Memorial Day is a somber reminder of the sacrifices of the heroes who laid down their lives for the country. Then again, it also kicks off summer unofficially, with folks all over the nation craving to leave everything behind and taking a vacation. Once the temperature rises and the school doors close, marking the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend, you would probably want to set out for your next adventure.
Whether you want to spend a couple of days on a sun-kissed beach, pamper your taste buds with delectable dishes, burn a hole in your pocket shopping, or enjoy the chill of the mountains, there are more than enough locations in the USA to satisfy your wanderlust. Besides, it is never too early to plan or at least dream about your ideal weekend getaway. Here are a few destinations to get you started with your search.
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Looking to pay tribute to the military men and women this Memorial Day? Take the road to the waterfront city of Annapolis, also called the “Sailing Captial of the US." Spend time outdoors to catch a glimpse of the Memorial Day Parade as it passes through Main Street, or take a walk through the remainder of Historic Annapolis, where you will inevitably encounter rows of American flags. Need a spot to stretch out? Just head to Quiet Waters Park - spanning 340 acres. This spot is perfect for biking, kayaking, picnicking, or simply letting your eyes feast on the panoramic views of the South River in the pleasant temperatures gracing this area in late May.
Ocean City, Maryland
Memorial Day is when you honor and remember the sacrifices made by the USA armed forces members, and you can do just that at the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. Learn about the history of this place and the real-life predecessors of the Coast Guard of today. The full story of the “Storm Warriors" of the United States Life-Saving Service is available to everyone. These people are the ones who stood watch to rescue sailors from wrecked ships. Once you grow tired of taking in the sights of the Atlantic from the miles of wooden boardwalks of Ocean City and its sandy shoreline, take a trip in it on rented jet skis or pontoon boats.
Take some time to pay your respects to the brave soldiers who fought and died for the nation at the Arlington National Cemetery. Here you will see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - the final resting place of an unidentified World War I soldier and an unsung hero. The memorial also pays homage to other unknown warriors from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Leverage the relatively mild temperatures of Virginia in May by passing through the Potomac Heritage Trail. This expansive trail system spans from the mouth of the Potomac River to the Allegheny Highlands through Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and DC.
What other destination is as patriotic as Washington, D.C. when it comes to celebrating the true spirit of Memorial Day? Pay your respects to the fallen, veterans and their family members, amounting to over 400,000 at the Arlington National Cemetery. Or, head towards the National Mall and wander around the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. Read the names of 58,000 Americans who perished during the Vietnam War. Finally, make your way to the World War II Memorial to pay tribute to soldiers who died on the battlefield.
Palm Springs, California
Ask those who live around Palm Springs - they will claim that the summer months are best experienced in this part of California. Of course, at times the temperature rises more than some people can handle, but, simultaneously, it helps you find some of the best deals on stays. Apart from being ideal for individuals looking to explore and indulge in rock climbing, the real highlight of Palm Springs is event hosted by the Palm Springs Air Museum - the Annual Memorial Day Air Fair and Flow Drop. Experience the emotional moment of being bathed in red and white carnations dropping from a B-25 aircraft. This is an act of commemorating those who gave up their lives fighting for the nation in World War II.
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Millions of individuals from all four corners of the world visit Pearl Harbor to see all the war memorials and museums. However, it makes more sense to schedule a visit on Memorial Day. So, what can you expect at Pearl Harbor? Start your day by checking out the USS Arizona Memorial, as it is the most important World War II site in the USA. Then, move on to the National Park Service monument from where you can go to two museums where you can witness the events of the Road to War and the Attack & Aftermath with the aid of the latest technology. Consider adding the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum to your list of places to visit - a military aircraft museum displaying the US conflicts in Vietnam and Korea during World War II.
Cape May, New Jersey
The Memorial Day weekend is when the unofficial tourist season starts in Cape May, and you can probably guess why! This place is a quintessential summertime getaway for numerous Americans for all the right reasons. The historic seaside town boasts pleasant temperatures in the 70s in the late spring. It also played a crucial role in military defense during World War II. Travelers can relax and take in the sun on the beaches of Cape May while admiring the perfectly-preserved Victorian architecture next to the shoreline. Or, they can take a walk down the outdoor Washington Street Mall. Close to Cape May is New Jersey Town, an excellent spot for birding and also perfect for tipplers, thanks to all the wineries in the area.