Memorial Day is one of America’s most special holidays. The excitement of embarking on a three-day weekend sets in as people leave work and school on Friday afternoon. Everyone enjoys getting together with family and friends, having barbeques, and soaking up the sun. Memorial day is the prelude to summer, and it’s one of the most exciting times of the year.
Nonetheless, this meaningful holiday isn’t just about long weekends and grilled hamburgers. It’s a time where the American people can reflect on and pay homage to the soldiers who have bravely protected the United States.
The Meaning of Memorial Day: Honoring Our Military
If you are looking for a way to bring your family together while teaching your kids the real meaning behind Memorial Day, here are a few suggestions:
1. Go to a parade
Parades are the epitome of Memorial Day fun. It’s a great time to go out as a family and enjoy a lovely day together. However, the parade isn’t just about watching the festivities. This is the perfect time to put on some red, white, and blue and show your patriotism. Expressing your love and support for the soldiers who fight for the country is what it’s all about. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. Grab some American flags and get out there!
2. Visit a veteran’s cemetery
This particular activity might not be considerably “fun,” but it’s important to pay respects to the soldiers who have fought for the U.S. After all, that’s the real reason why we celebrate Memorial Day. There are cemeteries nationwide that you can visit and place flags on the gravesites. You can visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to find a location near you.
3. Visit a military history museum
One of the best Memorial Day ideas is to learn more about what you and your family are celebrating. If there is a military museum in your area, this is a fascinating and educational way to get more knowledge about the U.S. military and its fallen soldiers.
4. Make a donation
Nothing shows gratitude like giving back. There are many veterans and active duty soldiers who need help. You can donate to an organization or send a care package. Your family can spend some time volunteering to help veterans. Many non-profits need people to help drive vets to their destinations or pass out hot meals. Likewise, active duty soldiers like to receive gift cards. It makes it easy for them buy their essentials, and purchase Wi-Fi to connect with their families when they’re stationed overseas.
Memorial Day Fun for the Entire Family
Some things just never get old, and if you’re wondering what to do for the holiday, you could always stick to the fundamentals. Below are two classic ideas.
5. Have a barbeque
Throwing a backyard barbeque is classic Memorial Day fun. It’s one of those things that will never get old. Cookouts are all about bringing loved ones together and enjoying each other’s company. If you know some military soldiers, it’s a nice idea to invite them as a way to show your gratitude.
6. Go to a fireworks show
Fireworks are another tradition that everyone will always love. It’s a festivity that’s always on the summer calendar for Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend events, as well. If you can’t catch a firework show, you may be able to buy your own, and it’s just as exciting. It shouldn’t be too hard to find a local vendor to purchase firecrackers from. If you have younger children, sparklers are usually pretty safe for elementary kids. Let the teens and adults have a blast lighting the bigger rockets. Your family and guests are guaranteed to have a fantastic time.
Where to Go for Memorial Day Weekend: Road Trip Destinations
Mini-vacations are always a good time, and a long weekend makes it even sweeter. If you’re undecided on where to go, these are a few outstanding destinations.
7. The beach
The great thing about Memorial Day is that it’s a part of a three-day weekend. It’s always a good idea to add a mini road trip to the itinerary. Pack some bathing suits, a couple of coolers, and hit the road. If you travel to another city, you should consider looking up Memorial Day activities in that town. It should be a neat experience to celebrate the holiday in a new destination.
8. Washington D.C.
If you’re in driving distance to the U.S. capital, you’re in luck. The District of Columbia is the ideal location for Memorial Day weekend and for seeing other historical monuments. The Capital hosts the grandest Memorial Day parade in the entire country, and they do a flag service at Arlington National Cemetery. Not to mention, PBS holds an annual Memorial Day concert. The entire weekend is full of local events; so your family will have plenty of fun.
9. New York City
A trip to the Big Apple is always exciting, and Memorial Day activities in NYC are even better. From May 20th to the 26th, Manhattan and Staten Island host fleet week. You’ll have a chance to tour the ships, see military demonstrations, and meet members of the U.S. Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Another must-see is the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade. It’s an annual parade that has taken place since 1867 and honors the fallen heroes.
10. Lake Tahoe, California
If you and the family are looking for something different to get into, Lake Tahoe has plenty of Memorial Day fun. It’s a beautiful landscape with lots of adventure. If you’re into hiking, Sugar Pine Point State Park has incredible scenic trails. Or your family can go canoeing. Vikingsholm Castle and Hellman-Ehrman are favorites for sight-seeing, and Mike Brown Memorial Splash throws a beach party every year.
11. New Orleans, Lousiana
New Orleans is not just the home of Mardi Gras, but it’s also a famous destination for Memorial Day. It’s home to the National World War II Museum, and the Marine Corps perform on the actual holiday. And we all know New Orleans is best known for its Cajun food, but one of its many Memorial Day activities is a Greek Fest. The event commemorates the descendants of the city’s Greek settlers.
Memorial Day Weekend Ideas: 3 Days of Fun
Entertaining your children is often challenging, especially when the summer rolls around. You’ve got three whole days to fill and keep them busy. But don’t fret, here are more exciting activities to indulge them:
12. Watch a movie outside
Another great way to bring your loved ones together is by watching a film on the lawn. Many public parks will feature a movie for residents to come and see. Usually, it’s free or a small cost to attend. If there are no movie events in your area, you can always create your own at home. You can keep things simple and set your big screen TV out on the patio. However, if you want to make things more theatrical, set up a projector and sound system in the backyard. Watching a good movie after a festive day is the best ending to a wonderful holiday.
13. Go camping
Camping is another way to make the most of a three-day weekend. Roasting hot dogs and making s’mores is a camping tradition and one that your kids will love. There’s plenty of activities that you can do while on a camping trip like hiking, fishing, and rock climbing. If you want to hold on to the Memorial Day spirit, you can have story time and tell inspiring stories about brave soldiers.
14. Go to a Waterpark
Your children are bound to have a blast at a waterpark. There are lots of theme parks around the country that have water slides and large pools. If there isn’t one in your particular town, there’s bound to be one in a nearby city. Grab the kids and spend the day splashing and soaking up the sun.
Memorial Day Activities: How to Find Local Events
Finding activities for the weekend should be easy. But have you ever thought to yourself, “Are there any Memorial Day events near me?” If so, here are a couple of methods you can use to find exciting activities in your area. Try these tips.
There are always local recreational events going on for Memorial Day weekend and throughout the year. An excellent place to start is on military.com. The site has tons of Memorial Day activities around the country. And the days leading to the holiday, your local news broadcast should also start announcing local events in your area. If you can’t catch the news, try going on to the local news website to see if there is any information there.
16. Ask a friend
There’s no better way to learn about what’s going on in your city than through word of mouth. Try asking your co-workers and neighbors what Memorial Day fun they plan to get into over the weekend. Not to mention, you can make a post on Facebook. Social media is also an excellent way to get information about local events.