While Memorial Day is an important holiday of remembrance, it also marks the beginning of summer for families who are this close to finishing the school year. Thankfully, we’ve figured out a way for you to have the best of both worlds — by celebrating the three-day weekend with a special trip that has historical significance.
Load up the car, or jump on a plane, and make this Memorial Day weekend count:
1. Washington D.C.
If your kids are at that history-loving age, then this is the Memorial trip for you. Not only is Washington D.C. arguably the most patriotic place to visit in the U.S., but you can spend the actual holiday enjoying the many Memorial Day festivities of the city — including the National Memorial Day Parade (the largest in the country) and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery.
2. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
On a weekend of remembrance like this, Gettysburg holds one of the top slots on our list. Considered the greatest battle ever fought on American soil, where over 50,000 soldiers were lost, the Battle of Gettysburg still remains a historical focal point in our nation’s history. Gettysburg battlefield tours are available, along with free “Living History” Memorial Day weekend events.
3. Historic Triangle, Virginia
East coasters may be familiar with the Historic Triangle, the subject of many a class field trip, but for people living in other areas of the U.S., this historical goldmine is a treat. The Historic Triangle spans a 23-mile area in Virginia that includes Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. Centuries-old sites, tours and hands-on activities abound, plus dozens of patriotic Memorial Day events. Anyone with ties to the military, including active duty military families and vets, can get into Colonial Williamsburg for free on Memorial Day weekend.
4. Independence Hall, Philadelphia
If you’re hoping to pinpoint the birthplace of the U.S., this is it. Independence Hall, located in the City of Brotherly Love, is where the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence were signed. Visiting Independence Hall — and appreciating all the work our founding fathers have done — is free of charge, with timed tours taking place several times an hour, depending on season.
5. Marquette, Michigan
For a beautiful and relaxing getaway that is also rich in history, Michigan’s famous Landmark Inn will not disappoint. This 1930s hotel was renovated in 1997 and has seen its share of very important historical figures — because spending the night in the same room that Amelia Earhart or Louis Armstrong slept in never gets old.
Next Up: Telluride, Colorado