12 Unique Places to Spend Thanksgiving
Whether you’re flying solo, a party of 2 or traveling with relatives in tow, Thanksgiving is about making memories. We chose 12 unique spots guaranteed to serve up a stress-free experience.
Motu Teta, TahitiWant to get as far away from your relatives as possible? We suggest booking Tahiti’s Motu Teta, a private island located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean on the Rangiroa atoll. Activities include doing absolutely nothing (one of our favorite pastimes) or a more adventurous midnight lobster hunt. But don’t get too attached to Mr. Crusty because your private staff will prepare and serve him as your Thanksgiving meal beachside. 960 1280
Your Own Private ArchipelagoSpend the day snorkeling, diving or just relaxing. Not even your Aunt Edna’s bloodhound can find you on Motu Teta. Once your family sees the vacation photos surely they won’t begrudge your escape. 960 1280
Room for 2 or MoreShould you be guilted into bringing along any family, such as your children, you’ll have enough room for up to 10. The island’s accommodations include a private bungalow and a larger main villa, both with sweeping verandas. Otherwise, wash those relatives right out of your hair. 960 1280
Plymouth RocksThose looking to kick it Old School will want to plan a visit to Plymouth, MA, the town that symbolizes our national traditional of giving thanks and eating our faces off. Spend your day at Plimouth Plantation with role-playing pilgrims who reenact events from 17th-century life. The plantation is open from March to the Sunday after Thanksgiving. 960 1280
Plantation VacationFor Thanksgiving there is a seated dinner as well as a serve-yourself buffet with reservations starting in June. If you can’t book a table there are a plenty of other things to do at Plimouth Plantation such as taking a ride on the Mayflower II, a reproduction of one of the ships that landed at Plymouth in 1620. Or pay a visit to the Wampanoag Homesite, a living museum where you are hosted exclusively by Native People descended from Wampanoag and other Native Nations. 960 1280
Casa Marina, Key WestAs hosts of the International Sand Art Competition, Casa Marina launched a unique Thanksgiving tradition befitting of the quirky town that Ernest Hemingway once called home. Each year artists from all over the world create breathtaking sculptures right on the sandy shores of the Waldorf Astoria property. 960 1280
Castles of SandVeteran sculptor Marianne van den Broek founded the competition, which unites artists from places such as Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada and the United States. Guests of Casa Marina with beachfront balconies can watch the sculptures take shape all weekend long. 960 1280
Belle Mont Farm, St. KittsThe Thanksgiving Feast at the Farm is one of the coolest holiday excursions we uncovered. Located on the island of St. Kitts, Belle Mont Farm will host a farm-to-table dinner with over 90% of the meal’s ingredients sourced directly from the farm. One- to 4-bedroom cottages are available and the experience is all-inclusive. 960 1280
Sing for Your SupperThe Belle Mont Farm Feast is held at a gorgeous table in the middle of the property’s organic farm. Guests are both welcome and encouraged to forage for the meal’s bounty alongside the chefs, farmers and fellow travelers. 960 1280
Chef TellThe Belle Mont Farm chefs and farmers will be on hand to help you enjoy your holiday meal and even discuss the ingredients. Expect a lesson in sustainability and organic farming as well, lessons we can all benefit from and for which to be thankful. 960 1280
La Posada, Santa FeNot only do we like the idea of having someone else doing the cooking, but we also like the thought of spending our holiday in a place known for its peaceful surroundings. La Posada in Santa Fe is steps from the capital city’s Historic Square and is partly housed in a structure dating back to the 1880s. Thanksgiving visitors can expect menu offerings with a southwestern flare. 960 1280
Inn & Spa at Loretto, Santa FeChef Marc Quiñones creates incredibly tasty dishes for his guests at Luminaria all year using the freshest ingredients from Santa Fe’s local farmers markets. Holiday guests can choose to indulge in brunch or a prix-fixe dinner in the inn’s peaceful and serene dining room. With temperatures dropping, there could be snow on the ground just in time for your arrival. 960 1280
New York’s Midtown HiltonForget sitting out in the cold! The New York Hilton Midtown has your ringside seat for all the action of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 960 1280
A Suite of SweetsThis Manhattan hotel, located directly on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route, is creating an all-chocolate suite featuring delicacies from truffles and beignets to macaroons by the hotel’s pastry chef as well as master chocolatier, Jacques Torres. They’re also hosting classic, holiday movie screenings in the ballroom and a photo booth complete with holiday-themed props. 960 1280
