Where to Travel for Thanksgiving
This year for Thanksgiving, perhaps you’re dreaming of exotic locales more than of doing the same old thing, around the same dining room table, with the same old people (God bless them)! One of my favorite Thanksgivings was spent in rainy Ireland, & it culminated with a stay at historic Ashford Castle: it’s still one of my favorite holidays to date. There’s something to be said for novelty, for breaking up tradition & routine with a little international adventure. In this article, “Where to Travel for Thanksgiving,” I’m going to give you a bevy of ideas ~ both domestic & international, for great places to travel during the holidays.
Map of Thanksgiving Destinations
Ashford Castle, Ireland
Warm Weather Spots vs. Cool &Cozy
I’m breaking down potential Thanksgiving destinations into two categories: warm-weather spots where you can swim & bring your bikini, vs. cooler-weather spots where you can bundle up by a fire & get cozy.
- Warm-Weather Thanksgiving Destinations = Palm Springs, California; Sedona, Arizona; Cancun, Mexico; Tulum, Mexico; Los Cabos, Mexico; Todos Santos, Mexico; & Hawaii.
- Cool-Weather Thanksgiving Destinations = Santa Fe, New Mexico; Beaver Creek/Vail, Colorado; Breckenridge, Colorado; Park City, Utah; Tennessee; Charleston, South Carolina; Ireland; & Florence, Italy.
Where to Travel for Thanksgiving ~ Palm Springs
Palm Springs has long been a popular West Coast Thanksgiving destination for traveling families; while the rest of the U.S. is dipping in temperature, Palm Springs stays a balmy 80 degrees on average in November. So if you’re looking for a relaxing retreat this Thanksgiving & a place to soak in the sun poolside, play an epic round of golf, go for a classic desert hike, or simply brunch-hop around town: Palm Springs is your place.
Great Palm Springs Hotels: For a spa retreat, check out the Miramonte Resort or the La Quinta Resort. For adult getaways, try the Parker Palm Springs, the Korakia Pensione, or the retro-chic Del Marcos.
The American Southwest
The natural red rocks found in places like New Mexico & Arizona give way to a perpetual fall-feeling: & both places make for relaxing, more introspective Thanksgiving getaways than your traditional beach retreat. Perennially-popular Santa Fe & Sedona are two excellent choices for a more off-the-beaten-path holiday.
If you’re traveling to Santa Fe or Taos, check out my guide to the famous Ojo Caliente Hot Springs.
Great Hotels in the Southwest: Check out the Enchantment Resort in Sedona or the Four Seasons Resort in Santa Fe.
Colorado & Utah Ski Resorts
Colorado ski resorts like Aspen, Vail, & Breckenridge have long-beckoned the visiting Thanksgiving crowds, as has Park City, Utah ~ the largest ski resort in America & its most popular. If you want to travel this Thanksgiving & really feel like its fall, snuggle up by a roaring fire or shush your way down some newly-opened ski slopes: you can’t go wrong in either Colorado or Utah.
Check out my favorite ski-in/ski-out hotels in Breckenridge & Beaver Creek ~ two of my all-time favorite Colorado ski resorts.
Where to Travel for Thanksgiving ~
Cozy & Historic
If you’re looking for some Southern hospitality this holiday season, consider spending Thanksgiving in two of the south’s premier destinations: Tennessee or Charleston, South Carolina. In Tennessee, make reservations at the idyllic Blackberry Farm in Walland for a picnic-style Thanksgiving, complete with acres to stroll, a pond, & spa for some pampering. Or if you’re looking for more city vibes, head to Charleston & checking into a historic hotel, such as The Dewberry Charleston.
Mexico Beach Resorts
Where does Jennifer Aniston fly to for Thanksgiving? Her favorite beachside retreat: Cabo San Lucas. Cabo & Cancun are popular year-round, but for those desiring a tropical Thanksgiving: both rate high on the list. I’d recommend Los Cabos over Cabo San Lucas if you’re looking for a little less rowdy time: the Viceroy Los Cabos & Cabo Azul Resort are two great beachfront options. And if you’re on the east coast, Cancun is an easy flight with plenty of beachfront resort options.
Don’t want to deal with the hustle & bustle of Cancun or Cabo? Check out Tulum for a more relaxed, bohemian getaway south of Cancun ~ or drive just an hour north of Cabo to quaint Todos Santos for a quieter stay.
Particularly for those of us on the West Coast, Hawaii makes for a relatively quick flight ~ & gives you instant access to temperatures in the 80’s, & ocean water that feels like bath water. Introverts can head to the Big Island or chill Kauai, while extroverts & those looking for more action can choose party-happier islands like Oahu or Maui.
Feel like re-creating Cameron Diaz’s experience in “The Holiday,” just on a grander scale? Consider hopping over to Ireland for a rainy, moody holiday, & stay at one of the country’s famous castles: such as Dromoland Castle, or beautiful Ashford Castle, which lies just north of Galway, on the shores of Lough Corrib. Take falconry lessons, sip Irish Coffees in a grand parlor, & enjoy the exotic feeling of having escaped your traditional Thanksgiving….
If jolly old England is more to your liking, read this article that lists British castle stays inspired by the Netflix series “Bridgerton,” or if Downton Abbey was one of your favorites ~ click here to find out where to have a Downton-inspired stay…
One final idea for a far-flung, exotic Thanksgiving abroad is the Renaissance-rich city of Florence, Italy. Something about Florence gives off fall vibes: from the orange-red top of the Duomo to the abundance of yellow & ochre-colored buildings. Not to mention, it’s a great place to soak in the history of Western civilization ~ a new twist on traditional Thanksgiving traditions. The Four Seasons Firenze is a great place to luxuriate in Florence’s opulent history, or check out these hotels, that all have views of the indelible Duomo.
Where to Travel for Thanksgiving
I hope this post has given you some license to do a little dreaming about where to travel for Thanksgiving ~ both domestically & internationally.
Happy Travel Planning…