Memorial Day

The Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel times each year due to the wonderful weather conditions throughout most of America. After a long and cold winter, people are ready for road trips, train travel and airplane rides that take them to nearby or faraway locations.

First, it is important to understand the original purpose of the Memorial Day holiday. This day was established to honor the individuals who died serving in the country’s armed forces such as the army and navy.

In the past, people traditionally visited cemeteries to place wreaths on deceased soldier’s graves, and some individuals still do this today. However, people also use this time to get together to see friends and family and we’ve put together some great ideas of things to do during this period of reflection.

The Best Memorial Day Activities

Check out our best ideas for Memorial Day activities…

  1. Attend Parades, Picnics and Concerts at the Last Minute
  2. Visit Local Cemeteries
  3. See a Fireworks Display
  4. Go to an Old Battlefield
  5. Arrange Family Reunions
  6. Have a Memorial Day Themed Movie Marathon
  7. Visit a Local Museum
  8. Outdoor Activities
  9. Volunteer at a Shelter

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

Attend Parades, Picnics and Concerts at the Last Minute

Military Service members carry flags during a parade in Miles City, Montana

Many towns long ago and today have parades to honor the military services with soldiers and sailors participating in the events. After the parade ends, everyone meets at a designated location such as a public park to have a picnic or barbecue. In addition, towns and cities may sponsor speakers or concerts with a patriotic theme. All of these activities are perfect for individuals wanting to have an enjoyable day at the last minute on a limited budget because many of these events are 100% free.

Visit Local Cemeteries

Serviceman paying respect at cemetery

Visiting local cemeteries to place wreaths on soldier’s graves is a time-honored tradition. Today, many families use the Memorial Day weekend to decorate other grave sites that belong to deceased relatives or friends. This is an excellent way to teach children about their past with a genealogy lesson. In many cases, old tombstones require repair or cleaning to make the names and dates legible, but first ask the cemetery maintenance team about the legality of making unauthorized changes.

See a Fireworks Display

USA fireworks display

Many cities and towns sponsor fireworks displays that are often located in public parks. This type of event is usually free to attend and suitable for individuals of any age. Some regions combine this with other activities such as festivals with food trucks, carnival rides and musical entertainment. The fireworks begin right after dusk with people sitting on chairs or reclining on blankets to watch a safe and monitored display.

Experiencing a fireworks display away from home has never been easier than pre-booking with AirportParkingReservations. If you’re flying from Detroit Airport, check out our latest deals and offers on your lot space.

Go to an Old Battlefield

Battlefield re-enactment of a civil war battle

Within the Unites States, there are many battlefields from wars that occurred long ago. Memorial Day is often when these historical sites open with free or low-cost admission to learn about the battles that took place. In many cases, there are public tours with guides able to explain the events that occurred during one or more battles on a specific location. It is possible to find these battlefield sites with an Internet search of different regions.

Arrange Family Reunions

Family reunion on a beach at sunset

One of the most popular things to do on Memorial Day is have a family reunion. These events are simple to organize at the last minute by having a potluck meal with everyone bringing different foods and beverages. No one expects fancy tablecloths or delicate china at a family reunion. It is traditional to setup a charcoal grill for everyone to cook foods such as hamburgers, hot dogs or chicken with side dishes of potato salad, coleslaw and tomato slices. The best part of a family reunion is visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins in one place.

Family reunions happen across the US on Memorial Day. Are you located in Minneapolis but need to travel to visit family? Check out our latest deals on pre-booked airport parking lot spaces from Minneapolis Airport.

Have a Memorial Day Themed Movie Marathon

Popcorn for movie-goers

Unwind with a patriotic movie marathon this Memorial Day. Curl up on the couch for a movie marathon with a patriotic theme. It’s a fantastic way to celebrate with friends and family while honoring the sacrifices of those who served.

For your movie selection, consider classics like Saving Private Ryan (1998) or Hacksaw Ridge (2016) that depict the courage and camaraderie of the military. Lighter options could include inspirational sports movies like Miracle or the Rocky series. Maybe opt for larger than life action flicks like Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) or the iconic Top Gun (1986) for a great way to introduce the themes of Memorial Day to younger viewers.

By incorporating a movie marathon into your Memorial Day plans, you’re creating a memorable experience that creates connection and keeps the spirit of the holiday alive.

Visit a Local Museum

9/11 Tribute Museum, New York, United States

While attending parades and ceremonies are great ways to pay tribute, another enriching option is to delve deeper into history at your local museum.

Many museums offer special exhibits or programs around Memorial Day. Check their website or social media pages to see if they have any talks planned by veterans or historians, or if there are specific displays dedicated to military history or local heroes. Even their permanent collections likely hold pieces that can spark discussions about war, sacrifice, and the fight for freedom.

A visit to your local museum isn’t just educational, it’s also a fun and affordable activity for the whole family. Many museums have interactive exhibits or scavenger hunts designed to engage younger visitors. Plus, it’s a great way to escape the summer heat and appreciate the air-conditioning while learning something new. So this Memorial Day, consider taking a trip to your local museum – you might be surprised by the hidden gems and meaningful experiences it has to offer.

Outdoor Activities


Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, and what better way to celebrate than by getting outside and enjoying the fresh air? Even with short notice, there are plenty of last-minute outdoor activities that can turn your Memorial Day into a memorable adventure.

Embrace Nature and Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails at a local park or nature preserve. Breathe in the fresh air, soak up the sunshine, and reconnect with the beauty of the natural world. If you have a bike, explore scenic routes or bike paths for a fun and active outing.

Camp Under the Stars. While reservable campsites may be booked, some campgrounds offer first-come, first-served options. Pack your tent, sleeping bags, and s’mores essentials for a classic camping experience. For a less rustic option, consider renting a cabin or yurt at a nearby park. Gazing up at a star-filled sky after a day of outdoor fun is the perfect way to unwind and appreciate the simple pleasures.

Sometimes, the best outdoor activity is simply relaxing in your own backyard. Fire up the grill for a casual BBQ, spread out a blanket for a picnic lunch, or have a friendly yard game competition with friends and family. Memorial Day weekend is all about celebrating with loved ones – and there’s no better place to do that than in the comfort of your own outdoor space.

Volunteer at a Shelter

Food bank

This year, why not honor the values of freedom, justice and helping those in need by volunteering your time at a local shelter or charity?

Many shelters and charities experience increased demand for services during holidays. By dedicating a few hours of your Memorial Day weekend, you can make a real difference in the lives of others. Animal shelters often need help walking dogs, socializing cats, or cleaning kennels. Food banks and soup kitchens might appreciate assistance with food preparation, sorting donations, or serving meals. There are also shelters for homeless families or veterans that could benefit from your time and compassion.

Volunteering isn’t just about helping others – it’s also a rewarding experience for yourself. You’ll gain a sense of purpose, connect with your community, and learn new skills. It’s a fantastic way to spend Memorial Day weekend, develop the spirit of service and leaving a positive impact on those in need.

What are your Memorial Day Plans?

With an array of activities to immerse yourself in, whether you choose to visit a museum or have your own fireworks display with your family, what will you be doing this Memorial Day?

If you’re getting FOMO seeing your friends and family fly out for Memorial Day, plan ahead for next year. Check out our recommendations for places to travel on Memorial Day Weekend. If you can’t wait a whole year and are itching for a vacation, here are our tips for Booking Last Minute Travel.

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