VACATION IDEAS: MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
12 Best-Ever Affordable Memorial Day Trips
No plans for Memorial Day weekend? No prob: There's still time to nab one of these dreamy escapes (from Palm Springs to D.C.) that won't break the bank.
You need a break this Memorial Day Weekend! To point you in the right direction, we looked for celebrations across America that offered something special in honor of the Memorial Day holiday, be it a unique patriotic tribute, a celeb-worthy pool party, an epic jazz festival, or a vineyard tour. But reading about a party that's taking place miles and miles from home is frustrating, not fun. That's why we highlighted places that are easily accessible no matter where you are in the U.S. (all of the cities called out under "easy getaway" are within either a 1.5-hour flight or four-hour drive from the featured destination). Consider this your ultimate guide to three-day weekend bliss.
Palm Springs, Calif.: For guaranteed summer weather
While most beach seasons are just beginning, Memorial Day marks the end of bearable temps in the desert, so hotels and operators are running specials for the holiday. Though other parts of California will be in the midst of "May Gray" and "June Gloom," Palm Springs still has nonstop sunshine—plus dozens of vintage shops, acclaimed restaurants such as Copley's on Palm Canyon (where celebrity chef Andrew Copley whips up So Cal comfort food like lobster pot pie) and an enduring love for all things mid-century (its hotels and private homes offer some of the best examples of 1950s modern architecture in the country). It also makes a great base camp for exploring the striking desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park through hikes, mountain biking, or rock climbing—don't miss a scenic ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, one of Budget Travel's most beautiful cable car rides. Stick around for the Flower Drop & Air Fair on May 30th, hosted by the Palm Springs Air Museum, where more than 3,000 red and white carnations are dropped form a B-25 Mitchell bomber in honor of all who those who have given their lives for our freedom—visitors are invited to take flowers home following the 1 p.m. drop. Military members should check out the Tribute to Heroes R&R package from the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa that includes overnight accommodations, mimosa breakfast for two, a wine tasting for two, and other perks (from $199 a night for Sunday thru Thursday stays; from $299 a night for Friday and Saturday stays; call 866-994-6379 to book and mention the R&R Package).
EASY GETAWAY FROM Los Angeles; San Francisco; Phoenix; Las Vegas.
Washington, D.C.: For patriotism, pomp, and circumstance
As you might guess, Washington D.C. is the most patriotic place to celebrate the holiday, with a parade and plenty of pomp and circumstance taking place during special military ceremonies. Arlington National Cemetery—which celebrated its 150th anniversary in May 2014—hosts a wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day at the Tomb of the Unknowns accompanied by performances from the U.S. Navy Band. Men and women in uniform also march in the National Memorial Day Parade along the National Mall Monday at 2 p.m. Don't miss the National Memorial Day Concert Sunday, May 29, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., an event that is free to the public (gates open at 5 p.m.) and televised on PBS each year.
EASY GETAWAY FROM Baltimore; Boston; Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, CT; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville; New York City; Providence.
Las Vegas: For only-in-Las-Vegas-style parties by the pool
Memorial Day weekend in Las Vegas is one of the busiest times of the year, along with New Year's Eve. Parties held around the resorts' elaborate pools are the big event, and become daylight nightclubs with DJs, drink carts, bottle service, cabanas, and more. To get in on the action, grab a chaise at the Venus Pool Club at Caesars Palace (guests always get in free, while admission is $25 if you're not staying at the hotel) or stop by the swanky Tropicana Pool at The Tropicana Las Vegas—admission is free for hotel guests, $20 for non-guests and $10 for locals, so don't miss out! Feeling gutsy? Take a spin on The High Roller at Caesars Palace, a giant Ferris wheel similar to The London Eye, sure to give you the best views in Vegas (daytime tickets from $23 per person; nighttime tickets from $36.95 per person).