Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Where to Go for Thanksgiving Break in California

Yosemite is a fun place to visit for Thanksgiving.
Yosemite is a fun place to visit for Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of Guy Francis.

In Southern California, Thanksgiving is usually too early for powder skiing but too late for swimming at the beach, so where does one go for a local Thanksgiving break? Of course, I aksed my very opinionated kids – Disneyland. “But it’s crowded,” I said. “We will only go on one ride,” they answered. “Ya, right,” I thought.

I love Disneyland, and I love the magic in my kids’ eyes when they go there. It is, after all, the penultimate weekend getaway for families with kids in Southern California. In fact, fall is one of my favorite times to visit Disneyland. But if Disneyland isn’t in the cards or you want to avoid crowded amusement parks, here are a few magical alternatives.

 Yosemite

While the falls might not be raging, Yosemite can still be an awesome place to visit in November. It’s ideal for families looking for smaller crowds and more isolated hiking paths. Especially if you are a California native, a weekend in Yosemite during Thanksgiving break can offer the brood a brisk adventure – and if you live in the San Fernando Valley, like me, it can offer some much-needed chillier weather. That being said, the weather is somewhat unpredictable – it could be snowy or it could be fairly dry – so be prepared for any type of adventure.

And for those who don’t plan on cooking at home, there are several options for Thanksgiving meals at The Awahnee, Yosemite Lodge and the Wawona Dining Room.

Tenaya Lodge, located just outside the park, also offers Thanksgiving dining as well as holiday activities such as gingerbread house decorating, a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and sleigh rides, weather permitting.

www.yosemitepark.com; www.tenayalodge.com

San Luis Obispo

I love the historic charm of downtown San Luis Obispo and nothing gets me in the holiday spirit more than the cozy weather of California’s Central Coast (obviously, I must be a Cali native). So, heading to SLO for a few days to escape the L.A. smog and bask in the crisp coastal air is my idea of heaven. It also doesn’t hurt that there are some cool local events nearby to go along with the visit such as the Holiday Craft Bazaar in downtown Paso Robles on Nov. 28 as well as a tree-lighing ceremony with Mrs. Claus herself at the bandstand at 5:30 p.m.

www.visitsanluisobispocounty.com

Mammoth Mountain

With the drought in California, who knows if Thanksgiving will be a banner year an Mammoth Mountain for skiers. But it’s never a bad idea to beat the holiday heat in L.A. with a trip to the Eastern Sierra. And who knows, maybe those desperate to hit the slopes can get in some turns before Black Friday and also take advantage of early-season booking rates.

www.mammothmountain.com

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Family Vacation Deal in The Bahamas

Family vacation savings at Paradise Island Harbour Resort
Family vacation savings at Paradise Island Harbour Resort

Families can find fun and savings in the Bahamas this holiday season and beyond. Paradise Island Harbour

Resort is offering a reduced rate of $90 per person double occupancy, through November, perfect for a last-minute Thanksgiving family vacation. Children also stay and eat for free from now until the resort closes for renovations in July of 2014.

Paradise Island Harbour Resort also offers U.S. government employees special room rates from now until the end of the year. Qualifying employees will receive a savings of 45 percent off regular room rates.

The resort will close in July 2014 to complete a full-scale resort renovation but, until then, families can take advantage of the kids stay free savings, free wireless Internet access, a la carte and buffet dining and nightly entertainment at the resort.

http://www.paradiseislandbahama.com

 

 

 

Combat Rising Holiday Travel Prices in 2013

Holiday travel to New York City // (c) Javier Gutierrez Acedo
Holiday travel to New York City // (c) Javier Gutierrez Acedo

Do you feel obliged to travel during the holiday season? Hotwire says you do and statistics show that holiday travelers are going to be spending more this Thanksgiving and Christmas. How much more, you ask? Anywhere between 3 and 8 percent. According to the Hotwire third-annual  Hotwire.com American Travel Behavior Survey, conducted online in October 2013 on behalf of Hotwire by Harris Interactive, American adults will spend a total of $72 billion on obligatory holiday travel this year ($14 billion on Thanksgiving travel and $58 billion on Christmas travel).

Compared to Thanksgiving 2012:

  • Hotel prices are currently up three percent.
  • Air prices for the top 20 US markets are currently up eight percent.
  • Car prices are up seven percent.

Compared to Christmas 2012:

  • Hotel prices currently up four percent.
  • Air prices for the top 20 US markets are currently up six percent.
  • Car prices are up four percent.

Hotwire offered some tips on when to book holiday travel:

According to Hotwire, many cities may see higher-than-normal hotel demand during the winter months, but not necessarily over Thanksgiving weekend, since many travelers stay with family or make the holiday a day trip. So, travelers should see some pretty deep discounts in the coming weeks, but the steepest price drops for bookings will occur within a few days of arrival. In fact, many hotels are offering a discount for day-of bookings that can average around 20 percent. Also, many hotels raise rates or require a two-night stay to protect their rooms on the weekends, so try to arrive Thursday and leave Saturday.

Larger cities across the country are seeing hotel deals over Thanksgiving, including San Diego and Boston. Chicago in particular is a bargain as the city is experiencing some large price drops due to a shifted convention schedule.

For travel during Christmas, Hotwire is seeing strong discounts now, waiting for those “Nightfall Deals”, or day-of discounts, can help travelers save big on hotel stays. So, if you can, wait until the last minute to book your hotel room. Christmas is a little different when it comes to finding airfare deals. With Christmas Evefalling on a Tuesday this year, we recommend avoiding travel on that day at all costs.

As noted above, many popular U.S. destinations are showing low hotel rates throughout December, including Chicago, New York City, Portland and Minneapolis. However, over Christmas, Hotwire is also seeing low rates for Canadian destinations in their off-season such as Toronto and Vancouver. For air, Spirit Airlines has increased the number of flights for Las Vegas and Ft. Lauderdale, which is resulting in price drops for both destinations. In addition to Ft. Lauderdale, Floridian cities Tampa and Orlando are each experiencing price drops of five percent for Christmas, while Phoenix is showing a 10 percent airfare drop.