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Family-Friendly Thanksgiving: Top Travel Spots in the US

As the crisp air of fall settles in and leaves turn to hues of gold and amber, our hearts naturally turn toward the warmth of Thanksgiving. The traditional imagery of turkey feasts, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and cozy fireside gatherings holds a special place in our hearts. Yet, there are times when the allure of a new destination beckons, offering a fresh perspective on this cherished holiday. 

To blend the spirit of gratitude with the excitement of travel, we’ve curated a list of top travel spots in the U.S. this season with your family. This list is for those who want to plan an exciting holiday, a famjam amid the beauty of nature, beyond the familiar confines of home.

Whether you’re searching for sun-kissed rays in a tropical paradise or the cozy embrace of fall’s final foliage, you are in for a treat. Join us in discovering the best Thanksgiving destinations in the U.S., where gratitude intertwines with the joy of travel, and every moment becomes a chapter in the story of a heartwarming holiday

The Magic of Orlando, Florida

Family Friendly Thanksgiving Spots

Get ready for a Thanksgiving like never before in the vibrant heart of Orlando! Packed with three epic theme parks, it’s the go-to destination for families seeking a perfect holiday blend of thrill and tradition. Visit the remarkable “Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom,” divided into five enchanting sections – Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Adventureland, and Liberty Square. This colossal playground is truly Walt’s Kingdom. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, the magic of “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” awaits. Wiggle in the snow-kissed charm, savor indelible treats like Butterbeer, and go for spellbinding rides. Dive into the cinematic magic at Disney’s “Hollywood Studios,” where movie enchantment takes center stage. Uncover movie-making secrets on the Studio Backlot Tour, witness mind-blowing stunts at the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, and experience a free-fall elevator drop on the Tower of Terror. 

While you are here, feast like royalty and turn your Thanksgiving dinner into a rendezvous with your favorite people at Orlando’s culinary hotspots. Hungry Pants, The Alfond Inn at Rollins, Park Avenue Tavern, and Sear + Sea promise a gastronomic adventure that will leave you delighted and craving more.

The Historical Appeal of Washington, D.C.

Family Friendly Thanksgiving Spots
Source : Mommy Nearest by Kidpass

The heart of the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, awakens with a vibrant energy during Thanksgiving, offering a fresh, unconventional celebration. Instead of the usual kitchen hustle, envision yourself aboard a City Cruises yacht on the Potomac River for a Thanksgiving experience that transcends tradition. Let the stress of the holiday dissolve as the attentive crew serves up a feast against the backdrop of iconic landmarks, providing a culinary journey and breathtaking views.

Extend the festivities beyond the yacht by exploring DC’s open museums, engaging in charity Turkey Trots, or gliding gracefully on the outdoor ice rink at the National Gallery of Art. Volunteer opportunities also align with the modern spirit of gratitude and giving back. You can also stick to the Thanksgiving tradition by letting Medium Rare in Cleveland Park deep fry your turkey, adding a dash of deliciousness to the holiday.

The Coastal Charm of San Diego, California

Family Friendly Thanksgiving Spots
Source : City Girl Gone Mom

In San Diego, Thanksgiving isn’t just about turkey; it’s a modern celebration infused with gratitude and family joy. It is time to break away from tradition and embrace exciting new experiences this season with your family. Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk at Balboa Park turns fitness into a giving-back fiesta, while the Oceanside Turkey Trot combines exercise with community spirit. While here, check out San Diego’s Candlelight Concerts, offering soulful classical magic. You can kickstart Thanksgiving with the Premier Brunch Cruise, where a chef-prepared buffet, free-flowing mimosas, and stunning bay views redefine holiday indulgence. Shun the stress of the kitchen work and make it a holiday for all.

For some added fun, plan a day at the Laguna Beach Sawdust Winter Fantasy, a local art haven offering unique, handmade treasures, or unleash your artsy side at the Santa is Coming Craft Fair at Bates Nut Farm, where over 100 artisans will showcase their creations – admission and parking are on the house! To feel the coastal winter vibes, go for Skating by the Sea in Hotel del Coronado, where ice skating makes way for a Pacific Ocean panorama. San Diego’s Thanksgiving isn’t limited to a meal; it’s a vibrant celebration of gratitude, togetherness, and the joy of forging memories for the entire family.

