grand Ole Opry.

There’s no better place to stay on race day than the new Tempo by Hilton Nashville, right in the heart of downtown, with its outdoor pool, sky lobby and Bluestone Cafe for a pick-me-up after your run (or just your run down nearby Broadway). Bonus: The property is pet friendly, too.

Pros:

  • Annual Memorial Day races for all levels
  • Live music at local honky-tonks
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry
  • “Night Visions” at the Nashville Zoo

Con:

  • The so-called Bachelorette Capital of the U.S. can get a little rowdy on a Saturday night

Americans Celebrate Memorial Day Weekend At Myrtle Beach Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Best for family-friendly activities

Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Myrtle Beach topped the list of Booking.com’s trending destinations for Memorial Day, a fact, says Angela Cavis, Booking.com’s head of communications, that isn’t very surprising considering that Myrtle Beach offers “some of the top things Americans say they consider when deciding on a vacation destination:” great food; beautiful, natural scenery; and friendly locals.

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, a festive brass band concert and a family picnic. And, of course, there are those 60 miles of Atlantic Coast beaches. Myrtle Beach is also one of our favorite spots for a budget-friendly vacation, especially for families, who can play mini golf, stroll the boardwalk or visit Brookgreen Gardens’s zoo.

North Beach Resort & Villas is located right on the beach and has tons of family-friendly amenities, including five pools and a lazy rive, plus multi-bedroom condo-style accommodations, perfect for families to spread out.

Pros:

  • Free events during Military Appreciation Days
  • A budget-friendly beach vacation, right on the Atlantic
  • The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, where you can take a spin on the famous Sky Wheel

Con:

  • Even though it will be sunny, the Atlantic Ocean may still be a bit chilly so early in the summer season

Puerto Rico San Juan beach vacation destination Maridav/Getty Images

Best for a tropical getaway

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Tropical San Juan is a perfect place to go for Memorial Day weekend if you want some sun and fun, and it’s just a four-hour flight from New York and two-and-a-half-hour flight from Miami. Plus, this surprisingly affordable destination offers a variety of events and activities to honor the holiday, including the Memorial Day commemoration at the San Juan National Historic Site. The Puerto Rico Salsa Congress also brings music and dance to the town, making for a lively and festive atmosphere. While there, enjoy the city’s historic architecture, beautiful beaches and delicious cuisine for a well-rounded vacation experience. Given all that, it’s not surprising that per Expedia, there has been a 35% increase in travel to San Juan this spring.

Just a quick hop from the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, the Caribe Hilton offers a unique setting on a private beach with 17th San Geronimo Fort just a few yards from the property. There are several pools, multiple restaurants, and this is also purported to be the birthplace of the piña colada, so you’ll have ample opportunities to the sip while you soak up the sun. If you’re looking for a resort, check out this list of our favorite resorts in Puerto Rico.

Pros:

  • The only rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system, where you’ll hear the endemic coqui frog while cooling off in a natural waterfall
  • Sustainable dining, with local products and produce sourced directly from the island
  • Easy to reach from the East Coast

Con:

  • You’ll need to book a flight to this U.S. Commonwealth island

Family enjoying beautiful mountain view on summer hiking trip. MargaretW/Getty Images

Best for hikers

Scottsdale, Ariz.

Scottsdale is a great vacation destination because of its beautiful desert scenery, world-class golf courses, luxurious resorts and, for the holiday weekend, a Memorial Day ceremony and pancake breakfast at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. There’s also the Scottsdale ArtWalk, where you can browse galleries featuring the works of local artists, high-end boutiques and award-winning restaurants. But if you’re a hiker—and even if you’re not—you’ll love checking out the terrain by foot. We’re talking more than 104 scenic trails in the Sonoran Desert, at the foot of the McDowell Mountains, and surrounding area. Memorial Day is also one of the best times to visit Arizona.

Stay at Mountain Shadows Resort in serene Paradise Valley. It’s within walking distance of Camelback Mountain, where you’ll find awesome hikes and views, and it has modern rooms built around picturesque courtyards and a golf course. There’s also a contemporary art gallery here, Hearth ’61 restaurant and bar on-site, and multiple pools, a hot tub and a gym with new equipment.

