If you’re looking for Thanksgiving getaways for families, here are 8 resorts across the country to consider for your holiday gatherings. With the help of Traveling Moms, these resorts include different sleeping options to accommodate various family sizes and plenty of activities for hosting your multi-generational family holiday while keeping everyone in your party happy.
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8 Best Thanksgiving Getaways for Families
1. Alisal Guest Ranch, Santa Barbara, CA
2. Sea Island, Sea Island, GA
3. Paws Up Resort, Greenough, MT
4. Sanderling Resort, Outer Banks, NC
5. The Osterhoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, WI
6. Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, OR
7. Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, VA
8. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, PA
The Thanksgiving Day weekend is the most traveled long weekend of the year. But I have a confession. With the rush and difficulty of actually getting there and/or getting the house ready for family, I lose some of my steam when it comes to cooking dinner. To make life simpler, my extended family (15-20 people) is trying something slightly different. We are considering a Thanksgiving family getaway that can host us all.
What to Look for in Thanksgiving Getaways
Knowing all the different members of my family, here are the most important things I’m looking for in a resort to host my family:
- Activities that appeal multi-generationally. With ages ranging from my baby boomer parents to toddler niece, as a family we have almost every decade covered.
- Different options for sleeping rooms. Each individual family has their own needs for space and amenities they require.
- Unique holiday experiences. It is a long weekend getaway but it is also a Thanksgiving family getaway, and we want to have some traditional aspects, like a full-service Thanksgiving Dinner. A bonus would be Christmas holiday traditions like the Friday arrival of Santa or
- Easily accessible by airplane. Because my family lives everywhere from the Southeast to California, I didn’t limit the location. But I did rule out locations that would require difficult travel such as commuter planes or long car rides from an airport.
Where to Go for Thanksgiving?
With the criteria set, the challenge for me now is where to go for Thanksgiving? I used my fellow Traveling Mom’s experience as a starting point for our family vacation ideas. Here are a few of the resorts that I felt would be a good fit for making our Thanksgiving family getaway the best family vacation.
Good news is that if we don’t make it this holiday, we can make plans for the future since these resorts are great year round.
1. Alisal Guest Ranch – Santa Barbara, CA
The Alisal Guest Ranch And Resort in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, right outside of Santa Barbara is a Thanksgiving tradition for lots of families. The 10,500-acre ranch offers more than 73 cottages, over 50 miles of horseback riding trails, two golf courses, and a 100-acre spring-fed lake.
The cottages range from studios sleeping 3 up to 1 bedroom sleeping 5 and can be combined for larger groups.
Some of the highlights of a visit include egg gathering (from live chickens!), horseback riding, family bingo, talent shows, and the Breakfast Ride. The latter is riding on a hay wagon or horse to an adobe for an outdoor breakfast over the campfire.
Gwen, Healthy Traveling Mom, has even more details for the Alisal Guest Ranch Resort.
2. Sea Island – Sea Island, GA
The Sea Island provides a formal experience and welcomes children to experience classic games. Source: Sea Island Resort
Sea Island is right off the coast of Georgia, between Savannah, GA and Jacksonville, FL and the resort harken back to an era of formal elegance. The close proximity to both cities means that we’ll have plenty of travel options and additional areas to explore. Accommodations range from rooms at the Inn at Sea Island through seven bedroom homes for rental.
I love that their holiday traditions include everyone for a formal Thanksgiving Day Dinner before the grand Christmas tree lighting on Friday evening. My children will even have their own fun in Camp Cloister with the Turkey Tie-Dye experience and kid’s night out program.
3. Paws Up Resort – Greenough, MT
Active Traveling Mom, Kimberly shared her family’s adventure in Montana and it made me want to visit right away! Since as a whole we’re not quite as active as Kimberly and her family, The Resort at Paws Up seems like a great choice. This luxury ranch-resort features options of staying in a vacation home with a private butler and chef services. (The resort also offers glamping in luxury tents from mid-May to mid-October.)
