If you’re searching for the 10 best November vacations for the Thanksgiving holiday, New York City is high on the list. Get a sneak peak at the Macy’s Parade floats the night before on the Upper West Side, or take in the parade as it makes its way through the city on Thanksgiving Day. Then do all your holiday shopping in Times Square or on Fifth Avenue!
New York City, NY
Thanksgiving in NYC is tough, pilgrim. It’s even tougher when you’re ill-prepared. If you’re staying in New York, there are plenty of ways to celebrate not being stuck in traffic or sitting on a runway. Gather some friends for dinner with a variety of dishes and desserts, make a reservation at one of the best restaurants in NYC or head to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With everyone visiting relatives or in a tryptophan coma, the city is yours to enjoy.
Santa Monica, CA
Southern California is beautiful year-round, and mild temperatures throughout November make it a perfect choice for those seeking at bit of sun and sand to chase away the impending winter doldrums. From Santa Monica Beach and the world-famous Santa Monica Pier to the expansive Third Street Promenade shopping district, Santa Monica is a distinctive city and perfect fall getaway.
Hawaii adds a touch of aloha to your Thanksgiving celebrations. For authentic, fantastic Hawaiian flavor, you can get your turkey cooked in a traditional imu (underground oven) at Kailua High School. Those that want to increase their metabolism before feasting can run in the Turkey Trot 10 Mile Run on Thanksgiving morning. Then the day after Thanksgiving you can enjoy the annual Waikiki Holiday Parade.
Watch the camel races, Dubai
Image by Walter Bibikow / The Image Bank / Getty Images
Most of Dubai’s attractions – from the chilled waterparks to air-conditioned mega-malls – are designed to be enjoyed whatever the weather (that is, warm, hot or scorching). But one event that does depend on cooler temperatures is the time-honoured tradition of camel racing.
These raucous races take place during the winter months at the Dubai Camel Race Track, a 45-minute drive inland from central Dubai. The atmosphere is often electric as stakes are high – this is a moneyed industry and top racing camels are worth up to $1million.
If you’ve never seen a camel run before you’re in for a treat. They reach speeds of 65km/h, which seems almost impossible with their off-kilter gait, and are ridden by robot jockeys with remote-controlled whips – it’s a surreal sight. Roads run right alongside the racetrack, so do like the Emiratis do, and follow the camels in a four-wheeled drive to get the best view of the action.
Combine fine wine, food and beaches at Margaret River, Western Australia
Known for its beaches and award-winning wines, Margaret River in Western Australia also has a buzzing food scene to match. With a similar terroir to Bordeaux, you can expect to find world-class chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons from over 200 wineries here, so drop in for a tasting, gourmet lunch or a behind-the-scenes tour of the vineyards. There are also artisan cheese, olive oil and chocolate producers in Margaret River, along with micro-breweries and restaurants which make great use of the local seafood.
November is the best time to visit, and not just because the weather is warm but not yet what Australian’s call hot. In late November, the annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape festival (www.gourmetescape.com.au) brings 30 of the world’s best food and wine experts to town. Add these dates to your calendar now for the beach BBQ run by Rick Stein, a collaboration dinner from Michelin-starred greats like Heston Blumenthal, Sat Bains and Clare Smyth, and wine tasting with Australian wine critic James Halliday.
Sip your way through Beaujolais, France
As November precedes the winter party season, the best place to enter the festive spirit and wind (or wine) down must be Beaujolais, France – a region best known for its fruity red wines. Cycle or drive the wine routes that weave through a patchwork of vineyards, rolling hills and quaint villages, taste-testing your way around (responsibly, bien sûr).
And don’t miss midnight on the third Thursday of November, when the first bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau (drunk at the age of six weeks) is ‘tapped’ open and celebrated in the most obvious of ways. Take to the streets and join the massive party that takes over the town of Beaujeu, 64km northwest of Lyon, with music, dancing, food and – you guessed it – plenty of flowing wine.