Man riding bike and woman running holding flag of USA - Shell Beach, San Diego, United States

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the United States, a time for backyard barbecues, festive gatherings, and commemorating fallen heroes. But it’s also the perfect opportunity to escape the ordinary and embark on a memorable getaway.

Whether you crave sunshine and beaches, outdoor adventures, or vibrant cityscapes, there’s a destination waiting to be explored. This guide dives into some of the most exciting places to celebrate Memorial Day weekend, offering a diverse range of experiences to suit every taste and budget.

From the sun-drenched shores of San Diego to the historical significance of Washington D.C., this list explores hidden gems and classic hotspots, all guaranteed to create unforgettable memories. So, fire up the grill for one last hurrah of the season, pack your bags, and get ready to discover your perfect Memorial Day escape!

The Best Places to Travel for Memorial Day Weekend

Check out our best ideas for where to travel for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend in May…

  1. Palm Springs, California
  2. San Diego, California
  3. Washington D.C.
  4. San Francisco, California
  5. Catalina Island, California
  6. Riviera Maya, Mexico
  7. Miami, Florida
  8. Las Vegas, Nevada
  9. Laughlin, Nevada
  10. Lake Havasu, Arizona

If you’re flying out of LAX airport to visit family this Memorial Day, don’t forget to pre-book your airport parking today!

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs Sign on Gene Autry Trail, California

Looking for somewhere relaxing to spend your weekend? Palm Springs is a perfect getaway for Memorial Day weekend. The weather is pleasant in May, ideal for outdoor activities like hiking or exploring the desert by bike.

You can also relax poolside at a resort or soak up the unique culture and history through mid-century modern architecture and art galleries. There are even special Memorial Day events happening, like the Palm Springs Air Museum’s Flower Drop.

Palm Springs is the place to be. With so much to offer, be sure to book your stay early for this popular destination! Just be prepared for some extremely hot weather.

San Diego, California

Man riding bike and woman running holding flag of USA - Shell Beach, San Diego, United States

San Diego beckons for a memorable Memorial Day weekend! Sunny skies and warm weather in the low 80s make it ideal for hitting the beach or exploring outdoors. Hike or bike stunning trails, kayak in calm bays, or go whale watching.

History buffs can wander through Old Town San Diego or visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo. Don’t miss Memorial Day events honoring veterans and festive celebrations throughout the long weekend.

Spend this weekend tanning at Pacific Beach and going out for a nice dinner in Downtown San Diego.

With beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, and rich culture, San Diego offers something for everyone.

Washington D.C.

Army taking a ceremonial parade

If you’re feeling patriotic, then make your way to this destination. There is a parade on Monday and a National Memorial Day concert on Sunday.

Immerse yourself in history and heartfelt tributes this Memorial Day weekend in Washington D.C.! The nation’s capital city transforms into a center for honoring fallen soldiers, with the iconic National Memorial Day Parade leading the way.

Witness veterans, marching bands, and floats traverse the National Mall, a sight that stirs patriotism. Beyond parades, D.C. boasts free admission to many Smithsonian museums over the long weekend. Enjoy a captivating National Memorial Day Concert on the U.S. Capitol lawn, featuring renowned performers in a moving tribute.

Washington D.C.’s significance deepens with its historical landmarks. Explore Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, each a powerful testament to American sacrifice.

Pleasant spring weather with highs in the low-to-mid 80s makes D.C. ideal for outdoor exploration, creating a memorable and educational Memorial Day experience.

San Francisco, California

Golden Gate Bridge during Golden Hour - San Francisco, CA, United States

San Francisco is always a fun place to go to. It has endless activities and sights to keep you busy all weekend!

San Francisco shines this Memorial Day weekend, offering a vibrant mix of outdoor adventure, cultural delights, and heartfelt tributes. Immerse yourself in the city’s festive spirit with parades honoring fallen heroes, or experience the electrifying energy of the Mission District’s Carnaval, a two-day explosion of music, dance, and cultural flair.

Wander along the scenic waterfront for breathtaking Golden Gate Bridge views, explore the historic Alcatraz Island, or conquer nearby hiking trails. Golden Gate Park beckons with sprawling landscapes, ideal for relaxing strolls or scenic bike rides.

Dive deeper into San Francisco’s soul at world-class museums, explore the vibrant Chinatown or Fisherman’s Wharf, and excite your taste buds with the city’s renowned culinary scene.

With comfortable spring weather and a diverse range of activities, San Francisco guarantees a memorable and enriching Memorial Day weekend escape.

Catalina Island, California

Night view of harbour - Catalina Island, California, USA

Catalina Island is a nice place to relax, go to the beach, and go on hikes. And if you live in Southern California, it’s only a boat ride away.

This charming gem off the California coast offers a delightful blend of relaxation and adventure. While festive vibes take hold as many shops and restaurants open for the season, Catalina Island prioritizes honoring fallen heroes with commemorative services.

For the adventurous, crystal-clear waters call for snorkeling, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding adventures. Breathtaking vistas await on scenic hikes or thrilling off-road exploration. Descanso Beach Club transforms into a vibrant party scene on weekends, offering live music for those seeking lively entertainment.

Catalina Island’s charm extends beyond its natural beauty. Explore the colorful shops and art galleries of Avalon, the main town, embark on a glass-bottom boat tour for a glimpse of marine life, or delve into the island’s rich history at the Catalina Island Museum. Comfortable spring weather and endless sunshine guarantee a relaxing and unforgettable Memorial Day weekend escape.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Tulum Beach, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The Riviera Maya parallels the Caribbean coastline and is a relaxing and affordable place to travel to this weekend.

