Thanksgiving is widely considered to be one of the worst travel times every year, with flight prices jumping up and delays regularly occurring due to winter weather. If you're going to brave the airports this year, why not use those two extra days to your advantage and venture off to a new and exciting destination? With a variety of travelers in mind, VirtualTourist.com members and editors compiled this list of the "Top 5 Destinations for Your Thanksgiving Weekend."
Cartagena's Old Town as captured by VirtualTourist member richiecdisc
If you want to truly escape the daily grind, how about traveling to a historical spot in a tropical climate? Cartagena, located on the Caribbean Sea, is an ideal escape, with its romantic Spanish colonial buildings lining brick streets. The city is also filled with amazing history- its Old Town boasts the most extensive fortifications in all of South America and are recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exercisers can stroll the 400-year-old stone walls that surround the city, and military history buffs will greatly enjoy the Castillo de San Felipe, a fort built by the Spanish to defend the port.
Architecture in Charleston Courtesy of Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau
If you're looking for a quick jaunt out of town, but want to stay within the United States, consider picturesque Charleston, South Carolina for the long weekend. With its historical buildings and Southern charm, it is the perfect locale for a weekend getaway. The city is increasingly recognized for its culinary scene, so check out The Ordinary for oysters and Husk for Southern fare. Charleston also has some of the best preserved architecture in America, so stroll Lower Meeting Street and the Battery to get an eyeful of traditional Southern mansions and original ironwork. For those who enjoy outdoor athletics, nearby Kiawah Island and Hilton Head Island have some of the United States' best golf courses and are equally picturesque. As if the town needed any more draws, the average temperature around Thanksgiving is approximately 66 degrees.
St. Patrick's Cathedral Exterior - Photo Courtesy of Tony Pleavin and Dublin Regional Tourism Authority
If you're looking for a quick European jaunt, few Western Europe cities lend themselves to a brief but fulfilling trip like Dublin, Ireland. The city is incredibly walkable, with numerous pedestrian bridges over the River Liffey and many available walking tours. For historians, Saint Patrick's Cathedral is one of the few buildings left from the medieval city of Dublin, in addition to being Ireland's largest cathedral. The Book of Kells, the famous manuscript containing the Latin texts of the Four Gospels, can be found in Dublin's Trinity College Library. For beer enthusiasts, the Guinness Storehouse is sure to please, and for those who would enjoy an athletic spectacle while abroad, the Leinster Rugby team has a match on November 30th.
An easy way to get an international trip from the East Coast is to hop over the border to the capital of French Canadian Quebec, Montreal. The city will be decked out in its holiday finest, including fantastic Christmas decor in the Old Town and the Nutcracker Market. From mid-November thru the first week of December, the city also hosts the Montreal Bach Festival, with first-class artists performing at various locations throughout town. Lastly, with its focus on contemporary arts and crafts, Montreal is a fantastic spot to get started on your holiday shopping.
M&T Bank Stadium courtesy of Visit Baltimore
Baltimore Skyline at Night courtesy of Visit Baltimore
While some college football fans might be focused on the showdowns happening in Austin or Ann Arbor on Thanksgiving Weekend, a great tailgate experience and sports event to travel for will be the Baltimore Ravens versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, taking place in Baltimore on Thanksgiving Weekend. The Ravens, current defending Super Bowl champions, will be taking on the Steelers, who beat them last month at home. In addition to being a sure bet for a great game, a Baltimore tailgate is the stuff of legends. Stroll the Ravens' Walk, the walkway leading from the city's baseball stadium, Oriole Park, to M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens' home field, which opens 3 hours before kickoff and features food stations, a live band, a DJ, and lots of hometown pride. For those visiting Baltimore for the weekend, the city's compact Inner Harbor has plenty of activities for adults and children alike, from the National Aquarium to ferry rides from the Inner Harbor to nearby Fells' Point or Fort McHenry.
Whether your goal is to tailgate or explore a colonial city, we hope you have an amazing Thanksgiving break! For tips, reviews, and feedback about what to see, no matter where your destination, head to VirtualTourist.com.