There are plenty of places to go for those who want a non-traditional Thanksgiving in Florida. Consider the beach, road trips to St. Augustine or Mount Dora, visiting Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, or trying some seafood or Spanish food rather than turkey and stuffing.
Here are some ideas on how to enjoy Thanksgiving in Florida.
Sure, it’s not exactly beach weather, but Thanksgiving on the beach is a Thanksgiving no one will forget. Clearwater Beach is a popular destination for the holiday weekend, with the added attractions of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the Dali Museum in nearby St. Petersburg. Or you can just get an ice cream and stroll the beautiful beach.
Forget the turkey. What could be more “Thanksgiving in Florida” than having seafood? You can cook your own meal, but there are many deals available from area restaurants. For example, the Rusty Pelican has a Thanksgiving Day champagne buffet.
If seafood says Florida, then Spanish and Cuban says Tampa Bay. The famous Columbia restaurant serves on Thanksgiving Day, offering some of the best Spanish dishes you will ever eat. If you want more traditional Thanksgiving fare, the restaurant offers a meal of roast turkey with Columbia stuffing that includes Italian sausage, ground beef, chopped chicken livers, apples, water chestnuts, and raisins. Cuban and Spanish favorite La Teresita also has special Thanksgiving dinners you can order ahead of time.
The Night of Lights Festival in St. Augustine is an annual tradition that transforms the downtown of the oldest city in America with millions of tiny white lights. There are deals on restaurants and lodging. The light display turns this already beautiful historic city into something special. The festival runs from Nov. 17 through Feb. 3, 2019.
A trend was spotted a few years ago that has continued – Millennials are celebrating Thanksgiving far differently than previous generations. A survey found that Millennials are far more likely to use an app to order food for Thanksgiving. More also spend Thanksgiving planning out their holiday shopping. They could be onto something – they also report being far less stressed preparing for Thanksgiving.
Another destination worth a Thanksgiving road trip is Mount Dora, a charming town in Central Florida that attracts thousands of visitors every year. Take in the beautiful lakefront views, check out the antique shops and cafes, or enjoy a glass of wine and watch the world stroll by. There’s also Scott’s Maze Adventures nearby, with hayrides and a corn maze.
Get an early start to the Christmas season with Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, where the kids can see Rudolph and Santa Claus. The park is decorated in beautiful Christmas lights. Christmas Town is included with park admission and runs on select dates from Nov. 17 through Dec. 31.
These are some of the non-traditional ideas for Thanksgiving in Florida. It’s a wonderful place to spend the holidays, and you won’t find better entertainment and eating options anywhere.