Thanksgiving travel has steadily increased over the past four years, according to AAA. Last year, 43.6 million Americans traveled for the four-day holiday weekend. While the traditional gathering of the entire extended family at one home can be fun, some families are now planning historically focused and peaceful adventures away from large family gatherings.
Take in that Smokey Mountain Air
For a tranquil and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday, pack up the kids and head for Gatlinburg, Tenn. Take leisurely walks and jogs or head out for ski adventures with the kids for just a few fun activities in the region. Don’t miss out on all the beautiful lights by taking a tour on the trolley. Check out the city’s arts and crafts fair that takes place during the holiday. Enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal— cooked by someone else for a change— from one of the many restaurants opening on the holiday, such as Howard’s, Bear Creek Grill and many others.
Everybody Loves a Parade
Your family has probably watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year since you were a child. You basked in all the colors flowing out of your television while your mom made the turkey in the morning. Now you can share that same joy, live and in person, with your own kids when you visit New York City. Join some of the other 3 million people who join the crowd to catch a glimpse of Snoopy as he glides above, as well as watching Broadway performers take to the streets to give a sample of their respective show’s songbook. While you’re in the city, take the time to do some shopping since you will already be part of the tradition that kicks off the holiday shopping season simply by being there.
Zipline, See the Sights and Dine When You Visit the Wisconsin Dells
Named for the gorge along the Wisconsin River that looks like sandstone formations, the Wisconsin Dells is ripe with activities for you and your family if you want to take a trip to the Midwest. Take a boat tour of the area to get the best vantage point of the ancient, glacially carved formations. Work up a Thanksgiving dinner appetite with a zipline tour, a trip on the DUCK, which is the area’s amphibious vehicle that features water tours and much more. Visit dells.com for deals and more information.
A Destination Where You Will Experience Authentic Native American Culture
Toggle back and forth between Scottsdale and Phoenix, Ariz. to find the most culturally critical activities for the family. Visit the Heard Museum in Phoenix where you will see architecture, artwork and more from the Navajo, Apache and Hopi Native American groups, the original inhabitants of America. Take the kids out for a drive along the Apache Trail in search of ghost towns, amazing scenery and ancient ruins. For the big holiday meal, consider Avanti, District American Kitchen and Wine Bar or McCormick Ranch Golf Club, which are all kid-friendly.
Image: “The First Thanksgiving” by American Painter Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. United States Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons.