Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of Summer! According to a recent AAA travel survey, nearly 100 million Americans – 4 in 10 U.S. adults – are planning to take a family vacation in 2019, slightly more than last year. Two-thirds of all family travelers (68%) will embark on a summer getaway. For Memorial Day Weekend, most travelers are beach-bound, but if you're looking to avoid the crowds and go against the grain here are 10 of HomeExchange's favorite getaways that aren't on the beach.
1. Washington DC
What better place to pay tribute to our country's heroes and celebrate Memorial Day Weekend then in our nation's capital? You can experience the countries largest Memorial Day parade, pay your respects at one of the National Mall memorials and visit one (or more!) of the 17 Smithsonian Institution museums. When your done sightseeing you can grab a bite at the scenic Georgetown waterfront and explore the local shops.
2. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont's largest city, is perched on a hillside overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains. Visitors can enjoy strolling through the Church Street Market, hiking Red Rock national park, taking cruises on Lake Champlain and enjoying the thriving art scene. From beer lovers to history buffs this quaint city has something for everyone, spend time checking out one of the local breweries or visit the Ethan Allen Homestead museum.
3. Orlando, Florida
Orlando truly is a magical city, and not just because it is home to Cinderella's castle. Orlando is the perfect destination for families, as it is has over a dozen theme parks including the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Universal Studios. Although it is definitely the theme park capital of the world, visitors should take a break from the parks to stroll around downtown Winter Park and get in a game of golf at one of the cities many courses.
4. Brooklyn, New York
Just a short ride away from New York City, Brooklyn will allow you to enjoy all of New York City's famed attractions (I.E. The Statue of Liberty and Time Square) without the same amount of hustle and bustle. But don't spend all of your time in New York City, get an authentic experience by seeing what Brooklyn has to offer: smell the roses at Brooklyn's Botanical Gardens, get a bargain at the Brooklyn Flea Market and chow down at Smorgasburg, a popular open-air food market.
5. San Francisco, California
With a rich history, breathtaking ocean views and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is truly the gem of Northern California. Visitors can connect with their "inner-hippie" when exploring the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, have delicious seafood at Fisherman's Wharf and step back in time with a tour of the notorious Alcatraz Island. After checking a trolley ride off your bucket list, take the 50 minute scenic ride to California's wine country or bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to explore neighboring Sausalito.
6. Nashville, Tennessee
If you love country music, BBQ and good ole' fashioned southern hospitality, "Music City," Tennessee's capital, is the perfect place to spend Memorial Day Weekend. You can pay homage to the man who "who walked the line" at the Johnny Cash museum and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, one of the world's largest museums, which is home to over 2.5 million legendary artifacts. If you're interested in taking a break from music history and want to learn more about American history you can pay a visit to The Hermitage, the former home to President Andrew Jackson.
7. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston was founded in 1630 and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. With this, it comes as no surprise to find that the city is rich with some of the oldest and most intriguing historical landmarks. For history buffs looking to get a lesson in American history this Memorial Day Weekend, a great starting point is walking the iconic 2.5 mile Freedom Trail. The Freedom Trail will take you to revered landmarks such as The Old North Church, Paul Revere's house, and the USS Constitution, which is one of the oldest commissioned naval vessels still afloat. When finished with the Freedom Trail, you're in luck, because this MDW the Red Sox are in town and you can head over to Fenway, grab a Fenway frank and enjoy the game.
8. Portland, Oregon
Portland is one of America's "greenest" cities, which makes many people here cycle instead of drive and there is a huge emphasis on farm-t0-table dining. If you're looking to transcend with nature and find your inner "zen"this Memorial Day weekend, Portland is just the place. One of Portland's must-see destinations is Washington Park, a huge space of land that covers more than 410 acres of land. The park is home to many of Portland’s premier attractions including Japanese Gardens, a zoo and an arboretum - Or if you would prefer to skip the attractions you can just pack a picnic and enjoy the outdoors!
9. Chicago, Illinois
Although stunning, avoid the beaches of Chicago this Memorial Day Weekend and take in all that the city has to offer. One of the cities top attractions is Navy Pier, a six-a six-block stretch of restaurants, rides and entertainment. Memorial Day weekend kicks off a summer of fun at the pier, and the Miller Lite Beer Garden and Aon Summer Fireworks. Visitors should also consider a river cruise to learn about Chicago's stunning architecture and order a famous deep dish pizza from the original Uno Pizzeria and Grill.
10. Palm Springs, California
Palm Springs is a dessert Oasis, which is famed for having an aura of midcentury glam. The famed Palm Canyon Drive is lined with majestic palm trees and filled with modern eye-catching art, antique, and furniture galleries that will surely inspire your inner artistic. Visitors who want to escape the dessert heat (and aren't afraid of heights) should book a trip on the Aerial Tramway, the world's largest rotating tramcars, which ascends riders 5,873 feet to enjoy the pristine views of the San Jacinto Mountains.