12 Great Memorial Day Getaways

From Palm Springs to D.C., we've rounded up 12 convenient Memorial Day escapes from coast to coast to ensure that you spend more time enjoying your blues festival (or pool party) than you do deciding where to go.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Los Angeles; San Francisco.

Saint Louis: For Blues, bar-b-que, and the ultimate treasure hunt

This year, Chesterfield Ampitheater will host the Bluesweek Festival Saturday and Sunday, with performances by musicians including blues legend Otis Clay—admission to the Festival Zone and Bunge BBQ Blast is free; tickets to the ampitheater shows are $10 when ordered online, $15 when purchased the day of the show. If all that music whets your appetite, head to the Schlafly Tap Room on Saturday, May 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for Pork Shop, a combination community garage sale and neighborhood bar-b-que, featuring local pork and plenty of Schlafly beer. You'll need all this fuel to tackle the largest flea market in the Midwest, Gypsy Caravan, an annual Memorial Day event organized for the 42nd year by the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association. General admission between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. is $10; Early Bird tickets for early access to sales between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. are $20; a special ticket that includes access the night before and all day admission on Memorial Day is available for $30.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Chicago; Cincinnati; Kansas City, MO.; Memphis.

The Jersey Shore: For family fun and rides along the iconic Boardwalk

Contrary to popular belief, Atlantic City was not hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and was actually back on its feet within a week of the storm—in fact the area still continues to bounce back post-Sandy with new openings and events along its iconic stretch of New Jersey coastline. Steel Pier, Atlantic City's popular oceanside amusement park, debuted eight new rides last summer. Don't miss Duality, a free 3-D light show featuring catchy music and summer fun-filled images against the façade of Boardwalk Hall every half hour now thru June 20th starting at 8:30 p.m. The best part: you can score a great hotel deal now through June 30th as part of Atlantic City's Hello Summer promotion. Outside Atlantic City, check out the 29th annual Wildwoods International Kite Festival, the largest in North America, Friday thru Monday, an event that starts Friday night with a beachfront illuminated night kite fly on Rio Grande Avenue. There's also a Boardwalk Craft Show Saturday and Sunday, a free concert on Sunday, and on a more solemn note, several Memorial Day rememberance services, including a candlelight vigil on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Wildwood Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Fox Park and a ceremony on Monday at 10 a.m. at the North Wildwood Veterans Monument located at Spruce and New York Avenues. Visit the New Jersey Going Strong website for more information on events throughout the Jersey Shore.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Philadelphia; New York City; Baltimore; Washington D.C.

Austin: For boating season and outdoor fun

Head to Lake Travis to soak up some of Austin's best weather of the year, with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the eighties. Memorial Day kicks off boating season here, so the place to be is the lake. To get in on the action, check out Austin's REI store's schedule of events to find out what classes and events are on offer this weekend or rent a ski boat at Just for Fun ($75 for one hour). If you'd rather be a spectator, catch a glimpse of the Capital of Texas Triathalon on Memorial Day, an event founded in 1991 that brings in 3,000 participants annually. Things get started with a swim at Lady Bird Lake before athletes break out the bikes for a race through Austin, leading up to a foot race around the southern part of the lake.

EASY GETAWAY FROM Atlanta; Dallas.

Charleston, S.C.: For high art with Southern hospitality

One of the earliest observances of Memorial Day was by a group of freed slaves and took place weeks after the Civil War ended in 1865 in Charleston's Hampton Park. Today, the world-renowned Spoleto Festival starts its two-week run this weekend—this year from May 23rd thru June 8th—filling the historic city's theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces with opera, theater, jazz, symphonies, choruses, and visual arts. Highlights this year include performances by the Westminster Choir, singer-songwriter Kat Edmonson, and a theater production of My Cousin Rachel among other events. Tickets can be purchased on a per-event basis, with prices ranging from $10 to $130.


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