Bell Book & CandleMore than ever, people want to know where their food is sourced. Diners at the Bell Book & Candle need only to look up. Many of the vegetables, fruits and herbs served by Chef John Mooney are grown in hydroponic towers 6 stories up, on the rooftop of the West Village eatery. Not only will BBC be open on Thanksgiving, but locals can also order to-go meals. 960 1280
Tower of PowerThe food at Manhattan’s Bell Book & Candle is so fresh you might want to slap it. We recommend eating it. And in glorious New York tradition, you can order takeaway and tell everyone you made it yourself. 960 1280
Minton’sTalk about soul food. We love the idea of a collard green salad and roasted turkey marinated in sugar brine, served up with a side of live music. Located in Harlem, legendary Minton’s recently experienced a rebirth and the venue was restored to its former glory. 960 1280
Jazz HandsFor Thanksgiving, Minton’s Harlem will host 3 seatings, all accompanied by live music. If you can’t make the trek for Turkey Day we highly recommend adding this legendary spot to your New York must-see list. 960 1280
Wynn Las VegasThe City of Sin is better known for over-the-top decadence, so it may come as a surprise that Steve Wynn, proprietor of the Wynn Las Vegas, takes a special interest in vegetarian and vegan options on all of his menus. He also has included a low-calorie menu at all of his restaurants as well. 960 1280
Win-WynnWe have it on good authority that Costa di Mare in the Wynn is the place to eat. The menu boasts fresh, flown-in seafood as well as tasty vegan options. It all sounds like a win-win to us. 960 1280
Hotel ZamoraThe Hotel Zamora is the first brand-spanking-new hotel to be built in St. Pete Beach, FL, in 20 years. The Mediterranean-inspired property features a private marina and new 360-degree rooftop lounge with stunning oceanfront views. We suggest ordering up a Thanksgiving picnic basket from the resort’s award-winning restaurant Castile and have it served poolside. 960 1280
Sandwiches by the SeashoreWant a turkey waffle sandwich served to you on the beach? So do we! How about one with fresh oven-roasted turkey breast topped with Grand Marnier cranberry compote? The meal also comes with roasted butternut squash, a Neuske-bacon-and-brussels-sprout salad, a bottle of wine and chocolate, sea-salt truffles. If the tryptophan hasn’t taken over, take a sunset dolphin-watching cruise, which departs from the property’s private marina or have cocktails on the rooftop bar. Put the fun back in dysfunctional. 960 1280
AtlantaThere may be no better place in the South to catch this year’s fireworks than Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. The Fourth of July celebration features live entertainment, followed by an impressive display of fireworks. Doors open at 6 p.m. 960 1280
MinneapolisGet ready to celebrate our nation’s independence, Midwest style, at Minneapolis’ annual Red, White and Boom festival. Located at the city’s downtown riverfront, the two-day celebration from July 3rd and 4th features live music and family fun, as well as one of the largest fireworks displays in the country. 960 1280
Addison, TXKaboom Town in Addison, Texas, is the largest fireworks display in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With more than 1,500 pounds of fireworks, this Texas-sized party — complete with live entertainment, air shows, family-fun and more — has been recognized by the American Pyrotechnics Association as one of the top 10 fireworks displays in the country. 960 1280
Atlantic City, NJVisible for a 1-mile stretch of the boardwalk and beach, the fireworks in Atlantic City, NJ, are a show not to be missed. For more bright, colorful fun, check out the nightly 3-D light show on the Boardwalk Hall facade. 960 1280
BostonThe Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular attracts more than 500,000 visitors to the Charles River Esplanade for the annual July Fourth celebration. The spectacle includes concerts and fireworks. Many locals argue that the best viewing spot for Boston's fireworks is across the river in Cambridge, Mass. 960 1280
ChicagoNavy Pier offers the perfect view of Fourth of July fireworks in the Windy City. Make the holiday even classier and take in the show from a dinner cruise on Lake Michigan, where fireworks are also shot off every Wednesday and Friday during the summer. 960 1280
MiamiWhat would Miami’s South Beach be without a little flair? Take in the dazzling fireworks display over the picturesque downtown landscape as the celebration on the Fourth is every bit as spectacular as the city’s world-famous nightlife. 960 1280
