Escaping to a Caribbean island isn't a traditional Thanksgiving plan, but if you're looking for a tropical adventure or to escape the cold of impending winter, it's a fun getaway. You can take a break from the holiday completely and just enjoy local food and beaches. Or, if you need your yearly fixing of turkey, there are also several resorts that offer special holiday menus for 2019.
Whether you are going to the Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, the Bahamas, or one of the other various Caribbean destinations, you'll find it easy to plan a sumptuous but affordable gathering at a fine resort, a private villa, or onboard a Caribbean cruise ship.
Rather than slaving over a hot oven this fall, you could rent a staffed luxury villa home and let a gourmet chef cook up Thanksgiving dinner for you. The islands of the Caribbean are full of amazing villas that can accommodate groups both large and small—at a price that can easily compete with what you'd pay at a comparable resort. Experienced villa rental companies like Wimco Villas and WhereToStay can help with stocking the home with supplies and groceries, hiring a private chef, or making restaurant reservations.
Go Where the Turkeys Go
Many Caribbean resorts prepare a special Thanksgiving feast for guests who may be celebrating the holiday far from home. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other traditional treats from the November holiday can be found on all-inclusive buffets at the Sandals resorts and the menu of restaurants at resorts like Jumby Bay Island in Antigua. Various holiday-related activities such as sunset cruises and beach barbecues with live entertainment take place at Belmond Cap Juluca in Anguilla.
Nearly every cruise line in the Caribbean offers special Thanksgiving cruises, which include all food and entertainment for one price. Some ships go all out with decorations for the holiday, and at a minimum, you can expect a special menu on Thanksgiving Day—big eating, after all, is something that this holiday and cruise ships definitely have in common. Royal Caribbean is known as a family-friendly cruise line, and for people with small kids, it's hard to beat a few days at sea with Mickey Mouse and pals aboard one of the Disney Cruises. With the children out of school for the long weekend, a cruise for a week or less might be the ideal way to spend Turkey Day this year.
Unlike Christmas and New Year's, a Thanksgiving getaway to the Caribbean doesn't come with a premium price tag. In fact, traveling to the Caribbean in November means you're right in the middle of the region's low season, which stretches all the way from late spring to just before Christmas. Also, a trip to the area in November usually equals uncrowded beaches and resorts.
In addition to Thanksgiving festivities, there are many fun things happening during the month of November in the Caribbean, including the Pirates Week festival in the Cayman Islands, featuring music, games, traditional foods, and more, and the Paradise Jam men's and women's basketball tournament in St. Thomas. The weather is perfect—mid-70s to mid-80s in most places—so you'll never have to worry about frost on the pumpkin when you take a Caribbean Thanksgiving holiday.
Dig Into Some Regional Delicacies
Grandma's secret turkey recipe, mom's special cranberry dish, and Thanksgiving Day celebrations are a mixed bag of cherished, time-honored recipes and traditions. Although Thanksgiving is not exactly a Caribbean holiday, many people from the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, in addition to people from the U.S. with Caribbean roots, do celebrate with their own special menus for the occasion.