As the unofficial curtain-raiser to summer, Memorial Day weekend presents an opportunity for a getaway. This extended holiday offers ample opportunities to satiate your desire to travel. The diversity of destinations across the country includes patriotic festivities in Washington, D.C., and the sunny coastal towns of New England.

With insights into each location, a rundown of must-see attractions, and advice on how to make the most of your Memorial Day weekend getaway, this guide will help you choose the perfect place to spend your time off. This curated selection of the most enticing Memorial Day destination deals will ensure you maximize every hard-earned penny while enjoying every minute.

Our Top 5 Memorial Day Weekend Picks

Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, NJ
Photo credit: Ryan Stone/Unsplash

Visiting Cape May, New Jersey on Memorial Day weekend promises sun-soaked fun, historical intrigue, and natural beauty. Visitors enjoy strolling along tree-lined streets, where horse-drawn carriages clip-clop past boutiques and cozy cafes. Standing tall and proud, the Cape May Lighthouse invites travelers to climb its 199 steps for a breathtaking panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay, a fitting reward for the effort. For an authentic weekend stay, choose Cape May’s charming bed-and-breakfast options, boutique hotels, and quaint rental cottages instead of the usual chain hotels. 

  • Where to stay: The Mason Cottage
  • Why Stay Here: Comfortable Victorian bed & breakfast, walk to Washington Street Mall

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado
Photo credit: Jakob Rosen/ Unsplash

As the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, Denver offers outdoor activities and urban sophistication. Start your day with a refreshing hike at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. The mountain air and wildflowers invigorate your spirit as you explore, providing a perfect prelude to the day’s adventures. Denver’s Memorial Day festivities are equally captivating—events like the Denver Day of Rock, a free music festival, feature multiple stages and diverse genres. The Denver Art Museum captivates with its extensive collections, from indigenous artifacts to contemporary masterpieces. Stay in one of the city’s posh hotels or airy downtown lofts to experience reasonably priced luxury.

Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C., DC, USA
Photo credit: Yeon Choi/ Unsplash

As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. is the epitome of patriotism, especially on Memorial Day. With countless memorials and museums, including Arlington National Cemetery and the National World War II Memorial, it’s a place of reflection and history. Start your weekend with the National Memorial Day Parade. Witness marching bands, military units, and historical reenactments create a stirring tribute to America’s heroes. The parade, winding through Constitution Avenue, is a heartfelt display of national pride and community spirit.

  • Where to stay: Eaton DC
  • Why Stay Here: Luxury spa hotel, walk to Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Florida Keys, Florida

Sugarloaf Key, Florida, USA
Photo credit: Leo Roomets/Unsplash

Each of the Keys, from Key Largo to Key West, offers its own slice of paradise. You can explore coral reefs, eat fresh seafood, and soak up the laid-back island vibes. The weather is perfect this time of year, with warm breezes and clear skies. In Key Largo, the “Diving Capital of the World,” you can snorkel or dive at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. For a more relaxed pace, take a glass-bottom boat tour to experience the reef’s beauty without getting wet. Moving down to Islamorada, anglers can enjoy world-class fishing, while the History of Diving Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the sport’s past. As you reach Marathon, don’t miss the chance to visit the Turtle Hospital. Here, you can learn about sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation efforts. 

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Brant Point Lighthouse Nantucket
Photo credit: Rusty Watson/ Unsplash

Nantucket’s beauty peaks in late May, making it an ideal time for outdoor adventures. Rent a bike and pedal along paths that wind through villages and beaches. Enjoy a whale-watching tour or sail the waters around Nantucket for a touch of adventure. You might spot playful dolphins or majestic humpback whales. The Nantucket Whaling Museum provides a fascinating look into the island’s past. The museum’s exhibits include a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton and artifacts from the golden age of whaling. Walking through the historic district, you’ll find preserved homes and landmarks that tell the story of the island’s maritime heritage.

  • Where to stay: Faraway Nantucket
  • Why Stay Here: Comfortable hotel in Nantucket Town with a 24-hour front desk.