Contrary to popular belief, not all Thanksgiving travel is a nightmare of traffic jams, delayed flights and crowded airports. If you plan wisely, it can actually be the best time to visit many popular tourist destinations while the masses are heading home for the extra long weekend. Senior editor at SmarterTravel.com, Christine Sarkis, says, “[Y]ou can often find last-minute deals to popular tourist destinations that simply aren’t as busy during the more typically home-for-the-holidays Thanksgiving period.”
And sometimes the best Thanksgiving vacations don’t involve a marathon of cooking, overeating, football and family tension. If you just want to get away from it all, here are 10 fantastic Thanksgiving travel ideas.
1. Washington D.C.
Our nation’s capitol has tons of fun and educational activities all year round — the holidays just make it a little more fun. Check out some of the incredible museums and monuments on the National Mall. Enjoy a delicious dinner at one of the many restaurants that stay open for Thanksgiving and be sure to make time to visit Season’s Greetings at the U.S. Botanical Gardens which opens November 26.
Read Related: How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Far From Home
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is a truly breathtaking Scandinavian city. It’s known for its soothing hot springs and stunning Northern Lights tour. Thanks to WowAir — “Iceland’s most punctual airline.” — tickets are cheaper than ever.
3. Disney World • Orlando, FL
Disney World doesn’t qualify as one of those tourist spots that are less crowded on Thanksgiving — in fact it’s one of the park’s busiest weeks. However, that’s because they’ve got so many fun holiday activities and kids absolutely love it. Undercover Tourist has a great planning guide to help you make the most of your trip.
4. New York, NY
Nothing compares to Thanksgiving in the Big Apple. Obviously the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a must-see. Then you can get some serious Christmas shopping done on Black Friday.
5. Plymouth, MA
Now this Thanksgiving travel idea really takes you to the holiday’s roots and you can believe Plymouth pulls out all the stops. It’s fun, educational and the whole city gets involved so there’s non-stop entertainment.
6. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Jet Blue has some awesome vacation packages for beautiful San Juan. Chilling on the beach and soaking up the sun is the exact opposite of a stressful family dinner.
7. Savannah, GA
The weather is still gorgeous in November in this charming Southern city but it’s actually one of their slower times so you can get great deals. Stroll through the historic neighborhoods, hit the beach at Tybee Island, then go nuts snapping up major Black Friday bargains at Tanger Outlet’s Moonlight Madness.
8. Royal Caribbean Cruise
Royal Caribbean has super cheap Thanksgiving cruises from Fort Lauderdale to Cozumel, Mexico. All you need to do is kick back, relax and take in the crystal blue Caribbean Sea.
9. Galapagos Islands
Yes, there are even Thanksgiving deals in the natural paradise that is the Galapagos. This is a trip that should be on everyone’s bucket list and it’s an unparalleled educational experience for kids.
10. Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas may not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about family Thanksgiving travel but there are plenty of PG activities. Not surprisingly, this is a slower time for Sin City so there are stellar deals to be had.