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Unique Thanksgiving Getaways To Try This Fall

Unique Thanksgiving Getaways To Try This Fall

Give thanks and take the family on a unique getaway centered on gratitude. Here are the best places to visit during Thanksgiving. Team


6 min read

November 22, 2023

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 even just being alive —the list goes on and on. That's why Thanksgiving as a holiday connects with so many people. It's a time to reflect and appreciate what we have.

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


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, stroll 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.

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

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, boasting slopes like you wouldn’t believe.

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. Here, it’s all about the experience; lounge in comfortable chairs and munch on gourmet popcorn as you lose yourself in the big screen.

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

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 ambiance 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 not over those Halloween vibes, head to The Mystery Spot for a dose of intrigue and enjoy the gravity-defying demonstrations. And don’t forget to stroll the legendary Santa Cruz Boardwalk, where holiday fun such as miniature golf, roller coasters, laser tag, and arcade games never seems to cease.

Bring your significant other to Santa Cruz for a relaxing yet fun-filled Thanksgiving adventure by the coast.

San Francisco

The City by the Bay is one of the best places to visit in California this fall; we didn’t make the rules. Feel the wind brush past your cheeks as you wander through neighborhoods oozing with history 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, by all means, a must. Plus, you should totally stop by Golden Gate Park for hiking, biking, and fall 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.

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

Yosemite National Park

One of the best outdoorsy experiences you can have in California’s national parks is a Yosemite Thanksgiving. Normally brimming with visitors, Yosemite isn't as crowded in the fall, meaning you’ll have the chance to enjoy its magnificent waterfalls and steep granite cliffs without bumping elbows with anyone.

When you go to Yosemite National Park in the fall, you're likely to have mild weather, making autumn one of the nicest times to visit.

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Thanksgiving Getaways In Southern California

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. Feast with the family on a lavish, three-course Thanksgiving meal featuring all of the traditional trimmings at some of the fantastic restaurants in this seaside city.

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

Catalina Island

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 golf at Golf Gardens before heading to Zip Line Eco Tours for an exhilarating ride across Descanso Canyon. 

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

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.

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.

Palm Springs

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.

Head to the buzzy, desert-chic town of Palm Springs for major mid-century modern aesthetics and a laid-back Thanksgiving.


Like an island that’s a stone’s throw away from the city, Coronado packs in fun for all preferences— this means you don’t have to stay married to one Thanksgiving vacation idea. Everything in Coronado feels like it was built to be a part of a private resort; perfect beaches, sparkling enclaves, and countless eateries. We recommend staying at the island’s crown jewel, the incomparable Hotel Del Coronado. Built in 1888 and topped by russet red, castle-like turrets, this hotel will be the perfect place to unwind as a family, with the sound of the waves crashing in the distance.

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