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Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend in the Southeast

A Feast of Fun Day-Trips, Getaways and Things to Do During Thanksgiving Weekend

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The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is a wonderful time to enjoy gathering together with family and friends. It is also the busiest shopping weekend of the year and, although many festive events seem to be beginning earlier and earlier in November each year, Thanksgiving weekend traditionally marks the start of the Christmas holiday season. Here are some fun day-trips, special event outings and getaways to enjoy on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the rest of the weekend.

Relax While Someone Else Does the Cooking and Plans the Entertainment

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island decorated for the holidays:  Photo © 2007 George Alexander
The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island decorated for the holidays: Photo © 2007 George Alexander

If your budget allows, plan an elegant Thanksgiving getaway at one of the top luxury resorts in the Southeast, where famous chefs prepare sumptuous Thanksgiving dinners and seasonal activities are planned for your entertainment. With equal appeal to couples looking for a romantic retreat and families in search of an ultra deluxe Thanksgiving getaway for all ages, these top all-season resorts offer plenty of great options. Also see Holiday Travel Packages.

See the Holiday Lights

Callaway Gardens - Fantasy in Lights:  Photo courtesy of Callaway Gardens
Callaway Gardens - Fantasy in Lights: Photo courtesy of Callaway Gardens

With Christmas only about a month away, Thanksgiving weekend is an ideal time to plan an outing or getaway to enjoy holiday decorations, twinkling lights, visits with Santa and more, especially if your next few weeks will be filled to the brim with school plays, office parties and social commitments. These 50 Holiday Attractions and Festive Things to Do highlight many of the best ways to get into the spirit of the holiday season.

Find the Perfect Christmas Tree

Photo Credit:  © 2007 George Alexander, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Photo Credit: © 2007 George Alexander, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Setting out with family and friends to find the perfect Christmas tree is a seasonal tradition in the Southeast, where Christmas tree farms number close to 4000 with many offering Choose and Cut options. For families, couples and friends, this is a festive way to get into the spirit of the holiday festivities that await during the month ahead.

Shop for Sales and Bargains

Photo Credit:  Stockbyte / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stockbyte / Getty Images

The day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday is traditionally the retail industry's busiest day of the year. Many of the popular outlet malls in the Southeast are scheduled to open at midnight at the end of Thanksgiving Day and remain open all day with extended shopping hours and special sales. While navigating the crowds may not always be tons of fun, Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to find some of the best bargains of the year.

Enjoy a Holiday Parade

Stone Mountain Park Christmas Parade - Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stone Mountain Park
Crossroads Christmas Parade - Photo Credit: Courtesy of Stone Mountain Park
From big cities to small towns, many festive parades kick off the holiday season during Thanksgiving weekend throughout the Southeast U.S. Also, several theme parks feature ongoing holiday parades as part of their holiday celebrations. Here are a few seasonal highlights:

Escape to a Romantic Retreat

Savannah's romantic Forsyth Park Fountain during the holidays:  Photo Credit - George Alexander
Savannah's romantic Forsyth Park Fountain during the holidays: Photo Credit - George Alexander
Even if you are planning to spend Thanksgiving Day with a gang of relatives, the rest of the weekend is a wonderful time for couples to escape to a romantic retreat for some quiet time together. Visit a cozy mountain resort, discover the coast off-season or explore one of the South's romantic cities:

Plan a Family Outing or Getaway

Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums: Photo © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums: Photo © Colonial Williamsburg Foundation; all rights reserved
The Southeast is brimming with history, diverse cultural offerings and abundant natural resources, providing many wonderful options for family day-trips and weekend getaways. Visit a museum, explore history or take a nature walk together for family fun for all ages.

Head for the Slopes

Photo Credit: North Carolina's Appalachian Ski Mountain - NC Tourism / Bill Russ
Photo Credit: North Carolina's Appalachian Ski Mountain - NC Tourism / Bill Russ

Not all, but several of the ski resorts in the Southeast plan to open either before or during Thanksgiving weekend, offering a great way to work off some of the extra pounds that Thanksgiving dinner inevitably adds. The weather has to cooperate, though, so be sure to check the latest information before making your final plans.

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