Oh Memorial Day, the beautiful long weekend that kicks off the start of summer. As the nice weather rolls in and you get ready to have some fun family time this weekend, we’ve got a fun-filled list of how you can celebrate and honor the holiday. And to all the military members and families, thank you for your service.
1. Spend the day at the beach!
After a shortened swimming season last year, beach fans will be excited to hit the surf again with all eight public NYC-run beaches opening on time this year on Memorial Day weekend! Pool lovers will have to wait a few weeks to go swimming, though, because the public swimming pools will open in mid- to late-June. Social distancing and health guidance rules will still be in place. Make sure to slather on the sunscreen before heading out and regularly throughout the day!
2. Host a cookout or have a picnic.
Family barbecues are a beloved activity over the long weekend—and are a great way to kickoff the summer cookout season! Heat up the grill and enjoy a cookout in your backyard, or find a picnic spot in a park where you can grill or bring your picnic favorites. Need some inspiration? Check out these healthy cookout recipes the whole family will love!
3. Go for a hike.
Relish the nice weather and long weekend by going out for a hike. Luckily, you don’t have to go too far for a great family hike: Staten Island has an almost endless list of beautiful spots to check out. While you enjoy the solace of nature you can also honor Memorial Day by taking some time to be mindful and feel grateful for all the men and women who fought hard defending our country, allowing you the ability to enjoy time with family.
4. Donate to related causes and discuss the true meaning of Memorial Day.
While you are likely to have a number of fun plans over the long weekend, it is also a good opportunity to teach your children about the meaning behind the holiday and how it impacts you. Militay.com has a guide on how you can talk to your kids about the true meaning of Memorial Day. If you are a military family, or have extended family members who are in the military, you can teach friends and other family members how to honor the day. To really drive home the significance of the day, research some related causes as a family and choose one (or more!) to donate to.
5. Watch the Memorial Day concert on PBS.
This multi-award-winning annual concert honors the military service and sacrifice of our soldiers and their families. This year’s performers include Sara Bareilles, Gary Sinise, Steve Buscemi, Gladys Knight, Bailee Madison, and many more. Watch the 1½-hour show on PBS on Sunday, May 30th at 8pm.
6. Visit Governors Island
This 172 acre island is settled close to Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn and can be visited by ferries. (Travel note: To allow for social distancing on the ferries, visitors must reserve tickets in advance). Governors island is beautiful to walk around and is always bustling with activity. There are parks, historic buildings, and arts and culture programs/mini galleries. Your little kids will love the Slide Hill and play areas and the whole family can chill in Hammock Grove. Photography lovers will drool over the gorgeous photo-op views of the Harbor, Lower Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty. Another way to honor Memorial Day during your travels is to visit Castle Williams on the island, a former Army fortification that’s now part of Governors Island National Monument.
7. Watch a Memorial Day parade.
Parades are always a fun family activity and also a terrific way to honor our military serviceman. NYC honors our heroes with parades all over the five boroughs, and there is no shortage of them in the entire metro area. The 102nd Annual Staten Island Memorial Day Parade kicks off at noon at Forest Avenue and Hart Boulevard. The patriotic convoy ends at Jewett Avenue and Forest Avenue.
8. Go on a family bike ride.
Whether you bike around your suburban neighborhood, or rent some bikes to trek around Staten Island’s trails or boardwalk, or a local park, a family bike ride is a fantastic way to get some fresh air and burn off all the food you ate at your barbecue. Rent bikes, specialty cycles and more from Wheel Fun Rentals at FDR Boardwalk at Sand Lane and at Jefferson Ave.
9. Make s’mores
Making s’mores as a family will become a new tradition after you have a blast doing it this year. Not everyone has access to a campfire or backyard fire pit, but that doesn’t have to stop you! Make them in your oven wrapped in tin foil or try this delicious golden gram twist.
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