lastminute travel2If you haven’t made any plans for Memorial Day weekend, don’t panic or suffer in defeat at home just yet. Actually, by waiting, you seem to be the adventurous kind who shuns pre-planned, scheduled packaged vacation deals, and hankers for a little more spontaneity and variety in life. Don’t confuse this with master-level procrastination or being put-off by the exorbitant fees for most popular holiday attractions (though who’d ever blame you for thinking that). Instead, as a hard-wired cultural rebel who’s turned off by cookie-cutter vacation formulas, think of it as an opportunity to enrich your well-earned three-day weekend with these unconventional, last-minutes ideas. Ready? Read away.

Theme 1: Follow wild-life migration paths or visit animal sanctuaries

Ever considered incorporating wild-life migration paths or visits to an animal sanctuary as part of your long weekend? Craft a weekend dedicated to learning about not-so-cuddly wildlife and great local conservation efforts mixed with sampling local cuisines or cultural history at some of these smaller cities. The large coastal areas up and down Monterey Bay in California are a hot bed of activity for marine life and cute ocean towns, where you can catch a swath of humpback whales, and blue whales, dolphins, and even red pelagic crabs from ashore in May.

whale watching

Theme 2: Burnish locavore credentials with tours and tastings galore

Curious about how your favorite food or beverage is produced? Take a page from Portlandia’s tongue-in-cheek skit and create a weekend around discovering local food production through factory and farm tours, visiting tasting rooms, or joining cooking classes. Gain an encyclopaedic knowledge about obscure (but awesome) food facts that’ll burnish your locavore cred, and take home dreams of suddenly building a backyard chicken coup. My personal favorite is to visit local markets to sample everything down the aisle, while the most bizarre was taking a seaweed foraging class.

Little Rock CVB Touring Rock Town Distillery with Phil Brandon

Theme 3: Go film-spotting to your favorite shoot locations

If you’re a self-professed culture buff who can’t stop impressing on others with your bottomless wellspring of TV and film trivia, this is a no brainer for you. Relive cult classics and recreate favorite TV and movie moments by visiting iconic filming locations around the country, and appreciate the cinematographer’s skills on how epic (or not) the actual landscape was that forever etched those scenes into your mind. Here are some places and films shot in those areas that you can plan your road trip around:

seattle movies

Theme 4: Get a glimpse of living history with historical reenactments and walking tours

Are there any history buffs in the house who’ve absorbed every piece of historical literature or documentary on the trials and tribulations of how the country came to be? Those who collect old maps and rusty coins with maniacal glee and find theatrical glory in American colonial and antebellum reenactments? Commemorate Memorial Day and excite your inner nerd by retracing the path of historical movements of yesteryear. Walk through historical towns, exhibits, or on battlegrounds associated with pivotal eras outside of Washington DC.


Once you decide on a theme to follow, always check on Hipmunk, HotelTonight or Airbnb for lodging options and travel deals on the cheap. Now go forth and enjoy the three days of glory – Happy Memorial Day to everyone!