You might need a year off from the family (or in-laws)… You might just want a vacation (summer already seems like it ended 800 years ago)… You might loathe turkey (let’s be honest, it’s SO RARELY good)… Whatever your reasoning, this might be the year you skip the traditional family Thanksgiving meal and treat-yo-self to a lil getaway. After all, it is a four-day weekend for most, and late November is a great time of year to take a breather. Here are four U.S. spots to consider as Thanksgiving alternative travel destinations for this year—or next.
Beach Alternative: Hawaii
Head to the 50th state to eat sushi instead of turkey and shaved ice in place of pumpkin pie. Hawaii’s five main islands—The Big Island, Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Lanai—have different vibes, pros and cons, and are relatively easy to get between, so you could fit in two or even three to a week-long trip (The Big Island has crazy volcanos; Maui has whale-watching; Kauai has Jurassic Park landscapes and killer beaches).
Don’t miss: The annual Waikiki Holiday Parade, held the day after Thanksgiving, honors Pearl Harbor heroes and survivors.
Cultural Alternative: Santa Fe
The turquoise jewelry and palo santo–burning capital of New Mexico (and maybe all of the Southwest), Santa Fe feels stuck in time—in the best possible way. Though set in the desert, its high elevation makes for cool, sometimes even cold, temperatures in late November… all the better for snuggling up in front of a traditional kiva (clay) fireplace.
Don’t miss: The Santa Fe main plaza hosts the first Christmas event of the season on the Friday after Thanksgiving each year. A vintage fire truck parades Santa and Mrs. Claus around and adorableness ensues, complete with spiced hot chocolate. Plus, the Palace of the Governors hosts local artists who sell their crafts and jewelry. (Turquoise jewelry can be chic.) For more, the local Santa Fe Reporter is chock-full of great recommendations.
Glam Alternative: Miami
Why wouldn’t you want to watch the Thanksgiving Day football games on a flatscreen TV in a poolside cabana in Miami? Thought so. Miami really starts to gear up for the season in November, just in time for Miami Basel, which starts the week after Thanksgiving.
Don’t miss: Miami has become a restaurant capital and is giving other cities a run for their money. New favorites include elevated drunk food emporium Cracked and taqueria Taquiza. Plus, don’t miss classics like Michael’s Genuine; Mandolin Aegean Bistro and Joe’s Stone Crab.
Spiritual Alternative: Sedona, Arizona
Heading to Sedona, Arizona for Thanksgiving means you’re putting yourself first. For a change. Instead of gorging yourself, listening to age-old family woes and rants, and sleeping on a lumpy pull-out sofa, rock up to Sedona, known for its spiritual and healing powers, and take a few days to hike, explore, meditate and do some yoga. Just do you, and maybe do it solo.
Don’t miss: Treating yourself to a spa treatment. Yes, some of the area’s spas are expensive but there are also reasonably priced spots that specialize in chakra alignment, massage, reflexology and more.
Moral of the story… Treat yourself to a vacay—and let LugLess handle your luggage—instead of Black Friday madness and you’ll feel better about not only yourself, but life in general and the future of our society (is there anything as frightening as adults physically fighting over electronics?) Let us know where else we should consider heading as Thanksgiving alternative travel destinations, and travel safe, you turkeys!