This Thanksgiving family getaway offers dedicated children’s programming and everything that you’d expect from a ranch vacation. A sample of the activities included horseback riding, fly-fishing, river rafting, game nights, paintball wars, and even chuck wagon rides.
During the week of Thanksgiving, enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day Festival. Choose from a grand Thanksgiving Dinner at resort restaurant Pomp or privately served in a luxury home prepared by the executive chef.
The holiday weekend has an amazing line-up of special programs; among them: crafting, spirit tastings, and a mini-rodeo. With all of these activities, you can’t help but create life-long memories.
4. Sanderling Resort – Outer Banks, NC
The Sanderling Resort in the Outer Banks of North Carolina is the only full-service resort in the Outer Banks. This resort provides the luxury with options ranging from vacation house rentals to single rooms in their Inn. Activities range from indulging in spa services, horseback riding on the beach, guided kayak tours, and even a vineyard tasting tour.
Because the Outer Banks area is the home of the first flight, they have a number of activities that allow families to explore the air.
When parents are looking to have quiet time, they offer in-room babysitting services and drop-in services at a child development center.
During the week of Thanksgiving, they will host a special Thanksgiving dinner as well as evenings around the fire-pit with their dedicated s’mores cart.
5. The Osthoff Resort – Elkhart Lake, WI
The Osthoff has condos of up to 3 bedrooms available. The Osthoff offers a variety of lakefront activities including fishing, canoeing and guided cruises that showcase the natural beauty of fall in the area. Their spa is one of the Top 100 Spas by Spas of America, and the L’ecole de la Maison Cooking School is offers special classes for amateur chefs.
For their Thanksgiving brunch buffet, part of the bounty will come from their onsite 2-acre organic garden. This is a perfect opportunity to explain farm-to-table for my children.
6. Sunriver Resort – Sunriver, OR
Renting a house in the Sunriver Resort was perfect for Military TravelingMom, Meagan and her family. During the holiday season, Sunriver Resort hosts their Annual Traditions Celebration with more than 150 different activities and events beginning Thanksgiving. They’re even hosting a Grand Illumination Parade with a tree lighting and fireworks.
They offer plenty of options for different accommodations for families. The onsite activities range from outdoor fun include snowshoeing tours, holiday traditions, gingerbread cookie decorating, and full spa treatments.
7. Kingsmill Resort – Williamsburg, VA
Kingsmill Resort was the location of the first Thanksgiving in 1619 and would make a great choice this year as well. The Williamsburg, Virginia area resort is steeped in traditions and history while offering the most modern and luxurious accommodations.
The activities for families include tennis, fishing in the James River, hiking, and a full-service spa. Kingsmill has a kids program and dedicated Kids Night Out programming. Shuttles are provided to the nearby Busch Garden’s theme park and Colonial Williamsburg to explore more of the area as Texas TravelingMom Rebecca and her family did.
8. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – Farmington, PA
The Nemacolin Woodlands Resorts is just an hour outside of Pittsburgh and offers a true resort over 2,000 acres. A wide range of accommodations includes three different hotels, townhouses and rental houses that can sleep up to 20 people.
Choose from over 70 different activities ranging from the serene. Tour the art collection of more than 1,000 pieces or the most extreme by hitting the expert level slopes at Mystic Mountain. Other unique activities on-site are dog sledding, wine tastings, or Wildlife Safari tour. Or how about a little pampering for ages 5-15 at The Grove Kidz Spa?
For Thanksgiving Day, this resort host a formal dinner. Your Thanksgiving getaway will be more amazing with 5 or 7 courses at Lautrec’s, one of only 27 Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond restaurants in the world.
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What are your favorite Thanksgiving getaways for families? Have you been to any of the resorts on the list? If so, what do you think, and are they worth the trip? Please share with us in the comments below.