A Weekend Stuffed with Holiday Fun By Katrina Brown Hunt on Oct 31, 2014
Holidays at Pinehurst (Pinehurst Resort)
Thinking of ditching the big turkey dinner with the in-laws and running away on vacation? You won’t be alone. Every Thanksgiving, families flock to kid-friendly resorts nationwide, leaving the cooking and cleaning to someone else. After all, with the kids out of school, it can be a wonderful opportunity for a long, unstressed weekend getaway an affordable rate. Here are just a few of the many resorts offering fun, activity-filled schedules over the long holiday weekend.
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Where: Pinehurst, NC
Why: Because this hallowed golf resort is surprisingly kid-friendly, and Thanksgiving weekend offers myriad opportunities for families to have fun together. The weekend roster a performance by the Carolina Philharmonic, Family Scavenger Hunt and Holiday Arts & Crafts to name a few. (And to please the gents, plenty of football showing in the lounge.) The Thanksgiving package starts at $213 per person and includes includes overnight accommodations, breakfast and dinner daily with an overflowing Thanksgiving Day buffet, and most activities.
Otesaga Resort (Otesaga Resort Hotel)
Where: Cooperstown, NY
Why: Because this historic hotel is offering a huge roster of activities for the whole family from November 26 to 30. There will be clown performances, nightly kids’ movies, ghost stories, cookie decorating, and other age-appropriate festivities. There will also be family hayrides through Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Santa is scheduled to make a special appearance at breakfast on Saturday morning. The two-night Thanksgiving Family Weekend package starts at $339 per person and includes lodging, activities, two dinners, and two breakfasts for each guest.
Room with a view and a fireplace at Squaw Creek (Resort at Squaw Creek)
Where: Olympic Valley, CA
Why: Because during the long weekend, this Lake Tahoe resort will roll out its annual Magical Memories program with a tree-lighting ceremony and the unveiling of its gingerbread village. After enjoying a classic Thanksgiving buffet, families can take part in winter-themed activities such as sleigh rides, ice skating, caroling, ice-carving demonstrations, Menorah lighting, and even bedtime tuck-ins from elves. The supervised Mountain Buddies kids’ club offers arcade games, arts and crafts, outdoor fun in the snow, and more. The Magical Memories package starts at $199 a night and includes accommodations plus $50 daily resort credit valid at all of their Lake Tahoe dining establishments.
Where: Sun Valley, ID
Why: Because Thanksgiving marks the official kick-off to Sun Valley’s 77th winter season and a celebration that has become a tradition among many skiing families. The resort has six new adventure trails geared toward kids, a new halfpipe, and two dozen new features in the terrain park. You can also work up your appetite by ice skating, hiking, and snowshoeing—or stay warm inside with bowling, virtual golf, and movie showings in the resort’s theater. The Thanksgiving Package start at $330 and includes a delicious and lavish buffet, four night’s lodging and a three-day lift ticket.
Sawmill Creek Resort
Where: Sandusky, OH
Why: Because Thanksgiving weekend is the kick-off for the Festival of Lights at this Lake Erie resort. Families can take a hayride through the holiday lights display as they listen to Christmas classics, or they can drop in on Mrs. Claus for hot chocolate, cider, and donuts. Kids can go swimming in the indoor pool, walk the trails of the nature preserve, or head to the video game room. There will also be a corn-hole toss contest with wine and juice pops as prizes, a caricature artist, and Santa will be on hand passing out candy canes. The two-night Thanksgiving package for a family of four starts at $179 and includes Thanksgiving buffet and a hayride on Thursday afternoon or Friday evening Breakfast in Salmon Run one morning.
Kids at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa (Hyatt Regency)
Where: San Antonio, TX
Why: Because this luxury resort and spa is stuffed with family fun for the holiday, including a craft show, a parade with guest-fashioned wagon floats, performances by a local marching band and a high-school show choir, as well as meet-and-greets with Santa and some real live reindeer. There’s also a four-acre waterpark with a lazy river and cascading falls. On November 24, the resort serves up impressive Thanksgiving feasts - brunch (Adults $63, kids 6-12 $26, kids 5 and under eat free) and dinner (Adults $56, kids 6-12 $22, kids 5 and under eat free).
Where: Greenwater, WA
Why: Because this family-friendly wilderness retreat is located near Mount Rainier National Park, just below Crystal Mountain, one of the state’s premier ski destinations. The holiday weekend starts off with Thanksgiving crafts, followed by some morning hiking or snowshoeing before the evening feast, followed by s’mores around a bonfire. There’s also karaoke on Friday night, another bonfire on Saturday, then football-watching on Sunday. Book the four-night Thanksgiving Eat and Stay Special from $269.99 a night and receive Wednesday night and your Thanksgiving dinner for free, plus a traditional holiday buffet. Two-night packages are also available.
KeyLime Cove Waterpark (KeyLime Cove)
Where: Gurnee, IL
Why: Because Santa will be hanging out during Thanksgiving weekend at this Florida Keys-themed indoor waterpark, complete with slides, wave pool, and lazy river. On dry land, grown ups can relax in the Paradise Mist Spa while the younger crowd can win prizes in the 8,000 square-foot arcade, do crafts in the Leapin’ Lizards kids club or even get their nails done at the kids spa. The weekend starts off with a Sunset Parade, and a tree-lighting ceremony to celebrate Santa’s arrival. Families that stay through Sunday can also join Santa in a special breakfast buffet. The two-night “Thanksgiving at the Cove” includes accommodations, four waterpark passes, and Thanksgiving buffet.
Where: Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Why: Because this splurge-worthy oceanfront resort outside Los Angeles offers both family-friendly feasting and fun ways to burn it off—and you’re even a fairly short drive from Disneyland. The resort does its own Turkey Shoot-Out team scramble on the golf course on Nov 23. The resort is offering a variety of dinners throughout the restaurants, a grand buffet in the ballroom, and complete meals to-go to take back to your room, casita or villa. Their Terranea Traditions package starts at $415 per night and includes breakfast for two (for Nov 1 through Jan 5, 2015 visits, book using TRADITIONS code). You can also enjoy fantastic savings with their Ultimate Family Getaway - book three nights and receive 15% off on accommodations, stay five nights and save 20% plus a $100 resort credit, or book seven nights or more to receive 30% off plus a $250 resort credit (for Nov 1 through Mar 1, 2015 visits, book using TRAD15, TRAD20 or TRAD30 codes).
Where: Wheeling, WV
Why: Because this picturesque golf resort and spa is a mini-city in itself, with a planetarium, glass museum, and even a 30-acre zoo. Every November, the resort unveils its famous Festival of Lights, where 70 holiday-themed LED light displays can be viewed. The three-night Thanksgiving package starts at $469 and includes a welcome reception, daily Mountaineer Breakfast Buffet, a vehicle pass to the Festival of Lights, and many activities.
Where: Pismo Beach, CA
Why: Because this hotel perched high on the beach bluffs offers a compelling mix of mild temperatures, good rates and easy access to sights such as wine country, Hearst Castle, plus a local children’s museum and zoo. Daily festivities at the resort begin on Tuesday with s’mores around the firepit, followed by nightly movies, the Thursday dinner (additional cost) and a local wine tasting on Friday. Three-night Thanksgiving Family Vacation package start at $149 per night Sunday-Wednesday; $229 per night Thursday-Saturday, and include a complimentary locally baked apple pie, for your own stash of leftovers. You can add daily breakfast for two for $20, and kids under 5 eat FREE!
Katrina Hunt Brown contributed this to MiniTime.