The Best Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Getaways in the U.S.

Hernando DeSoto Bridge, Memphis
Hernando DeSoto Bridge, Memphis, TN. Amie Vanderford Photography/Getty Images

For families across the United States, the federal holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday is the perfect opportunity for a long weekend adventure. With schools, banks, and both federal and state offices closed in celebration of the famed civil rights leader, children and adults can enjoy the day off in honor of his legacy by planning an educational, active, or relaxing family getaway.

There are plenty of great destinations across the country that are perfect for the whole family, and with many hotels, theme parks and resorts welcoming holiday visitors, you may even snag a great deal. Whether you want to center your trip around the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., get active, or just kick back and relax, these are the U.S. destinations you should keep on your short list.

01 of 08

Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Stefano Salvetti / Getty Images

Washington, D.C. is a great place to go to celebrate the MLK's legacy; you can attend the annual peace parade, numerous commemorative events across the city, or spend time at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. The first major memorial on the National Mall dedicated to an African American and to a non-president, it is free to visit and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20003, USA
Phone +1 202-426-6841
02 of 08

Visit Atlanta, the Birthplace of Martin Luther, King Jr.

Downtown Atlanta, Georgia
WIN-Initiative / Getty Images

Atlanta is a great destination for remembering Martin Luther King, Jr., as it was both the city where he was born and where he was laid to rest. While exploring everything the city has to offer, you can visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change for an in-depth look at Dr. King's work. Don't miss an intimate permanent installation about Dr. King's life in concourse E of the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Atlanta, GA, USA
03 of 08

Visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site - Atlanta; Photo Credit: The National Park Service
Photo Credit: The National Park Service

If you're visiting Atlanta, be sure to stop by the 22-acre Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, which includes his boyhood home, the Baptist church where King pastored, and the "I Have a Dream" World Peace Rose Garden as well as Dr. King's gravesite. King's childhood home (as well as several other buildings along the historic street) is now part of the site, run by the National Parks Service. Its location approximately one mile east of downtown Atlanta makes it easily accessible, and it's a must-visit for those wishing to learn more about the neighborhood and Dr. King's work and legacy.

450 Auburn Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312-1504, USA
Phone +1 404-331-5190
04 of 08

Get Free Admission to a National Park

United States, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park in winter, thermal pools
CHARTON Franck / Images

As with most federal holidays, national parks, national forests, and national wildlife refuges across the country offer free admission on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. With well over 400 properties run by the National Park Service, it's likely that you live within driving distance of several excellent sites offering free admission, which each provides a unique opportunity for your family to explore America's most beautiful landscapes.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Learn About Civil Rights History in Memphis

The National Civil Rights Museum

 Alan Copson/Getty Images

The city of Memphis is full of incredible food, great music, and tons of history, but it also played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights movement. The city's Lorraine Motel is the very hotel where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. Today, the motel houses the National Civil Rights Museum, a world-renowned cultural attraction that draws thousands of visitors each year and examines the civil rights struggles faced by the U.S. throughout history. Plan at least two hours to see everything.

450 Mulberry St, Memphis, TN 38103-4214, USA
Phone +1 901-521-9699
06 of 08

Visit Montgomery, Alabama, Where MLK Lived

Dexter Avenue leads to the classic statehouse in downtown Montgomery Alabama
ChrisBoswell / Getty Images

Martin Luther King, Jr. spent several years living in Montgomery, Alabama as both a pastor and community organizer. The city is also where Dr. King ended his 1965 Selma to Montgomery march, with a stirring speech on the steps of the state capital. A modern cultural hub with plenty of great museums, performing arts venues, and universities, the city would make an excellent choice for a long weekend trip.

Montgomery, AL, USA
07 of 08

Visit a National Parks Site Tied to Black History

Pullman National Monument
Raymond Boyd / Michael Ochs Archives/ Getty Images

The National Park Service preserves more than just wilderness. Several national parks honor the history and preservation of Black Americans who endured hard-fought struggles to expand human rights. There are several national park sites you can visit with strong ties to Black history, providing you a great opportunity to get outdoors and learn about important Americans whose stories you might not have known.

08 of 08

Celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. in Southern California

Sail Boats in San Diego

Travis Payne / Getty Images

A warm way to celebrate this long weekend is to head to southern California for a day at Legoland. In nearby San Diego, the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade is one of the largest celebrations of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the United States, which means you can combine your fun with a bit of education and remembrance.

San Diego, CA, USA
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The Best Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend Getaways in the U.S.