The holiday season is many things—including harried. And if you’d rather just get out of Dodge and let someone else baste the turkey and peel potatoes this year, we are the last ones to hold it against you.
Read on for a few ways to give thanks to travel—and someone else cooking—this Thanksgiving with deals on stays and some fun turkey meals on tap everywhere from Hawaii and Florida to Rhode Island and St. Maarten.
With the governor of Hawaii officially welcoming visitors back to the islands, now’s a great time to get back to Hawaii before the masses follow your lead. Set on 40 tropical acres fronting Wailea Beach on Maui, the Grand Wailea is doing it up for Thanksgiving in predictably grand style, with a range of offerings for guests that pull from Hawaiian traditions destined to spark gratitude.
Will you take part in the hotel’s new Outrigger program to experience a paddling journey in a traditional Hawaiian vessel along Wailea’s stunning coast or is a well-being ritual led by the resort’s resident astrologer more up your alley?
Other Thanksgiving offerings on property include a live traditional Hawaiian cooking demonstration using an imu (an underground oven) and entertainment from hula performers and ukulele lessons during the mini luau. What won’t be included, you should know, is you sweating bullets in your home kitchen over a bird that’s destined to turn out too dry.
Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort
You can start dreaming of a white (as in powdery white sand) Christmas before Thanksgiving at this popular resort on Miramar Beach in the Sunshine State’s Panhandle. A celebration featuring sparkling wine and sparkling holiday lights kicks things off on Nov. 20, 2021, at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort.
Then, just after Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 26, 2021, Santa arrives by horse and carriage in the Village of Baytown Wharf, complete with fireworks and live music.
Sister resort Hotel Effie, where guests have access to all the amenities at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, is getting in on the celebrations, too, with holiday meals offered at James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson’s restaurant, Ovide. Acheson, who is from Georgia, is cooking up a classic Southern Thanksgiving meal that might make you want to settle in and stay a while. Guests who book now for a seven-night holiday stay at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort can get 50 percent off the best available rate (use promo code WEEKLY).
Orlando World Center Marriott
Centered on a newly redesigned lagoon pool with zero-entry that’s perfect for families with young kids, the sprawling Orlando World Center Marriott is a perennial favorite among the theme park crowd and other visitors to Orlando, too.
It’s tempting to take the day off cooking, book a room here for the night or longer and plan your Thanksgiving Day festivities around the hotel’s Thanksgiving Lunch—a buffet-style spread at the hotel’s Latitude & Longitude restaurant complete with herb-roasted turkey that you don’t have to roast yourself, heirloom pumpkin bisque, mascarpone whipped potatoes and a slew of other tasty sides.
Official prices haven’t been released yet for the Turkey Day buffet but expect to pay around $25 per person (the regular buffet price) or more is what we were told when we gave the restaurant a call.
Did we mention Latitude & Longitude is also a sports bar, in case anyone in your ranks simply can’t miss a big game? Stay through the weekend and you can enjoy a live concert on Saturday night followed by the nightly laser show.
One of Florida’s most spectacular gulf front resorts, the dune-backed WaterColor Inn in Santa Rosa Beach is about as chillaxed and luxe as life gets in the Panhandle.
The property’s beach is perfection, there’s golf when you need a break from the extended family and you can also pedal a bicycle all around, too.
Good on stays now through Feb. 28, 2022, the property’s “The Longer You Stay, The More You Save” package gets you 20 percent off stays of four nights and longer as well as access to several special pool areas, including Camp WaterColor (which has a lazy river) and an adults-only pool, as well as bikes, kayaks and canoes for use.
When you stay here over Thanksgiving you can mix turkey feasting with Santa sits, too. Thanksgiving Day brunch at the resort’s FOOW restaurant goes till 2PM, and on the following day you can do brunch with Santa in the same spot to see if you’re on the naughty or nice list.
Saturday at WaterColor Inn is Burn Off the Turkey Day, a fun walk or run that comes with a handy map to show you options for where to go—how far you go, happily, is entirely up to you.
Nearby, right in the almost too-perfect Panhandle town of Rosemary Beach, The Pearl hotel offers a small town stay right across from one of South Walton’s most gorgeous beaches.
The hotel is also offering a “The Longer You Stay, The More You Save” package for 20 percent off stays of four nights or longer through Feb. 28, 2022.
The package gets you a complimentary welcome amenity, complimentary parking, access to award-winning golf courses and other perks.
The property was sold out for stays over Thanksgiving weekend when we called to check, sadly, but you can still come for a fancy three-course plated dinner at the Havana Bar & Grill ($79 per person for adults, $39 for kids 4-12 and free for kids three and under) from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. or opt for the lower-key buffet option in the hotel’s ballroom for the same price (from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Talk about pouring on the atmosphere on Thanksgiving Day. The iconic Ocean House in Rhode Island hosts a four-course Thanksgiving Dinner or buffet options ($175 person or $125 person, respectively) in the property’s triple-5-star Relais & Chateaux surrounds (translation: dress up).
On the menu for the four-course meal? Think duck confit and specialty New England dishes. The buffet skews more gourmet-yet-classic Turkey Day, if that’s the kind of comfort you’re craving, with all the trimmings and traditional desserts.
For something slightly (only slightly though) more casual near the coast in Rhode Island, Weekapaug Inn in Westerly is offering a family-style Thanksgiving dinner for $85 per person ($37 for kids 4-12, free for kids three and under) that you can opt to do with a wine pairing for $50 per person extra. If you tie in the wine, you might want to splurge on a room for the night, too, to properly indulge.
Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach
Fronting one of Florida’s best gulf beaches in Clearwater Beach, the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach puts you just steps from the pier’s nightly sunset celebrations (think: a smaller but nearly as vibrant version as Key West’s).
From 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, the hotel is putting on a Thanksgiving buffet for $52 per person at its gulf front restaurant, Ocean Hai, with things like butternut squash ravioli on the menu.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa
An hour’s drive south of Miami is about as transporting as road trips in Florida get. And when you step out of your car at Playa Largo Resort & Spa in Key Largo, you might think you’ve teleported to the Caribbean.
A top-ranked Florida Keys resort, the property is making no bones about what Turkey is actually about, putting the spotlight on game day foods and football with Playa’s Press Box Football Feast. Set for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with tickets for $55 per person, it includes a pre-game social and all-you-eat treats along the lines of hot chicken dip, beer brats, and burgers hot off the grill.
The property is also running a Thanksgiving Brunch sure to lure some city types from Miami to gather oceanfront for escapism at the property’s sublime Sol by the Sea restaurant.
Aqua Mania Adventures
And if you really want to cast off your Thanksgiving duties on land this year, may we suggest making for the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten and partaking in Thanksgiving at Sea aboard the Tango catamaran by Aqua Mania Adventures.
You’ll sail around the island’s coastline at sunset and enjoy a classic turkey buffet meal complete with mashed potatoes, spices up with Caribbean dishes, too—like rice and peas and Johnny cakes.
Tropical cocktails and desserts with a backdrop of island tunes make for the sweetest finish as you watch the sun sink over Simpson Bay and toast another Thanksgiving to remember—and one you did decidedly your way.