Destination Deep-Dive 12 MINS READ

Thanksgiving Getaways: Best Places To Go For Thanksgiving 2021

Thanksgiving Getaways: Best Places To Go For Thanksgiving 2021

Destination Deep-Dive 12 MINS READ

Having been homebound for almost a year, people are starting to crave some well-deserved recharging time. So why not do something different this year and go traveling with your family during Thanksgiving?

Going abroad is not possible right now due to restrictions and border closures, but there are plenty of charming Thanksgiving getaways in the US for you to choose from. That way, you can still travel somewhere different without having to leave the country during the holiday season.

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

Thanksgiving Vacation Ideas for Families

For those who are longing for some inspiring views, fresh air, and a rewinding time, a great Thanksgiving vacation idea is to hit the road and head over to a nearby nature destination. So rent a cozy holiday cabin in the wilderness and celebrate with your family while still keeping your annual Thanksgiving meal and traditions alive. Just as if you were home.

Couples can also benefit from escaping to a romantic getaway on Thanksgiving Weekend. It’s not winter season yet, and in most regions of the US, you can still have a glimpse of the breathtaking winter foliage. In November there are still some late harvest grapes, so take this opportunity and go on a holiday trip to a premier wine-growing region. Places such as Napa Valley, in California, or the Willamette Valley, in Oregon, are some of the best destinations for couples.

Thanksgiving Destinations

When it comes to great Thanksgiving destinations in the US, there’s something for everyone. This means you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Charming small towns with seasonal activities are great for families with kids. Cosmopolitan destinations home to award-winning restaurants will please the most demanding travelers, while some resort cities are sure to get adventure-seekers ready for the ski season.

Places to Visit for Thanksgiving

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The Space Needle observation tower and the Sky Lift surrounded by the fall foliage in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

A small town with a population of under 4,000, Gatlinburg offers travelers a Thanksgiving weekend filled with outdoor activities. This resort-city is placed along the northern border of the Great Smoky Mountains, one of the most-visited national parks in the US, and home to more than 100 species of native trees, over 1,400 flowering plants, and 66 types of mammals, including black bears, raccoons, deers and squirrels.

The Great Smoky Mountains also play host to picnic spots, scenic drives, and more than 850 miles of hiking trails, in case you want to get your dose up on adrenaline.

After exploring the mountains, do a spot of shopping at The Village, a 27-store complex located in Downtown Gatlinburg, home to boutiques, eateries, and galleries. This is, by the way, the right place for you to find the Black Friday Deals you’ve been waiting for.

Gatlinburg hosts special events around Thanksgiving. One of the best-known is The Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts and Crafts Show, where Tennessee artists and craftspeople sell handcraft gifs, such as quilts, woven baskets, scented candles, paintings, and more. For an authentic Thanksgiving feast, there are great restaurant options like Calhoun’s, The Seasons of Ober Loft & Lounge, Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, and the Smoky Mountain Brewery.

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Chicago, Illinois

The Cloud Gate sculpture by Anish Kapoor placed at the AT&T Plaza at the Millennium Park in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago needs no introduction. With great activities all-year-round, the city has a myriad of fun things to do, and it’s a must-go if what you’re looking for is a cosmopolitan Thanksgiving getaway.

Also known as “City in a Garden”, Chicago has more than 8,800 acres of inviting green spaces where you can go for a romantic picnic or a morning stroll with the family. There are floral gardens, such as Jens Jensen’s Formal Garden, and lush botanical gardens under glass, like the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the largest park in Chicago.

For a flavor of the fall, treat yourself with a warm pumpkin spice latte. After visiting Lincoln Park, make your move to the nearby Colectivo Coffee for a hand-roasted cup of coffee, or Sawada Coffee, for a latte made by the world-renowned barista Hiroshi Sawada.

On Thanksgiving Day, take the kids to watch the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, a festival with gigantic balloons, marching bands, performance groups, and a special appearance from Santa Claus. The parade will take place at the State Street Downtown Chicago at 8 am.

