Thanksgiving has a special place among the traditions of the United States. During this holiday, families get together even closer than during Christmas, preparing tons of food and waiting until the distant relatives all arrive. The fourth Thursday of November is a busy day for most Americans, and the weeks of preparation are often even busier. However, there are some people who decide not to prepare a huge turkey meal and instead spend their Thanksgiving break in a pleasant way. Just imagine not having to clean every corner of your home for the guests, relaxing somewhere on a beach instead. You don't even have to go far when looking for Thanksgiving attractions, as there are plenty of domestic destinations in the United States that are worth visiting. To help you the perfect spot for you, we have created this list of Top 10 Ideas for Unforgettable Thanksgiving Break, which shows some of the best alternatives to stressing yourself out for the entire month.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The best way to escape the society is to find a quiet lodge in the woods and fill your days with hiking, and there are few places as majestic to hike in as Great Smoky Mountains. The city of Gatlinburg allows accommodation close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is one of the most popular national parks in the country, but should be relatively empty during the Thanksgiving break period. At the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you will have dozens of activities and attractions to choose from, including a selection of winter sports, such as skiing and ice skating, but you may even rent professional climbing gear and go climb the Smoky Mountains with a professional guide who will keep you safe. Great Smoky Mountains spread for hundreds of miles, so you may rest assured that every time you visit, there will be something new to explore.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
If you’ve never been to New York, Thanksgiving break is the perfect time to do so. You will be able to see the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is one of the most iconic events in the city of New York. The parade takes place between 77th street and 34th street and is filled with intricate platforms and vibrant colors. There are also tons of celebrities and music bands taking part in the parade, so you might get to someone famous. Apart from the parade, there are tons of activities and attractions around New York, including multiple museums and art galleries, as well as famous landmarks such as the Empire State Building. A great way to spend your Thanksgiving break in New York is to save a couple of days just for enjoying the holiday, and a couple just for exploring the city, since there really is a lot to discover!
While it may sound crazy to travel to Hawaii in the middle of November, it is actually one of the better times of the year to do so, as the islands are way less overrun by tourists, which means cheaper prices and shorter lines. The temperatures are also high enough to comfortably relax at the beach and even swim in the water, which should be warm enough. Hawaii has plenty of stunning natural wonders to discover, including beautiful waterfalls and impressive volcanoes. There are also tons of activities to discover in Hawaii, such as snorkeling, deep-diving, paddle-boarding, and surfing. If you've never tried those before, a Thanksgiving break trip to Hawaii is a perfect opportunity to do so! You don’t even have to worry about missing the Thanksgiving dinner while relaxing at your resort, since most resorts in Hawaii serve special holiday meals, including turkey.
If you are not afraid of fighting the crowds, visiting Orlando in Florida during the Thanksgiving break might be a worthy trip. Even though a lot of families decide to take their kids to one of the famous theme parks of Orlando during Thanksgiving holidays, since most of the kids are out of school, the parks usually have extended working hours to accommodate for the crowds of customers. When it comes to the theme parks available in Orlando, you've got Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and more to explore! Moreover, there are a couple of unique Thanksgiving-themed attractions at some parks, such as at Disney World, which even serves Thanksgiving meals during the holiday. In LEGOLAND, you may be able to see some special seasonal LEGO sculptures, made entirely out of bricks and depicting traditional images connected with Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day Parade
When you think of big Thanksgiving events, most people usually don't think of Chicago, which actually has a plenty of attractions during this American holiday. The Thanksgiving events in Chicago are a part of the preparation for Christmas, and the mayor even officially lights up a huge Christmas tree on Wednesday before Thanksgiving. On Thursday, you will be able to witness the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is as amazing in Chicago as it is in New York. During the parade, the streets of Chicago get filled with performers, dancers, marching bands, amazing platforms, fire shows, and more! On Friday, you may be able to get into the party at the Art Institute of Chicago, which decorates its two outside lion statues with evergreen wreaths just for the occasion.
Even though New Orleans does not need an excuse to throw parties all around and maintain an amazing nightlife, the Thanksgiving season brings even more decorations, lights, and attractions to this beautiful city in Louisiana. New Orleans has its own parade, called the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade, which begins at Decatur Street and ends at the French Market, which is the main center of the entire event. Tons of performances and concerts are held at the French Market during the Thanksgiving break, including the official lighting of the City Park, which becomes adorned with thousands of little, colorful lights.
While Hawaii is the best place in the United States to look for sunlight and warm weather during the Thanksgiving season, not everyone can afford a rather expensive ticket to fly there and back. However, Miami Beach provides a nice alternative to Hawaii, as the weather usually does not fall below 70 degrees, even in November, and you don’t have to worry about snow. Most tourists visit Miami Beach in the summer, which means that you should find a lot of available space on the beaches in November. Apart from swimming and sunbathing, you can also taste some of the renowned cuisine of Miami Beach, as well as check out their huge shopping malls.
Winter Indian Market
Santa Fe takes a different approach at Thanksgiving, concentrating more on the rich history of the holiday than on sparkling celebrations, although the city is also full of those. In Santa Fe, you will get to know how Thanksgiving looks like from the point of view of Native Americans, which gave Americans this national holiday by sharing with them their foods. There are a number of high-class museums and galleries in Santa Fe, many of which are dedicated to Native Americans. There is also a Winter Indian Market, which hosts tons of dance and music performances, and you will be able to buy some authentic Native American souvenirs, handcrafted by them.
The capital of Wisconsin is a great place to spend your Thanksgiving if you are into more timid, calm sorts of celebration. You won't find hardcore parties or loud music blowing in the streets of Madison, but what you will find is thousands of people who want to make their town as pretty as possible for the holiday. The locals love decorating their homes in Madison, which creates stunning displays that can be seen for free whenever you take a walk through the streets. Madison is also known for closely following the Thanksgiving food tradition, so expect many local specialties such as macaroni and cheese with leek.
There is no better place to enjoy authentic Thanksgiving than Plymouth itself, the city where the first Thanksgiving took place. Plymouth is easily accessible, as it is close to Boston, which can be reached from most domestic airports. You will be able to witness an authentic Plymouth plantation, which will teach you the history of pilgrims and how they lived. Plymouth also features a replica of the famous ship Mayflower, which brought the pilgrims to America in 1620. The replica was even used to recreate the original Mayflower voyage, starting from Plymouth, England, and reaching Plymouth, United States.