Memorial Day means the official kick-off of summer, welcoming the season of swimsuits, sand, surf, and suntan lotion. Looking to take advantage of the three-day weekend with a Memorial Day getaway? Here are some of the best Memorial Day destinations to start the season in style.
Lake Lanier, Georgia
This 38,000-acre lake epitomizes the classic summer lake vacation. Whether you're aiming to go fishing or waterskiing, kayaking or wakeboarding, Lake Lanier can accommodate.
Boasting nearly 700 miles of shoreline, this popular vacation destination is home to an abundance of private vacation homes, offering families a private stretch of Lake Lanier's shore to call their own.
Best of all, Lake Lanier offers the best of both worlds: when you've had enough of nature, the cultural hotspot of Atlanta is just a short drive away.
Virginia's Historic Triangle
Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown all make up Virginia's historic triangle, but the area offers a lot more than colonial history. Venture down to Virginia Beach for some fun and sun on the shore. The area is home to plenty of Memorial Day festivals, from military demonstrations and parades to free concerts on the beach.
Treat your loved one to a romantic evening of dancing and fine dining at Williamsburg Lodge. If you're more in the mood for seafood on the water, head out to Captain Chuck-a-Mucks. The restaurant's signature Seafood Feasts and Jet Fuel (a powerful concoction of rums and fruit juices) are well worth the drive.
Charleston, South Carolina
Hilton Head is an ever popular choice, but Charleston also deserves a spot on the list of the best Memorial Day destinations in the South. A perfect destination for couples, Charleston is full of old-world Southern charm. Take an afternoon stroll through the city's historic district to see some of the prettiest architecture in this part of the country; by Memorial Day, the area's gardens and overflowing window boxes should be in full bloom.
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Charleston is also a foodie's paradise, with a bustling restaurant scene at the forefront of every culinary trend. Feast on trendy gastropub eats at the Red Drum, fine regional dining at the historic McCrady's, or French-Southern fusion fare at Anson. The city also has shopping opportunities galore, from the kitschy finds at Old City Market to designer wares on Market Street. Don't miss the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Charleston's massive multi-arts festival.
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Del Mar, California
This beautiful beach town is one of the best Memorial Day destinations for visitors who want to enjoy all the holiday offerings of San Diego without the crowd. Del Mar still manages to maintain a charming, small-town feel even with its close proximity to San Diego. Del Mar is home to two stunning white-sand beaches: Del Mar State Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach . After a long day of beach-going, head to the Del Mar Plaza, a seaside shopping center with plenty of fantastic restaurants.
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Journey into San Diego to experience one of the city's Memorial Day events, including the Annual Ethnic Food Fair, the Memorial Jazz Fest, Legacy Week, and a wealth of parades and ceremonies. Leave room in your schedule to visit San Diego's famous Gaslight District, a trendy downtown district with some of the region's best-known shops and restaurants.
Finally, if you've never been to the area before, plan on taking a visit to nearby La Jolla. You'll find delicious Mexican fare, upscale boutiques, sunning seals and sea lions, and some of the prettiest beaches in the country.