Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and here are five suggestions for places to go where you’ll find something a bit more active and memorable on offer than the usual turkey dinner!
Known as ‘America’s Hometown’ and site of the First Thanksgiving feast in 1621, Plymouth is a major tourist destination, especially at this time of year. Suitably festive attractions include the Plimoth Plantation, a living museum illustrating life for both Native Americas and the settlers; and Plymouth Rock alleged to be the disembarkation site of the Pilgrims, which now sits in Pilgrim Memorial State Park. But if you want to get away from the celebrating crowds, Myles Standish State Forest is a great camping and hiking destination with 16 freshwater lakes and ponds for fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
To celebrate the roots of the indigenous peoples of the Southwest, the Navajos, Hopis, and Apaches, many of whom still reside on nearby reservations, visit Phoenix in the north eastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. Visit the Heard Museum’s Native American art and archaeology collection; or drive the 64 km (40 mi) Apache Trail through the Superstition Mountains, an old route used by the Apache Indians. If you prefer to explore on foot, head for South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the US, with its brilliant lookout point 305 m (1,000 ft) across the desert and 93 km (58 mi) trails for cycling, hiking and horseback riding.
If you’re eager to spend Thanksgiving on the ski slopes, head to Denver, Colorado. Many of Colorado’s best ski resorts are open from November, including Aspen, Breckenridge, Vail, and Copper Mountain. Arapahoe Basin (also known as ‘A’ Basin) has the longest ski season in Colorado – from October to June – and boasts the highest skiable terrain in North America, with a summit elevation of 13,050 ft. With 105 trails covering 900 skiable acres as well as facilities for snowboarding, you could spend a happy Thanksgiving on the slopes. Or maybe try Copper Mountain which also offers snow tubing, cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails.
To experience the splendor of autumn, there’s no better place to go than Asheville in North Carolina. Nestled amid the Blue Ridge Mountains, the area has over 100 species of deciduous trees which, together with the unique range of elevations, gives the area one of the longest-lasting autumn seasons in the US. Drive, ride or hike to catch some of the perfect autumn vistas this Thanksgiving at the North Carolina Arboretum in Pisgah National Forest; or visit Chimney Rock State Park for 75-mile views of Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure and the Carolina Piedmont from the 315 ft tall Chimney Rock.
Head to Lake Louise in Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies for Thanksgiving and you’ll catch them at the end of their Fall Festival. The needles of the Alpine larches have turned a brilliant yellow-gold and create a stunning display for photographers – or simply enjoying one of the various larch hikes, from the popular Larch Valley to the quieter Lake Agnes, Saddleback or Taylor Lake trails. Canada’s oldest national park also offers fishing, boating, bird watching and canoeing opportunities; or visit the Banff Upper Hot Springs with its historic bathhouse for some serious relaxation this Thanksgiving.