If you’ve never spent a Thanksgiving away from home, perhaps this is the year you’ll consider packing your bags for the holiday. And if you’re wondering where to go, there may be no better option than a destination resort, where you’ll be thankful for the comfort, convenience, and family fun offered on the property. When it comes to Thanksgiving getaways, these five resorts can’t be beat, offering everything from eight-course holiday feasts to family Olympics. If you’re looking for the recipe for the perfect Thanksgiving this year, forget about meal planning and book a stay at one of these outstanding resorts.
Where: Westerly, Rhode Island
The chilly winds off the Atlantic are no match for the warmth emanating from Ocean House, a destination beach resort that keeps its doors open and fireplaces lit year-round. The iconic Victorian hotel has a long history in the area, dating back to 1868. The original structure was demolished in 2005 to make way for the newly rebuilt Ocean House, completed in 2010 with 49 rooms and 23 suites plus a deluxe 12,000-square-foot retreat. Thanksgiving at the resort is an indulgent holiday weekend of food and spirits, with three dining options for the big meal including an expansive buffet ($78 per person, $35 for children 4–12), a more relaxed three-course meal ($74 per person), and sophisticated dining at Seasons ($90 per person), where a four-course holiday meal includes foie gras, rabbit, and slow-roasted turkey. The weekend festivities continue the following day with a special children’s tea time with Mary Poppins ($38 per person, $22 for children), and Saturday’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
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PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Rhode Island Travel Guide
Sea Island Resort
Where: Sea Island, Georgia
An expansive resort on the coast of Georgia, Sea Island Resort inhabits the entirety of its namesake island, a gated community only accessible to hotel guests and club members. Accommodations on the island range from classic luxury found at The Cloister, Sea Island's main property, to private cottages and a sporting lodge. Expect to be wowed by Sea Island’s transformation for Thanksgiving, as festive décor and accents from the fall harvest canvas the grounds. Delivering a feast that will satisfy the most demanding gourmands, Sea Island’s three upscale restaurants diversify their offerings; the Georgian Room has a stately atmosphere and will serve a pre-fixe holiday menu ($150 per person); Tavola the resort’s upscale Italian eatery, serves à la carte Italian twists on American classics (mains start at $28); and live music and a wood-burning fireplace set the scene at the romantic Colt & Alison (mains start at $45). Activities for the whole family fill every hour of the holiday weekend ,with fun traditions including the Turkey Day Family Olympics, the Burn Off That Turkey 5K Race, and the resort’s annual tree lighting on the day after Thanksgiving.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Georgia Travel Guide
The Grand Del Mar
Where: San Diego, California
A Mediterranean-inspired property on the Pacific Ocean, The Grand Del Mar brings sophisticated holiday style to San Diego’s Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. A stay in one of the resort’s 249 rooms will get you access to the world-class dining experience at Addison ($215 per person), where an eight-course Thanksgiving meal includes king crab, caviar, and a salt-roasted turkey. For something more casual, Amaya offers a three-course Thanksgiving-inspired meal ($95 per person) with hearty classics including mushroom velouté and roasted turkey with brioche stuffing. Throughout the holiday weekend, the resort welcomes its family guests to the join the Explorer’s Club on the Aria Lawn, where lawn games, face painting, music, and more keep the family entertained.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s San Diego Travel Guide
Where: Walland, Tennessee
A resort best enjoyed with knife and fork in hand, Blackberry Farm is an all-inclusive culinary retreat that has attracted gastronomes to Great Smoky Mountains National Park since 1976. Expect a host of activities and themed events around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, starting with the annual turkey fry lunch featuring the farm’s famous biscuits and peanut soup. For the grand evening meal, reserve ahead to enjoy the refined, farm-fresh cuisine at The Barn (included in room rate), the resort’s signature restaurant. The restaurant takes it style cues from the resort, fusing rustic wooden finishes with a contemporary vibe, creating a stunning atmosphere within the cavernous barn with the help of candlelight. When it comes to the grand meal, expect farm-fresh turkey paired with selections from the resort’s cellar containing 180,000 bottles of wine. The weekend continues with the 5K Turkey Trot, family game night, and a field game of flag football to offset some of the caloric decadence. (Note: For Thanksgiving, Blackberry Farm has a five-night minimum stay in one of their 69 guest rooms.)
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park Travel Guide
Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
The man-made wonder of the Cheyenne Mountains, The Broadmoor spans more than 5,000 acres of prime Colorado countryside in Colorado Springs. The resort fills many of those acres with 779 guest accommodations, ranging from rooms to private cottages to brownstones. Traditions from home are maintained as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is broadcast in The Broadmoor’s plush and cozy movie theater, starting early at 7 am. Four dining options feature holiday fare on Thanksgiving at the resort, with La Taverne (mains average $35) serving the region’s finest steaks and seafood, authentic Italian cuisine at Ristorante Del Lago (mains average $22), English pub food at the Golden Been (mains average at $24) and New American fare at Summit (mains average at $28). The Friday following Thanksgiving kicks the holiday season into full gear as Santa and his reindeers make a visit to the resort followed by the annual White Lights ceremony, where 700,000 strands of light illuminate the property on Saturday.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Colorado Springs Travel Guide