Off-The-Beaten-Path Memorial Day Trips to Take This Year

Cartagena's colonial architecture. (photo via Charly Boillot/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Lacey Pfalz
by Lacey Pfalz
Last updated: 12:20 AM ET, Wed April 27, 2022

Memorial Day Weekend is Right Around the Corner: Where Will it Take You in 2022?

Memorial Day Weekend is often the weekend that Americans take to the roads for day trips, weekend getaways and closer-to-home explorations. But with rising gas prices and the end of the federal transportation mask mandate, more people might just take to the skies to go a bit farther this Memorial Day. Whether you crave a rustic retreat or a European-style city exploration, check out the next fifteen unique ideas to spice up your travel life. All of these can be enjoyed as three- or four-day vacations (not including travel time), or they can be extended longer.

The Bridgerton Itinerary at Colonial Williamsburg

Those wanting to step into the world of world-famous Netflix series "Bridgerton" can enjoy the Bridgerton Itinerary at the world's largest living history museum, Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Perfect for a long weekend escape, travelers can literally put their best foot forward into the world of the 18th century by first stopping by the Tarpley, Thompson, and Company, which offers ready-made coats, cloaks, dresses and more. Travelers can then enjoy a walk or carriage ride along the Palace Green, meander through the museum's gardens, visit the printer's office and enjoy one or both of the two taverns offering delicious (and historically accurate) fare. For an even more immersive experience, Bridgerton fans can stay in one of the Colonial houses that are available to rent within Colonial Williamsburg.

Hunt for Rare Wildflowers at Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada

Waterton Lakes National Park is located in Alberta, Canada and is the smallest of the Canadian Rockies national parks, though it offers something special for flower lovers - it's home to over 50 species of rare wildflowers! It's also the only national park where you'll find a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an international peace park, a biosphere reserve and a dark sky park. So whether you're an animal lover, a wildflower enthusiast, amateur photographer or astronomy lover, Waterton Lakes is the perfect Memorial Day Weekend destination for you. It's also easily accessible since it was combined with Glacier National Park in the 1930s to create the world's first International Peace Park, so travelers can enjoy the best of one of the most popular U.S. national parks along with their visit to Waterton Lakes National Park.

Take an Architectural Trip - to Detroit, Michigan

While cities like San Francisco, New York and New Orleans are commonly praised for their architecture, there's another, lesser-known yet no less praiseworthy city that offers plenty of architecture to enjoy: Detroit. Once a hub of modern industry, it's once again finding its footing as an artistic and cultural Midwestern hub. From the Detroit Institute of Arts, where Diego Rivera's famous Detroit Industry, North Wall mural is located, to the best neighborhoods for historic architecture, West Village and Indian Village, the city offers plenty to explore during a long weekend. Other notable attractions include the Michigan Central Station, The Heidelberg Project, the gloriously Art Deco Guardian Building, the Fisher Building and many more.

Experience the Magic of Colombia with The Alchemy of Colombia: Cartagena & Barú Package

Combine a city exploration with an island jaunt while experiencing the magic of Colombia with a four-night package from Sofitel called The Alchemy of Colombia: Cartagena & Barú. With a two-night stay in colorful UNESCO-designated Cartagena at the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara, a two-night stay on the island of Barú at the Sofitel Barú Calablanca Beach Resort, transfers between hotels and two dinners for two, the package makes for a great Memorial Day extended weekend trip. It's currently available through October 31, 2022 and costs $2,200 for two people.

Explore the City of Toronto

Toronto is easily one of the coolest cities in North America. Toronto has over 140 distinct neighborhoods and is one of the most diverse cities in the world. During the summer, travelers should enjoy a wander through the Kensington Market, an eclectic neighborhood that brings music and boutiques together in harmony. Outdoor lovers can enjoy the city's many verdant parks or the water activities Lake Ontario provides, while culture lovers can explore the city's historic buildings and its diverse neighborhoods, such as Chinatown, Koreatown, the Polish Roncesvalles Village, Little India, North America's largest Greek neighborhood, The Danforth and many others. You might just want to come back to explore after your Memorial Day Weekend is over.

Take a Short Two-Night Cruise to the Bahamas with Margaritaville at Sea

For a quick international beach trip, look no further than a two-night cruise to the Bahamas with Margaritaville at Sea, a new cruise line offering the beloved Margaritaville Resort experience with a short cruise experience. It's a good experience for new cruisers, fans of Margaritaville Resorts or those looking for a short Memorial Day Weekend trip that doesn't require taking time off from work.

