Memorial Day Celebration

image via Venuelust

Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summertime. Though children usually have another week or two of school and major summer events are usually scheduled for June and July, Memorial Day is when you bring the barbecue grill out of storage and host your first outdoor party of the year. It is the first warm weather holiday of the year. Also, it is arguably one of the most anticipated holidays because it signals the start of the leisure-filled summer season. Like other holidays, Memorial Day has its traditions. There are plenty of parades and concerts, most of which are meant to honor America's armed forces veterans.

Memorial Day Celebration

image via Project Healing Waters

But for most people, Memorial Day is a time of barbecues and laid-back backyard parties. There is certainly nothing wrong with a casual burgers and potato salad kind of Memorial Day celebration. However, with so many things happening and so many celebration possibilities, you can easily turn this Memorial Day into a very memorable one.

Here is how...

Sail Away (for a few hours)

Memorial Day Celebration

image via Eric Kilby

Cruising is a great way to welcome summertime. People who live in San Diego, for example, can take a brunch cruise around the Harbor. While eating and sipping champagne, these Southern California cruisers can enjoy one of the most iconic views on the West Coast: Downtown San Diego from the water. Similar cruises take place up and down the West Coast, and near major cities on the East Coast as well. Most begin service in the weeks before Memorial Day.

A Wine Weekend

Memorial Day Celebration

image via Venuelust

Food and drink are major parts of many Memorial Day celebrations. Why not create a memorable summertime kick-off with wine and gourmet foods? Napa Valley is the most famous wine region in the US. Places like the Tuscany-inspired Viansa bring amazing flavors to guests in both their bottles and their quality artisan foods. Public tastings are held daily, but you can also host a Memorial Day Weekend get together privately at this winery. Viansa, along with many of its Napa peers, can host private luncheons, weddings or other special events (including gourmet-themed Memorial Day galas).

World Class Jazz

Memorial Day Celebration

image via Jimmy Baikovicius

Some people leave the grill in their garage on Memorial Day and head out to a sporting event or a concert. The Indianapolis 500 and the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington DC are among the most popular weekend spectacles. This is also a great time for jazz enthusiasts. Atlanta and San Diego both hold their annual jazz festivals in late May. These events are not the most buzzed-about on the Memorial Day calendar, but they are certainly noteworthy, both drawing the nation's best jazz acts.

Time On The Ranch

Memorial Day Celebration

image via Venuelust

For some people, a ranch vacation (horseback riding, trout fishing and marshmallow-enhanced campfires) is a dream summertime holiday. Montana's Ranch at Rock Creek has all the elements necessary for this kind of outdoor-themed escape. Your Memorial Day getaway can be based in a comfortable cabin, a luxurious lodge or a glamorous tented suite. If you are a couple looking for a bit of romance on Memorial Day, this is a very good option.

Memorial Day Celebration

image via Venuelust

In the eastern US, Vermont's Twin Farms offers a similar setting. This region is famous for its beautiful greenery, and all the foliage is in full bloom by Memorial Day. And of course, campfires and barbecues can be held at either one of these venues, and the others like them all across the country.

Your Turn

What are your plans for Memorial Day? Use the comment section to tell us what you are ding this year and what your traditions are.