As Memorial Day approaches, it’s a great time to break out the nautical stripes and cozy tunics in preparation for long weekend excursions. Whether you’re looking for quiet reflection on equable, humid beaches, or a summer cocktail at the end of a purifying hike, these easygoing getaways will gladly welcome you to summer 2017.
Key West, Florida
Holiday Attractions: 27th Annual Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta
The archipelago-style chain of cities you pass to arrive at Key West are as lively as the final destination. Suspended in the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll be treated to tropical views and equatorial weather at half the price of an Hawaiian escape. White sand beaches, swim-up bars, and lush fan palms are just a few luxuries the Florida Keys have to offer. Flights to Miami are temptingly affordable this time of year, and most accommodations include tours and other sightseeing opportunities.
Palm Springs, California
Holiday Attractions: Air Museum Annual Memorial Day Flower Drop
Southern California’s Mojave and Colorado deserts generate year-round Memorial Day vibes; it’s no wonder so many flock to the Coachella Valley for some winter transcendence. Palm Springs and nearby cities like Indio, Salton Sea, and Twentynine Palms each offer its own aesthetic for your holiday. Treat yourself to a triad of succulent-themed cocktails at V hotel’s “Sunset Hour,” or take a hike to a modern-day oasis in Joshua Tree National Park. Kick off the summer like Lana Del Rey at the colorful Saguaro Hotel, grab dinner at Toucan’s Tiki Lounge, and surround yourself with the region’s charming Yucca trees.
Asheville, North Carolina
Spend your long weekend in the heart of the prolific Smoky Mountains, where fun-loving hippie culture is alive and well. The City of Asheville offers a number of longtime music, art, and food festivals, all of which come together on Memorial Day. The city is best absorbed through nature, and camping opportunities are plentiful. For adventure seekers, the nearby forest offers an abundance of hiking, rafting, and ziplining possibilities.
Mackinaw City, Michigan
Mackinaw City is home to one of the longest main-span bridges in the world, the Mackinac Bridge. Located on the northernmost trip of Michigan’s lower peninsula, the city is surrounded on three sides by multiple great lakes. Enjoy swimming in bracing freshwater, dining at some of the country’s finest and freshest seafood restaurants, and cooly reflecting with the encouragement of moody bridge lights.
Holiday Attractions: Florence Rhododendron Festival
Oregon’s elegant coastal city, Florence, is a quiet, breezy escape from exhausting big city winters. Florence offers grassy beaches, quaint diners, and small-town magnetism. Although its nationally renowned Rhododendron festival arrives a week before Memorial Day weekend, the blooming flowers remain throughout the season.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Enjoy food, fun, and mysticism on the bayou this Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans. While any weekend is a great time to visit The Big Easy, traditional city energy comes to a head this holiday. Treat yourself to live jazz, swamp tours, and nighttime palm readings while walking the city’s famous art district.
Holiday Attractions: National Memorial Day Parade Concert
Memorial Day is known colloquially as the first day of summer, but the holiday is rooted in reflection and tribute to members of the Armed Forces who’ve given their lives in wars past and present. Our nation’s capital serves as the best place to do just that. Take a tour of Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen soldiers, and visit the United States Holocaust Museum while you’re at it.