As Memorial Day weekend approaches, many of us are already dreaming of a much-needed getaway. The holiday marks the unofficial start of summer and is the perfect opportunity to explore new places, relax, and recharge. Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a cultural experience, or an adventure in the great outdoors, there are countless destinations to choose from.

To help you plan your Memorial Day weekend escape, we’ve compiled a list of seven must-visit places that offer something for everyone. From picturesque coastal towns to vibrant cities and stunning state parks, these destinations will surely make your long weekend unforgettable. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore!

1. Boston, MA

A lake in the Boston Common in the summer.

Boston takes pride in being steeped in history that includes a lot of “firsts” for this country, so it should come as no surprise that it is also home to the first public beach in the U.S. Established in 1896, Revere Beach is just five miles north of downtown Boston rentals. If you don’t have a car, Revere Beach is easily accessible by public transportation, namely, the “T” subway — another first — the first subway system in the U.S. Take the Blue Line, and you will be a few blocks away. There is also parking along Revere Boulevard if you prefer to drive.

Revere Beach takes the cake if you’re looking for things to do in Boston during Memorial Day. This public beach occupies a three-mile stretch of coastline with plenty of space to swim and catch a few rays, fish, or kayak. There are many other things to do at the beach, and the Revere Beach Partnership provides information on activities throughout the year, not just on Memorial Day.

2. New York City, NY

Looking up toward Midtown on an evening just after sunset.

Jacob Riis Park is named for the famed Danish-American journalist and photographer who documented the lives of New Yorkers who lived in poor and working-class tenements. Bearing this in mind, it should come as no surprise that this stretch of shoreline near the Rockaways section of Queens has also earned the nickname “The People’s Beach.” Accessible by car, bus, subway, or ferry, the beach has grown in popularity over time. Jacob Riis Park is part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. This impressive 26,000-acre park spans both New York and New Jersey, including the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

There are 11 sites all told, making Gateway National Recreation Area a place that offers something for everyone — whether swimming and resting on a beachfront, taking an ecology walk, kayaking, canoeing, or enjoying some wildlife. You can find the perfect apartments for rent in NYC across many of the boroughs to suit a range of interests, depending on what your plans are this upcoming Memorial Day.

3. Chicago, IL

Chicago's skyline as seen from the beaches along Lake Michigan.

Although there is no ocean to speak of, the Windy City is right on Lake Michigan, and there are plenty of beaches to choose from. 12th Street Beach has a relaxed atmosphere close to the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium. This beach dates to the 1920s when prominent architect Daniel Burnham, known for city planning, created a manmade island that resulted in a peninsula, eventually leading to the creation of 12th Street Beach. It’s accessible by public bus, and for those who like to remain on the water, there is a non-motorized boat launch. The closest Chicago rentals to this beach can be found in the South Loop and Central Station neighborhoods.

On the North Side, Kathy Osterman Beach is also a favorite low-key beach near apartments for rent in the Edgewater, Lincoln Square, and Rodgers Park neighborhoods near Loyola University. This beach features a 2750-square-foot beach house and a comfort station with a boardwalk that provides sweeping city views. It is accessible by bus or train. After a day at one of Chicago’s many beaches, be sure to head to the amazing Lincoln Park Zoo.

4. Atlantic City, NJ

The Steel Pier at night in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Atlantic City, New Jersey, is a popular destination for Memorial Day weekend travelers, especially for those looking for some fun in the sun. The “Las Vegas of the East Coast” boasts a variety of world-class casinos, hotels, restaurants, and Atlantic City rentals on the beach that are perfect for a weekend getaway. In addition to the glitz and glamour of the casinos, Atlantic City offers a beautiful beach and boardwalk that are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a dip in the ocean.

The boardwalk has restaurants, shops, and an amusement park, making it a great spot for families to spend the day. For those interested in history, a visit to the Absecon Lighthouse is a must. Built in 1857, it’s the third-tallest lighthouse in the country and offers stunning views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean from the top. Overall, this lively destination offers something for everyone, whether you stay in one of the Atlantic City hotels or apartments for rent.

5. San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate Bridge during a warm sunny day.

If you’re craving an escape that merely involves “dipping a toe” in the water, Ocean Beach is the place for you. This three-mile stretch of beach on the western edge of San Francisco has been offering folks great wading for over a century. Although skilled surfers often dot the waters, swimmers are advised to keep close to the shore because of the strong rip currents. This doesn’t mean there isn’t fun to be had in the form of fishing, cycling, running, walking, or having a bonfire on the beach.

From 1850 to 1926, the waters wrecked around 20 ships, including the King Philip in 1878, whose hull can be seen during low tide. Traveling to Ocean Beach can easily be accomplished by car or bus. We recommend grabbing one of the plentiful San Francisco rentals along Golden Gate Park, such as in the Outer Sunset or Outer Richmond neighborhoods.

6. Los Angeles, CA

Palm trees on the beach during sunset in LA.

For the swimming pool and movie star set, Leo Carrillo State Park in Los Angeles eagerly awaits. Known for his conservationist and preservationist efforts, Carrillo was also an actor who famously played Pancho in the classic TV series Cisco Kid (1950-1956). His namesake park has 1.5 miles of beach where Angelinos and guests can enjoy swimming, surfing, windsurfing, beach combing, camping, and bonfires. Adventurous hikers can also take advantage of its coral reefs and coastal caves.

Any guide to California beaches is incomplete without talking about surfing, which is where Topanga Beach comes in handy. Set on a 21.5-acre property in Malibu, Topanga Beach is a mile-plus-long beach that surfers have flocked to for years. It’s also within walking distance of some of the nicest Los Angeles rentals available, including Malibu rentals on the beach. Despite being unpopular for swimming, visitors to Topanga who opt to stay ashore can still enjoy the sun, listen to the crashing waves, and enjoy a picnic.

Another great attraction is the nearby Santa Monica Pier where multiple activities await, including an amusement park, shopping, and eateries. If the pier has sufficiently piqued your interest, the good news is there are plenty of Santa Monica rentals to choose from with pools and other amenities to put you right near all the action.

7. Houston, TX

Houston city skyline during day time.

Houston, we have a problem — the word is out that this is a great destination to visit during Memorial Day weekend! The city has a rich cultural scene and plenty of homes for rent near outdoor activities to entertain visitors. One of the must-visit places in this city is Space Center Houston, where you can learn about NASA’s space program and even see real spacecraft up close. For a more relaxed experience, head to Buffalo Bayou Park, where you can take a stroll along the picturesque trails or rent a bike to explore the park’s many attractions.

If you’re looking for a unique Memorial Day experience, consider attending the Houston National Cemetery Memorial Day Ceremony. The event honors the men and women who have served in the armed forces and features patriotic music, guest speakers, and a wreath-laying ceremony. Overall, Houston offers a diverse range of activities and attractions, making it a great destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Texas.

Here’s to a Memorable Memorial Day Weekend!

Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time to take a break and explore some of the incredible destinations that the United States has to offer. Whether you prefer a big city’s excitement or a quiet beach’s serenity, we hope the seven places we’ve highlighted will inspire an unforgettable Memorial Day weekend getaway.