Skip the Turkey: 10 Great Getaways for Thanksgiving Weekend
With a bitter presidential race dividing friends and families, celebrating Thanksgiving with loved ones may not be the fun-filled occasion of years past. Or perhaps it's never been a favorite holiday, given all the cooking, cleanup, and family dysfunction. Whatever the motivation, there are plenty of weekend getaway options for those in search of alternatives over the coming holiday.
Washington state is the nation's second-largest wine producer, and visiting the Tri-Cities region in the southeast puts you in driving distance of more than 200 wineries. "Thanksgiving weekend is particularly special time of year to visit. The wineries welcome visitors with special tastings, pricing, and food pairings," says Karisa Saywers, marketing manager for Visit Tri-Cities. There's also plenty of outdoor recreation in the area, including hiking and biking along the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers. The area is known for 300 days of sunshine, moderate temperatures, and low annual rainfall.
Yuma is recognized as the sunniest place on Earth and offers much in the way of outdoor adventure and historic sightseeing. Popular options include a 19th-century frontier ghost town at Castle Dome Mine Museum ($10 for adults, $5 for children) and one of North America's largest masses of inland sand dunes, the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area. For film buffs there's the Yuma Territorial Prison, which appeared in the movie "3:10 to Yuma" ($6 for adults, $3 for youth). Rent a bike at Mr. B's for $25 a day and ride the riverfront, or hike West Wetlands Park for free.
A popular and picturesque mountain retreat, Highlands is a peaceful paradise for lovers of the outdoors. The Nantahala National Forest is known for deep mountain gorges, valleys, and waterfalls. Hiking, fishing, walking tours, gem mining, and mountain biking are just some of the ways visitors enjoy the environment. Highlands is also known for its charming hotels, shopping, culture, and restaurants, five of which have received Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.
Stretch a weekend getaway budget a little further by heading to Canada, where the U.S. dollar is currently worth $1.34 and the country is celebrating its 150th anniversary next year. Toronto "is exploding with new restaurants, chefs, hotels, and entire neighborhoods that have emerged as hotspots," says Vanessa Somarriba, media relations manager for Tourism Toronto. She recommends the Junction neighborhood's restaurant and bar scenes. West Queen West, with unique restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and the city's largest concentration of art galleries, is also not to be missed. (Vogue named it one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world for street style.)