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11 Last-Minute Memorial Day Getaways

Besides being a patriotic celebration, Memorial Day is a wonderful opportunity to make the most out of your extended weekend. If you're like me, however, you're a dangerous combination of forgetful and budget conscious. And those qualities are a perfect recipe for realizing you have nothing planned for the upcoming holiday until it's potentially too late. Fortunately, for people who aren't necessarily the best at time management, there are plenty of last-minute Memorial Day getaways that won't break the bank or require extensive travel.

Since the recession and because most people don't have a ton of money laying around, staycations have quickly become a favorite holiday travel alternative for many folks. The idea is that you're still getting all the fun and relaxing benefits of a vacation without having to stray too far from your own backyard. But you can still plan an actual vacation even if it is last minute if you're clever about it.

So if you're looking for the best way to make the most of your Memorial Day weekend and you want to keep things as simple and budget-friendly as possible, then you're in luck. There are plenty of options for your entire squad — whether that's your family, your group of best friends, or you're a wolf pack of one — to have an amazing, last-minute Memorial Day getaway.

1. Beach It

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This option may be a bit traditional, but going to the beach for Memorial Day is a classic getaway for a reason. Where else other than the beach can you enjoy water activities, catching some rays, and playing outdoor sports? Bonus: Most things to do on a beach are free.

2. Cook Way Out

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Having a barbecue or grilling out is another classic way to celebrate a summer holiday. But to take this to the next level, pick a destination you've never been to before to have your outdoor fun.

3. Find A National Park

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No matter where you live, a National Park is never too far away. You can find a park using the U.S. National Park's website. What's even cooler is that most parks have a plethora of activities to do there for a minimal cost.

4. Gaze At The Cosmos

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If you live in the city, it's nearly impossible to truly appreciate the night sky due to all the light pollution. That's why it can be such an amazing experience to go to a stargazing area where the sky is almost completely unaffected by unnatural light. You can spend hours taking in the natural beauty of the cosmos.

5. Hit Up The Last-Minute Section

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If you really want to go on a decent vacation but are still hesitant about your budget, consider scoping out savings specifically for quick trips. Plenty of travel websites have sections solely dedicated to last-minute deals for flights and hotels.

6. Time Travel

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One of the fastest ways to transport yourself out of your current setting is to time travel. Unfortunately, real time travel isn't a thing (yet). But plenty of states have towns set up as living history reenactments of a certain time period. Bonus points if you ditch your own technology when you visit these 0ld-timey settlements.

7. Start A Tournament Tradition

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If you and your friends or family share a love for a certain sport, why not use Memorial Day to begin a tradition? You could pick a place to engage in your own activity, like a Corn Hole Tournament in the city of your choosing. Or you could go see your favorite team, like the Atlanta Falcons play on their home turf.

8. Combine Coupons

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Sites like Groupon often have last minute deals or even opportunities to combine offers to create your own custom package. So if you are worried that you have to keep things tight on your getaway, you actually have options for excursions.

9. Go On A Scavenger Hunt

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A fun new twist on your childhood favorite game, is geocaching, which is kind of like a grown up version of a scavenger hunt. All you need is your GPS and a sense of adventure, no planning required.

10. Take Tours

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Plan your getaway entirely around your favorite food or drink. Ghiradelli in San Francisco, for example, offers tours and tastings, and many breweries and wineries have opportunities to take a look behind the scenes.

11. Explore Your City

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A staycation doesn't mean that you have to stay housebound the entire time. Chances are, there are probably plenty of things you didn't know about your own area. So take a mini-road trip and explore parts of your city you've never been to before.