As gentle waves caress the sun-kissed shores and seagulls dance in the salty breeze, the anticipation in the air is palpable. It's that time of the year again when the boating season unfurls its playful sails across the nation, coinciding with the cherished arrival of Memorial Day. This year, Memorial Day lands on Mon, May 29, 2023, and while the holiday represents a great time to enjoy extra play and sunshine, it also gives us the space to honor those men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life.
Here are a few of the US Navy’s most famous ships—including some aircraft carriers and battleships—that are preserved as floating museums for the public to explore across the United States.
USS Wisconsin (BB-64)
Location: Norfolk, Virginia
Commissioned: 1944 / Retired: 2006
As one of the U.S. Navy’s legendary Iowa-Class battleships, the USS Wisconsin saw combat in WWII, Korea and Desert Storm. She now serves as a museum ship.
USS Arizona (BB-39)
Location: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Commissioned: 1916 / Decommissioned: 1941
The USS Arizona sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor, so it is only accessible by boat and straddles the hull of the wreck site. This memorial is dedicated to the 1,177 sailors who lost their lives protecting our nation.
USS Missouri (BB-63)
Location: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
Commissioned: 1944 / Retired: 1995
The Japanese signed their unconditional surrender on board the USS Missouri in 1945, ending WWII. Moored near the USS Arizona Memorial, the “Mighty Mo” is the last battleship ever built.
Location: Charlestown, Massachusetts
A frigate named by George Washington, the USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned warship in the world. She received the nickname, “Old Ironsides,” for how cannonballs would bounce off her hull.
USS Lexington (CV-16)
Location: Corpus Christi, Texas
Commissioned: 1943 / Retired: 1991
This Essex-Class aircraft carrier was the first to ever have women crew members. Nicknamed “The Blue Ghost” by Japanese sailors, the USS Lexington is known for reappearing after being reportedly sunk several times.
USS Hornet (CV-12)
Location: San Francisco, California
Commissioned: 1943 / Retired: 1989
Another Essex-Class carrier, the USS Hornet was undamaged after 59 attacks in WWII. She recovered the astronauts of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions to the moon.
USS Intrepid (CV-11)
Location: New York City, New York
Commissioned: 1943 / Retired: 1982
The Essex-Class carrier is a floating air and space museum housing the Space Shuttle Enterprise and a British Airways Concorde, along with several fighter jets and helicopters.
Location: Newport News, Virginia
Commissioned: 1862 / Decommissioned: 1862
The USS Monitor was the Union Navy’s steam-powered Ironclad from the Civil War. It sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras less than a month into service. Her wreck was found in 1973.
USS Yorktown (CV-10)
Location: Patriots Point, South Carolina
Commissioned: 1943 / Retired: 1973
This Essex-Class carrier is best known for its aircrafts that famously aided in the sinking of the Japanese battleship Yamato. The USS Yorktown was also featured in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!
A delightful convergence of leisure and remembrance, this upcoming summer promises to be a nautical celebration like no other. So whether you celebrate on land, sea, or ship, we hope you have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend in 2023.