Where to Go for Thanksgiving This Year

When the traditional Thanksgiving at home feels too routine—and this year you just aren't feeling like spending forever cooking a turkey—we've found the perfect escapes for that long weekend. Some places happen to be ideally suited for a getaway that weekend. Whether you're looking for a large vacation home or small prices, for a tranquil oasis in Cancun or an all-out Turkey Day spectacle in New York City, you can find the place that fits your needs this holiday.
For: Affordable vacation homes

What excites a kid more than the idea of Thanksgiving at Disney World? The expansive selection of theme parks in Orlando brings the family together with live entertainment, roller coasters, and amazing food. For the holiday about bringing people together, it seems to fit the bill. Plus, Orlando lets you go big and go home: Because of its high tourism numbers, the city has a huge variety of vacation house rentals ready to go. Fit the whole extended family or stick with a smaller group—either way, dinner can be served in a homey environment with a world of fun at the parks just minutes away. The fun isn’t just for the kids. The Festival of Trees at the Orlando Museum of Art gives adults a little taste of culture as well. 

Temperature: Don’t worry—you’ll be warm. Temperatures average about 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a high nearing the 80s. 
Branson, MO
For: A home away from home 

Settled between two lakes with the Ozarks rising peaceably in the background, Branson, MO, is a popular vacation spot thanks to its natural charm. Lodging availability in the Ozarks means plenty of mountainous and lakeshore views at decent rates. Beyond its beauty, the area is home to family-ready live entertainment at an almost-excessive 40-plus shows. Silver Dollar City, the historic local amusement park, hosts Christmas-themed entertainment, and in town, the Festival of Lights lines miles of streets with over 300 displays for a mood-setting drive-through.

Temperature: Bring your jacket for sure. Temperatures average in the mid 40 s with a high of mid-50s and low of mid-30s. 
For: Arts & culture (with less hubbub) 

With so many Americans living in London, don’t be surprised to find a few Thanksgiving meals here and there, but without the spike in hotel rates you find on the same nights in the United States. In November, London presents the same world-class museums but also dazzles with light and winter cheer, which can be seen from the giant observation wheel at the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, while the famous Georgian shopping boulevard Regent Street is dressed in its Christmas best beginning in mid-November.

Temperature: Prep for some cooler days, with the temperature averaging about 50 degrees. 
For: Warmth (without year-end crowds)

Thanksgiving weekend is a vacation, which means you can pack your swimsuit and hope to return a little tanner than the rest of your friends. If that’s your M.O., Mexico could be a winning destination. With hot sun and sunny skies, Cancun gives travelers a variety of hotel options, varying from casual resorts to all-inclusives. You won’t find the traditional Thanksgiving supper, as Mexico doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but you will find plenty of things to do: dolphin discovery, archaeology tours, nightlife, and more. Heading to Cancun in November also saves you from the crowds flooding the Yucatan Peninsula at the very end of the year. 

Temperature: It’s going to be hot! Temperatures average nearly 80 degrees, reaching up to the high 80s.
Plimoth Plantation
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism / Flickr
Plymouth, MA
For: Tradition

Locally dubbed "America’s Hometown Thanksgiving," Plymouth is the place to be if you’re looking to steep in the whole-hearted history of Thanksgiving traditions. Experience the city with pilgrim tour guides and storytelling. The historic parade, sometimes featuring the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales, is much more traditional than the famously commercial Macy’s parade. Festivities continue with food festivals, live music, a "living history" village, farmers markets, and more concerts. There are plenty of places to stay, from bed and breakfasts to vacation home rentals. 

Temperature: Grab a light jacket when you're packing for an average high of mid 50s and an average low of mid 30s. 
Mall of America
Jeremy Noble / Wikimedia Commons
For: The ultimate Black Friday 

After stuffing your belly with heavy food, the next step is, naturally, to go shopping—and there are few malls that are more ultimate than the Mall of America. While a lot of Black Friday deals start at rooster-crowing hours of the morning after Thanksgiving, the Mall of America gets ahead of the game. Many stores open Thursday evening, and others at midnight. In the past, the gigantic mall has featured Santa on a zipline and live music during the late-night shopping hours. Be warned: Kids under the age of 16 require an adult "escort" of 21 and older.

Temperature: Wear layers: Average temperatures are around 40 degrees.
Auditorium Parco della Musica
For: Short lines, locals

Meanwhile, in Italy, the summer tourists have cleared the scene. November is low season in Rome, meaning lighter crowds, shorter lines, and cheaper travel costs. While the weather might be a little drizzly, the time and money saved could make it well worth the moisture. Besides, Rome is still lively in the fall with jazz and film festivals at Auditorium Parco della Musica. Plus, the seasonal decline in tourism means you’re able to be more spontaneous without having to book tours and buy tickets weeks in advance. You’ll get to have a more local experience. 

Temperatures: Don’t forget your umbrella! The temperature averages in the mid 50s, with lows in the mid 40s, highs of 60. 
For: Classic Christmas markets 

The Christmas Markets of Frankfurt, Germany might be exactly what you need. The event dates back to 1393 and was pretty much unwelcoming to outsiders until the 19th century. A century and a half later, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and other modern traditions made their way to Frankfurt along with international tourists. Today, travelers can book market tours through the streets, eat bratwursts, drink hot apple wine—a German favorite—and delight in marzipan candies. 

Temperatures: It can be a little chilly, but that's perfect for drinking that hot apple wine with an average of 40 degrees and low of mid 30s. 
Hawaii (The Big Island)
For: A tropical twist

Hawaii at the end of the year is always crowded, and it can be overwhelming. But over Thanksgiving, the crowds are smaller while the weather remains just as nice. The Big Island hotels offer feasts for those who choose to be on the islands—and we do mean feasts. The Hilton Waikoloa Village offers the classic dinner in an elegant ballroom plus an option for your room: a 15-pound take-out turkey. The Fairmont Orchid and other hotels serve buffet-style brunches and dinner as well. Turkey is traditionally smoked underground, Hawaiian style. The twists continue with macadamia nut dressing and Portuguese rolls and sausage. 

Temperature: Pack your shorts, swimsuit, and sunscreen for enviable weather: highs in the 80s, lows in the 70s. 
New York City
For: The Parade Experience

NYC has everything imaginable for Thanksgiving: Lots of people, lots to do, and lots to see. For those who can’t sit in a family room watching the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the tube yet again, seeing the balloons and floats in person will be just the thing. That afternoon, see the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, head to Bryant Park for ice skating, and hit Fifth Avenue for extreme present shopping. Thanksgiving in New York City is an experience that deserves a first-hand account. Other trips make for smaller crowds, it's true, but New York should be seen at least once in a lifetime on this holiday.

Temperature: Pack warm clothing for a lot of time spent outdoors walking and watching the parade. The average temperature is in the mid 50s with low of 40—although some years, it gets much colder and windy.