Between the family barbecues, beach trips, and blockbuster movie releases, many think of Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer. But it's also important to take a time to honor the military men and women who have died while serving our country. There are many Memorial Day activities that you can do with family and friends to honor those who served our country, everything from visiting a veterans’ cemetery and donating flowers to hosting a potluck with friends and watching a parade.
Here are some of our favorite Memorial Day weekend activities that will bring the whole family together.
There's nothing more exciting than turning on the grill for the first time for the summer. Want to add something new to your grilling repertoire? Try out a few of these classic barbecue dishes that even picky eaters will devour.
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. Check your local papers for a parade near you.
Venture outside of your own backyard to a nearby park where your kids can play with other children their own age, jump around in water fountains, and soak in all the Vitamin D possible — just don't forget to apply sunscreen first.
Pay tribute to those who have lost their lives fighting for our country by visiting a nearby veterans' cemetery, where you can place flags and flowers on the graves.
If there isn’t a veteran cemetery near you, you can sponsor flowers through the foundation Memorial Day Flowers and its volunteers will lay your blooms and hundreds of others at veterans’ grave sites in 40 cemeteries nationwide (starting at $5).
Help your kids get in touch with their creative side by setting up a patriotic craft session. Check out these red, white, and blue DIYs to get inspired.
The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress in 2000, is a minute-long pause meant to raise awareness of and commemorate those who served (3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day).
With the weather warming up, eating in the grass and under the sun is a foolproof afternoon. Plan a lunch outdoors with these delicious picnic food ideas.
The night before Memorial Day, tune in to the National Memorial Day Concert, which includes musical performances, documentary footage, and dramatic readings that honor military service. The concert airs May 26 at 8:00 p.m. ET on PBS.
It just so happens that May is National Bike Month. Dust off your wheels and pick out a route you've never tried before. You won't mind getting in some exercise on your day off if you're surrounded by beautiful views.
Organize an activity with the neighborhood kids to write thank you cards to veterans across the country through nonprofits such as A Million Thanks. Or better yet, put together care packages for deployed personnel and veterans through Operation Gratitude.
Memorial Day weekend often marks the official start of swimming pool season. Grab your flip-flops and your swimsuit, then enjoy a splash in the water. Try these fun pool games with the family.
Show off your American pride with some patriotic red, white, and blue desserts. Round up the kids to help you make them, then let them enjoy the fruits of their labor afterward.
With Monday off, gather up the family and take a road trip to that nearby small town you've been meaning to check out.
Listen to recordings from veterans and their families through StoryCorps oral history or pick up a military-related memoir or other nonfiction book (like The Fighters by C.J. Chivers).
At this year’s weekend get-together, encourage everyone to bring a dish that reminds them of a family member—military or otherwise—who contributed to America’s freedom. Share their stories before you dig in.
With summer so close you can taste it, finish off that last-minute spring cleaning and get ready for fun. Pull your beach chairs out of storage and put your summer clothes front and center in your closet.