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14 Unforgettable Thanksgiving Destinations for Families in 2024: Creating Cherished Memories Together

Are you looking to create unforgettable memories with your family this Thanksgiving?

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to plan a special getaway. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a mix of both, there are numerous destinations that cater to families during this festive time.

In this article, we will explore the 14 best Thanksgiving destinations for families, where you can enjoy quality time together and create cherished experiences that will last a lifetime.

14 Best Thanksgiving Destinations for Families

Thanksgiving Destinations for Families

Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together and express gratitude for the blessings in their lives. It’s also an opportunity to embark on a memorable vacation that allows everyone to unwind and enjoy each other’s company.

The following destinations offer a variety of activities, attractions, and events that are perfect for families during the Thanksgiving season.

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1. New York City, New York

There’s something magical about spending Thanksgiving in the bustling streets of New York City.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a highlight of the holiday, featuring giant balloons, festive floats, and captivating performances.

Families can also ice skate at Rockefeller Center, visit world-famous museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and explore iconic landmarks such as Central Park and Times Square.

2. Orlando, Florida

With its warm weather and abundance of family-friendly attractions, Orlando is an excellent choice for a Thanksgiving getaway.

Theme parks like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando offer special holiday events and entertainment.

You can also explore the Kennedy Space Center, enjoy outdoor adventures at the Everglades, or relax at one of the many beautiful beaches nearby.

3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Nestled in the picturesque Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg provides a charming and cozy setting for a family Thanksgiving retreat.

Take a scenic drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, go hiking or horseback riding on the numerous trails, or experience the stunning beauty of Cades Cove.

The city itself offers delicious southern cuisine, quaint shops, and a vibrant arts and crafts scene.

4. San Diego, California

If you’re seeking a Thanksgiving destination with beautiful weather and a laid-back vibe, San Diego is an excellent choice.

Families can enjoy the famous San Diego Zoo, visit LEGOLAND California, or spend a day exploring Balboa Park, which offers museums, gardens, and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

The city’s stunning beaches, such as Coronado Beach and La Jolla Cove, provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and outdoor fun.

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5. Washington, D.C.

Thanksgiving in the nation’s capital offers a unique blend of history, culture, and festive celebrations.

Take a stroll along the National Mall and visit iconic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Families can also explore the fascinating museums of the Smithsonian Institution, attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and marvel at the beautiful autumn foliage in Rock Creek Park.

6. Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s vibrant atmosphere and diverse attractions make it an exciting destination for a Thanksgiving getaway.

Take a cruise along the Chicago River, visit the Art Institute of Chicago, or marvel at the breathtaking views from the Willis Tower Skydeck.

The city’s Millennium Park offers ice skating and festive events during the holiday season, creating a magical experience for families.

7. Asheville, North Carolina

For a tranquil and picturesque Thanksgiving escape, consider Asheville in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Families can explore the stunning Biltmore Estate, hike along the scenic trails of the Great Smoky Mountains, or enjoy a relaxing drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The city itself is known for its vibrant arts scene, local breweries, and farm-to-table dining options.

8. Boston, Massachusetts

With its rich history and charming neighborhoods, Boston provides a delightful backdrop for a family Thanksgiving adventure.

Walk the Freedom Trail and discover landmarks like the Paul Revere House and the USS Constitution Museum.

Take a swan boat ride in the Public Garden, explore the New England Aquarium, or catch a sporting event at Fenway Park. Boston’s renowned restaurants also serve delectable Thanksgiving feasts.

9. Williamsburg, Virginia

Step back in time and celebrate Thanksgiving in Colonial Williamsburg, where history comes to life.

Families can witness reenactments of the first Thanksgiving, explore the living history museum, and enjoy traditional feasts at historic taverns.

Visit Jamestown Settlement, the American Revolution Museum, or take a scenic drive along the Colonial Parkway to experience the beauty and heritage of the region.

10. New Orleans, Louisiana

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, music, and culinary delights of New Orleans during Thanksgiving.

Explore the French Quarter, listen to live jazz music, and savor the city’s famous Creole and Cajun cuisine.

Take a steamboat cruise along the Mississippi River, visit the Audubon Zoo, or participate in the Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Day Parade, a beloved local tradition.

11. Santa Claus, Indiana

For a whimsical and enchanting Thanksgiving experience, visit Santa Claus, Indiana. This charming town embraces the holiday spirit throughout the year.

Families can enjoy Christmas-themed attractions such as Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa’s Candy Castle, and Santa’s Stables.

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Santa himself and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

12. Branson, Missouri

Known as the “Live Entertainment Capital of the World,” Branson offers a variety of shows, attractions, and natural beauty for families to enjoy during Thanksgiving.

Watch captivating performances at the numerous theaters, explore the scenic beauty of Table Rock Lake, or take a ride on the Branson Scenic Railway.

Silver Dollar City, an amusement park with a holiday-themed festival, is also a must-visit during this time.

13. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

For families seeking a beachside Thanksgiving getaway, Myrtle Beach offers sun, sand, and a wealth of activities.

Stroll along the boardwalk, visit Ripley’s Aquarium, or take a thrilling ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.

The area is also known for its golf courses, shopping outlets, and delicious seafood restaurants, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

14. Plymouth, Massachusetts

What better place to celebrate Thanksgiving than in the historic town of Plymouth, where the Pilgrims first landed?

Explore the living history museum at Plimoth Patuxet, visit the Mayflower II, and learn about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Take a scenic harbor cruise, indulge in a traditional Thanksgiving feast, and soak in the rich heritage and natural beauty of the area.


Thanksgiving is a special time together with loved ones and create lasting memories. These 14 destinations offer a range of experiences for families, from historical and cultural exploration to thrilling adventures and relaxation. Whether you choose the excitement of New York City or the tranquility of Asheville, each destination guarantees a memorable Thanksgiving getaway for the whole family.


What is the best time to book a Thanksgiving family vacation?

It’s advisable to book your Thanksgiving family vacation at least a few months in advance to secure the best deals and availability, especially for popular destinations.

Are there kid-friendly activities available at these destinations?

Yes, all the mentioned destinations offer a wide range of kid-friendly activities and attractions that are perfect for families.

Are there vegetarian or vegan Thanksgiving meal options available?

Many restaurants and resorts in these destinations offer vegetarian and vegan Thanksgiving meal options. It’s recommended to check with the specific establishments beforehand to ensure they cater to your dietary preferences.

Can I find affordable accommodation options for families?

Yes, there are various accommodation options available to suit different budgets, including family-friendly hotels, vacation rentals, and resorts. It’s advisable to book in advance and compare prices to find the best deals.

How can I make the most of my Thanksgiving family vacation?

Plan ahead and create a flexible itinerary that includes a mix of activities and downtime. Involve the whole family in decision-making and prioritize experiences that cater to everyone’s interests and preferences. Remember to embrace the holiday spirit and enjoy quality time together as a family.