Florida Thanksgiving Weekend Getaways

Ideas... whether you're going to Grandma's or taking a fall vacation!

Downtown Plaza
••• More than two million tiny white lights illuminate the downtown St. Augustine area during Nights of Lights. © St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches VCB

Whether you'll be traveling to Grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner or packing the family up for a fall vacation, here are some ideas for spending the holiday in Florida.

  • Fairbanks House B&B, Amelia Island has three- and four-night Thanksgiving Holiday Packages that include a daily gourmet breakfast, bedtime sweets and more. This will put you in town as the Centre Street Merchants kick off the holiday shopping season.
  • The Gaylord Palms Resort near Orlando is offering a 'Tis the Season Package that includes one night of accommodations, two adult tickets to ICE!, one ICE! photo and Elf On the Shelf Scavenger Hunt.

    - The Gaylord Palms' restaurant Villa de Flora has a Thanksgiving buffet from 10:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. It sells out early, so call 407-586-1114 soon for reservations.
    - The Old Hickory Steakhouse will open at 5:30 p.m. for Thanksgiving dinner. Call 407-586-1600 for reservations.

  • Staying at Disney World over Thanksgiving? Find a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at your resort or see a parade and grab a turkey leg on the go in the theme parks.

  • Reflect on life's blessings while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the gardens and enjoying the Thanksgiving Day carillon recital at Historic Bok Sanctuary. Recitals are scheduled for 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. and are free with Sanctuary admission. | Bok Sanctuary Photo Tour |

  • Tickets are on sale now for Pensacola's Winterfest! The downtown tours feature interactive displays of holiday scenes and characters. The popular annual event kicks off just in time for Thanksgiving.
  • The Annual Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival will draw over 175 artists that will exhibit their unique creations on, when else... Saturday and Sunday on Thanksgiving weekend! And, it's free!

    Here comes Santa Claus and millions of twinkling lights...

    • Disney World celebrates the holidays with special displays and millions of sparkling lights that brighten the theme parks and on-property resorts around Thanksgiving. Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held at the Magic Kingdom during select nights in November and December. The special-ticketed event is great fun for the entire family and features a special parade and sweet treats.
    • St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, decorates with millions of lights in the Nights of Lights grand celebration that kicks off the weekend before Thanksgiving (November 19) and runs through January 31, 2017.

    Staying Home?

    If you simply can't get away and you're spending Thanksgiving at home, here are a few tips from my fellow Guides at About.com that might help make preparations easier:

    • You’ll enjoy Thanksgiving more if you do some preparation ahead of time. Be ready for Thanksgiving by using this four-week Countdown to a Perfect Thanksgiving by About's Interior Decorating Guide, Coral Nafie.
    • Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, About's Home Cooking Guide, gives you the tools to avoid panic and plan your meal in advance with Thanksgiving Recipes for Dummies. Enough said.

      What ever you do... have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!