This year’s Turkey Trot in Chicago was canceled, but there are other family-friendly Thanksgiving activities in the city. To sightsee a jaw-dropping display of festive lights, going to the Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden. For some ice skating surrounded by the city’s skyline, head over to the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park,

And since you’re probably not eating that typical Thanksgiving meal this year, get in the holiday mood by grabbing a slice of pumpkin pie at Hoosier Mama Pie Company, one of Chicago’s finest artisanal bakeries.

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Williamsburg, Virginia

Aerial photography of Colonial Williamsburg showing historic buildings like the Governor's Palace, and the Palace Green.

Ideal for a small Thanksgiving vacation with family, Williamsburg will immediately take you back in time. Much of the city’s history is concentrated in Colonial Williamsburg, which is the restored historical part of Williamsburg and the largest outdoor living museum in the US.

In the historical part of Williamsburg, everyone — old and new, men and women— strolls around dressed in colonial attire as if they were really in the 18th-century. If you’re lucky, you may be able to meet and interact with notable people, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Williamsburg is part of the Historic Triangle along with the nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, which are also worth visiting. The Jamestown Settlement and the Historic Jamestowne are places where kids can learn more about Thanksgiving’s roots. In the Jamestown Settlement, kids can also hop aboard replicas of the ships that made the historic voyage from England in 1607. A traditional Thanksgiving feast is usually served in the Jamestown Settlement Cafe.

The city also hosts the annual Blue Talon Bistro Turkey Trot, the most famous race in the city that brings together almost 3,000 runners. Don’t forget to take your family and burn those extra holiday calories.

After the Thanksgiving dinner, go to the Williamsburg Premium Outlet for some Black Friday deal hunting in stores like Adidas, Calvin Klein, Coach, and Micheal Kors, just to name a few.

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Miami, Florida

Aerial view of Miami’s Downtown District over the Biscayne Bay lagoon.

Keep the sun in your sight and escape the cold weather with a Thanksgiving holiday in Miami. Much more than a summer destination with sandy beaches and a coastline filled with palm-trees and Art Deco hotels, Miami offers world-class attractions, any time of year. No wonder it’s considered of the best holiday destinations in the US.

Aside from the great weather — expect 70-degree temperatures in November —, Miami has a thriving art scene, so this might be a chance for you to get a proper culture fix. Keep your creative juices flowing by visiting the Wynwood Art District named one the best hipster neighbourhoods in the world by Forbes Magazine. In your itinerary don’t forget to include a visit to the Design District, and to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a 34-rooms Italian Renaissance-style villa located in Coconut Grove.

Shopping is one of the favourite activities for those who land in Miami. And fortunately, the city has a showcase of indoor and outdoor shopping malls from north to south, such as Aventura Mall, Sawgrass Mills Mall and Bal Harbour Shops. For an outdoor retail therapy time and dining, go to Lincoln Road, where you’ll be able to find stores like Zara, Lacoste and Armani Jeans.

Toast to your Thanksgiving holiday with a drink at the Broken Shaker, an award-winning cocktail bar located at the Freehand Miami Hotel.

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Thanksgiving Weekend Getaways

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Aerial day view of the Plymouth Harbour, where the first Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts.

Plymouth is a veritable wonderland packed with cranberry farms, historical architecture and ocean views. This coastal town located in the south of Boston was founded in 1620, and it’s an important place for the nation’s history. Also known as “America’s Hometown”, Plymouth claims the first-ever Thanksgiving, being the place where the first historic gathering between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians happened.

Plymouth is the perfect Thanksgiving vacation for both families and couples. In fact, this year is the 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth and the city will host an America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration and Parade.

For a glimpse of the city’s well-preserved heritage, idly wander through the Plymouth Village Historic District, which is brimming with houses from the late 17th and early 18th century. To celebrate with your family, book your entry to the “Story of Thanksgiving dinner”, a dinner that takes place every year, and it’s filled with classical dishes, such as roast turkey, and New England trimmings. Get ready for an immersive Thanksgiving feast, where you’ll eat surrounded by Pilgrims and Native American role players.

