November Family Travel Guide

Grand Teton National Park
View wildlife including moose, elk, and wolves in Grand Teton National Park. (courtesy, National Park Service)

Cayman Islands
An underwater treasure hunt, swashbuckling song and dance, costume contest, and fireworks combine to celebrate the Cayman Islands annual Pirates Week Festival, happening mid-November. Keep your eye out to sea and wait anxiously for the arrival of those nasty vermin.

Dothan, Alabama
Close to half of all peanuts grown in the United States are found within a 100-mile radius of Dothan, Alabama. Thus, the town is in the perfect location to hold the country's largest peanut festival, happening every year in early November. Celebrate the harvest by grabbing handfuls of peanuts, and then jump on an amusement ride, see an animal show, or head to the arts and crafts booth.

Deerfield, Massachusetts
Take hay rides into Pine Hill Orchards, try both sweet and hard ciders from around the world, and end the day with a dinner of turkey marbella and apple crisp at the town hall in historic Deerfield, Massachusetts. The annual "CiderDays" are held the first weekend of November.

New York City
SpongeBob SquarePants was one of the latest big balloons to join America's best parade, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Join the 2.5 million spectators along the route down Central Park West and 7th Avenue to Herald Square, the home of Macy's. A special treat includes watching the massive balloons being blown up on the Upper West Side the night before.

Bethlehem, New Hampshire
Sure, you can go to the local parking lot to find a Christmas tree, or you can cut down your own perfect specimen at The Rocks, a 1400-acre estate located in, of all places, Bethlehem, New Hampshire. On weekends from late-November to early-December, horse-drawn wagons carry families to the more than 55,000 balsam firs. After chopping and dragging your tree to the car, hang around the fire and roast marshmallows.

Sedona, Arizona
The best time to arrive in Sedona, Arizona, is in the darkness of night. The following morning when you open your drapes and stroll onto the hotel terrace, you'll stare in awe at the blend of twisted red rock formations. Monoliths, mesas, some as high as 5,000 feet, hoodoos, hanging cliffs, and spires join serrated red mountain walls. It's as if an impassioned abstract sculptor went to furious extremes. A lot cooler than summer, November is a perfect time to hike the trails.

To learn about the Presidents of the past, head to Ohio. From 1868 to 1920, seven of the ten presidents elected were from here. On a driving tour of the state, from Cincinnati to Cleveland, a slew of presidential homes and monuments can be visited to gain a better sense of who these men were—the accomplishments they achieved during office and the scandals that marred their presidency. They include the homes of Ulysses S. Grant, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, Rutherford B. Hayes, William McKinley, and James Garfield.

Climax, Georgia
Forget the mall. The first Saturday after Thanksgiving should be spent in Climax, Georgia at the Swine Time Festival. More than 35,000 people show up to see the best-dressed pig, cheer on the greased-pig chases, try their luck at hog calling, and eat chitterlings. There's also a quilt auction, live music, and an arts and crafts area for the kids.

Grand Teton National Park
Wedged between Yellowstone National Park to the north and the National Elk Refuge to the south, you can expect Grand Teton National Park to have its share of big animals. More than 10,000 elk migrate south in the winter months along with huge herds of moose and the occasional grey wolf. A good place to spot wildlife and cherish the dramatic mountain vistas is on the cross-country ski trail that goes from Taggart parking lot north to Jenny Lake. Ice anglers congregate on Jackson Lake to try their luck hooking brown trout and Rocky Mountain whitefish.

El Yunque, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is quickly gaining popularity because of the increasing number of direct flights from the US. Spend a day in Old San Juan, the walled-in section of the capital known for its handsomely restored centuries-old buildings. Then take the family on one of the island's ecotours—sea kayaking around Bioluminescent Bay, hiking underground in the massive caves of Rio Camuy Cave Park, or trekking in the lush El Yunque Rainforest. Colorful orchids line the trails, leading to a refreshing dip under a waterfall.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at

Published: 20 Jun 2007 | Last Updated: 22 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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