8 U.S. Trips to Take Instead of Going Home for Thanksgiving

There are many reasons why people don’t go home for Thanksgiving -- maybe their family doesn’t celebrate the holiday, it’s too expensive to go home, or it’s a free long weekend and traveling elsewhere just sounds more fun. Whatever your reasoning for passing on heading home, we want to provide you with some amazing Thanksgiving getaway options throughout the U.S. Some on this list will allow you to enjoy the holiday spirit, while others were chosen for their relaxing and quiet atmosphere at the end of November. However, they all have one thing in common -- the right kind of magic to make for a fantastic weekend. 

1. New York City

Michael Thuemmler/Flickr

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving getaway that combines the benefits of a huge city with Thanksgiving fun, New York City is the place for you. During your stay, you can enjoy both the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and see some of the city’s most popular attractions, which are often less crowded on Thanksgiving Day. Many restaurants offer typical Thanksgiving meals or deals, too, so you don't have to skip out on Turkey. And while Thanksgiving Day in New York City will be filled with Thanksgiving-themed things to do, you can still go out and party afterwards in the “city that never sleeps” -- and partake in Black Friday shopping deals the next day in one of the most fashionable places on earth. 

A Luxury Hotel Pick:

2. Bloomington, Minnesota

Tim Bartel/Flickr

Shopping fanatics might want to book a trip to Bloomington, Minnesota, this Thanksgiving. It’s home to the largest shopping mall in the United States: The Mall of America. With 500 stores, one can only imagine the deals that Black Friday provides -- and that doesn’t even include the giveaways the mall offers to early-rise visitors. Roller coaster lovers will also enjoy a trip here, as the mall is home to Nickelodeon’s Universe amusement park. Some might wonder, "Is the mall the only thing to do in the area?" But the answer is no! Bloomington is just a 20-minute drive south of Minneapolis, so visitors will have all the benefits of exploring the Twin Cities, too!

A Kid-Friendly Hotel Pick: 

3. Oahu, Hawaii

Beach at The Kahala Hotel and Resort/Oyster

A turkey dinner in cold weather is fine, but a nice Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by jungle and ocean views sounds pretty amazing, too. You can find all of that in Oahu, Hawaii, during Thanksgiving weekend. November is generally the slowest month for Hawaii, so you’ll get to have the 80-degree weather and great beaches to yourself (okay, that's an exaggeration, but still). Oahu is filled with fun things to do like snorkeling, shopping in Honolulu, hiking Diamond Head, checking out Pearl Harbor, or exploring Iolani Palace. As far as Thanksgiving activities in Hawaii go, hotels and resorts have Thanksgiving dinners, there's a Turkey Trot run in Honolulu, and there's a Holiday Kick Off event at the Royal Hawaiian Resort the day before Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving, you can witness the Waikiki Holiday Parade, a night parade that commemorates the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

A Luxury Hotel Pick:

4. Seattle

Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr

If the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade calls to you but New York City just isn’t your vibe, head to Seattle -- they have one, too! Seattle offers a lot of holiday cheer during Thanksgiving weekend with a Macy’s Star lighting ceremony and a fireworks display Thanksgiving evening. But it doesn’t end there -- Friday is filled with Black Friday shoppers out in droves, while Saturday is Small Business Saturday, a similar campaign to promote shopping at locally-owned shops. Also that weekend, Westlake Center begins Winterfest, a holiday festival, and Pike Place hosts a Magic in the Market event. And if you're up to it, grab a hot chocolate or #PSL from the original Starbucks and watch marathon runners at the Seattle Marathon. 

A Party Hotel Pick:

5. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Canyon Road/Oyster

The history of Thanksgiving is a lot more complicated than what we were taught in school -- there's the perspective of Native Americans to consider, too. Rather than just sit at home that weekend, head to Santa Fe, a thriving center with a rich Native American influence. Explore places like the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture or the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Arts, or visit one of the nearby pueblos to learn about Native culture and traditions. To shop for Native American wares, head to the Plaza, a historic district, or the Palace of Governors, a museum with a Native American Vendors Program. Beyond the Native American aspect of the city’s tourism, there’s so much more to do in Santa Fe, like skiing (the mountain opens Thanksgiving weekend!), diving into the Southwestern galleries, and enjoying the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting the day after Thanksgiving in the historic Plaza. 

A Luxury Hotel Pick:

6. Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon at the Yavapai Lodge/Oyster

Why not head to the Grand Canyon to see one of the most beautiful places in the United States for Thanksgiving weekend? During November, there aren’t many visitors to the Grand Canyon, allowing for travelers to have the South Rim mostly to themselves (it's even open on Thanksgiving Day!). Yes, it might be a bit chilly with highs in the 50s, but with warm clothes and plenty of hiking trails that will get your blood pumping, this shouldn’t be a problem for most. If you’re lucky, you’ll even get to witness this beautiful landscape with a dusting of pretty white snow. 

A Kid-Friendly Hotel Pick:

7. Napa Valley, California

Carneros Resort and Spa/Oyster

Visitors should note that a series of deadly wildfires recently tore through the area, claiming lives and destroying homes and vineyards. That being said, you should still visit the region and boost its recovery through tourism dollars -- many wineries are open for business and giving tasting room fees back to the community. To find out what businesses are still closed, you can visit visitnapavalley.com.

Wine lovers shouldn’t miss a chance to visit the Napa Valley for their Thanksgiving getaway. The weather will be in the 60s -- still very fair compared to other parts of the country. Plus, many restaurants and hotels will be providing Thanksgiving specials and packages that include traditional dinners and brunches. Perhaps, one of the most unique ways to experience the Thanksgiving weekend is by taking the Napa Valley Wine Train through the autumn-colored valley for 3.5 hours while enjoying a great Thanksgiving meal. Following the holiday, there’s plenty to do like wine tasting tours, hiking at nearby parks, shopping at cute boutiques, and enjoying spa rituals and services. 

A Romantic Hotel Pick:

8. Glenwood Springs, Colorado

The Big Pool at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge/Oyster

Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a late-fall getaway to Colorado. Though most may flock to Aspen or Breckenridge, consider a trip to Glenwood Springs. Yes, there’s skiing available, but there are also some great hot springs to experience at Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge or at the Iron Mountain Hot Springs. Relax at the Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves, the only known natural vapor caves in North America. Families will enjoy Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park which offers a great tram ride, cave tour, and activities during November. Last but not least, get into the holiday spirit with lighting ceremonies at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and Hotel Colorado the day after Thanksgiving.

A Romantic Hotel Pick:

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