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Park City, Utah

The Historic Main Street of Park City, Utah, on a cloudy winter day.

Say hello to the ski season by celebrating Thanksgiving in Park City, Utah. A family-friendly getaway for the thrill-seekers, this resort town is located 35 minutes from Salt Lake City International Airport, east of Salt Lake City in the western state of Utah.

The city displays 426 downhill trails across 9,326 acres and numerous spots to Nordic ski. It also houses some of the most amazing ski resorts in the country, like the Deer Valle.

When you get tired of skiing and curling up by the fire in your cosy cabin, go explore the Historic Park Street, located close to the and Deer Valley Resort. Once in there, make sure to satisfy your sugar cravings by ordering the Sticky Toffee Pudding at the Tupelo restaurant.

Also, get ready for some serious shopping after your Thanksgiving dinner, as the Tanger Outlets host the famous “Moonlight Madness & After Thanksgiving Sale”, where stores are open for business at 10 p.m. on Thursday.

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Thanksgiving Getaways for Couples

Santa Barbara, California

View of the Santa Barbara Waterfront during the sunset.

Perfectly placed in the central California coast, Santa Barbara is the right Thanksgiving getaway for couples who want to escape the cold, and enjoy the holiday weekend surrounded by Mediterranean-style buildings and a Spanish colonial feel.

The city is also a top wine-growing region in the US, and few things are more romantic than vineyards during fall. Make sure you book a wine tour on Jamie Slone Wines, where you’ll be sipping on Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Rosé, and Pinot Noir while eating some gourmet cheese outside on their Terraza. All the grapes harvested at Jamie Slone Wines are hand-picked come from vines within designated rows in the local vineyards.

For an alluring food and wine experience, choose the Presqu’ile winery. Placed in the county of Santa Maria Valley, the winery offers a tasting flight of their new release estate wines paired with a pre-set Mezze picnic.

And in case you’re missing every year’s pumpkin pie, go to the Caffe Luxxe and order the Pumpkin Spice Latte, made with pumpkin puree, and fall spices. It’s the perfect drink to cosy up with your loved one.

Find Accommodations in Santa Barbara, California

Asheville, North Carolina


Aerial view of the buildings at Downtown Asheville surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains during a the sunset.

Located in western North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has one million acres of protected forest and parkland. It’s a scenic destination in New England with views of the Appalachian Mountains, waterfalls, forests, and more natural wonders. Almost impossible to get more romantic than this.

Breathtaking places for couples to visit in Asheville include the Biltmore Estate, an alluring 8,000-acre historic estate that belonged to the Vanderbilt family, and the largest privately-owned house in the country. The mansion is home to a winery, where you can book a tasting with tours with views of their lush gardens. Another romantic activity in Asheville is driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. Surrounded by the jaw-dropping Asheville mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is considered one of the most beautiful roads in America.

Adventurous couples will also benefit from a Thanksgiving holiday in Asheville, as the city has several trails — from easy to hardcore —, which please all types of hikers. A must-go is the Pisgah National Forest, a national park with mile-high peaks, and waterfalls spread over 500,000 acres.

For a more urban experience, stroll through Downtown Asheville, and uncover the region’s boutique stores, art galleries, and restaurants. And in case you’re more of a beer-lover couple, take advantage of Asheville’s brewery scene. The city is a well-known Beercation getaway, home to amazing breweries such as Asheville Brewing Company and Oyster House Brewing.

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Thanksgiving Travel and Flight Deals

Flying FromFlying FromFlying ToPrice Starts FromOffer Validity
Frontier AirlinesMiamiPhiladelphia$5711/21 to 11/30
Frontier AirlinesSan DiegoLas Vegas$61,2011/23 to 12/3
Spirit AirlinesOrlandoBoston$42,2911/25 to 12/02
Spirit AirlinesOrlandoNew York$34,2111/25 to 11/30
Delta AirlinesLas VegasLos Angeles$9711/25 to 11/30
Thanksgiving Travel Deals for Flights

FAQ’s on Thanksgiving Travel Deals

Where is the best place to travel for Thanksgiving?

