For most Americans, Memorial Weekend in the US marks the start of summer. The long weekend is the first taste of summer vacation for friends and families around the country that honors our fallen soldiers. To enjoy a weekend of great weather and even better company, whether you’re staying local or seeking a weekend getaway, we’ve rounded up the most popular Memorial Weekend destinations around the country.
Newport, Rhode Island
Newport is home to many of our nation’s ‘firsts:’ The first restaurant, bar and library were opened here, and today it remains one of the most exclusive places to summer. Whether you’re staying at the lively Gurney’s Newport Resort & Marina, surrounded by boats, or opt for something quieter (but still on the water), Castle Hill Inn, it’s guaranteed great weather and fun for an adults-only getaway or with the little ones. Wherever you end up, take to an Adirondack chair with a classic milk punch and watch yachts sail by.
While in town, explore the Cliff Walk, the Preservation Society mansions (there are 13 historical homes to tour), a trip to White Horse Tavern (the oldest restaurant in America), as well as sailing excursions and tennis and golf. Thames Street and Bowen’s Wharf are dotted with local shops, restaurants and bars. While here, you can also tour the International Tennis Hall of Fame (on display are legendary pro’s outfits from over the years), or the Audrain Auto Museum for the classic-car enthusiast.
An island just off the Massachusetts coastline, Nantucket if off the coast of Cape Cod and is one of New England’s most exclusive islands. It’s just 105 square miles and has an unmistakable Maritime presence. Nantucket is known for its several beaches and shingle-style homes: It is a quintessential New England destination that aristocracy has favored for centuries. Memorial Weekend marks the kickoff of Nantucket’s summer season, and here you can experience some of the nation’s history. Hike to Brant Point Lighthouse, the first lighthouse built in the colonies, or visit the Whaling Museum (the island used to be a major whaling hub back in the day). Nantucket also happens to be a fisherman’s paradise: Whether you’re an amateur fisherman or an expert angler, take to the high seas and drop a line to catch fluke, tuna, bluefish or cod.
Rest your head at The Wauwinet, a luxury seaside hotel built in 1875. It is Nantucket’s only Relais & Châteaux property and was just redone in time for summer. Enjoy a glass of bubbly on the beach as you watch the sunset over the Atlantic. Elegant decor in its several charming cottages paired with culinary dining and five-star service are just a few things to expect while here. There’s plenty of kid’s programming as well.
From Charleston’s Rainbow Row and James Beard Foundation Award-Winning restaurants to fishing in Beaufort to Palmetto Bluff and Kiawah Island, South Carolina is a haven for exploration and adventure. If it’s a Charleston getaway you’re after, don’t miss out on FIG, a 2019 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Restaurant, Husk or The Hominy Grill. While perusing the city, don’t forget to stop by Historic Charleston City Market, Magnolia Plantation or The Battery Promenade. The city does a fantastic job of pairing history with new and upcoming culinary talent and local art.
While Hilton Head Island is popular for families, beat the crowds in favor of the luxurious Forbes Five Star Triple-Diamond Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Located just off the Atlantic Ocean, enjoy water activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, dolphin-watching, beachside activities and boating. We also love Montage Palmetto Bluff, a luxury South Carolina resort set on a quiet 20,000-acre stretch of land near Hilton Head and Savannah. White-washed southern decor, world-class golfing at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course and the best of Southern hospitality makes this experience one you can’t forget. You can’t go wrong this time of year weather-wise: You’re nearly guaranteed temperatures above 75-degrees Fahrenheit and all-day sun.
What better way to celebrate America than out West on one of the country’s final frontiers. Take to the Rocky Mountains or the Great Plains of Montana and partake in everything from fishing or horseback riding to hiking and river rafting. No matter where you go, the air is fresh and the land never seems to end. What’s unique about Montana is there’s a trip for everyone, whether you’re an avid adventurer or traveling with family. Within the state there are nine national parks, including Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park.
We suggest booking a trip to a luxury ranch, such as The Ranch at Rock Creek (pictured above) or The Resort’s at Paw’s Up, the perfect place to explore the vast outdoors while experiencing glamping, gourmet dining, sunset fires, live music or clay shooting. If you want to celebrate in true American style, many ranches have professional cowboys and rodeos throughout the summer so you can get a feel for the true American West.
Austin is on the rise as one of the top foodie destinations in the country. Take to the Southern Texas town for a weekend filled with local beer, next-level barbecue and street food and plenty of shopping. You’d be remiss not to explore Lady Bird Lake (we recommend sunset paddle boarding) that surrounds the city or the McKinney Falls State Park. Austin is also home to dozens of waterfall hikes, perfect for cooling off in the Texan heat. Bring a picnic and explore the unexpected landscape before indulging in a night of live music on Rainey Street and Sixth Street.
However, not every Memorial Day Weekend is filled with American-style hot dogs and cheeseburgers: Miraval Austin, Miraval’s latest outpost opened earlier this year, is a wellness destination in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The wellbeing resort puts health and wellness first, allowing you to experience outdoor adventure, equine therapy, nutritionally focused culinary programs and sustainable living. Of course, your classic spa treatments and restorative body therapies (crystal energy healing, anyone?) are available. The suites are to-die-for: Each is spacious, minimalistic and awash in neutral tones. The second you step foot in one triggers immediate relaxation (as do the Tibetan singing bowls and meditation pillows that come within each suite). From any vantage point in the hotel, you’ll have views of the mountains and gorgeous green trees.