As winter gives way to summer, Memorial Day marks the start of summer. Many cities and towns across the state of Washington host parades and other special events to celebrate this patriotic holiday. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly fun in Seattle, or a low-key getaway in Friday Harbor, there are lots of exciting locations worth a look. A Washington vacation rental can place you close to the beach, or in the center of downtown for easy access to the festivities. Check out the top Memorial Day weekend getaway spots in Washington.

1. Seattle

Take the kids for a day of fun at the Annual Northwest Folklife Festival. This free festival has street performers, live performances, dances, live entertainment, and food stalls. Groups traveling with older children go to see some cool films and upcoming stars at the Seattle International Film Festival, one of the largest film festivals in the United States. For the little ones, a visit to the Seattle Aquarium is always a popular choice with its hands-on exhibits and the chance to touch a sea creature.

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2. Snoqualmie

Ride into the mountains in the small town of Snoqualmie, a short distance from Seattle. The Northwest Railway Museum offers a special Salute to the Military train ride of about 75 minutes through the Snoqualmie Valley and along the top of the falls with a simultaneous celebration of the birthday of the museum and the route. Kids clamor to take a ride on the mini rollercoaster and flying pumpkin at Remlinger Farms Fun Park. Open on the weekends, the park offers a petting zoo and train ride for a day of fun and farm life.

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3. Ocean Shores

Soak up the sun and fly a kite on the beach with an Ocean Shores vacation rental. If the water is a little chill, stop by Playtime Family Fun and spend the afternoon zooming around the outdoor course on go-karts. For an afternoon treat, Buddy and Howie’s Candy looks like an old-fashioned candy store with glass jars containing sweets of all sorts and flavors. Head out on the freshwater canals in the area when you rent a boat from the Ocean Shores Electric Boat Company for quality time with the family.

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4. Spokane

Located on the Spokane River, the city is a great place to celebrate Memorial Day and the start of summer with great outdoor areas. Start at Riverfront Park and use the walking trails to follow the river. Afterward, hop on the cable car for an amazing view of the falls. Smell the roses at the Manito Park and Botanical Gardens with its dedicated rose garden, conservatory, and selection of native and non-native plants. John A. Finch Arboretum offers tours and a host of activities for children and families.

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5. Everett

Located on Puget Sound, Everett is a great place to breathe in fresh and indulge in outdoor activities as summer begins. All Star Fishing Charters takes small groups out onto the sound for an afternoon of salmon fishing. The kids can look for dolphins and whales while the adults fish for your supper. Take your catch back to your vacation rental for dinner. Stretch your legs on the Snohomish County Centennial Trail that runs for more than 30 miles, but you can tackle just part of it.

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6. Friday Harbor

Attend the San Juan Island Memorial Day Parade in Friday Harbor and find a nice spot to watch the floats and bands process by. At the Pelindaba Lavender Farm, enjoy a tour of the lavender fields and stop by the Gatehouse Farm Store to buy soap or other lavender infused items to take home. Sea Quest Kayak takes small groups out on kayaks for a tour of the shorelines surrounding San Juan Island and points out local points of interests, birds, and plants unique to the area.

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7. Long Beach

it the sand for the holiday weekend when you book a vacation rental in Long Beach. Featuring a two-mile boardwalk, this town offers the quintessential beach town feel. After playing in the surf, stroll along the boardwalk and stop for a bite to eat. Benson’s by the Beach is a great family restaurant with an amazing weekend brunch and all your favorite comfort foods. Kids can’t wait to see Jake the Alligator Man display at the Marsh’s Free Museum with its extensive collection of curious objects.

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8. Tacoma

Spend your long weekend hiking and wildlife watching in Tacoma with its easy access to Mount Rainer National Park. Start your day at the park at the Visitor’s Center and sign the kids up for the Junior Rangers Program to get their badges. Don’t forget your hiking pass at any of the ranger stations. Kids love an afternoon at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, featuring more 300 species and a Pacific Rim exhibit. Fort Nisqually offers tours of the first settlement on Puget Sound by Europeans. Tour leaders dress in period costume and provide information on what life was like during that time.

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9. Olympia

As the capital city, Olympia is a great escape over a holiday weekend. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day at Tumwater Falls Park. This 15-acre park has a kid’s play area, cascading falls, walking trails, and so much more for the family. For a rainy afternoon, Hands On Children’s Museum is the place to go. Kids enjoy all the exhibits and the chance to play and learn at the same time. Fabulous Forest and Emergency are just a couple of the great galleries for imaginative play. Stop by the Play Day Cafe for a quick lunch or snack.

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