Memorial Day weekend is considered by many to be the unofficial start of summer. Some attend special events or parades put on by their local communities. Your family may want to consider these Memorial Day getaway ideas to help you remember why Memorial Day is commemorated each year.

Many people don’t know that Memorial Day was first observed as “decoration day” in 1868 after the Civil War. It’s possible they think of the holiday as a recent addition, but it has been celebrated for over 100 years. In all that time, thousands have lost their lives in the course of seeking to keep the United States free.

Think about the cities which have played such a large part in the history of the United States. Places such as Boston and Philadelphia were in the forefront of America’s early history. You may want to visit one or both of these cities so you can see the places which were so important to creating the country as it is.

Boston, Massachusetts is an important location in history. It was here the colonists let King George know they didn’t appreciate “taxation without representation.” It was in the Boston Harbor that the “Boston Tea Party” took place. If it weren’t for this event in history, the country might not have sought independence by fighting the American Revolution.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is vitally significant in the history of the United States of America. This city housed the Continental Congress, was the home of Benjamin Franklin and many other Founding Fathers. You can still visit buildings which were central to the history of this country. Your family may enjoy visiting these locations as well as others throughout the original 13 colonies.

Families with history buffs will enjoy spending time in Gettysburg, walking around the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. Drive a couple of hours and you can also attend a patriotic celebration by attending the events at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.

Colonial Williamsburg hosts a commemorative program each year during Memorial Day. The planned activities include a procession of Fifes and Drums as well as a service at the Governor’s Palace. The Palace served as a hospital during the siege of Yorktown in 1781. Active duty military, reservists, retirees, veterans and their families receive admission passes during Memorial Day weekend. The weekend also takes time to honor those who lost their lives during the Revolutionary War.

If you want to steep your family in history, you’ll love visiting Washington, D.C. during a Memorial Day weekend getaway. Not only can you tour the various museums throughout the city, but you can also see the White House and other important buildings currently used by the government. Take time to walk the Washington Mall. Visit the Washington and Lincoln Monuments. Take in the sights and sounds of the heartbeat of the country.

These are only a few of the locations you may want to consider when it comes to Memorial Day getaway ideas. Of course, there are other cities you can visit throughout the country, but these are some places to think about. No matter where you choose to go for the first long weekend of summer, be sure to take time to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.