Its been said that this Thanksgiving holiday will be one of the most traveled holidays in about a decade. That said, Thanksgiving may also be the one that drives the most people insane with family-induced stress. So, if you have to be on the road for Thanksgiving anyway, why not plan a side trip or two along the way?

A Thanksgiving holiday weekend hike in the woods

There's something calming about retreating to a beautiful and scenic place. Many cities have county or state parks where you can walk or hike, or perhaps you might get to enjoy being near a national park.

A quick Google search of Department of Parks and Recreation on your phone or other mobile device will often give you an overview of nearby places to explore.

A few possibilities could include:

  • Great Smokey Mountains -- Not only can you hike there, but there's also biking, horseback riding, fishing, camping.
  • Mammoth Caves -- Lots of history here as well as cave tours, caverns, zip lining, festivals, and more.
  • The Missouri Ozarks -- Hiking, camping, bird watching, wineries, and more.
  • Hocking Hills in Ohio -- Lots of interesting and beautiful attractions such as Old Man's cave, Cedar Falls, zip lines, and more.
  • Granite Mountain Hotspots Memorial State Park in Arizona -- A memorial to firefighters that's primarily a place to hike and remember our first responders, but there are some beautiful scenic spots, and there is some interesting history.

Thanksgiving holiday places to see

While some people will just break out their raingear or foot traction devices and hike anyway, others may prefer a different path.

Typically you can find a city's local paper(s) online with a calendar of events and local Thanksgiving weekend attractions.

A few possibilities here could include:

  • The Hershey Museum in Pennsylvania -- Great opportunity to find out about the history of Mr. Hershey and his tasty treats we all enjoy today.
  • Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio -- This would be a fun option a day or two after Thanksgiving since they aren't open on Thanksgiving Day. You'll find everything from the history of the Wright brothers, to the cold war, to space travel. It's some fascinating history that isn't just a bunch of reading but has interesting items to see, and in some cases, explore.
  • Main Event Entertainment -- This indoor adventure includes options such as laser tag, mini golf, gravity ropes, bowling, rock climbing, karaoke, and more.

While the above is hardly an exhaustive list of ideas to help you escape the Thanksgiving family holiday scene for a while, it might spawn a few ideas of your own for Thanksgiving holiday side trips this year.