There are many Thanksgiving destinations in the US. And there’s something for every traveler’s profile. Couples might like romantic places such as Boston and Napa Valley. Families can opt for places like Charleston, in South Carolina. If you’re with friends, a fun “Friendsgiving” in Las Vegas is a great bet.

What do you do on Thanksgiving break?

Turkey Day is the quintessential American holiday where people gather with family and celebrate. But this year, with people having a much bigger appetite for traveling, a good idea is to choose a Thanksgiving destination that is within the country, maybe in your own city or surrounding areas.

How do you spend Thanksgiving alone?

Travelling can be a great way of experiencing Thanksgiving by yourself, without thinking too much about being alone this time of year. And there are plenty of solo traveler destinations in the US, such as Denver, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.

Where is the warmest place to go in November?

Southern California cities, such as San Diego and Los Angeles, have great weather in November and temperatures range from 72.9°F to 52°F. Places in Florida, like Miami and Key West, are also a good option for the sun chasers during the holiday season. Oahu and Honolulu, Hawaii, are usually warm in November as well.

Are hotels cheaper during Thanksgiving?

The holiday season is just around the corner, which means people will soon start making travel plans, book flights, and look for affordable accommodation. And even though November and December are not peak seasons in the US, prices tend to get higher due to festivities such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. For Thanksgiving travel, it’s possible to score deals if you start looking for them at the end of October. To find accommodation for Christmas and New Year’s at lower prices, a good tip is to keep your eye on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Where Can I Go for a nature escape during Thanksgiving?

Due to the current situation, the best idea is to travel somewhere within the country. And there are several amazing Thanksgiving getaways in the US. When choosing a destination, make sure you consider your family’s preferences. If they are adventurous, a good choice is to go somewhere with nature, like the Great Smoky Mountains, in Tennessee, or Jackson Hole, in Wyoming. In case they prefer somewhere warmer, great destinations are HawaiiLos AngelesSan Diego, and Miami.

What Can Families Do For Thanksgiving?

On Thanksgiving, families gather at home to celebrate, play scrabble, binge-watch tv shows and, of course, eat a swoon-worthy feast. But this year, with many people craving a well-deserved escape time, safely traveling during this season might be a good idea. Families can, for instance, take a road trip to nearby cities and rent a cabin in the woods. That way, they can travel somewhere new without having to sacrifice their annual traditions.

What Are Some Fun Family Vacations?

The best Thanksgiving getaways for families are the ones that offer seasonal experiences that time of year. Plymouth, Massachusetts, will host different events such as an immersive feast and a Thanksgiving Day Parade on the occasion of the 400th Anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in the city. Families can also go to luxury resorts, which offer special packages during Thanksgiving. This year, the Palmetto Bluff Resort, in South Carolina, is set to have a Thanksgiving Turkey Craft, a 5k Turkey Trot, and a traditional feast.

What Are The Best Things To Do On Thanksgiving Weekend?

A great idea is to check the calendar of the city you’re in. Many Thanksgiving getaways host special events to celebrate the holidays. NYC and San Antonio, for instance, have a magical display of Christmas lights that are definitely worth checking. On November 27th you can also take advantage of the Black Friday deals and go shopping. If you decided to stay at a ski resort, take a preview of the winter season by ice skating, sledding, and snowboarding.

To book your Thanksgiving accommodation with up to 15% off, browse through CuddlyNest’s properties around the US. From luxury hotels to private cabins, there is a variety of places suitable for all types of travelers.

Browse. Book. Stay.

CuddlyNest provides all accommodations to all travelers at the best price. Find unlimited travel inspiration on our blog and social media channels.

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