Posted on by Beckworth & Co

Memorial Day is traditionally considered the unofficial start of summer in the United States. The three-day weekend is usually packed with relaxing days at the beach or lake, grills set to cook Memorial Day barbecue meals, and red, white, and blue Memorial Day desserts.

It's important to remember the goal of Memorial Day when planning activities to remember those who passed while serving in the United States military. While businesses may entice you to purchase with hefty Memorial Day sales and you're excited to get a day off from work or school, don't forget to take a minute to reflect on the holiday's significance.

There's something for everyone on this list of Memorial Day activities. It includes ways you can pay your respects, spend quality time with your family, and create lasting memories. These Memorial Day activities are inexpensive, enjoyable, and suitable for the entire family.



Create a Sidewalk Mural

Your kids will enjoy getting in on the fun of creating giant patriotic sidewalk murals. Passersby will adore this creative approach and veterans will appreciate the simple gesture. You can even let the neighborhood kids join in and make it a whole block affair. It's a simple yet colorful fun way to celebrate Memorial Day.



Decorate the House

Glam up your house with patriotic decor and other red, white, and blue decorations that are cute and inexpensive to show your appreciation for the people who have served our country. Get the kids involved in creating these patriotic decorations. Remember to hold onto them for the Fourth of July festivities.



Fly a Flag

Show your love for the country by hanging Old Glory in your front yard. But before you get too excited, double-check that you're following proper etiquette and guidelines in the United States. Code for flags. It's a simple terrific way to show your love for your country.



Take a White House Virtual Tour

Did you know you can explore the White House virtually? Even if you are unable to travel to Washington, D.C. this year, you can tour the White House from the comfort of your own home. The kids will love exploring the historic rooms and fascinating history of The White House via this online tour, created by The White House Historical Association. While you may enjoy this virtual tour at any time of year, it's especially appropriate on Memorial Day. This immersive experience takes you inside the White House, giving you access to all of the public rooms on the Ground and State Floors. It will also allow you to examine the rooms and objects even closer than you would in person.




Volunteering is a terrific way to pay it forward in a positive way that mirrors the spirit of Memorial Day, whether it's for a buddy in need, an elderly neighbor, or a community soup kitchen. Take the initiative to do something unselfish, just like the countless men and women we honor on Memorial Day.

You can also volunteer with a veteran-focused organization by helping build homes, reviewing resumes, or visiting a local VA hospital. Contact your local VA to find out what volunteer services they need right now so you can build a concrete plan to assist.



Send a Care Package

Another way to commemorate Memorial Day is to show support for those who are presently serving in our armed forces. Operation Gratitude is a non-profit that provides care packages to active military personnel all over the world. They also have a virtual volunteer program you and your family can take part in from home. 

Gift certificates can also be sent. According to the Support Our Troops website, $25 credit card gift cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and so forth) are the most popular item because they can be used to purchase wifi.




Even if your weekend is jam-packed with family activities, remember to honor the dead heroes by donating to Memorial Day Flowers, a nationwide organization that lays flowers on veterans' graves. For example, a $5 donation honors five soldiers by placing a red rose in front of their gravestone.

You can also donate to provide for troops and veterans that live in poverty or cannot afford housing that suits their needs, especially if they have disabilities. Organizations like Building Homes for Heroes and Homes for Our Troops help provide homes for military families and veterans.

Whether you donate time or money, your contribution to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will be greatly appreciated. To see how you can help, visit the VA's website.




Watch the National Memorial Day Concert

Turn on your TV and watch a moving tribute that honors America's servicemen and women from the comfort of your home. Each year, PBS hosts a star-studded concert on the Sunday before Memorial Day. This multi-award-winning television event honors the military service and sacrifice of all our men and women in uniform, their families, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It includes musical performances, documentary footage, and dramatic readings that honor military service. The concert airs at 8:00 pm Sunday, May 29 this year.



Watch the Parade

Get the full-fledged holiday experience by cheering on your town's marching band, veterans, and local organizations at the nearest parade. Most small towns and cities mark the day with an annual Memorial Day parade to honor those who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. If you plan on watching, make sure to have your flags on hand for the family to wave to those marching.



Host a Backyard Cookout

Fire up the grill and have a great cookout outdoors. Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to uncover your grill and cook food over the coals.

Memorial Day is also traditionally seen as the unofficial start of summer, and it’s an excellent time to get family and friends together to share stories of the past, exchange gratitude, and enjoy a delicious meal together.

Even if you're avoiding a big cookout, you may still prepare meals for yourself and your family. Cook some burgers or hot dogs on the grill, try a family recipe, or bake a tasty patriotic dessert. You might even like not having to cook for a large group of people.

Also, remember that your backyard isn’t the only place you can have a great Memorial Day cookout. Community grills are usually available at apartment complexes or local parks, where you can post up for the day and relax with your loved ones.



Play Lawn Games

With warm weather and shimmering sunshine, now is the perfect time for a backyard bash. And if there's one incredible way to kick off your party, it's with a fun outdoor game. Get the family outside with a fun yard game competition. Set out classic Memorial Day activities like bags, ring toss, and horseshoes. Plan a friendly competition and take turns rotating through the games.