Follow a Scenic Wine Trail - in New York

Did you know New York state is one of the largest producers of wine in the country? While California is known for its wine production, The Finger Lakes region is home to plenty of locally owned wineries that offer vineyard tours and wine tastings, making it a great destination for a Memorial Day trip for people on East Coast or in the Midwest, without having to take a super long plane ride. There are plenty of wine trails to follow in search of that perfect blend, while some wineries even offer restaurants on-site for people making day trips along the trails.

Explore an Underground World at Mammoth Cave National Park

Did you know Kentucky is home to the world's longest cave system? With 420 miles of passages, the UNESCO-designated International Biosphere Reserve, Mammoth Cave National Park, lives up to its name. This Memorial Day Weekend, spend a few days experiencing what the Earth's natural wonders deep in the earth. The national park isn't just underground: it also offers above-ground horseback riding, kayaking, hiking, biking and wildflower watching opportunities. The best part? The park's completely free!

A Family-Friendly Outdoor Retreat in Adairsville, Georgia

Barnsley Resort in Adairsville, Georgia is offering plenty of family-fun this Memorial Day Weekend for families wanting to reconnect with one another. Besides its outdoor activities, families can enjoy activities ranging from the Family Bullseye Challenge to Family Flag Painting, dive-in movies, family cooking demonstrations and more. Plus, the resort offers private cottages with up to seven bedrooms, so families can spend quality time together without sacrificing personal space.

Hike a Portion of the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin

For active Memorial Day Weekenders, why not hike one of the nation's only eleven National Scenic Trails, and in the state where Earth Day originated? Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail follows the path of ancient glaciers as they carved out plains, marshed, cliffs, forests and lakes that now make Wisconsin a beautiful natural destination. With 1,000 miles of hiking and walking trails, those wanting to explore nature with some rigorous walking can do so with ease, and can begin from nearly anywhere along the trail, from the south or the north.

Savor the Scenery of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

For a more adventurous Memorial Day Weekend you'll love to extend into the week after, check out Guatemala's scenic Lake Atitlán, home to three volcanoes, twelve surrounding Mayan villages and Casa Palopó, a boutique hotel that was once a private home. Part of Relais & Chateux, it offers the best in immersion and voluntourism activities that are guaranteed to be the highlights of a responsible vacation, like Pintando Santa Catarina Palopo, revitilization effort aimed at painting the village's buildings with colorful cultural murals.

Screen Cleansing and Homesteading at Pine Ranch, Cheyenne, Wyoming

While some visit Wyoming just to take photos of its gorgeous national parks to post on social media, others should travel there for a different reason: detoxing from social media and technology. At Pine Ranch, guests can spend their Memorial Day Weekend churning butter, milking cows, gardening, baking bread and meditating with cows! The homesteading experience is perfect for those wanting to get back to a simpler time, or for those needing a cleanse from their screens. Pine Ranch is located near several other outdoor attractions, like Medicine Bow National Forest, which makes it a great place from which to explore Cheyenne's other attractions.

Catch a Glimpse of the Northern Lights in Marquette, Michigan

Marquette County is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula along the shores of Lake Superior, offering ample outdoor experiences in May. But one unique activity that travelers should consider is hunting for the Northern Lights. That's right, watching the Northern Lights, and in May, no less! Springtime in Marquette offers the second best stargazing season and catching a glimpse of the beautiful Aurora Borealis, especially near Sugarloaf Mountain, Wetmore Landing and M-28 beach, where light pollution is very low.

Glam It Up Like Elizabeth Taylor at the Beverly Hills Hotel

Off-the-beaten-path doesn't have to mean only outdoorsy vacations. It can also mean glamorous stays at a historic hotel in Beverly Hills! The iconic Beverly Hills Hotel is celebrating its 110th birthday this year with programming, new drinks and menu items, as well as the newly renamed Elizabeth Taylor Bungalow 5, an homage to one of the hotel's most beloved patrons. Travelers who stay for a night or several, as well as past guests, can also write their own love letter to the hotel, which will be displayed somewhere throughout the property. Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend by soaking in the historic Hollywood glamour and enjoying everything Beverly Hills has to offer.

Enjoy the History and Charm of an Old-World European City - in Quebec, Canada

While Europe might be too far away for a Memorial Day Weekend trip, there's one city in North America that is particularly European in style, offering a beautiful historic center with a literal palace-turned-hotel (that you can actually stay in!): Quebec City. The capital of Quebec in Canada, the city's historic Old Quebec is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site and is like stepping into a fairytale. With cobblestone streets, beautiful French architecture dating as far back as the 1600s and its unique French heritage, you might just forget that you're in Canada instead of France! While it's a great winter ski destination, Quebec City offers plenty of opportunities to get out into nature during the summer, too, like Montmorency Falls, as well as numerous outdoor festivals.

Whether you crave intense adventure or are simply looking for beach alternatives, here are some out-of-the-box Memorial Day trip ideas that'll spice up your long weekend.

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