10 Far-from-Home Thanksgiving Escapes
Not visiting the in-laws? Have an adventurous Turkey Day in one of these destinations.
Call your family and tell them you'll see them next month. You know what can't wait until the holidays? A total getaway, booked far from the in-laws and last-minute cranberry sauce-run traffic. Ditch the post-turkey nap (well, not completely—see choice number one) and treat yourself to a whirlwind weekend instead.
Book a flight to Kauai and you’ll spend your holiday surfing, drinking fresh papaya juice, and hiking the trails along the rugged Na Pali Coast. Rent a surfboard at Hanalei Surf Company and hit the break at Hanalei Bay. Refuel afterward with acai bowls at the Aloha Juice Bar. The St. Regis Resort in nearby Princeville serves a proper Thanksgiving feast with a turkey carving station, sushi, and lobster ravioli.
Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree National Park is scorching hot midsummer, but come November, temperatures dip to a more palatable 70 degrees. Pitch a tent and cook a Thanksgiving dinner over the campfire at Hidden Valley Campground, which has walk-to access to some of the park’s classic climbs. Or stay in a vintage Airstream just outside the park entrance at Kate’s Lazy Desert. Get climbing gear and guidebooks at the local climbing shop Nomad Ventures then tackle routes like Double Cross or Sail Away for single-pitch cragging.
If early-season storms nail Bend, Mount Bachelor may have a few trails for skiing and snowboarding by Thanksgiving. If not, the trail running, mountain biking, and climbing are all still good that time of year. Stay at McMenamins’ Old St. Francis School, a former Catholic schoolhouse turned hip lodge with outdoor soaking pools, a movie theater, and on-site restaurant. After playing outside, grab a pint at Deschutes Brewery, which has 19 taps and truffle mac and cheese on the menu.
San Pancho, Mexico
San Pancho is located just outside of the surfing hotspot of Sayulita. You’ll still have easy access to quality surf breaks, jungle treks, and sea kayaking but without the crowds. Plus, in November, cool ocean breezes replace summer humidity. Many of the restaurants in town serve Thanksgiving dinners (check out Maria’s Restaurant, La Ola Rica or Cielo Rojo Organic Bistro). Want to cook? The Mega, the main grocery store, sells turkeys this time of year. Stay at Tailwind Jungle Lodge for your own palapa in the trees.
Tofino, British Columbia
Surfers love Tofino for its serene beauty and laid-back, northwestern feel, and November is as chill as it gets in Tofino. Rent a thick wetsuit and a board at Long Beach Surf Shop and have the break at Cox Bay to yourself. Or get a water taxi to Meares Island and take a hike with views of the surrounding islands. Stay at the Long Beach Lodge, which has an on-site surf school and après-surf ceviche in their Great Room. Want to go shrimping? Hire Bobby Kimoto, the best fishing guide in town, who offers discounted rates in the winter months.
Santa Barbara, California
Burn off that turkey dinner by signing up for the Red Rock 50-mile run (they also have a trail marathon and half marathon) in Santa Barbara’s Santa Ynez Mountains, taking place the Sunday after Thanksgiving. You can camp at the start of the race at the Rancho Oso Guest Ranch or get a courtyard room downtown at The Goodland, which has morning yoga classes and poolside sangria and DJs. Hit up the Santa Barbara farmers’ market for all your mashed potato and pumpkin pie needs.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Spend Thanksgiving at opening day of the thoroughbred racing season at the track in New Orleans—it’s a citywide tradition (and don’t forget to wear a big hat). Sign up for a Honey Island Swamp Tour for alligator sightings through swampy cypress trees or take a kayak tour through Bayou St. John. The turducken originated in Louisiana—get yours for Thanksgiving dinner at the Gourmet Butcher Block. Don’t miss fried oyster poor boys at Parkway Bakery and Tavern.
By Thanksgiving, the Arizona Snowbowl will be open for early season riding and they’ll be making snow on about 60 percent of the mountain, plus Flagstaff still has hiking, trail running, and climbing in late November. Sleep in a yurt at the Flagstaff Nordic Center or get a room at the historic Hotel Weatherford and don’t miss the holiday lights display at the Little America Hotel. Josephine’s Modern American Bistro serves Thanksgiving brunch or stock up on an Arizona-raised turkey for your own Thanksgiving meal at Proper Meats and Provisions.
Loveland and Arapahoe Basin are already open for skiing and riding, so you can bet on good snow conditions for Thanksgiving in Frisco, Colorado. Over Thanksgiving, the area has a Turkey Day 5K race, plus a rail jam and a Santa on a snowcat at Copper Mountain. Have dinner at the new Tavern West for locally sourced meats on a wood-fired grill. If you need to catch up on work for a day, head to Elevate, a new co-working space downtown.
Boca Raton, Florida
You’ll come to Boca Raton, Florida, in November for the beach—surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, reading a book on a beach towel—and the pleasantly sunny weather this time of year, but there are plenty of other things to do. Like free yoga on Saturdays at Sanborn Square, a 5K Turkey Trot, trail running at Quiet Waters Park, or wildlife spotting at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. The Delray Beach Running Company has 6 a.m. group runs on Saturdays that end at the water.