Pros:

  • More than 400 miles of well-maintained desert trails
  • An artsy vibe, with tons of local artists selling their wares
  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West, the architect’s former winter home and studio
  • Gorgeous weather and scenery

Con:

  • It’s easy to get dehydrated in the desert

Illuminating Sunbeams Jolie Zimmermann/Getty Images

Best for water activities

Waikiki, Hawaii

Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai’i, the annual Memorial Day ceremony held on Ala Moana Beach, is a memorable sight, with thousands of lit lanterns floated out to sea to remember loved ones. And this year’s event promises to be even more memorable because it’s the event’s 25th anniversary. Plus, is there ever a bad time to visit Hawaii? Well, it just might be even better to visit around Memorial Day, since you’re nearly guaranteed to have great beach weather and optimal surf conditions.

Lotus Hotel at Diamond Head is considered one of the best hotels in Hawaii, thanks to its trendy, design-forward aesthetic and prime location. The hotel is located in one of the island’s most tranquil neighborhoods, with breathtaking views of the lush Kapiolani Park, majestic Diamond Head Crater and the Pacific Ocean, but it’s just a short walk from the heart of Waikiki and its golden beaches.

Pros:

  • Snorkeling, surfing, boogie boarding and stand-up paddleboarding in the warm, clear Pacific waters
  • Easy to reach from the West Coast of the United States

Con:

  • Unless you live in Hawaii, you’ll have to hop on a flight to reach the island

USA, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful Geyser erupting at sunset Westend61/Getty Images

Best for nature lovers

Yellowstone National Park

While all the U.S. parks are special, Yellowstone—America’s (and the world’s) first national park, which turned 150 last year—is our pick for the best one to visit over the holiday weekend. Here, you’ll witness the wonders of the Old Faithful geyser erupting, the prismatic paint pots, steaming vents and bubbling mud. It’s basically the Disney of the great outdoors! For Memorial Day, head to the Wyoming side of the park (Yellowstone spans both Wyoming and Montana) to Powell, where the JWP Days Festival will feature fun for all ages, including bike obstacle races, carnival games, a beer garden and an outdoor movie when the sun goes down.

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 tents are on elevated decks with super-comfy beds and private en suite bathrooms. Bonus: The lodging is located just 10 minutes from the park’s west entrance, which makes exploring Yellowstone super easy.

Pros:

  • Old Faithful geyser, Grand Prismatic Springs, Mammoth Hot Springs thermal basins and more natural wonders
  • A fun-for-all-ages Memorial Day weekend festival
  • Elevated camping options 10 minutes from the park

Con:

  • Yellowstone is so large, it will take more than just the weekend to see it all

Pouring red wine in vineyard Zbynek Pospisil/Getty Images

Best for wine aficionados

Loudoun County, Va.

If you didn’t know, Virginia isn’t just for lovers—it’s also for wine lovers. Virginia is home to some of the best wineries in the country, and Loudoun County is a prime spot. Located just 25 miles outside of Washington, D.C., Loudoun boasts 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.

Salamander Resort & Spa, tucked into the grasslands in Middleburg, is an ideal place to stay in the area. The spacious resort offers horseback riding, fishing, falconry, biking, ziplining, archery and ax throwing. You’ll also find 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.

Pros:

  • More than 40 top-notch wineries and breweries, which often feature local musicians
  • Dirt Farm Brewing, which will have live music, a bluegrass brunch and a wide selection of brews and food all weekend long
  • The popular Tarara Winery Summer Concert Series, which features fun cover bands that specialize in ’70s through ’90s music

Con:

  • You’ll need a designated driver, since there are no shuttles to and from the wineries

Why trust us

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Sources:

  • Christina Bennett, consumer travel expert and head of public relations and senior director of external communications at Priceline; email interview April 22, 2024
  • Christie Hudson, travel expert and head of public relations at Expedia; email interview April 19, 2024
  • Karen Magee, president of Chase Travel Group’s Valerie Wilson Travel; email interview April 22, 2024
  • Angela Cavis, head of communications in North America for Booking.com; email interview April 23, 2024