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Unique Thanksgiving Getaways To Try This Fall

Unique Thanksgiving Getaways To Try This Fall

By California.com
November 07, 2020

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe.

'Tis the season of giving, and despite the craziness of 2020, there's so much to be grateful for. Bonding with loved ones, gazing at gorgeous California fall foliage, staying cozy inside with a great book, and most importantly, just being alive—the list goes on and on.

This Thanksgiving, why not take the family for a weekend trip centered on gratitude? Give thanks on the beach, dine like a gourmand in town, hike your way through enchanting forests—there are so many ways to let the universe know you appreciate its existence. Here are the best Thanksgiving getaways to experience this November.

Thanksgiving Getaways In Northern California

For a lovely weekend full of laughter and love, head to Mendocino. Spend the evenings huddled together, playing games in this quaint NorCal town.

Mendocino, CA

Mendocino is one of the most beautiful towns in Northern California and an ideal spot for a family Thanksgiving weekend getaway. Wander through the streets lined with Victorian buildings and charming cottages, walk along the coastline, hike the Russian Gulch Waterfall Loop, and explore Mendocino Headlands State Park. Stop by the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens for the Festival of Lights—a show that's all about the shining colors.

Nature is found at every corner, making it the focal point of this trip—the family will return refreshed and spiritually healed. To fully immerse yourself in Mendocino's laid-back vibes, stay at the MacCallum House Inn and enjoy a lovely Victorian-themed getaway and a scrumptious Thanksgiving dinner. If you're in need of more seclusion, book your stay at one of the best places to rent a cabin for Thanksgiving.

For the ultimate Thanksgiving getaway, make the trip to Lake Tahoe, one of the best places to admire California's gorgeous fall foliage.

Lake Tahoe

A popular year-round destination, Lake Tahoe is one of the best Thanksgiving getaways for families—especially if your kin lives for the ski season. Starting in mid-November, Tahoe is one of the ideal California mountain towns for your next outdoor adventure if you're in the mood to hit the slopes.

You can also feel the ice beneath your feet at the Northstar Village Ice Skating Rink before spending the evening enjoying a new film at The Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema. It's all about the experience; lounge in comfortable chairs and munch on gourmet popcorn as you watch the big screen.

Plan your unique family Thanksgiving getaway at the upscale Granlibakken Tahoe, where you can live it up and indulge in a family-style Thanksgiving feast with the traditional favorites.

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Bring your S.O. to Santa Cruz for a relaxing yet fun-filled adventure by the coast.

Santa Cruz

Looking to experience a romantic fall getaway this Thanksgiving? Santa Cruz is the place to be. The quintessential California coastal town boasts a relaxed ambience and ample activities suitable for newly cuffed lovers. Plan a mountain bike ride or coastal nature walk at Wilder Ranch State Park to get in touch with your adventurous side. If you're still feeling those Halloween vibes, head to The Mystery Spot for a dose of intrigue; while you're at this mysterious California attraction, enjoy the gravity-defying demonstrations. Stroll the legendary Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, too, where holiday fun—such as miniature golf, roller-coasters, laser tag, and arcade games—await. Book your room at the Dream Inn Santa Cruz for an elegant stay by the beach.

For a quintessential holiday in the city, visit San Francisco and enjoy the tourist attractions along with the hidden gems.

San Francisco

The City by the Bay is one of the best places to visit in California this fall. So, take a break from reality and head to San Francisco. Feel the wind brush past your cheeks as you wander through historically significant neighborhoods and shop 'till you drop at Union Square for those Christmas gifts. A visit to the city’s most notable landmark—the Golden Gate Bridge—is a must; stop by Golden Gate Park for hiking, biking, and picnicking.

Your holiday getaway wouldn't be complete without a visit to the outdoor ice skating rink to work off those scrumptious Thanksgiving meals (we're all about the side dishes). The Holiday Rink at Embarcadero Center, Union Square Ice Rink, and Winter Park at Civic Center are all wonderful options. Book your room at The Huntington Hotel, San Francisco, and feast this Thanksgiving at the Presidio Social Club.

Thanksgiving Getaways In Southern California

In need of a SoCal beach vacay? Head to San Diego to soak up the sun and admire the crashing surf.

San Diego

In dire need of sun-kissed skin, tan lines, and endless hours of surfin'? If so, San Diego is the place to go this Thanksgiving. In addition to its picture-perfect beaches, world-renowned attractions, and historical landmarks, San Diego is always a great Thanksgiving vacation idea. Spend your time at Hotel Del Coronado—much more than just a hotel, this spectacular Victorian-style building is a beachside haven complete with an ice creamery and a taco shack to boot. Feast with the family on a lavish, three-course Thanksgiving meal featuring all of the traditional trimmings.

Spend your Thanksgiving appreciating the stunning scenery and bounty of Catalina Island.

Catalina Island, CA

Start your family fall vacation off right with an exciting hour-long ferry ride off the coast of Southern California. While the weather still feels like it's mid-summer, the seclusion will have you thinking otherwise. The numerous activities at Catalina Island are bonding opportunities with the fam. Live life on the wild side, and stop by Catalina Divers Supply to prepare yourself for a scuba diving and snorkeling adventure. Then, play a round of putt-putt golf at Golf Gardens before heading to Zip Line Eco Tours for an exhilarating ride across Descanso Canyon. For a luxurious stay, book a couple of nights with Hamilton Cove Real Estate and Vacation Rentals.

Explore the many attractions of L.A. while bonding with the family. Feast on a traditional Thanksgiving as you give thanks for life's beauty.

Los Angeles

Go Hollywood or go home this Thanksgiving. Explore the famous sights such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood Sign, famous film locations, world-renowned amusement parks, and exquisite museums. Plan your day in L.A. with your kids just right—unleash energy at Knott’s Berry Farm, be dazzled by the L.A. Zoo Lights, and observe marine life at the Aquarium of the Pacific. For a magical nighttime experience, head to the Descanso Gardens, where a luminescent art installation is all about the holiday vibes.

While lodging options are aplenty in La La Land, the Hollywood Roosevelt offers a classy and elegant twist to your Thanksgiving stay. For the ultimate Thanksgiving feast, head to Craft Los Angeles or Bourbon Steak.

Head to the buzzy, desert-chic town of Palm Springs for a laid-back Thanksgiving.

Palm Springs, California

If you aren’t planning to spend your Thanksgiving locally with home-cooked meals, celebrate Turkey Day this year in Palm Springs with breathtaking views of the San Jacinto Mountains. Take a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to start your weekend getaway at 8,500 feet. Then, head to Living Desert Zoo and Gardens to witness its annual WildLights show; be prepared for a transcendental experience in the safari world. 

Book a suite for the entire family at Ingleside Inn, which features a splendid Thanksgiving menu at the in-house Melyvn’s restaurant. Explore the lovely downtown Palm Springs and end the weekend on a cultural note—the Palm Springs Art Museum awaits you—before making your way back home.

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