Swap the barbeques and family gatherings for an unforgettable American adventure this Memorial Day weekend.

You can cram a lot into a long weekend, especially in your own backyard right here in the US. Whether you fancy discovering thundering waterfalls and giant sequoia trees in Yosemite, soaking in natural hot springs in the Sierra Nevada, tackling bucket list-worthy hiking trails or losing yourself in the beauty of the wild west’s spectacular desert landscapes, Memorial Day weekend is the perfect excuse to create some new travel memories. There will still be barbeques and get-togethers – but they might look like camp-style dinners under the stars followed by late-night chats around the fire with your new Intrepid family instead.

Tours departing around Memorial Day

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a solemn but important day for many Americans. It’s a day to honor and commemorate the lives of Americans who have died while serving the US military service. A minute of silence is observed across the nation at 3 pm and many people visit the graves and cemeteries of fallen soldiers. Some cities hold parades, but many people will get together with family and friends to enjoy barbeques in the garden or picnics at the beach or park.

History of Memorial Day

Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day was established in 1868 by a group of Union veterans who visited the graves of soldiers that fought in the Civil War and adorned them with flowers. It was then recognized as a day to remember all those who have served and fallen, and later became a federal public holiday in 1971. 

When is Memorial Day 2022?

Memorial Day is always observed on the last Monday in May. This year, it falls on May 30, 2022.

Highlights of our Memorial Day getaways & vacations

A traveller enjoying the views at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Experience the true wild west

From vast desert landscapes littered with ‘hoodoo’ sandstone spires and soaring slot canyons to natural amphitheatres and lush hanging gardens, it’s not called the wild west for no reason. Join your Intrepid leader as you venture into the depths of Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon. Whether you want to hike untamed trails, marvel at soul-stirring views, watch kaleidoscopic sunsets or kayak through a labyrinth of unique rock formations, the wild west is waiting to be explored.

Granite monoliths in Yosemite National Park

Discover the stunning Yosemite

Switch off, throw on a pair of hiking boots and immerse yourself in Yosemite’s great outdoors. From thundering waterfalls (peak runoff is in May/June so expect amazing water flow!), giant sequoia trees that tower into the air, sheer granite monoliths and bright blue glacial lakes, Yosemite is brimming with scenery that’ll knock your socks off. Enjoy the easy trails to soak up Yosemite's natural beauty at a steady pace or tackle more challenging trails like the iconic Half Dome and Glacier Point.

People preparing a Navajo homecooked lunch in Monument Valley

Learn about Native American culture

Connect with US national parks on a deeper level by learning about the rich history and cultures of Native American peoples. Whether you join a guided 4x4 tour of Monument Valley with a local Navajo guide followed by a traditional Navajo lunch, or a walking tour from Ahwahnee Hotel to Yosemite Valley while listening to Native American stories and history, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with American culture and support local communities along the way.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, USA

Soak up the city life

From the spectacular shows and dazzling neon lights in Las Vegas to the bustling multicultural streets and iconic sights in San Francisco, why not spend a few extra days in these lively cities before or after your adventure. There's heaps to see and do whether you fancy dining at top restaurants, visiting places like Alcatraz or day-tripping to Sonoma or Napa Valley to taste the region's best wine. Vegas and San Fran will energise you in a different kind of way to a national park and we think you can appreciate being immersed in nature even more with a bit of contrast.

Read more about travel in the United States