Long holiday weekends mean we have more time to spend soaking up the sun and celebrating with friends. As the unofficial start of the summer season and a day to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. military, Memorial Day is a good time to get out of town or celebrate in your own backyard. Here are some creative ways to celebrate the kickoff to summer that is Memorial Day weekend.
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Rent a Boat
Do you live near a body of water? A safe bet for Memorial Day weekend fun is to rent a watercraft for you and your nearest and dearest. While renting a sailboat would make for a memorable night, any kind of boat will do—you can even rent a pontoon on the lake. Whether it's a luxury boat or a more low-key sailing vessel, the point is to relax with friends and family.Continue to 2 of 19 below.
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Host a Southern-Style BBQ
If you live in the South, this one is probably a given. If not, adjust your BBQ style to replicate the hearty goodness of a Southern-style cookout. Go beyond the traditional burger and hot dog offerings and add some ribs, pulled pork, or brisket to the menu. Don't skimp on the sides—mac and cheese, collard greens, coleslaw, and corn pudding are crowd-pleasers.Continue to 3 of 19 below.
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Organize a Craft Beer Tasting
Craft beer has a strong following and is often a standout star on its own at parties. If you are a craft beer enthusiast, Memorial Day is a great time to do a tasting with guests. Showcase a selection of summer brews, fruit beers, or session ales for your friends to sample.Continue to 4 of 19 below.
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Set up a Hot Dog Bar
A hot dog with all the toppings is hard to beat as a summer staple. Grill some quality dogs and let your guests choose from an array of toppings. An elaborate hot dog bar is a fun way to turn a classic Memorial Day food into something new and exciting (and it's a great way to please those with picky palates).Continue to 5 of 19 below.
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Host a Slider Party
If burgers are your go-to cookout staple, host a slider party instead. Not only are these mini burgers totally adorable, but you can also offer guests a few different options to choose from like bacon-and-cheese stuffed burgers or spicy jalapeño sliders. Bonus: Serving a fraction of a burger means you'll have plenty of room for dessert!Continue to 6 of 19 below.
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Hang Streamers and Lights
A simple and inexpensive way to add flair to any holiday party is with fun streamers and lights. In just a few minutes, you'll have spruced up an indoor or outdoor space for holiday fun.Continue to 7 of 19 below.
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Try "You Bring It, We Grill It"
Buying all the ingredients for a party can be taxing, expensive, and time-consuming. If you are short on time (and budget), try a "You Bring It, We Grill It' style potluck. Each guest brings their favorite grilling item or a side to share. This way, everyone saves a bit of money and is satisfied with what's on the menu.Continue to 8 of 19 below.
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DIY a Festive Banner
A stars and stripes banner is simple to make and can easily be customized to your desired length by printing more flags.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
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Find a Pool
If you aren't lucky enough to have your own pool, beg or bribe your way into using one belonging to a friend or family member. If your inner circle comes up dry, consider renting a house with a pool for a mini staycation via sites like Airbnb or Vrbo. Pool parties are a stress-free option since the pool is the main attraction—you don't have to worry about going crazy with decorations or party games.Continue to 10 of 19 below.
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Make a Bar Cart
This Red Flyer Wagon is the cutest bar cart that we have seen in a long time. The simple ode to Americana, with delicious cocktails of your choice, are appropriate features for the long weekend holiday.Continue to 11 of 19 below.
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Create Fruit-Filled Ice Cubes
Chances are that on Memorial Day weekend the temperatures will be rising and you will be searching for the quickest ways to cool off. We love the idea of combining fresh fruit and simple ice cubes to enhance your beverages.Continue to 12 of 19 below.
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Add Color With Bandanas
Bandanas are not just for your head. These distinctly American accessories also make a wonderful tablecloth or utensil holder for your big bash. Have a couple of extra on hand if guests want to use them as scarves or pocket squares, too.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
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Decorate With Hanging Planters
Hanging macrame planters are a beautiful way to welcome the summer season. Set up your picnic table near a strong tree where you can hang a few festive planters full of the summer's best florals.Continue to 14 of 19 below.
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Make Pineapple Sparkler Centerpieces
Pineapple sparkler centerpieces are a fun way to bring your party from the day into the night. Keep the pineapples with their natural coloring or add an appropriate red, white, and blue theme. All you need to create this fun DIY project are sparklers, pineapples, and a few cans of spray paint.Continue to 15 of 19 below.
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Play Outdoor GamesContinue to 16 of 19 below.
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If the weather permits and you are celebrating outdoors, it's always fun to look to the trees for decor inspiration. Hanging adorable red, white, and blue star lanterns from above really sets the tone for a successful Memorial Day gathering.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
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Consider a Farmer's Market Theme
Memorial Day is the prime time to welcome the return of many farmer markets for the season. With so many fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers available it only makes sense to use a Farmer's Market theme for your party. Display fresh flowers, send guests away with terra cotta pots as favors, put up signage, and serve fresh eats like corn and cherry tomato toast.Continue to 18 of 19 below.
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Serve Red, White, and Blue Jello Shots
Glittery jello shots are a grown-up way to celebrate a festive occasion. Champagne jello shots elevate the fruity snack to levels beyond a college bar. You can mold the jello into interesting shapes using cookie cutters.Continue to 19 of 19 below.
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Plan a Private Picnic
Who said Memorial Day has to be a big shindig anyway? Sometimes a simple gathering with the ones we love, taking time to reflect on the significance of the day, is all you need in the end. Make it easy with sandwiches and pre-cut fruit from the grocery store or prep a slightly fancier feast with delectable dishes like mini cheesecakes in a jar, roasted garlic pasta salad, and classic lobster rolls.