7 of California's Most Popular Locations for a Thanksgiving Getaway

Published on:
November 2, 2021

There are many enticing California destinations for people to travel to this Thanksgiving, but these 9 locations are California's most popular. They offer something for everyone with breathtaking views and activities that will keep you occupied all Thanksgiving weekend. From wine country to the beach, California is the perfect place to spend your Thanksgiving break.

1.) San Francisco

San Francisco is a city of natural beauty, and thanks to the moderate climate, it is one of the most beautiful cities during the Thanksgiving holiday with warm days and cool nights. The leaves on the trees are changing colors which makes for great photo opportunities.  Celebrating Thanksgiving here also means you'll have a plethora of restaurants to choose from in case you and your family don't feel like cooking this holiday season.

Some additional things to do in San Francisco during Thanksgiving include:

Visit the Gold Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel that can be viewed on a clear day from the Marin Headlands. Its graceful towers rise more than 700 feet above the waters of San Francisco Bay. Visitors to this renowned site can walk or bike across, stopping for breathtaking views at each end and along the way. While crossing over, visitors are able to see the massive steel structure in all its glory. Be sure to bring a jacket as it can get a bit chilly on the bridge in autumn.

Ice Skating

A holiday isn't complete unless there is ice skating involved. Ice skating can be enjoyed by people of all ages and is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. Stop by Union Square to enjoy some ice skating in this beautiful city.

Union Square Tree Lighting

The Union Square Tree Lighting is the start of San Francisco's holiday season. The large tree in Union Square is decorated for this particular period, which kicks off the city's holiday spirit. To get a good view, arrive at least two hours early for this popular event. This event is free and will be held on November 26th this year.

2.) Palm Springs Thanksgiving

Palm Springs Thanksgiving is festive and fun. the Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to visit palm springs, California because it can be enjoyed indoors or outdoors with warm thanksgiving weather. You can rent a house with a pool so after you and your family are done enjoying the Thanksgiving feast you can relax and enjoy quality time together.

Some additional things to do in Palm Springs during Thanksgiving include:


Enjoy the WildLights in palm springs during thanksgiving

Palm Springs is a great Thanksgiving getaway for families and couples. Visitors can enjoy the WildLights at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, where more than one million lights are illuminated into animal shapes.

Joshua Tree

If you feel like getting in a nice hike with the family before enjoying your Thanksgiving feast, head over to the beautiful Joshua tree. The national park is a great place to discover and explore, with amazing rock formations that will make your mouth fall open in awe.

3.) Napa Valley

Napa Valley is home to some of the finest wineries in California.

As Thanksgiving approaches, visitors can enjoy wine tasting and indulge in Thanksgiving Day feasts with family members at one of the many Thanksgiving dinner specials available across Napa Valley restaurants.

Some additional things to do in Napa Valley during Thanksgiving include:

Napa Valley Wine Train

Sit back and enjoy a real movable feast from within a turn-of-the-century rail car while viewing the glorious fall colors and pristine communities of Napa Valley. Dine on your chef-prepared roasted turkey, acorn squash bisque, and herb stuffing.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Napa Valley is a beautiful place to visit, but it's even better when you can see all the beauty from above. Take an hour-long hot air balloon ride in Napa Valley and soak in views of some of America’s most stunning wine country as you float over vineyards and rolling hills.

4.) Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is a mountain-ringed alpine lake that straddles the Nevada-California border. It's a great time of year to be in Lake Tahoe because the weather is mild which is why Thanksgiving getaways here are so popular. Thanksgiving in Tahoe is a great way for families to spend Thanksgiving together. It is the perfect place to go for a hike in the mountains or go for a walk along the lake after enjoying Thanksgiving dinner.

Some additional things to do in Lake Tahoe during Thanksgiving include:

Go Skiing

Skiing at Lake Tahoe is fun for the whole family. There are beautiful views of the mountains and plenty of skiing trails. It's a great exercise to help your burn off the extra Thanksgiving calories.

Rent a Cabin

Thanksgiving is the time to show your appreciation for all of those around you and what better way than spending Thanksgiving weekend with them in a cozy cabin at Lake Tahoe?

5.) Catalina Island

Change things up a bit and visit an island for the thanksgiving holiday.

Catalina Island is a great place to visit during the Thanksgiving holiday. The weather in Catalina Island is a lot warmer than it is in other areas at this time of year which means you can spend your time outdoors during this Thanksgiving holiday.

There are a lot of things to do when visiting Catalina Island. You can go hiking, fishing, surfing, or kayaking.

An additional thing to do in Catalina Island during Thanksgiving is to:

Rent a House or Condo

Catalina Island is a very nice place to visit during the month of November. Rent a house there during Thanksgiving and enjoy quality time with family.  The views are amazing from many of the properties.

6.) Yosemite National Park

The beauty of Yosemite during the fall is that it is a time of year where the stunning reds of the leaves on the trees can be seen. The drive to Yosemite is definitely worth it for people of all ages who are looking to escape the typical city life and enjoy Thanksgiving in nature.  It has plenty of hiking trails for one to stroll through, waterfalls for one to admire, and beautiful wildlife for one to see.

An additional thing to do in Yosemite during Thanksgiving is to:

Go Hiking

Some of the most popular things to do on Thanksgiving in Yosemite are to go for a hike, enjoy seeing the beautiful leaves change colors as you walk off all those Thanksgiving calories. If you're up for checking out new landscapes during the fall, there are plenty of trails that are perfect for walking or getting into some lightweight hiking if you're feeling adventurous. There are also tons of waterfalls to admire which you can spot from one of the park's many scenic overlooks. At Yosemite, there are abundant amounts of wildlife roaming around so it wouldn't be surprising to spot black bears or even an elk!

7.) Santa Barbara

One of the best ways to spend Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara is to take a nice walk on the pier. The way the sky looks over the ocean is breathtaking. Around dusk, it's also fun to watch all of the boats on the water with their lights on.

It's also worth spending some time exploring downtown Santa Barbara. There are so many beautiful little boutiques and restaurants that are open especially on holidays. It's always fun to stop by for some refreshments at one of these places before continuing your walk up State St., which is crowded with antique shops, more restaurants, and even some art galleries.

After dinner, it would also be fun to watch some surfers or rent bikes and ride through town.

Some additional things to do in Santa Barbara during Thanksgiving include:

Thanksgiving 4-Miler

Indulge in your Thanksgiving dinner guilt-free by signing up for the Thanksgiving 4-miler in Santa Barbara.

Turkey Paddle

Join the morning turkey paddle to get some fresh air before enjoying the Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving in California

With so many California destinations to choose from, it can be tough deciding where you want to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. We’ve highlighted just some of the best places in our state that are perfect for celebrating with family and friends this year. If you have any questions about transportation logistics during this holiday season, give us a call at 888-PEG-TRANS or reserve your bus online today.

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