The unofficial weekend to kick off summer is just around the corner… If you don’t know where you’re going yet, here’s a list of the best places to spend Memorial Day weekend you didn’t know about.
Along the Columbia River in Washington – about a two-hour drive from Portland, Oregon, you get two sites in one visit – Stonehenge and a war memorial. It’s just like Stonehenge in England – an exact replica – but it also serves as the Maryhill Stonehenge War Memorial. The site sits on the Columbia River Gorge with breathtaking views of the river and Mt. Hood. Admission is free of charge.
San Diego, California
Being a port city, it’s no surprise San Diego goes all out to honor fallen soldiers. The USS Midway Museum will hold its annual American Freedom Festival on the flight deck to celebrate all the men and women who served on the vessel. In addition to Memorial Day events, the city also gears itself toward fun – the Gaslamp Art and Music Festival will be held in the Victorian National Historic District where you can catch free concerts from just about every music genre.
On Memorial Day in Tucson, a special concert is put on to honor all the men and women who died in the line of duty as well as first responders and public servants. “A Hero’s Salute” is held Memorial Day afternoon, but there’s a lot to experience around Tucson leading up to the concert. In nearby Tombstone, AZ, Wyatt Earp Days will celebrate the shenanigans of one of the West’s most notorious sheriffs.
Mackinaw City, Michigan
Somewhere between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, 400 people will recreate the battle between the French, British and Indian tribes from 1763. Though this isn’t technically a Memorial Day celebration, this pageant – in its 47th year — is the longest running, free Memorial Day performance in the nation. On one of the northern most points of Michigan on the last weekend in May, it’s not a bad place to spend three days.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
This quaint New England town is on the coast and its seaport is one of the oldest in the country. For Memorial Day it pulls out all the stops to honor veterans. Every year, they hold a memorial ceremony at the USS Albacore Museum and Memorial Park to honor those who lost their lives during battles at sea. Outside of the ceremony, there’s plenty of theater and outdoor concerts to check out around Portsmouth — you can walk across the street to Maine for a lobster.
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
What’s a list of places to spend Memorial Day if Colonial Williamsburg isn’t on it? The town honors American Revolution and Civil War soldiers all weekend long with Festival Williamsburg and musical performances on Saturday and Sunday. Monday, the day is kicked off with a procession to the cemetery where wreaths will be laid. The ceremony is open to the public but there’s much more to see and do all weekend around town.