What to Consider When Choosing a Cemetery

Choosing a cemetery can feel daunting and overwhelming, however, when you know what characteristics to consider, it can make the decision process a little easier. If you have already discussed burial wishes with your loved ones prior to passing, then the decision will be less difficult. If you have not, here’s a list of attributes to think about when making your final decision.


You or your loved ones may have a specific or general location in mind to be buried. Many people want to be buried close to home, or maybe in a location that some of their family has been laid to rest in. If there are multiple cemetery options for your situation, you may want to consider taking a trip to each one to view the grounds. You should think about which one feels right and which one you would feel good about visiting your loved ones in.

Type of Cemetery

There are four main types of cemeteries: public, religious, district or municipal, and national or veterans’ cemeteries. Each type of cemetery meets different specific needs.

  1. Public Cemeteries

Public cemeteries are the most common type of cemetery. They are usually for-profit and run corporately or independently. These can be found through word of mouth, local funeral homes, or through online search.

  1. Religious Cemeteries

These cemeteries are usually non-profit and run by religious organizations. If you are interested in a religious cemetery, contact your local church, synagogue, or mosque to find a location that’s right for you.

  1. District or Municipal Cemeteries

These are non-profit cemeteries owned by the city or county. You can find these types of cemeteries by contacting your town clerk or city hall.

  1. National or Veterans’ Cemeteries

These types of cemeteries are government-run and created for veterans and their families. If you are interested in a location like this, your local funeral home may be able to help you make those arrangements.


It is important to consider all present and future costs of a cemetery location before choosing one. Make sure you ask for a price list that includes all present and future costs.

Louis Cicalese, cemetery trustee in New Jersey is president of the board of the historic Harleigh Cemetery and serves as an advisor to a number of non-profit cemetery organizations in New Jersey.