Have Dinner Outside

There is something about celebrating events and festivals outdoors that simply gets us all excited. Take advantage of the warm weather and gather for a casual dinner outside to celebrate the unofficial start of summer. 

Memorial Day dinner doesn’t always have to be the responsibility of one person. If you’re having a few people over in addition to those already in your household, take the pressure off of yourself by hosting a potluck. You can still keep the menu small, but by hosting a bring-your-own dinner you'll be able to cater to everyone's tastes without being left to do all of the cooking or the clean-up yourself.



Watch a Patriotic Movie in the Backyard

Memorial Day weekend is an excellent opportunity to spend more time outdoors. Set up an outdoor movie screen with the family. It's simpler than you might think, and it's a great Memorial Day idea that you can use all summer. 

Try watching documentaries. Watching a documentary about veterans can give you a greater appreciation for the sacrifices that military personnel make and the dangers they face. Include the whole family if your kids are old enough to understand.



Camp Out in the Backyard

Sleeping under the stars is a fun Memorial Day activity for adults and older kids. Set up a tent with plenty of pillows and blankets for comfortable snoozing. Kids particularly love the novelty of sleeping in their own backyard, and that makes it all the more affordable for you. Read books, stargaze, and enjoy each other's company during the long Memorial Day weekend.



Actually Go Camping

If your backyard is not outdoorsy enough for you, why not go beyond your backyard and actually camp outdoors. 

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and also the start of the camping season. But this means more crowds too. Luckily, there are still plenty of tucked-away places, located far from the hustle and bustle. Check out less visited national parks like Congaree, Great Basin, or North Cascades instead of Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or Zion.



Cool Down by the Pool

Because the long weekend is known for its climbing temperatures, a dip in a pool is a great way to cool off. Pack a few fun pool toys and simple snacks and get ready to spend a fun day poolside. Children will love splashing around, searching for dive rings, and tossing a beach ball. Adults will love having a place to relax and are sure to appreciate the therapeutic benefit of relaxing by the pool. So while the kids enjoy themselves in the pool, you can enjoy the shade and a good book. It’s a win for the whole family. Just don’t forget that sunblock



Go on a Road Trip and Visit Memorials

Getaway as a family, and enjoy a change of scenery this Memorial Day weekend. Whether it be out of state or a simple staycation, the long weekend is the perfect time to reconnect, recharge and relax. Take advantage of some fine weather and enjoy a weekend road trip with the family.

Take a field trip with your family for some fun historical sightseeing. Visit memorials, museums, or monuments. You can even give the kids a small history lesson during the trip. Take advantage of the lower rates that museums have during the day and for children. 

If you have a family member who was a veteran or who lost their lives fighting, consider paying a visit to the cemetery where they’re memorialized. Or just go to a nearby military cemetery or any place where veterans are buried. You can pay tribute with flowers, flags, or Memorial Day decorations.



Visit National Parks and Go for a Hike

The holiday weekend is traditionally the start of summer and the hiking season. Chances are it's absolutely beautiful outside, and it's better when you're soaking up the warm weather at one of America's most beautiful national parks. Check open trails at a national park near you and plan ahead. Make sure you have all you need for the hike and always be prepared for anything that may come up during your hike.

Check out our guide to a safe hike and what to do in case there’s an emergency.



Head to the Beach

Whether you're with a group, family, or on your own, the beach is the perfect place to end the week. And  If you live near a beach, dig your toes into the sand and unwind during Memorial Day weekend. Plus, there's no better way to start the summer than with a splash. Swimming, beach games, or simply reading a book in the sun are all options for your family. Pack plenty of snacks, sunscreen, and yard games to turn it into a weekend event.

If you can't make it to the beach, time in the backyard is a great alternative.  Enjoy the sunshine, and take time to appreciate the breath of fresh air. Building a mini water park in your backyard may be the solution you're looking for. Transform your backyard into your own personal waterpark and get the kids involved in the process. Put on a bathing suit and turn on the sprinklers if it's warm enough. Building a mini water park in your backyard may be the solution you're looking for. Transform your backyard into your own personal waterpark and get the kids involved in the process.



Nothing Beats the Classic Memorial Day Picnic

Memorial Day weekend is a wonderful opportunity to visit a local park if you're looking for a low-key activity.  Pack up ready-to-go recipes and toss a picnic blanket in the car. Bring games, decorations for Memorial Day, and other fun family activities. Picnics are fun because the whole family may participate in the planning and preparation. Have the kids help make patriotic-themed foods such as star-shaped sandwiches, using cookie cutters, or fruit kabobs using red, white, and blue fruits. If you want to make a day of it, bring games for the whole family to enjoy, such as Frisbee, soccer, or even bubbles for the little ones.

A great picnic only requires three quality ingredients: good people, tasty food, and a quality location. If you’ve got this down, you can get as creative as you like.

If you need the perfect gear for your Memorial Day picnic, check out our choice of core picnic essentials to take care of you while you enjoy the outdoors.



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