Hoping for a Turkey Day getaway to the Sunshine State? Well, you’re in luck, because from fantastic shopping deals to numerous hotel specials, fun events, and savory buffets to savor, there’s a cornucopia of things to enjoy this Thanksgiving in Florida.
Satisfy all your Turkey Dinner cravings with a nice full plate of family fun events such as the annual Central Florida International Auto Show or The Seniors First Turkey Trot 5k, which is always a downtown Orlando holiday tradition. You and the kiddies can even grab a quick BBQ lunch at Wild Florida's Wildlife Park with the critters before making your way around to explore all those other exciting attractions. Just make sure to save room for all the mashed potatoes, gravy, and apple pie you’ll be downing come dinnertime! Get ready to give thanks for all the excitement that awaits you and the entire family. Here are seven ideas for your Thanksgiving in Florida.
7 Ways To Enhance Your Thanksgiving Trip To Florida
1. Get artsy in Delray Beach
Each year, the Annual Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival draws over 175 artists that exhibit unique creations galore during Thanksgiving weekend. Go on and get into the creative spirit this holiday season!
2. Have a Disney adventure!
We all know that Mickey, Minnie, and the entire gang always dress up to celebrate the holidays with tons of special displays and millions of sparkling lights that further brighten up the magical theme parks and on-property resorts in and around Disney World.
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held at the Magic Kingdom during select nights starting around Thanksgiving, so head on down to this special-ticketed event (as well as the many others around town) for some stellar family fun, an awesome cool parade, and lots of tasty sweet treats.
3. Get in the holiday spirit in St. Augustine
Head on out to the nation's oldest city as it decorates itself with millions of lights during the annual Nights of Lights grand celebration that kicks off every weekend before Thanksgiving. Experience charm, character, and one of the best holiday destinations to be had, especially for older couples and seniors looking for a relaxingly warm winter vacation of sunshine soaking, beach strolling, and pure historic culture.
Fishers will also be happy to know that the nearby Guana River boasts a magnificent setting, as well as plenty of redfish, speckled trout, and other species to reel in all year round.
4. Make it quaint on Amelia Island
Why not catch some tree-lighting celebrations in a village, or enjoy a magical Thanksgiving inside a historic Victorian mansion? Take a guided boat tour of Amelia Island and Cumberland Island this Thanksgiving to pleasure in holiday bliss like you’ve never imagined. There’s a fantastic 19th century Victorian village that dresses up for the holidays near Fairbanks House B&B, which always offers three and four-night Thanksgiving Holiday Packages that work hard to help families truly enjoy the holidays. Kiddies can even take part in the Friday morning pajama parties that are thrown each weekend, as well as the daily gourmet breakfasts, bedtime sweets, and ample shopping option around Centre Street Merchants that are fully available.
Elsewhere on the island, you can even chow down at Omni Amelia Island Plantation for a Turkey Day feast. Enjoy the Thanksgiving Grand Buffet at the Amelia Plantation's Sunrise Cafe or Ocean Grill where guest also receive a complimentary family photo. There’s also a four-course Thanksgiving dinner served at The Verandah if you’re looking for something more traditional.
5. Experience the great outdoors
There's no place like the great outdoors in the Sunshine State during the late fall. There’s tons to do, including duck hunting and fishing on Lake Okeechobee near Port St. Lucie, or canoeing and kayaking in and around small creeks and rivers that are truly a blast for any water lover to paddle. The Loxahatchee River also provides an intimate setting for freshwater fishers and families alike—there’s even a federally designated Wild & Scenic River in Jupiter that’s also nice and boasts tons of small bass, tarpon, and snook.
Some choose to head on down to Arbuckle Creek near Sebring, a stunning sight that flows into Lake Istokpoga, one of the top bass and crappie lakes. Also try out Fisheating Creek, a Floridian treasure that serves as one of the best bass fisheries in the nation. There are campground sites and canoe rentals to take advantage of in nearby Palmdale.
And for those wanting a nice dose of salt water, there’s always the option of just taking the family along on a party boat fishing expedition along the Keys. It's super inexpensive—plus, the fish you catch will be a nice change once those turkey leftovers begin losing their appeal!
6. Visit Flamingo Gardens
Celebrate Thanksgiving along with your favorite orange-pink feathered and spindle-legged birds within lush tropical gardens and the historic Wray Home, which always dresses up for the holidays beginning the day after Thanksgiving. The iconic weekend home and museum provides a glimpse into Southern life in the early 1930s, with some of the original furnishings still on view, as well as family portraits, thank you letters from President and Mrs. Eisenhower, and other notable items of interest.
What’s more is that there are sixty-acres just adjacent to the home that serve as a botanical paradise. Not only will you witness rare, exotic plants in their native habitats, but also the largest collection of Champion Trees in the State of Florida. Plus, it’s always just nice to spend some time with your flamingo friends!
7. Reflect on life's blessings at Historic Bok Sanctuary
Truly give thanks for the season by taking in breathtaking garden beauty at the Historic Bok Sanctuary while listening to the sounds of a live Thanksgiving Day carillon recital. Recitals are scheduled for the afternoon times and are free to attend with Sanctuary admission. Let’s get musical.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.