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Gobble up these 6 Turkey Day destinations

By Jill Becker, Special to CNN
updated 11:14 AM EST, Thu November 14, 2013
Consider transforming your Thanksgiving holiday with a skiing vacation on the Utah slopes.
Consider transforming your Thanksgiving holiday with a skiing vacation on the Utah slopes.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Step back in time and explore a Mayflower replica in Plymouth, Massachusetts
  • A Manhattan hotel will help guests ship their Black Friday purchases home
  • Ski the Utah slopes for Thanksgiving and follow it up with a romantic dinner
  • New York City deli Katz's will host Thanksgiving dinner with deli sides

(CNN) -- Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year, with tens of millions expected to hit the road over the extended four-day weekend.

For anyone not loading up the SUV to make the trek to Grandma's house for her famous cranberry stuffing this year, here are some other yummy options you might want to consider. And you don't even need a passport.

Space for many of these events is limited and could fill up soon. If you miss out this year, you might want to get ahead of the game and book it for next Thanksgiving.

See where it all started: Plymouth, Massachusetts

This historic settlement south of Boston, where the voyagers aboard the Mayflower landed in 1620, was the site of the first Thanksgiving. Visitors to Plymouth can step back in time and explore the Mayflower II, a full-scale replica of the celebrated sailing ship. View Myles Standish's sword, William Bradford's Bible and other artifacts belonging to the original colonists at the Pilgrim Hall Museum, witness participants in period costumes marching in the annual Thanksgiving procession, and more.

Where to stay: Opt for a cozy fireplace suite at the John Carver Inn & Spa. Children will especially love the hotel's indoor pool with 80-foot water slide and Jacuzzi set amid an imitation Plymouth Rock.

Where to eat: The Plimoth Plantation living history museum offers two popular Thanksgiving dinner options, a buffet and a more historically minded feast featuring greeters in authentic attire and menu items such as Indian pudding and split pea soup.

Take in a parade: Philadelphia

The New York Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade may be the nation's most well-known, but Philadelphia's 6abc Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade is the oldest. Originally sponsored by Gimbels, it has been a Philadelphia tradition since 1920. A steady stream of festive floats, giant balloons, marching bands, choirs, dance troupes and even Santa liven up downtown during the hourslong event.

Where to stay: The Embassy Suites Philadelphia-Center City is right along the parade route, making it easy to get there early and nab a prime viewing spot.

Where to eat: Moshulu, a 20th-century, square-rigged sailing vessel-turned-restaurant docked along the Delaware River waterfront, makes a unique setting for savoring your Thanksgiving Day repast.

Strap on the feed bag: Sonoma County, California

If you're one of those people who has to go up a pants size post-Turkey Day, then a trip to this food lover's mecca should be on the menu. You can eat and drink your way through hundreds of restaurants and wineries, all surrounded by a scenic backdrop of vineyard-filled valleys, towering redwoods and rugged coastline.

Where to stay: The quaint Farmhouse Inn has just 18 rooms but loads of charm and amenities, not to mention an award-winning restaurant.

Where to eat: Michelin-starred chef Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen cooks up a Thanksgiving spread featuring fresh, local ingredients. Mouthwatering dishes include 60-hour braised short ribs with smoked potato fondue and bourbon pecan pie with bruleed marshmallows that are sure to please even the pickiest palate.

Shop till you drop: New York

New York is synonymous with shopping, so where better to start your holiday gift buying than the Big Apple? Whether you hit Barneys, Bergdorf's, Bloomingdale's or any of the thousands of storefronts in between, you're sure to find that special something for that special someone.

Where to stay: The elegant Iroquois in Midtown Manhattan offers a Black Friday Shopping Package that includes $25 toward the cost of shipping your purchases home, power bars and a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee to help keep you going on your quest for bargains.

Where to eat: Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah haven't fallen on the same day since 1888, so why not celebrate by supping at the city's most famous Jewish eatery, Katz's? The deli's second annual all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving presentation features traditional favorites such as turkey and mashed potatoes alongside brisket, latkes, tzimmes, pickles and more.

Hit the slopes: Salt Lake City

If you'd rather be outdoors doing something active than inside eating leftover turkey sandwiches and watching football, grab your Gore-Tex and get yourself a lift ticket. There are 11 ski resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City International Airport, so you can be off the plane and schussing on fresh powder in record time.

Where to stay: The Cliff Lodge at Snowbird, set amid the picturesque Wasatch Mountains, boasts ski-in/ski-out access, ski lockers, equipment rental and repair, a full-service spa and even a licensed day care for those whose little ones aren't yet skilled ski bunnies.

Where to eat: Dining at La Caille, once voted one of the most romantic restaurants in America and even dreamier when it's dressed up for the holidays, will make you feel like you're enjoying your Thanksgiving meal at a fabulous French chateau.

Get away from it all: Vieques, Puerto Rico

Escape the chaos and stresses of the holiday season with a visit to this tiny island gem in the warm Caribbean waters just off the east coast of Puerto Rico. A U.S. naval bombing range and testing ground up until 2003, Vieques is now a tranquil retreat, where in-the-know travelers flee to commune with nature and disconnect from their devices.

Where to stay: Hix Island House, a series of architectural concrete structures, readily conveys the desired minimalist, unspoiled vibe. There are no phones, televisions or air conditioners, just spacious, airy lofts designed to be at one with the environment.

Where to eat: The W Retreat & Spa cooks up a special Thanksgiving meal at Sorce restaurant, but the more fitting choice would be to order a Thanksgiving feast to go from the W Café and spread it out on a secluded plot of beach somewhere.

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