Thanksgiving getaways: 5 great places to go

Jill Becker, Special to CNNUpdated 16th November 2018
Consider transforming your Thanksgiving holiday with a skiing vacation on the Utah slopes.
(CNN) — Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday period of the year, with tens of millions expected to travel.
For anyone not loading up the SUV to make the trek to the family homestead, 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. If you miss out this year, you might want to get ahead of the game and book it for next Thanksgiving. Check out these Thanksgiving destinations across the USA:

1. 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 eat: The Plimoth Plantation living history museum offers four popular Thanksgiving dinner options.
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.

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

3. 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. While fall 2017 fires swept through parts of Sonoma County, California, other places in the county are full operational and ready to host visitors with the usual backdrop of vineyard-filled valleys, towering redwoods and rugged coastline.
Where to eat: Dry Creek Kitchen cooks up a Thanksgiving spread featuring fresh, local ingredients. A sampling from the menu includes lentil soup and farm beet salad for starters, turkey and scallops for entrees and caramel apple trifle for dessert.
Where to stay: The quaint Farmhouse Inn has just 18 rooms but loads of charm and amenities, not to mention an award-winning restaurant.

4. Shop till you drop: New York

If the weather is nice, how about a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge during your Thanksgiving getaway?
If the weather is nice, how about a walk on the Brooklyn Bridge during your Thanksgiving getaway?
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 eat: Maybe you'll want an Italian touch to your Thanksgiving meal when you're in New York. You can check out Maialino in the Gramercy Park neighborhood. Offerings include butternut squash soup, heritage turkey, braised lamb and tiramisu.
Where to stay: The elegant Iroquois in Midtown Manhattan was once the home of actor James Dean for two years in the early 1950s. There's a suite named after him. It's easy walking distance from Bryant Park, the stunning New York Public Library, Times Square and the Museum of Modern Art.

5. 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 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.
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.