With its famously family-oriented culture, Utah is ideal for a Thanksgiving getaway. This large state offers varied winter climate and landscape, so you can choose between snow in the mountains of Park City or sunny warmth on the red rocks in St. George. As you decide where in this beautiful state to go during the holiday weekend, check out these great cities — each one has a variety of Thanksgiving events, and a wealth of cozy Utah vacation rentals to take your trip to the next level.
1. Park City
Get a jump on the ski season during Thanksgiving in Park City. In late November, snow-making machines are going full blast in this mountain town, so you can spend your weekend on the slopes at Deer Valley, Park City Mountain, or The Canyons. Head to Rocky Mountain Sleigh Company, and enjoy a sleigh ride through the mountains to a log cabin, where a hearty homestyle Thanksgiving dinner awaits. Alternatively, head to the legendary Thanksgiving buffet at the Apex at Montage Deer Valley, or stay cozy in your local vacation rental and enjoy a takeout dinner from the Waldorf Astoria’s Gourmet-to-Go.
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2. Salt Lake City
Burn off a few calories before a big Thanksgiving dinner in Salt Lake City, where the annual Utah Human Race typically draws more than 5,000 participants. All of the profits go toward providing food and community services to towns around Utah. The family-friendly vibe in Salt Lake City makes it a fun destination for kids. If the snow is falling in the Wasatch Mountains, head up to Brighton Ski Resort after dinner for night skiing. On Black Friday, head straight downtown to City Creek for shopping deals and festive decorations.
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3. St. George
Start your Thanksgiving with a run along the Dixie River in St. George, one of Southern Utah’s most picturesque destinations. Local families turn out en masse for the Gobbler Run, which features 10K, 5K, and Kids 1K events. The next day, head to Red Cliffs Mall for Black Friday shopping, or ring in the Christmas season at the Santa’s Workshop gift show. Alternatively, spend the day enjoying the cool weather and sunshine on the petrified sand dunes at Snow Canyon State Park.
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Spend Thanksgiving among the red rocks in Moab. Each November, this small, adventure-oriented town hosts the GGBY Highline Festival, where you can watch daring thrillseekers perform tricks and strike yoga poses as they traverse lines strung across canyons and between rock formations. If you’re a climber, make the trip to Indian Creek to scale rock cliffs during Creeksgiving. Afterward, head to Superbowl Campground for a Thanksgiving feast. Closer to town, Arches National Park offers low Thanksgiving day crowd levels, and the Red Cliffs Lodge serves a traditional dinner for those who don’t want to cook.
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Ring in the holiday season with the whole family at Midway’s Lynden Legacy Turkey Trot. This fun 5K winds through the city, offering stunning mountain views, and it attracts everyone from serious runners to kids in strollers. Afterward, enjoy Thanksgiving dinner at Zermatt, which is known for its mind-boggling feast. A few days after Thanksgiving, celebrate the transition to Christmas at the Tree Lighting Celebration in Midway Town Square, where you can enjoy ample holiday snacks and participate in a holiday singalong.
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6. Brian Head
Feel like you have the mountains to yourself in Brian Head, a tiny ski town located just north of Cedar Breaks National Monument. The Brian Head Resort offers discounted lift tickets each Thanksgiving weekend, so you can enjoy freshly fallen snow with the whole family. For Thanksgiving dinner, stop by The Restaurant at Cedar Breaks Lodge for a spectacular plated meal of roast turkey, sage stuffing, and a variety of traditional sides. If you’re looking for a peaceful after-dinner activity, rent cross-country skis from Brian Head Sports and head to Town Trails.
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Enjoy your turkey with a view of the Wasatch Range in Ogden. Each year, this small city hosts the Annual Thanksgiving Run/Walk for Charity at the Ogden Medical Center. Bring non-perishable food or a donation as an entry fee, and join local families in the 5-mile run or 2-mile walk. After Thanksgiving dinner at the Gray Cliff Lodge, work off the calories with a ski trip to Snowbasin Resort to experience Utah’s fantastic early-season snow.
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For dedicated shoppers, Orem is one of Utah’s most convenient Thanksgiving vacation destinations. This friendly city places you within easy reach of two major Black Friday shopping centers. The Outlets at Traverse Mountain opens on the evening of Thanksgiving Day, offering special deals on already discounted prices. The morning after, head to University Mall with the kids to watch Santa’s grand arrival. Get prepared for your shopping marathon at the Earn Your Turkey family run/walk event, which features a huge variety of prizes for participants.
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If you’re hoping for an active Thanksgiving, head for Springdale, the gateway to Zion National Park. The park experiences pleasantly cool temperatures and low crowd levels on Thanksgiving Day; you might even get the spectacular Angels Landing to yourself. After a day of hiking, stop into the rustic Zion Lodge for a family-friendly Thanksgiving buffet, or go into town for the turkey dinner at the ultra-friendly Spotted Dog Cafe.
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