This breathtaking stretch of the Mexican Caribbean coastline offers a perfect blend of cultural exploration, relaxation on pristine beaches, and thrilling adventures. While some resorts may host commemorative Memorial Day events, the Riviera Maya primarily focuses on unforgettable experiences.

Explore the awe-inspiring Tulum ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or delve deeper into Mayan history at ancient sites like Cobá, where you can conquer the Nohoch Mul pyramid for panoramic views.

Adventure awaits with snorkeling or scuba diving in the world’s second-largest coral reef, spelunking in crystal-clear cenotes, or ziplining through the jungle canopy. Relaxation is guaranteed on the Riviera Maya’s soft sand beaches, perfect for soaking up the sunshine or indulging in luxurious spa treatments.

Paddleboarding, kayaking, and championship golf courses offer further options for the active traveler. With comfortable springtime weather and endless possibilities, the Riviera Maya promises a luxurious and unforgettable Memorial Day weekend under the Mexican sun.

Miami, Florida

Art Deco buildings - South Beach, Miami, United States

If you are looking for a non-stop beach party, then this is your destination for this weekend.

Ignite your senses with an exotic Miami escape this Memorial Day weekend! Sunshine, Art Deco flair, and a sizzling nightlife scene collide in this electrifying coastal metropolis. While Miami honors fallen heroes with various events, the city truly comes alive with its legendary Memorial Day weekend spirit.

Witness the awe-inspiring Hyundai Air & Sea Show with daring aerial displays and exhilarating water performances. For a cultural fix, explore the iconic Art Deco district in South Beach or dive deep into Miami’s rich Cuban heritage in Little Havana.

Beyond the cultural gems, Miami boasts endless sunshine and pristine beaches, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or indulging in water sports. Explore vibrant coral reefs through snorkeling or scuba diving adventures.

As evening falls, Miami’s world-renowned dance clubs light up the night, offering an unforgettable Memorial Day weekend under the Miami stars.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Las Vegas Boulevard South, Nevada

Las Vegas becomes incredibly crowded during this time of the year, but the pool parties are a lot of fun and you will never find yourself alone.

Escape to a world of dazzling lights, electrifying entertainment, and endless entertainment options. While some casinos might host special events honoring fallen heroes, Memorial Day in Vegas is all about celebrating life.

Dive into poolside bliss at luxurious resorts, where giant pool parties with renowned DJs create an unforgettable atmosphere. Craving thrills? Las Vegas offers a smorgasbord of options, from heart-pounding rides on the STRAT’s skypod to exhilarating high-stakes games on the casino floor.

Beyond the glitz, explore world-class museums, witness captivating live shows from renowned artists, or be awestruck by stunning Cirque du Soleil productions. Las Vegas caters to every taste bud with its vast array of restaurants, from Michelin-starred experiences to casual poolside dining.

With comfortable spring weather and endless possibilities, Las Vegas guarantees an action-packed and unforgettable Memorial Day weekend extravaganza.

Laughlin, Nevada

The start of the Grayrock Mountain trail, Colorado, USA

If you are looking for more of a getaway than a party, Laughlin is a great place to go. They have a huge lake where you can do a variety of different water activities.

This hidden gem along the Colorado River offers a delightful blend of outdoor adventure, casino excitement, and breathtaking natural beauty.

Soak up the sunshine on the banks of the Colorado River, with opportunities for kayaking, jet skiing, or simply relaxing on the beach. For breathtaking vistas, embark on a scenic hike in the nearby mountains or explore the area’s rich history at the Colorado River Museum.

Feeling lucky? Test your fate at Laughlin’s vibrant casinos, offering a variety of games and entertainment options at a more relaxed pace compared to Las Vegas. Affordable buffets and delicious restaurants cater to every craving, while the laid-back atmosphere guarantees a stress-free and affordable Memorial Day weekend escape.

Lake Havasu, Arizona

Looking out from London Bridge - Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA

Embrace sunshine and water adventures at Lake Havasu, Arizona for a thrilling Memorial Day weekend! It depends on what you’re in the mood for!

This desert oasis transforms into a hotspot for watersports enthusiasts and partiers alike. While some resorts or establishments hold events honoring fallen heroes, Lake Havasu prioritizes creating unforgettable memories.

Indulge in thrilling jet ski rides across the vast expanse of the lake, or test your skills with a challenging wakeboarding session. For a more relaxed pace, kayak through hidden coves or explore the fascinating London Bridge, a historic landmark unexpectedly transplanted to the Arizona desert.

Party boats come alive on Memorial Day weekend, offering energetic gatherings and scenic cruises on the turquoise waters. Beyond the water, explore the surrounding desert landscapes on scenic hikes or off-road adventures. With gorgeous spring weather and endless opportunities for aquatic fun and desert exploration, Lake Havasu guarantees an action-packed and unforgettable Memorial Day weekend under the Arizona sun.

Plan Your Stress-Free Memorial Day Getaway

With your Memorial Day destination chosen, it’s time to focus on a smooth and stress-free travel experience. Airport parking, however, can often be a source of frustration and wasted time. Avoid the long lines and exorbitant fees at airport terminals with

If you’ve left your Memorial Day planning late, don’t worry. Check out our ideas for things to do on Memorial Day weekend and have a really enjoyable time with family and friends.

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