Top 5 destinations to celebrate Thanksgiving

2018 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Photo credit: Photo credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

On Thanksgiving, stray from the norm and take an adventure during the holiday! What better time is there? You have two days off of work and the kids don’t have school—it’s perfect timing. But don’t go just anywhere. Celebrate Thanksgiving somewhere iconic, where tradition is truly glorified. And you’ll have a fine excuse for why you’re not celebrating with family—because you’re taking advantage of the opportunity to go on an educational journey while you have the chance!

Here are 5 iconic American destinations to explore during Thanksgiving break. Try the local cuisine, stay at a lovely B&B, and read up on the history that makes each place great. It’s a family vacation you won’t soon forget.

New York City

Lower Manhattan Skyline
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Few people can say they’ve seen the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person! An American tradition for nearly a century, the Parade is a must-see to scratch off your bucket list. Three hours and 2.5 miles long, there are many ideal places to watch the parade that don’t include your TV. Get all the fun facts, from how much helium is used in the balloons to how many parade-goers attend each year to how many times Snoopy has made an appearance on this Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Facts sheet.

MORE: 16 dos & don’ts for smoother Thanksgiving air travel


Visit Boston during Thanksgiving
Photo credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts/Flickr

Of course the obvious historic place to spend Thanksgiving would be Massachusetts. The first Thanksgiving in 1621 is commonly traced to a barely documented feast that happened at Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. After exploring the history of this quaint town, head 50 minutes north to explore the friendly and intellectual Boston. Here is a list of what to do while in Boston.


Cinderella castle at Disney
Photo credit: Sam Howzit/Flickr

Hear me out. Orlando might not be what comes to mind when you think “Thanksgiving,” but Disney comes to mind when you think “kid-friendly place in a warm weather destination.” With numerous family-friendly attractions, theme parks, lodging, and dining, Orlando and the surrounding area is always popular during a school break. However, if you go during the cooler months, like November, you can score discounted prices at places like Disney, where you’ll also find joyous holiday festivities. Get more tips on what to do in Orlando here.


Photo credit: Brando/Flickr

Thanksgiving is all about the food (okay, the food and giving thanks). What better place to spend a foodie holiday than in America’s best foodie town? Ranked by Travel + Leisure as “America’s no. 1 city for foodies,” if you want irresistible cuisine, look no further than this Texas mammoth. Personally, I wouldn’t mind skipping turkey and stuffing for the country’s best burgers, brunch, and vino! Here are more things to do in Houston!

Additionally, Houston puts on a fantastic parade to rival that of Macy’s. The Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1949, when Santa pulled in to Union Station and rode his sleigh into downtown near Foley’s. This holiday tradition still goes on today, and highlights Houston’s wonderful community.

MORE: How does a full-time traveling RV family celebrate the holidays?

Northern Arizona

Photo credit: Anite Ritenour/Flickr

If you’re anywhere in the Southwest, take a road trip to this quaint and lovely town in Northern Arizona. Jerome is the best place to go if you’re looking to get away from it all. It’s quiet and has that small town feel complete with candy stores, antique shops, and comforting diners. On Thanksgiving Day, enjoy a traditional turkey dinner at The Asylum Restaurant. And don’t forget to hit up the Verde Valley wineries while you’re enjoying the dessert, and be sure to travel an hour north to view the red rocks of Sedona and participate in the Annual Sedona Turkey Trot 5K.