HoustonHouston proves that everything is bigger in Texas with the country's largest land-based fireworks show. The annual "Freedom Over Texas" Fourth of July celebration features six hours of family activities and entertainment, followed by a fireworks show perfectly choreographed to music. 960 1280
Lake Tahoe, CADig your feet into the sand at Lake Tahoe, Calif., and take in the display that the "Today" show has recognized as one of the country's top fireworks shows. The Lights on the Lake spectacle, which takes place twice a year, on July Fourth and Labor Day, can be seen from all over town, but it doesn't get much better than watching fireworks from the two best spots on the beach — Edgewood and Lakeside Beach. 960 1280
NashvilleYou’ll find fun for the whole family at the annual Music City July 4th: Let Freedom Sing celebration in Nashville, which attracts the largest Fourth of July crowd in the South. The event features daylong activities, musical performances by A-list country artists and the region's largest fireworks show — a 27-minute spectacle choreographed to a live performance by the Grammy-winning Nashville Symphony. 960 1280
New York CityThe annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks celebration in New York City is the country's largest pyrotechnic show, with fireworks shot from multiple barges along the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. In addition to fireworks, the event features performances by A-list artists such as Meghan Trainor, Kenny Chesney and 5 Seconds of Summer. 960 1280
Pasadena, CAAmericaFest celebrates its 90th fireworks show at the Rose Bowl stadium this year. It's the largest fireworks show in Southern California. The family event begins at 2 p.m. and includes live entertainment, motorcycle stunts, exhibits, vendors and a Pyro Spectaculars by Souza fireworks show at 9 p.m. 960 1280
San FranciscoLaunching from Municipal Pier and barges in San Francisco Bay, fireworks can be seen all along the waterfront. But before the show begins, don't miss performances by local bands at San Francisco's Fourth of July celebration at Fisherman’s Wharf. 960 1280
St. LouisCelebrate July 4th at "America's biggest birthday party" under the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. The day kicks off with a 4-mile run, followed by a parade, concerts and, of course, fireworks. 960 1280
Washington, DCFireworks launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool illuminate the sky behind the Capitol and Washington Monument during the annual Capitol Fourth celebration. If you’re looking to avoid crowds on the National Mall, book a boat cruise on the Potomac River for another great view of the fireworks. 960 1280
Los AngelesNo matter where you are in Los Angeles, the fireworks displays are as big as the movie stars who roam the streets. From the famed Hollywood Bowl to the quaint waterfront in Long Beach, Los Angeles County is quickly becoming one of the best cities in the U.S. to celebrate America’s independence. 960 1280
Las VegasIt’s hard to imagine even more bright lights illuminating the skies of Nevada’s most electric city, Las Vegas. However, they don’t call it the entertainment capital of the world for nothing! To get the best views in town, head to one of Sin City’s many rooftop bars overlooking the Strip. 960 1280
DenverBelieve it or not, the biggest Fourth of July celebration in the Mile High City actually takes place July 3rd at the annual Independence Eve Celebration in Civic Center Park. Overlooking the Denver City and County Building, this elaborate light and fireworks show attracts people from all over Colorado. 960 1280
Formal TeaThere are various places to enjoy a formal tea, but we suggest treating mom to tea and delicious snacks at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. Enjoy the Mother’s Day Tea with Betsy and get a quick history lesson from an impersonator about Betsy and her life. 960 1280
Go Paddle BoardingIf your mom loves adventure, then head to the Hamptons in New York. Paddle Diva is offering 90-minute paddle boarding lessons to get mom ready for the summer. Try the paddle board Yoga class for a mind-body-spirit experience, if paddle boarding is something she may not enjoy. 960 1280
Gourmet Chocolate TourTreat your mom to an indulgent afternoon of chocolate tastings on a Gourmet Chocolate Tour, starting at the Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco. The 3-hour walking tour includes 7 different stops at downtown chocolate boutiques. All moms with the special Chocolate & Flowers package receive a colorful springtime bouquet. If chocolate is not her thing, there are alternative culinary walking tours that may fit your mother's taste. 960 1280
Omni Mother's Day PackageThe Omni Hotel in Asheville, NC, offers a Unlimited Mother's Day Package that offers moms a cooking class with Executive Sous Chef Jake Schmidt, unlimited rounds of golf, tennis and fitness classes without any additional fees. It’s a unique experience your mom won’t want to miss.
