Make the most of the long weekend by planning a quick getaway.
The first day of summer is technically June 21, but Memorial Day weekend heralds the unofficial beginning of the season. Even if the weather isn’t perfect, the weekend signals to winter-weary Americans across the country that they can finally — finally! — put away their winter coat, dust off the barbecue, and replace last year’s expired sunscreen. After cold weather snaps across the West Coast, and four nor’easters that forced East Coasters to Google the terms “bomb cyclone” and “bombogenesis,” the summer months can’t come fast enough.
One of the first times Memorial Day was observed was in 1868, a few years after the end of the Civil War, when mourners gathered at Arlington National Cemetery, in Virginia. Back then, it was known as Decoration Day, and was marked by speeches and a parade of people delivering flowers to the graves of soldiers.
Today, Americans commemorate the efforts of soldiers in much the same way. At Arlington National Cemetery, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment places more than 230,000 flags at gravesites. And in cities across the country, parades honour those who fought in U.S. wars.
In addition to remembering the reason for the holiday, the three-day weekend means the opportunity for a quick escape. AAA estimates that more than 41.5 million people will take advantage of the opportunity to head out of town this Memorial Day. Despite higher than normal gas prices, a whopping 89 percent will be traveling by car. Plan ahead by looking at local projections of the best and worst times to leave town, then pick a playlist, pack some snacks, and enjoy the open road.
You don’t have to go far from home to make the most of the holiday weekend. If you’ve left your planning to the last minute, there's no reason to worry. Yelp compiled the top 10 trending Memorial Day destinations by looking at cities that saw the biggest spike in search traffic before the holiday in 2017. From national parks to beachfront boardwalks, here's where to have a great weekend.