Memorial Day is observed in honor of those who died serving the country. It is a federal holiday and is celebrated on the last Monday of the month of May. It also marks the official beginning of summer. It gives 3 days off work and is a great opportunity for people to getaway from their regular routine and relax. Here are ideas for your Memorial Day getaway weekend trips in and around Washington DC.
Washington D.C. is one of the best places to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend. There are many events that highlight the celebrations of this day. There is a National Memorial Day parade of marching bands and veteran units. They also have a film festival, a Memorial Day Concert and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Arlington National Cemetery and World War II memorial.
In addition, Washington DC’s usual attractions include the Smithsonian museums and world-famous monuments. The museums are free to visit and so are the parades. This is a very popular Memorial Day getaway destination – so hotels and parking can be hard to find.
What is nice about this getaway destination is there are many good places to visit within a 150-mile radius of Washington DC. There are great places for history-lovers, nature-lovers and for those looking for an active-lifestyle holiday. Depending on the preferences of your family, you may add more than one of these destinations to your trip itinerary. Three Memorial Day getaway weekend trip suggestions around the Washington DC area are listed below.
Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia is the largest live history museum of America. It is about 2 hours away from Washington DC. The area has many historic buildings and colonial sites open to visitors. The people living here are full-time artisans who are dressed in costumes of the colonial era. They host many shows and skits on the life from the colonial times and have beautiful indoor museums reflecting on lifestyles from the 18th century.
Their buildings and shops are furnished with American and British antiques. The whole area looks like a completely different world with horse carts and people still carrying on trade in the old style. Busch Gardens, a theme-park is near Colonial Williamsburg and a is a great attraction for kids.
Since it is a major tourist attraction, Williamsburg has many hotels and offers attractive holiday packages. They have a service honoring military veterans and wreath-laying for Memorial Day. They also offer one-day, multi-day passes and vacation packages that include lodging. Tickets for a one-day pass start from $29 for adults and $14 for children.
Shenandoah National Park is for nature-lovers. It is located in Virginia and is only about 90 miles from Washington DC. The national park has nearly 500 miles of trails and vast expanse of mountains and greenery. It is a part of the Skyline drive and offers numerous attractions to visitors. There is plenty of outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, camping, canoeing and horseback riding. An entry pass is required to enter the park and it costs between $10-$15 per vehicle depending on the time of the year.
Near the park are several caverns of which Luray Caverns is quite famous for its gorgeous stalactite and stalagmite formations underground. The entrance fee for the caverns is $18 per person. You can easily combine a 3-5 mile hike and a visit to Luray caverns in a single day. There is plenty of lodging available near the park in the form of small inns and bed-and-breakfasts.
Annapolis, the capital of Maryland has a Memorial Day parade and a wreath-laying ceremony. The city is about 30 miles from Washington DC. It is a historical seaport with a beautiful waterfront. Annapolis has many historic 18th century buildings that give the city a quaint look. The city has plenty of shopping and dining. You can take a cruise in the Chesapeake Bay or visit some historic museums if you tour the city.
It is important to plan your Memorial Day getaway weekend trips to the destination of your choice well in advance of the holidays. This weekend is usually a busy travel time. Airfares and hotel reservations can get very expensive as the Memorial Day weekend approaches. Three airports provide access to Washington DC – Reagan national in DC, Dulles in Virginia and Baltimore Washington airport in Maryland. There are many hotels in and around the capital. Depending on where you choose to stay, expect to spend between $50-$150. Make your Memorial Day getaway weekend trip reservations at least one month in advance and enjoy your holiday.