Memorial Day is just around the corner, marking the unofficial start of the summer season. Welcome the warm weather with an unforgettable long weekend in New York State. Beaches and parks are officially open, the sun is out, and everyone is ready to celebrate. Whether you’re with a significant other, family, friends, or all of the above—here are some great destinations to kick off your summer right!

Jones Beach State Park (Long Island)

Bethpage Air Show

Jones Beach on Long Island is home to more than six miles of white sandy beaches along the Atlantic. Soak in the sunlight and enjoy a nice swim by day and explore the many activities the boardwalk has to offer by night. Shake the sand out of your shoes and visit a historic exhibit and catch a game of miniature golf or shuffleboard nearby. Catch the Bethpage Air Show, one of the largest events on Long Island, on Memorial Day. The Navy Blue Angels will perform high flying stunts and maneuvers that never fail to disappoint.

Waterloo, NY (Finger Lakes)

Waterloo is the perfect place to celebrate Memorial Day for any history buff, as it’s where the holiday was first observed! Enjoy a weekend-long lineup of dozens of events, including a car show, wagon tours, cannon firing demonstrations, fireworks, and so much more. Also be sure to check out the National Memorial Day Museum, where visitors can explore military uniforms and artifacts and learn about the history of the holiday from the aftermath of Civil War to today.

New York State Military Museum & Research Center (Capital-Saratoga)

Pay a visit to this museum dedicated to preserving, interpreting, and disseminating the stories, history, and records of New York State's military forces and veterans this Memorial Day Weekend. Travel through time with stories of the Native American Warriors to today's Homeland Defense Forces via unique exhibits and tours. Saratoga Battlefield, where the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga marked the turning point of the Revolutionary War, is nearby.

Hunter Mountain Zipline (Catskills)

Hunter Mountain Zipline

Zip through the Catskills on North America’s longest and highest zipline canopy tour! If you haven’t seen enough of the lush, vibrant wilderness, take a hike on a nearby trail to the top of Hunter Mountain. Head to Woodstock after and check out the quaint and quirky shops of Tinker Street.

Memorial Day at Fort Ticonderoga (Adirondacks)

Adirondack French Indian War reenactment at Fort Ticonderoga

Celebrate the holiday weekend at one of America’s most important historic landmarks! Step back in time and experience military history through Continental Army soldier reenactments. Sail around Lake Champlain and take a guided tour on the Carillon. There will be daily tours in the fort, weapons demonstrations, and museum exhibits. On Memorial Day, there will be a special patriotic ceremony at 11 am to honor all the fallen soldiers and our nation’s veterans.

Antique Boat Museum (Thousand Islands-Seaway)

Antique Boat Museum

Learn about the boating history of the St. Lawrence River and get out on the water. Tour the French Bay on a St. Lawrence skiff, take a speedboat ride in a triple cockpit runabout, and take a peek inside George Boldt's houseboat from 1903. The Antique Boat Museum is officially open for the summer season!

Panama Rocks Scenic Park (Chautauqua-Allegheny)

Panama Rocks Scenic Park - Photo  by Jonathan Weston

Stay in the shade and explore 15 acres of the Paleozoic ocean floor at Panama Rocks, believed to be the most extensive formation of glacier-cut, ocean-quartz conglomerate in the world. Climb along crevices reaching 60 feet in height and venture through caves. Hike through the ancient forest and avoid the blistering summer sun.

Statue of Liberty (New York City)

Statue of Liberty

A grand symbol of our nation, the Statue of Liberty has been a historic New York landmark since 1886. Take the ferry to Liberty Island and tour the monument that has welcomed generations of people to the United States. Learn about the history of this gift from France by taking a guided tour or visiting the museum inside the pedestal. Make sure to book a trip up to the crown of the Lady, as it is a very popular and scenic venture!

Woodstock-New Paltz Arts & Crafts Fair (Hudson Valley)

For almost 40 years, the Hudson Valley kicks off every summer with their Memorial Day weekend Arts & Crafts Fair in New Paltz. Shop around the festival for unique homemade products created by some of our nation’s finest artisans and craftspeople. Enjoy free crafting demonstrations, live entertainment, and local Hudson Valley food and drink.

Maid of the Mist Boat Tour (Greater Niagara)

Maid of the mist
Credit: Destination Niagara USA

Feel the cool mist on your face as you take a boat ride past the base of Niagara Falls. This 20-minute tour will show you the rock formations that help tame the falls and the immense falls themselves. Don’t be afraid to get a little wet—approximately 3,160 tons of water flow over the Falls every second!

National Baseball Hall of Fame Classic (Central NY)

Cooperstown ILNY - Baseball Hall of Fame - Photos Courtesy of ThisIsCooperstown.com

Grab your tickets to this year’s Memorial Day weekend of fun at the National Baseball Hall of Fame! The Hall of Fame Classic features a seven-inning legends game at Cooperstown’s historic Doubleday Field. Celebrate the timeless sport of baseball this holiday and learn about the history at the museum that houses more than 60,000 square feet of exhibit space! 

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