Ah, Memorial Day, the 3-day unofficial start to summer in Minnesota. Tens of thousands of us will pack-up the car and head north to the cabin for a retreat from life.  Even if it could be a little chilly or rainy.

But even if you're not going anywhere, the Memorial Day Weekend can still be relaxing and fun at home. In fact, staying home for Memorial Day means you'll beat all that traffic, high gas prices and the extra work it takes to load-up the car for the weekend.

So here are my tips for a relaxing -- and rewarding -- Memorial Day Weekend, even if you're not at the lake.

Sleep In

Sleeping woman

Serious. You usually get to bed late and have to get up early, right? Use this weekend to start a new healthier habit of setting a bed time that will allow you to get the seven to nine hours of sleep doctors recommend. In fact, Dr. Louis E. Krahn of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter says we need to change our thinking.

"People feel they need to complete all of these tasks each day and then with whatever time is left, sleep. We need to reverse that and set aside adequate time for sleep and then see how many of the tasks we can get done in the time remaining."

So, here's your permission to be a little "lazy" this weekend. Set a bedtime, get some rest and sleep in. After all, your health is important.

Spend Time With the Family

Backyard tent

Just because you're not going to the lake doesn't mean you can't do fun stuff with the family. It think it's actually better and more creative. Pitch a tent in the back yard or in the living room. You can grill, play games, make a fire and have s'mores to your heart's content -- and still use your own bathroom.

Kittens and Geese

Make sure you take pictures of the kids having fun, and let them take pics with your smart phone or digital camera. Be a teacher and let them go! You'll be amazed at the great stuff they come up with. And you'll create memories for years to come.

Bike ride

If your family likes to bike, grab the cycling helmets and head-out on the Beaver Island Trail along the Mississippi in St. Cloud. Go at your own pace, stopping to take in the islands and river view.  Or head to the Lake Wobegon Trail starting in St. Joseph and ride the popular recreational trail to any number of stops in Avon, Holdingford, Albany, Freeport, Melrose and Sauk Centre. I recommend a refueling stop at Charlie's Cafe in Freeport where the caramel rolls are legendary. (You need to keep up your strength, right?)

Get That Home Improvement Project Done

Home improvement project

Need to get a project or twelve done around the house? Well, it's a three-day weekend and there's no excuse for not getting something done, right? There's still time to pick up some paint to freshen things up. Or install that new light fixture. Or start crossing honey-do items off the list. Just remember, Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will that new deck out back. Be realistic and accomplish something you can brag about at work on Tuesday! And don't be afraid to ask for some advice at the hardware store.  Need some ideas for other fun and offbeat DIY stuff to do with your extra time?



You must eat grilled foods on Memorial Day Weekend. It's in some state statute, I'm sure. And let's face it, brown food tastes good! Break out the hibachi, toss on some dogs and burgers and get that sacred grill smoke wafting.  No grill?  No problem -- use the grill pan.  Remember, this is supposed to be a relaxing time for you.  Even the grill pan's too much work?  Well, let someone else do the cooking and take the crew to eat some great barbecue at a local restaurant.  Thankfully there are lots of great places around town, and you don't have to deal with lighter fluid, cross contamination or dirty dishes.

Honor Our Military Members

Memorial Day wreath

Creative Commons via Flickr user sister72

Lastly -- and most importantly -- take a little time to reflect on what Memorial Day really means. Fly the flag, attend a local ceremony to honor our war dead, call and thank that man or woman who wore or is still wearing a uniform in support of our country. Or just say a prayer for those serving America in the air, on the land or at sea.

Check out some other Memorial Day Weekend events we've come up with. What are your top things to do on Memorial Day?  Let us know below.

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