Best places to go for Thanksgiving in America
BY TAYSHA MURTAUGH, ARRICCA ELIN SANSONE AND REBEKAH LOWIN
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These towns may be small, but they're big on holiday charm. At this point in 2020, we all have a serious case of wanderlust. Many of us will forgo the annual trip to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean we can't dream of traveling to some picturesque destinations! Whether small town charm, big city lights, or something in between are your thing, we've rounded up a list of locations for everyone.
If you can't get home this year or you and your immediate family need some time to decompress outside of the same four walls, there's a spot for you on this list. Sure, you don't want to miss the Thanksgiving menu with Grandma's pumpkin pie recipes and all the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes, but a short road trip, when done safely, could be just what you need to clear your head.
And if you rent a house or condo, you can stop at a local grocery store and cook up your own feast. Treat your family to a brief escape as an early Christmas gift, or sneak off with your sweetie for some quiet time. Seeing someplace new often gives you perspective and helps you reconsider all the blessings you do enjoy in your life.
We promise you'll be grateful you explored one of these charming Thanksgiving towns. If you do decide to travel, we suggest you make note of your destination's cancellation policy, just in case something unexpected arises. Here are our top picks for quick getaways this Thanksgiving.
Lake Placid, NY
Lake Placid isn't just picturesque, idyllic, and peaceful (hence the name!); it's also a lot of fun around the holidays. Fish, hike, bike, or camp in the area, or visit the Lake Placid Olympic Museum (the Winter Olympics were held here in 1932 and 1980). While snow isn't a given, it is a possibility here this time of year, so pack your winter coat and gloves!
Park City, UT
It's not exactly a tiny town, but Park City still boasts all the appeal of a town half its size—and the Utah city is where it's at come Thanksgiving time. Take a bobsled ride, enjoy window shopping, or curl up by the fire at one of the town's amazing resorts.
It may be known as the "Christmas Capital of Texas," but it's also a heck of a lot of fun around Thanksgiving. Grapevine offers beautiful holiday decorations and a Light Show Spectacular for kids of all ages.
Learn the history of this working seaport, explore the local boutiques, or visit Strawbery Banke Museum, which covers 300 years of American history on ten acres. Don't forget a lobster dinner while you're in town!
Key West, FL
How does a tropical paradise sound for Thanksgiving this year? The temperatures have settled down so it's balmy and lovely this time of year. Go diving and snorkeling, kayaking, swim with the dolphins, or just walk around and enjoy the ambience of this charming town.
Santa Barbara, CA
Known as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is a stunning destination! With pretty beaches, mountains, and nearby vineyards (yes, please!), it has everything you need for a relaxing, romantic weekend getaway, any time of year.
Don't discount it based on size: There's always something going on in this town with German roots. Visit the local distilleries and breweries, check out one of the more than a dozen art galleries, or tour (and do a tasting!) at one of the nearby 100 wineries in the Hill Country.
Maine is gorgeous in the summer, but it's even better in the fall and early winter. The weather's still mild, and it's far less crowded-- so you won't have to wait in line for another lobster roll or cup of chowder! Kennebunkport has tons of cute shops lining the walkable downtown area, or drive by the Bush estate and beautiful St. Ann's Historic Church. No visit's complete without a stroll on lovely Goose Rocks beach. For a cozy stay, book a room at the charming Inn at English Meadows Inn, just a few blocks from the center of everything.
With its perfectly preserved 19th-century buildings, this Midwestern hamlet looks as if it's frozen in time. About 85 percent of the town is a national historic district. Fall brings an explosion of colors to the surrounding rolling hills and valleys. Visit the historic attractions, browse one-of-a-kind boutiques on Main Street, and save enough time for a stop at the local watering hole, Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.
Situated on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this small Southern destination is a picturesque place to celebrate your favorite fall holiday. Hole up in a cozy log cabin, chalet, or historic bed and breakfast. Burn off that turkey and stuffing by hiking to waterfalls, horseback-riding through wooded trails, or taking the aerial tramway to Ober Gatlinburg for ice skating, skiing, or snow tubing. Finally, cheers to another year of gratitude at one of the area wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA
Plimoth Plantation, a re-creation of the original 17th Century colony, is the ultimate Thanksgiving destination. Walk around the English Village, the Plimoth Grist Mill, the Wampanoag Homesite, and more. You'll have a new appreciation for our history.
Estes Park, CO
If you're thankful for nature, why not spend Thanksgiving in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park? There's nothing more awe-inspiring than the grandeur of these mountains. If hiking's not your thing, there's also fishing, wildlife watching tours, and an aerial tramway...
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