Thanksgiving has a strong tradition in the U.S. and is one of the most celebrated holidays. Though it can be nice to spend time with family enjoying a traditional meal, if you’re looking for something different, it’s a great time to travel to a different destination to see how the locals celebrate the holiday. Whether you’re considering an alpine retreat with some outdoor adventure or a seaside paradise with sunshine and beaches, here are some suggestions for fun Thanksgiving vacation destinations for the whole family.
The Adirondacks in New York are not only among the best Thanksgiving destinations, but they are one of the most popular destinations year-round, especially for outdoor adventurers. Plenty of lakeside resorts offer a combination of a rustic retreat in the outdoors and the decadence of a luxury vacation with amenities like spas, dining, and golf courses. You can find Thanksgiving dinners and buffets throughout the area restaurants, such as the High Peaks Resort and the Garnet Hill Lodge, and spend your time shopping at the great boutiques in the area. If you prefer the outdoors, the Adirondack Mountains have an array of hiking trails that travel through the diverse landscape.
The ancient forests and peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect destination for a quiet Thanksgiving retreat. The park offers hiking, horseback riding, and nature walks along mountain streams and vibrant fall foliage teeming with wildlife to get in touch with nature. You could visit Ober Gatlinburg to take the kids to the amusement park or, if you enjoy winter sports, spend some time on the slopes. Many lodges are available in the area for beautiful alpine views, spas, and dining. Best of all, the Applewood Farmhouse offers a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the classic dishes, so you’ll feel right at home.
With its charming fishing villages, pristine beaches, and picturesque lighthouses, Cape Cod is a popular summer destination for beachgoers. In fall and winter, it’s one of the best Thanksgiving destinations. Being near the site of the original Thanksgiving, Cape Cod offers plenty of unique historic sites. You could visit the Pilgrim Monument, the site of the Pilgrims’ first landing off the northern tip of Cape Cod in 1620. On the night before Thanksgiving each year, everyone in Cape Cod gathers to see the lighting of the monument. You may also like taking a dinner train to enjoy a traditional meal while enjoying views of the landscape.
If you like winter sports and the outdoors, Aspen is the place to go for a fun-filled Thanksgiving. It not only offers a range of outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking, but you’ll also find an array of high-end restaurants and shopping boutiques to make the most of Black Friday. The town has several Thanksgiving events as well, such as the ski season kick-off party, turkey bowling, and an eating challenge with leftovers. For dinner, you can choose between traditional meals at places like Acquolina Trattoria & Pizzeria or buffets at places like Velvet Buck.
Las Vegas is the ultimate adult playground all year, but it’s one of the best Thanksgiving destinations to escape the cold and enjoy a unique holiday experience. There’s plenty to do in fall and winter, such as exploring the Red Rock Canyon or trying your luck in the many casinos. Las Vegas has some of the best shopping destinations for Black Friday sales as well, and you’ll have endless options for where to enjoy your traditional dinner. Restaurants like Bistro 57 and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Las Vegas offer Thanksgiving feasts, and you can have traditional or not traditional meals while watching football at Beer Park.
The island of Oahu in Hawaii is a paradise in any season, but the tropical oasis offers a perfect fall or winter break. You could spend your time exploring the jungles on hiking trails with gorgeous views of the coastline, visiting historic sites like Pearl Harbor, or enjoying the pristine beaches and turquoise waters. There are numerous holiday events in Oahu, such as the Waikiki Holiday Parade to commemorate Pearl Harbor and the Islandwide Christmas Craft and Food Expo. For dinner, you can combine tradition with the tropics at the Beachhouse with an incredible dinner of roasted turkey, prime rib, a suckling pig, snow crab legs, lobster pasta, and clam bake.