It’s finally time for sunshine with Memorial Day weekend just around the corner. If you’re wondering how to celebrate the unofficial start of summer, have no fear, because we’ve got plenty of ideas on where to go and how to maximize your time if you’ll be staying put at home. Plus, we’ve figured out which clothes and (more importantly) the right swimsuits to bring along for whatever type of long weekend is in the works.
Plane Travel Ideas
Air travel was down approximately one gazillion percent last year around Memorial Day, so we’re expecting that many people will want to make up for that involuntary grounding with a long-weekend vacation this year. That said, flights are fewer and further in between, so don’t count on lower “pandemic pricing” for popular Memorial Day weekend destinations. There aren’t a ton of discounts to be had anymore, but maybe that’s besides the point. Sometimes you’ve just got to get away!
If you’re itching to be far from home and office (or more likely, the home-office), the fully vaccinated among us can consider destinations like Belize, Puerto Rico, or the Bahamas. Each of these locales are now allowing US travelers to jaunt off to their tropical shores for the long weekend without a quarantine or even a PCR test––as long as they show proof of vaccination, of course. If you’re not vaxxed yet or you’d rather stay on mainland soil, big cities are usually less crowded and much more manageable over Memorial Day weekend. Maybe this is the Memorial Day that you check out what’s new and happening in New York City, Boston, Houston, Denver, or L.A.
Since you’ll be flying the friendly skies over the long weekend, it probably means you’re ready and prepping for a real vacation experience. Pack statement styles like the Ditsy Floral Print Bowknot Midi Dress, which has voluminous puff sleeves that are so directional. Pair it with anything from flip-flops in the daytime to heeled wraparound sandals at night. Two-piece swimsuits like the Elyse Tropical Keyhole Bikini channel sultry tropical vibes, while tie-dye swimsuits like the Flora Tie Dye Bikini look trendy enough for the bottle-service-only cabana at your hotel’s pool scene.
Road Trip Ideas
It’s important to think beyond the regular hotspots if you’ll be hitting the open road for the upcoming Memorial Day holiday. There’s nothing less fun than showing up at a destination, only to realize everyone else had the exact. same. idea. Plus, crowds are still a no-go situation pandemic-wise; no one wants to bring home the virus as a souvenir from their trip. We’ll go out on a limb here and say that now is probably not the best time to visit the Grand Canyon if you want to have it all to yourself. Ditto on Lake of Ozarks, the Hamptons, or Catalina Island.
Instead, think of Memorial Day as the perfect time for exploring small towns, which hold their own special charms. Cutie-patootie coastal locales like Carmel-by-the-Sea and Del Mar in California or Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk in North Carolina’s Outer Banks will still be popular this year, but are less likely to be as packed as perennially hot drivable destinations like the Florida Keys (a classic Miami road trip) or Palm Springs (duh). There are idyllic spots in every state and locations to suit every taste.
Here’s another secret that’s not so secret: it’s better to rest your head somewhere inland if you’re road tripping to the coast. For one thing, you’ll save some cash. Hotels and rental properties with shorefront addresses tend to be more expensive, particularly over a long weekend, but they aren’t necessarily nicer than that charming but out-of-the-way B&B you passed a few miles back. Second, don’t sleep on the pluses of having your vehicle by the beach. It doubles as a tailgate/picnic spot, a storage locker, and a source of A/C if you’re getting overheated!
What To Wear:
Hours spent in the car usually mean frequent stops. Try to make the most of them by visiting sweet, sleepy little towns en route to your destination. An “anytime” option like the Whimsy Leafy Short Sleeve Dress looks pulled-together for lunch along the way but can be repurposed as a cover-up for your swimsuit upon arrival at the beach. If you plan to be at the shore fairly quickly, wear a maillot like the Izzy Gingham One Piece Swimsuit in place of a bodysuit for the car ride. Throw on shorts or a denim skirt and you’re good to go for a dip without changing.
As we mentioned before, larger cities from Philly down to Phoenix empty out over Memorial Day weekend. This is great for deal-hunting tourists coming to the city, but not so much for residents, who all seem to make their escape simultaneously the moment the clock strikes 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The resulting traffic snarls cause everything from general irritability to missed flights. What a high-stress way to start a holiday weekend!
For the mini-break experience without the price tag or hassle of travel, a Memorial Day weekend staycation presents the perfect alternative. Big-city hotels have been known to run discounts for the holiday weekend, especially in normally densely-packed downtown areas, like the Miracle Mile in Chicago or Union Square in San Francisco. Instead of sitting bumper-to-bumper waiting for a vacation that seems to be spent mainly in transit, you can skip the drama and enjoy your own city. If you’ve been missing pre-pandemic cultural life, book a ticket to a favorite museum, garden, or sculpture park sans all the normal daily distractions. This is also the right moment to treat yourself to a meal at a new restaurant you’ve been meaning to try forever.
No shame if you opt for supping on room service whilst wrapped in a plush bathrobe, though. Exploring can take a backseat to reveling in a really, really nice hotel room, and luxe extras like a pool or a spa (or both!) will go a long way towards making your staycation hideaway feel lavish and different from the regular day-to-day experience.
What To Wear:
For a staycation, you won’t need to pack much, and you can grab any forgotten necessities from home with ease. One good dress is all you really need. Frocks like the Brielle Floral Smocked Wrap Dress are unfussy enough for daytime adventuring, but can be done up for a night out on your town with a quick change of accessories. If you’re staying somewhere with a pool scene, pick a look-at-me design like the White And Navy One Shoulder One Piece Swimsuit. This color blocked cutout monokini is sure to create a sensation anywhere it goes.
At Home Ideas
Its comforts might be, ahem...rather familiar to us by now, but there’s still no place like home, especially during a chilltastic three-day weekend. Hanging out with close friends and family (all of whom are hopefully fully vaxxed by now), is the archetypical way to spend Memorial Day. Staying at the casa for the weekend means there’s no need to leave it until Monday––you can host everybody on Saturday or Sunday if it’s more convenient. Sparklers and fireworks may or may not be involved, but a backyard picnic and a smoking barbecue certainly should be. If it’s warm enough where you live, open up the pool or blow up an inflatable one so you can take a “welcome to summer” dip, too.
Break out the lawn games (we’ve always been partial to ladder ball) and stock the cooler with plenty of ice. Keep insects and birds out of your spread with helpful reusable covers like this steel mesh one that won’t blow off at the first wisp of a breeze. Fold-up chairs and a couple of extra tables ensure there’s a spot for every seat and a place for everything. Keep tunes simple with a feel-good playlist of music to kick off the season that everyone can enjoy and leave those cutting edge Space Trap jams for another day. Ask people to bring a dish or help with the cleanup afterwards if they aren’t kitchen-literate. Remember that easy does it with Memorial Day celebrations: the less you stress, the better and more fun it will be.
What To Wear:
Just because the guest list is limited to your nearest and dearest doesn’t mean you’ll want to roll up in an old T-shirt. Casual but cute is the way to go. A cheery one-piece wonder like the Rylan Floral Maxi Dress hits the mark. If this is gonna be a poolside shindig, keep it classy with a two-piece like the Faith Contrast Color Bandeau Bikini. It’s an alluring swimsuit that’s not too bare or va-va-va-voom, and its mid-rise makes a happy medium between super-high-waisted and ultra-teensy bikini bottoms.