Best Thanksgiving Travel Destinations

People in the United States and Canada celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after the holiday is also known as Black Friday. It is a day off for the whole population, thus schools and most businesses are closed. This day people in the US give thanks for what they have. Family members get together for a meal, which traditionally includes a roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie. In some cities and towns, people organize parades during the Thanksgiving weekend. 

If you haven’t decided yet where to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, and the thought of cooking up a huge meal makes you feel more weary than excited, you might want to consider spending the weekend elsewhere. Each of these destinations has something unique to offer travelers this holiday season. A short trip could be just what you need to clear your head.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

It might be ideal to celebrate Thanksgiving in Gatlinburg if you’re looking for a mountain getaway. Gatlinburg is a popular destination for families all year long. There is a wide range of vacation rentals, both cozy cabins and mountain chalets. Gatlinburg offers people numerous activities and events. You can pick up unique holiday gifts at the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show. Winter sports enthusiasts will have the chance to drive to the top of Mount Harrison or take the aerial tramway that departs every 20 minutes from downtown to Ober Gatlinburg. There is an ice skating rink, ski trails and a snow tubing lane, as well as gear available to rent.

Congress Hall, Cape May, New Jersey

Congress Hall will provide a good history lesson along with the seasonal activities and the charms of being in Cape May in the off-season. Congress Hall was established in 1816, making America’s oldest seaside resort. Now it’s still as stately and grand as it was more than 200 years ago (its nickname was the “Summer White House”), but now it is updated with modern amenities. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners take place at the hotel’s Blue Pig Tavern in Cape May.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Thanksgiving is a wildly popular holiday in Kiawah Island, which is the most luxurious small island in the coastal South. You can spend the long weekend at the island’s grande dame hotel- the five-star Sanctuary, or you can choose one of the many private villas and homes around the island. 

Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos, Mexico

The Rosewood resort in Mexico is helping Americans give thanks with a Thanksgiving in accommodations that are equipped with a fire pit, infinity pool, and dedicated 24-hour villa host. Thanksgiving dinner is served in-house and holiday-appropriate activities include a pie-making masterclass and a turkey trot—be sure to save room for the tequila-infused pumpkin pie. Feel iffy about getting on a plane? Go private with LVP Wings.

Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah

Montage Deer Valley is distinguished by stunning views of the snowy peaks. The residences in Valley are outfitted with private balconies, fireplaces, and fully-equipped kitchens. You will enjoy the hotel’s Thanksgiving turkey dinner in the privacy of your home-away-from-home.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, Maldives 

Spend your Thanksgiving holiday at the incredibly luxurious Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. The accommodations are private, palatial villas with huge infinity pools, plenty of outdoor space, and panoramic ocean views. The residences are situated either on the beach, or on a reef, or over the ocean on stilts. You will have the chance to feel like you’re the only one on the entire island.

Chicago, Illinois

There are great activities all year round in Chicago. The city is a must-go if what you’re looking for is a cosmopolitan Thanksgiving getaway. Also known as “City in a Garden”, Chicago has inviting green spaces where you can go for a romantic picnic or a morning stroll with the family. Spend your time in the floral gardens, such as Jens Jensen’s Formal Garden, lush botanical gardens under glass, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the largest park in Chicago. That day you can watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, a festival with gigantic balloons, marching bands, performance groups, and a special appearance from Santa Claus. Grab a slice of pumpkin pie to get in the holiday mood at Hoosier Mama Pie Company, one of Chicago’s finest artisanal bakeries.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Spend your small Thanksgiving vacation with family in Williamsburg. The city will immediately take you back in time. Colonial Williamsburg is the largest outdoor living museum in the US and the restored historical part of Williamsburg. Everyone — old and young, men and women— strolls around dressed in colonial attire in the historical part of Williamsburg as if they were really in the 18th-century. Maybe you will have the luck to meet and interact with notable people, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Kids can learn more about Thanksgiving’s roots in the Jamestown Settlement and the Historic Jamestowne places. A traditional Thanksgiving meal is usually served in the Jamestown Settlement Cafe.

Miami, Florida

Miami will allow you to keep the sun in your sight and escape the cold weather with a Thanksgiving holiday. Miami offers sandy beaches, a coastline filled with palm trees, Art Deco hotels and world-class attractions, any time of year. It is considered one of the best holiday destinations in the US. In addition to the great weather, Miami has a thriving art scene, so this might be a chance for you to get a proper culture fix. Shopping is one of the favorite activities in Miami. There is a showcase of indoor and outdoor shopping malls in the city from north to south, such as Aventura Mall, Sawgrass Mills Mall and Bal Harbour Shops. You’ll be able to find stores like Zara, Lacoste and Armani Jeans on Lincoln Road. You can toast your Thanksgiving holiday with a drink at the Broken Shaker, an award-winning cocktail bar located at the Freehand Miami Hotel.

Plymouth, Massachusetts

You can admire cranberry farms, historical architecture and ocean views in Plymouth. This coastal town was founded in 1620 and is located in the south of Boston. Plymouth is also known as “America’s Hometown” where the first-ever Thanksgiving originated. It is the place where the first historic gathering between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians happened. Both families and couples can spend their Thanksgiving vacation in Plymouth. You will be impressed by an immersive Thanksgiving feast, where you’ll eat surrounded by Pilgrims and Native American role players.

Thanksgiving holiday is a time when we ought to take time to count our blessings at least once a year. Thanksgiving is based on that simple but important idea. For almost everyone, the list starts with family and friends. You should be grateful for the people who care about you, even if you can’t afford the biggest butterball in the freezer section.

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