Bellagio SpaIf you happen to be in Las Vegas on Mother's Day, try the Spa & Salon deal at the Bellagio. Sip on tea and nibble on scones in a private suite, while you're getting an organic manicure and pedicure. 960 1280
Yoga RetreatGive her the gift of wellness and renewal. Send her on a trip to the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. Help her de-stress and unwind with this relaxing retreat. 960 1280
Cape Cod BrunchVisiting Cape Cod, MA, or nearby? Whisk mom away on a scenic train ride to see a different side of the Cape. The journey begins at the Hyannis station via Central Railroad. No need to pack a lunch, she’ll be served a gourmet 3-course brunch. 960 1280
National Museum for Women in the ArtsIn Washington, DC, explore the National Museum for Women in the Arts, dedicated to highlighting women artists of the past while also promoting women artists working today. The museum has a collection of 4,500 works of art – spanning over 6 centuries – and it also features 10 world-class exhibitions of women artists each year. It’s a must-see museum for moms who are art aficionados. 960 1280
Fitness CampWork it out! Moms who enjoy a healthy lifestyle may enjoy a weekend at the Woman’s Fitness Camp at Camp Chief Ouray in Granby, CO. The camp, scheduled in August, fills up quickly; so make reservations soon. 960 1280
Ghost TourTake mom on a spooky ghost tour in Ocala, FL, where they offer ghost walks and historical tours for free, but to mothers only. Learn about Ocala’s supernatural history, and make sure you stop by the Seven Sisters Inn, the site of several unexplained paranormal phenomena. 960 1280
Blowing Rock Winterfest
Head to the mountains of North Carolina for the annual Blowing Rock Winterfest. This lively winterfest features a plunge into the icy waters of Lake Chetola, followed by the chance to warm up with hot chocolate and chili in downtown Blowing Rock.
When: Late January960 1280
Vancouver Polar Bear Swim
Run for your life! This group of New Year’s revelers rushes from the freezing waters of Vancouver’s English Bay. 2014 marks the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim’s 94th year, making it one of the largest and oldest clubs of its kind in the world.
When: New Year's Day960 1280
Courage Polar Bear Dip
Courage, lads! Since its start in 1985, the annual Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, Ontario, has become the largest polar bear dip for charity in Canada. Money raised supports clean water projects organized by the advocacy organization World Vision Canada.
When: New Year’s Day960 1280
Seattle Polar Bear Plunge
They’re freezin’ for a reason. Plungers take to the waters off Seattle’s Matthews Beach for the city’s annual polar bear plunge. Now in its 12th year, the Seattle Polar Bear Plunge is one of 8 statewide plunges to benefit Special Olympics Washington.
When: New Year’s Day960 1280
Aruba New Year's Plunge
In search of warmer climes to take the plunge? Head to Aruba for the Caribbean island’s annual Aruba New Year's Plunge. Hundreds of people gather at MooMba Beach for the “Unox Nieuwjaarsduik” (New Year’s plunge), which takes place at noon sharp. The event is open to everyone; no charge.
When: New Year’s Day960 1280
Coney Island Plunge
Cold enough for you? These 2 brave guys take part in the annual Coney Island Plunge organized by the Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the oldest ice swimming club in the US. The yearly dip into the Atlantic begins at 1 p.m. sharp; afterward, if you’re still breathing, check out the famous Coney Island boardwalk.
When: Jan. 1960 1280
Russian Orthodox Epiphany
In the name of the …wow, this water is cold! A Russian man celebrates the Russian Orthodox Epiphany with a dip in frigid waters. The age-old ritual commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, but we have a feeling the Jordan’s waters were a lot less cold.
When: Mid-January960 1280
Tybee Polar Plunge
Thousands of people flock to Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA, for the annual Tybee Polar Plunge plunge into the brisk waters of the Atlantic. Plungers register for a nominal fee, with proceeds going toward the historic Tybee Post Theater, built in 1930.
When: New Year’s Day960 1280
Scotland's Loony Dook
Showing their white-and-blue Scottish pride, these 2 “loony dookers” take a dip in Scotland’s River Forth. The annual Loony Dook event in Scotland began in 1987 with a handful of participants; the event has since grown into a New Year’s rite of passage for thousands.
When: New Year’s Day960 1280
Holy moly, ma, Darth Vader’s not wearing any clothes under that cape! This wickedly cool plunger takes a dip in the Chesapeake Bay’s cold waters near Baltimore. The annual Baltimore PlungeFest kicks off in Annapolis, MD’s Sandy Point State Park, with proceeds going to Special Olympics Maryland.
When: Late January960 1280
Chicago Polar Plunge
Skip the clothes, grab a wig! Celebrate the New Year (and a good cause) with hundreds of revelers who dive into the icy waters of Chicago’s Lake Michigan in early spring. 2015 marks Chicago Polar Plunge’s 15th year, with proceeds going toward Special Olympics Chicago.
When: Early March960 1280
Netherlands New Year's
Wearing colorful vestments, this man takes a dip in the waters off Scheveningen, a beachside resort town in the Netherlands. The annual event began in 1960, and attracts more than 10,000 people, who plunge into the icy North Sea on New Year’s Day.
When: Jan. 1960 1280