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You can’t spell Thanksgiving without the word “thanks”, and what better way to be thankful than to plan a family trip for the holiday weekend. If you’re looking for a few ideas to make your best Thanksgiving trip yet, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a quick rundown of six amazing Thanksgiving getaways in the High Sierra, based on what you enjoy doing.

Truckee – Skiin’ & Shoppin’

Truckee Hotel Historic Lodges In The High Sierra
Image appears courtesy: Truckee Chamber of Commerce

When it comes to a picturesque town that fits the perfect Thanksgiving holiday getaway, look no further than Truckee. You’ll find a wide range of vacation rentals, from historic hotels to mountain homes, as well as numerous activities and fall colors still lingering along hiking trails. Peruse the local shops and galleries on Main Street to pick up the perfect holiday gift for friends or family. You may even have the option of skiing at Northstar California and Palisades Tahoe | Alpine Meadows – check for opening dates.

Eastern Sierra – Peace n’ Quiet

South Tufa, Mono Lake, California
South Tufa, Mono Lake, California – Image appears courtesy: Visit Mono County

For those that need to get away from it all, the high-country east of the Sierra Nevada in Mono County is the perfect spot. During this time of year, it’s the beginning of what they call the “quiet season.” The main passes such as Tioga are closed for the winter so you pretty much have the entire region to yourself. Enjoy a scenic drive on Highway 395 & take in the otherworldly views of Mono Lake. Or, if you’re looking for even more relaxation, head over to Keough’s Hot Springs for a dip. The options of outdoor recreating are endless.

Angels Camp – Talking Turkey About History

Christmas Traditions In The High Sierra
Image appears courtesy: Calaveras Visitors Bureau

Historic towns are unique like time capsules of a bygone era. Angels Camp’s claim to fame is its close association with Mark Twain’s short story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” To this day, the main street still has the look and feel of that time. Although the bar at Angels Hotel where Sam Clemens heard the story is no longer around you can pony up to a bar from the same era at the Murphys Hotel Bar or Hotel Leger in Mokelumne Hill. Find your perfect Christmas gift at one of the many boutiques or antique shops that line the thoroughfare. Don’t forget to visit the Angels Camp Museum which is home to the largest collection of carriages and wagons in the country.

South Lake Tahoe – Gettin’ Jiggy With It

couple walking down to MS Dixie II during Thanksgiving
Photo by: Marcello Rostagni – Image appears courtesy: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

Are you the type of person that enjoys being in the center of it all? A place that has energy. Excitement. Plenty to do. South Lake Tahoe is where you’ll want to go for a Thanksgiving getaway. Heavenly Mountain Resort is at your doorstep. There’s ice rinks in the Heavenly village and at Edgewood Tahoe Resort. If you’re around on Thanksgiving Day, zip over to Zephyr Cove Resort. Enjoy a lakeside dinner followed by a cruise on the waters of Lake Tahoe via the M.S. Dixie II. The south shore will make sure you get all the trimmings and then some more for leftovers.

Bass Lake – Lake Livin’

Image appears courtesy: Visit Yosemite | Madera County

Although Bass Lake might be known for its summer lounging, Thanksgiving is also a great time to visit. You can enjoy the views of what many call “mini Lake Tahoe” but at a more relaxed pace. You may even a find a few special holiday gifts at the Holiday Bazaar & Pines Village the Friday after Thanksgiving. Fish, hike, bike, or camp in the area. Just be sure to bring layers for those cool evenings.

Markleeville – Escape To Nature

snow in mountains surrounding Markleeville California
Image appears courtesy: Alpine County California

As the snow begins to accumulate in the Sierra, both Monitor & Ebbetts Passes close for the winter. The only way access to access the quaint town of Markleeville is via the North on Highway 88 & 89. This isn’t a bad thing, but rather an opportunity to get close to nature with nary a soul around. Enjoy a meal at the legendary Sorensen’s Cafe (be sure to leave room for their cobbler). Afterwards, take in the beauty of Hope Valley. If there’s enough snow, rent a pair of snowshoes or cross-country skis from Hope Valley Outdoor Outfitters. And once you’ve had your fill of the outdoors, finish it off with fine dining at the Stonefly Restaurant.

Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have, and this year, we’re thankful for these 3 great getaways in the High Sierra!

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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