What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? If you’re dreaming of escaping the kitchen and running away for the four-day weekend, you’re not alone. Every year, more families choose to get away for the long Thanksgiving weekend, as kid-friendly resorts nationwide combine a slew of fun activities with the chance to leave the cooking and cleaning to someone else. Here are six great earlybird Thanksgiving getaways we’ve spotted at family-friendly resorts, with more to follow in the coming weeks.
Where: Pinehurst, NC
Why: Because this hallowed North Carolina golf resort is surprisingly kid-friendly, and Thanksgiving weekend offers myriad opportunities for families to have fun together. The weekend roster includes family movie nights, wagon rides, ornament-making, gingerbread-house-decorating, “Family Fairways” golf clinics, and a Thanksgiving brunch and dinner on Thursday. On Wednesday night, you can attend an on-site performance by the Carolina Philharmonic ($25 for adults, $10 for kids 17 and under).
The Deal: The Thanksgiving Social Package starts at $179 per person and includes overnight accommodations, dinner and breakfast, and most activities. Kids 12 and under eat, stay, and golf for free with an adult.
Alta Crystal Resort
Where: Greenwater, WA
Why: Because this family-friendly wilderness retreat near Mount Rainier National Park was named by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the 10 great national park lodges and puts on a doozy of a holiday weekend for families. There are Thanksgiving crafts, hiking or snowshoeing, and an evening feast followed by s’mores around a bonfire. There’s also Friday-night karaoke and another bonfire on Saturday night.
The Deal: With the Thanksgiving Eat & Stay Special, you pay $269 a night Thursday through Saturday and get Wednesday night for free, plus a traditional holiday Thanksgiving feast on Thursday evening. Use promo code EATSTAY4. A two-night special is also available.
KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort
Where: Gurnee, IL
Why: Because Chicagoans can get to this Florida Keys-themed indoor waterpark in a little over an hour and spend the holiday weekend enjoying waterslides, a wave pool, and lazy river. On dry land, grown-ups can relax in the Paradise Mist Spa while the younger crowd can win prizes in the 8,000 square-foot arcade, do crafts in the Leapin’ Lizards kids club or even get their nails done at the kids’ spa. The weekend starts off with a Sunset Parade, and a tree-lighting ceremony to celebrate Santa’s arrival. Families that stay through Sunday can also join Santa in a special breakfast buffet.
The Deal: The Thanksgiving at the Cove special starts at $169.95 a night and includes accommodations, waterpark passes, and Thanksgiving buffet.
Where: Cooperstown, NY
Why: Because this luxurious and historic grand hotel is offering a huge roster of activities for the whole family over the long Thanksgiving weekend. There will be clown performances, nightly kids’ movies, ghost stories, cookie decorating, and other age-appropriate festivities including family hayrides through Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Santa is scheduled to make a special appearance at breakfast on Saturday morning.
The Deal: The two-night, nearly all-inclusive Thanksgiving Family Weekend Package starts at $615 per couple and includes lodging, activities, plus two dinners and two breakfasts for each guest. Add $160 extra for kids ages 12-18, $130 for kids ages 5-11; free for kids 4 and under.
Where: Wheeling, WV
Why: Because this picturesque golf resort and spa an hour southwest of Pittsburgh is a mini-city in itself, with a planetarium, glass museum, and even a 30-acre zoo. Every November, the resort unveils its famous Festival of Lights, with over 70 holiday-themed LED light displays.
The Deal: The three-night Thanksgiving Package starts at $476 per couple and includes a welcome reception, daily breakfast, a vehicle pass to the festival of lights, and many activities. Add $12 extra per night for each kid ages 12 and up, $8 for kids ages 3-11; free for kids 2 and under.
Where: Pismo Beach, CA
Why: Because this hotel perched high on the beach bluffs of California’s central coast offers a compelling mix of mild temperatures, good rates, and easy access to local wine country, Hearst Castle, plus a local children’s museum and zoo. A week of Thanksgiving festivities includes s’mores around the firepit, the Thursday feast, kids’ club activities for the kids, and wine-and-cheese tastings on Friday and Saturday.
The Deal: The three-night Thanksgiving Family Vacation package starts at $189 a night, including a guestroom upgrade and a locally baked apple pie for you to take home. For $20 you can add daily breakfast buffet for two, while kids 5 and under eat free.