Photo by iStock. Design by Lauren DeLuca for Yahoo Travel.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, but if you haven’t booked tickets yet or reserved a turkey, there’s still time to plan a holiday you won’t ever forget. From the desert to the beach to everything in between, here are some of the most searched Thanksgiving destinations on Yahoo.
10. Scottsdale, Arizona: A Very Cactus Thanksgiving
It might be getting cold in other places, but not in Scottsdale. Just outside Phoenix, Scottsdale is known as a high-end destination for golfers and warm-weather seekers. During the day, check out the more than 200 golf courses in the area or go for a hike up nearby Camelback Mountain, where you’ll see more cacti than you can take photos of.Old Town Scottsdale is popular for its art scene. And, at night, the area becomes a hot partying spot.
9. Amelia Island, Florida: Wild Winter Waterfront
One of the southernmost in the chain of Sea Islands, which stretch along the coast off South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Amelia Island is the perfect natural beach paradise for the holidays. It’s just 13 miles long, nearly all of which is wild, untamed waterfront, bookended by state parks on either end of the island. The Ritz-Carlton, one of the biggest resorts on the island, hosts a Christmas tree lighting the day before Thanksgiving and a Santa’s Wonderland Dinner (as well as a more traditional Thanksgiving meal). After hiking, biking, or fishing, check out the world’s largest gingerbread pirate ship.
8. Park City, Utah: Dreaming of a White Holiday
Less than an hour from the Salt Lake City airport, Park City is an outdoor winter paradise. (It’s not bad in the summer either.) You’ll definitely want to hit the slopes at one of the two major resorts: Deer Valley or Park City Mountain. Both hosted events during the 2002 Olympics and you should be able to ski some of those facilities—maybe you’ll even see Olympians training. If you’re looking for something a little less adrenaline-driven, try a hike or snowshoe tour. Or, just curl up in a cabin in front of the fireplace.
7. Aspen, Colorado: A Skier’s Paradise
Of course, if you’re looking for some holiday skiing, you can’t go wrong in Colorado. Of the four main resorts in Aspen, the biggest and most impressive is Snowmass. (Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk are worth a trip too; all are owned by the Aspen Skiing Company.) Snowmass has 3,128 acres and 17 lifts. While it’s best known for its family-friendly runs, the resort also has three terrain parks, one superpipe, and one mini-pipe. With all the ski-in lodging options around Aspen, you can just head straight from the snow to your Thanksgiving feast.
6. Plymouth, Massachusetts: An Homage to the Original Thanksgiving
Get back to the spirit of the original Thanksgiving in Plymouth, where the Pilgrims are said to have landed the Mayflower back in 1620. There’s a reason the town hosts America’s Hometown Thanksgiving, which includes three days of festivities before the holiday. You won’t want to miss the parade, concerts, or food festival. It may not be exactly the same as that original Thanksgiving meal, but the Plimoth Plantation’s living history museum is probably the next best thing—and they have a few reservations left.
5. New Orleans, Louisiana: Turkey in the Big Easy
New Orleans may not seem like a classic Thanksgiving destination, but it’s actually one of the best times to visit the Big Easy. The weather is perfect and the food is delicious. Try Arnaud’s for some Creole cuisine in the French Quarter. The weekend before the holiday, you’ll want to hit up the Oak Street Po’ Boy Festival or the tail end of the three-week Faux/Real New Orleans Festival of Arts. On Thanksgiving weekend, the Bayou Classic football game is the hot ticket in town. And the Celebration in the Oaks will have its annual one-of-a-kind holiday lights festival. What’s more Thanksgiving than that?
4. Asheville, North Carolina: Mountain Leaves Are A’ Changin’
Nestled on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a fun town with a stunning backyard and a storied history. If the weather cooperates, you’ll want to take a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway and admire the changing leaves. Then work up an appetite with a hike through one of Asheville’s countless parks, like the Pisgah National Forest. Have a Thanksgiving to remember at the Thanksgiving Dance Camp (and the whole family will enjoy learning traditional contra dances). Or, if you’re looking for something a little more mainstream and a whole lot fancier, the famous Biltmore Estate offers holiday packages and activities from wreath-making to candlelight dinners.
3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Meet Me at the Boardwalk
Technically separated from the continental U.S. by a narrow waterway, Myrtle Beach is along a popular stretch of waterfront in South Carolina known for its wild sand dunes, boardwalk, and nightlife. You can choose between low-key beach hotels or large resorts to serve all your Thanksgiving needs. In between eating at the numerous holiday buffets, hit the amusement park, aquarium, and golf course. Take the whole family to the annual Dickens Christmas Show and Festivals (held in November). Or visit the famous Carolina Opry for a holiday you’re bound to remember.
2. Washington D.C.: A Time for History
It seems so logical to visit the nation’s capital on our national holiday of thanks that thousands of people do exactly that every year. It’s a great time to revisit the country’s history with trips to the massive Smithsonian museums, the National Mall, the Capitol building (where the tree will be lit Dec. 2), and the countless memorials that fill the town. Just remember: most of these federal buildings will be closed on the actual holiday. Use that time to eat of course. On Friday, check out the popular Reston Holiday Parade or head to the famous Christmas on the Potomac, where the Gaylord hosts ICE!—over two million pounds of colorful hand-crafted ice sculptures.
1. San Diego, California: Thanksgiving on the Beach
If you’re looking for a beach-side Thanksgiving, there’s nowhere better than San Diego. Instead of snow, enjoy a lovely holiday dinner cruise and then ice skate right on the water at the historic Hotel del Coronado. The hotel also hosts a popular Thanksgiving dinner buffet. Or, have your holiday meal in the middle of the famous San Diego Zoo. Amid the giraffes and tigers, Albert’s Restaurant serves up a three-course Thanksgiving dinner. The weekend before, catch the Mother Goose Parade to get in the Thanksgiving mood—even with all the palm trees and sand.
This article was originally published by Kelly O'Mara on November 18, 2015