The Rustic Beauty of Asheville, North Carolina

Family Friendly Thanksgiving Spots

Thanksgiving in Asheville is a blend of cozy traditions and cutting-edge experiences. Brace yourself for cool to chilly weather. Start your journey at the iconic Biltmore Estate, a holiday haven with Thanksgiving events that redefine festive cheer. You can also cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Immerse yourself in the city’s history and art on the Asheville Urban Trail or stroll through downtown art galleries and boutiques. If the weather is nice, hike, bike, or explore the nearby national forests. Experience Asheville’s vibrant arts scene at the River Arts District and cheer on at craft breweries and distilleries. For family fun, hit the Asheville Pinball Museum or unwind in spa and wellness centers. Comfort is key, and Asheville offers a range of quality vacation rentals, too. 

Dinner becomes a culinary adventure at Fork Lore, Hemingway’s Cuba, or Bargello, crafting a unique Thanksgiving experience. Embrace the newfangled show of gratitude as you feast on delicious food at these exceptional restaurants, where special menus ensure that the whole family is at the table, enjoying a meal together. Cap off the night with a family movie at Asheville’s cozy cinemas like Grail Moviehouse.

The Urban Adventure in New York City, New York

Family Friendly Thanksgiving Spots

Thinking of spending Thanksgiving in New York City? Picture the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a tradition dating back to 1924. Imagine yourself amidst the dazzling floats and colossal balloons parading through the city streets. It’s not just a spectacle; it’s a feast for the eyes. The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of holiday cheer at Bryant Park’s Winter Village. Find yourself strolling through charming merchant shops, discovering unique gifts, and gliding gracefully on the ice rink. It’s not just shopping; it’s a winter wonderland experience. As you stroll along Fifth Avenue, witness the city’s famous retail windows adorned with festive decorations. From Saks Fifth Avenue to Macy’s flagship store, each display tells a story. 

Considering a Thanksgiving feast without the fuss? Explore NYC’s restaurants, like 21 Club and Tavern on the Green, offering special menus. Whether you crave tradition or a culinary adventure, it’s not just a meal; it’s a journey through the city’s diverse flavors. End your Thanksgiving on a sweet note. Savor Bubby’s classic homemade apple pie in TriBeCa or indulge in handmade truffles and signature hot chocolate at L.A. Burdick Chocolate. Extend your stay to catch the New York City Marathon, a thrilling event weaving through all five boroughs, an exhilarating kickoff to the Thanksgiving season.

Tips for a Stress-Free Family Thanksgiving Trip

Family Friendly Thanksgiving Spots

Plan Ahead

  – Secure accommodations and travel arrangements early to avoid last-minute stress

  – Plan your itinerary, including potential pit stops and activities

Efficient Packing for All

  – Create a checklist focusing on essentials and weather-appropriate clothing

  – Utilize packing cubes and labels for organized and accessible belongings

  – For families with kids, pre-pack daily outfits to streamline the packing process

Travel Entertainment for All Ages

  – Prepare a travel-friendly entertainment kit with coloring books, interactive games, and favorite snacks

  – Embrace technology with tablets loaded with age-appropriate apps or audiobooks

  – Encourage kids to document their journey with disposable cameras or travel journals.

Engage Kids and Grandparents During the Trip

  – Play interactive games like travel bingo or engage in storytelling

  – Plan pit stops at interesting landmarks to break up the journey

  – Incorporate technology for educational and entertaining content

Exploring the U.S. with your family during Thanksgiving offers a unique opportunity to create lasting memories. Whether you opt for the enchantment of Orlando, the historical richness of Washington, D.C., the coastal charm of San Diego, the rustic beauty of Asheville, or the urban adventure of New York City, each destination promises a Thanksgiving celebration that caters to the entire family. Embrace the joy of the holiday season and embark on a family-friendly adventure that will be remembered for years to come.

Read More : Best Thanksgiving Day Parades In the US

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