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Three Florida Cities Make AAA’s Top 10 List of Memorial Day Weekend Destinations

Fort Lauderdale snags No. 4, beats out Los Angeles and Miami

fort lauderdale memorial day 2018

Planning an escape this Memorial Day Weekend? You’re not alone. 

AAA estimates that 37.2 million Americans will slip away for the holiday weekend, marking the “highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years.” What’s more, about 33 million of those travelers will be driving to their destinations, an increase of 5.3 percent from 2014. 

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So, where’s everyone headed? The Sunshine State, of course. 

Based on AAA.com hotel bookings, the auto club group determined three Florida cities were among the top destinations for Memorial Day weekend. Orlando was named the top location (presumably, thanks in large part to the theme parks) followed by Fort Lauderdale at No. 4 and Miami at No. 7. Florida was the only state with three cities on the list. 

Florida is expected to see 1.9 million travelers — 1.7 million of whom will be on the roads. The good news is that average gas prices in the state are about $1 cheaper than they were last year. In fact, according to AAA, for many U.S. travelers, Memorial Day gas prices will be the lowest they’ve been in five years. 

Here are the top Memorial Day destinations: 

1. Orlando, Florida 

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 

4. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

5. Los Angeles, California 

6. Branson, Missouri

7. Miami, Florida

8. Phoenix, Arizona

9. Asheville, North Carolina 

10. Charleston, South Carolina 

(Image via)

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How To Prep A Memorial Day Meal In South Florida, Without Actually Lighting The Barbecue

We’ve all been to those perfect Memorial Day barbecues, where the hosts seem to magically whisk together dishes that would make Martha Stewart jealous.

Luckily for the rest of us there’s a great way to fake it. We’re talking takeout, prepped meals that will make your Memorial Day party Instagram-worthy. Here are five options to save your holiday feast:

Carmine’s Gourmet Market

memorial day 2018

If your Memorial Day “barbecue” will have white-jacketed waiters and evening gowns, then you’ll need a catering menu to match all that circumstance. Carmine’s will start off with passed apps like cheese-stuffed Belgian endive and mini beef wellingtons, followed by chicken marsala and tilapia abruzzo. End the night with Italian rum cake and the house specialty, tiramisu. Apps will run you about $2 each, entrees from about $5 to $15 per person and $49 for a tiramisu that’ll feed a dozen. But ignore the bottom line if your spread must appear flown in from the Old World.

2401 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens; 561.775.0105; carmines.com

Eten Food Co.

memorial day weekend

From a Las Olas storefront no wider than a shotgun shack, Eten has created a takeout mecca. It is a custom catering operation, so they’ll create a menu for you or work with whatever you request. They also prep “table-ready” platters, meaning you won’t even need to add the sprig of parsley to pretty it up.

1404 E Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954.383.4460; etenfood.com

Fernanda’s International Market

memorial day weekend 2018

Maybe you know Fernanda’s mostly for those incredible Italian subs. But they also do a brisk business of prepared food that makes for a fine party or picnic. They’ll mix up a basket of dishes like tomato basil salad, Brussel sprouts and chicken cutlets, setting you back about $10-$12 per person. “We can customize anything,” says owner and manager Bethany Johasky. “And don’t worry about reheating, because our food is so good you can eat it cold. I’ve seen people polish off a container of Brussel sprouts standing right here.”

3045 N Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; 954.566.3104; fernandasmkt.com

Fit Food Fresh

memorial day activities

Here’s the best option if your Memorial Day guest list includes dieters, vegetarians, Paleo-only eaters or all-organic enthusiasts. Fit Food Fresh is typically a weekly food delivery service, but you can also put in a one-time order for a Memorial Day spread of delivered dishes. They include grilled wild-caught salmon, chicken roulade and Korean meatballs, with prices of about $10-$15. The best part for the health-conscious is the meals all come with nutritional information, so you know exactly how many calories you’re eating before all the drinking begins.

129 NW 13th St., Boca Raton; 866.600.4778; fitfoodfresh.com

The Roasted Fig

memorial day celebration

Panama City-born Chef Freddy Kunkel offers a catering service throughout South Florida that runs from the budget-conscious to the big-spender. Order boxed lunches with things like smoked pork sandwiches or the signature roasted fig salad for less than you’d pay at most restaurants ($15.50 per person). Or go all-out and bring in Chef Freddy to cater the party, with menus as diverse as a five-course vegan spread that ends with a blueberry crumble with coconut ice cream.

525 NW 1st Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954.399.0271; theroastedfig.com

Photo courtesy of Carmine's Gourmet Market

Photo courtesy of Eten Food Co.

Photo courtesy of Fernanda's International Market

Photo courtesy of Fit Food Fresh

Photo courtesy of The Roasted Fig