Memorial Day is approaching quickly. In 2019, the holiday falls on Monday, May 27. Many consider Memorial Day the unofficial start to summer, so they plan to take part in activities during the long weekend. While it is important to the reason for the holiday in mind – honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our nation – it doesn’t mean fun is off the table. If you don’t have anything officially on your agenda and are looking for ideas, here are some things to do on Memorial Day.
1. Volunteer at a Nonprofit that Helps Veterans
If you want to do something as a family while also helping military veterans, consider volunteering at a nonprofit that serves that community. It can be an organization that focuses on the needs of veterans and their families or one that focuses on a city or region that has veterans among their populace that could use support.
Ultimately, giving back to veterans is a great way to honor those that gave their lives while serving, which is what Memorial Day is really all about. Plus, many find charitable work to be very intrinsically rewarding, so you can rest knowing that you made a difference.
2. Head to a State or National Park
While the National Park Service (NPS) does close for Memorial Day, the parks themselves are usually open to visitors. This means Memorial Day could be a great day to head to your nearest national park, especially if the weather is nice.
State park services agencies may also close for the holiday. Often, the parks themselves don’t close, so visitors can still make a trip inside.
Just keep in mind that some parks may not have a full staff available. Additionally, some specific sites in the parks – like historical buildings or museums – might close for the holiday. You might not be able to tour those facilities on Memorial Day since employees have the day off.
3. Watch the National Memorial Day Concert
While this technically airs on the day before the holiday, sitting down to watch the National Memorial Day concert on PBS is a great addition to your weekend. The event pays tribute to U.S. military members, past and present, and will likely feature some amazing, patriotic performances.
The concert takes place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, but everyone can enjoy the show on television. It airs on PBS at 8:00 pm ET on Sunday, May 26.
4. Go to a Parade
Many cities host Memorial Day parades in honor of the holiday. If you are in the Washington DC area, you can witness the largest Memorial Day parade on Constitution Avenue, along the National Mall. However, if you aren’t near the nation’s capital, there are also great parades in New York City, Chicago, and many other towns through the U.S.
5. Throw a Party or Barbecue
By Memorial Day weekend, it is officially barbecue season in much of the U.S. Since many people have the day off, why not get everyone together for some food and fun.
You can create a great meal yourself or host a potluck to help with sides and entrees. Setting up some yard games, such as horseshoes or bocce, help everyone expend a little energy while they spend time together.
If you want to add a fun twist, make the dessert course a bake-off tournament. Have everyone bring their favorite homemade, patriotic sweet treat and let the friendly competition take center stage.
6. Head to the Pool
Many public pools officially open on Memorial Day weekend. If the rising temperatures have left you and your family sweltering, consider taking a dip on the holiday. Just make sure you head over early. Pools can be popular destinations, and some may fill up fast.
7. Visit a Military History Museum
If you want your weekend to be educational, consider taking a trip to a military history museum. Not only can this indoor activity be a great way to beat the heat, but it also ensures that your family focuses on the reason for the holiday.
8. Take a Bike Ride
May is National Bike Month. If your bicycle has gathered some dust over the winter, consider breaking it out this Memorial Day weekend and going for a ride. You can speed down the streets in your town or head to a park with bike trails. Either way, you’ll squeeze in some exercise and time outdoors. Plus, it is easy to do as a family.
9. Transition Your Home
Since summer is so close you can practically taste it, why not spend Memorial Day weekend getting your home and closets summer-ready. Get your summer clothes and beach towels out of storage and make sure they are ready to wear. Clean up your grill and wash off beach chairs that have been hidden away during the colder months.
By taking care of these chores now, you’ll be all set for the warmest time of year.
Do you have exciting plans for this Memorial Day? Tell us how you plan to spend your holiday in the comments below.
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