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Turn Your Thanksgiving Trip into a Vacation

10/08/2014 12:35 EDT | Updated 12/08/2014 05:59 EST
Jon Edwards Photography via Getty Images

Traditionally, when people travel for Thanksgiving, they stay with family. As stressful as that might be (depending on your family), it's tradition, and getting a hotel would be too expensive, right?

Wrong on both counts. Thanksgiving is all about family, but part of being a generous relative is not imposing, particularly if you have kids in tow. After all, your host is already making a home cooked feast for your enjoyment. It's for this reason we've seen more and more people turning Thanksgiving into less of an obligatory trip and more of a vacation, and one of the simplest ways to make the weekend feel a bit special is to pamper yourself, and your family, with a hotel stay. That brings us to the expense, and the good news here is hotels are offering great rates because they're practically empty over the three-day weekend.

To prove it, I checked our database to find the most popular Thanksgiving destinations this year -- the destinations where, in theory, demand should be highest -- and I wasn't surprised to see average rates hovering around $80. Whether you're visiting family or taking yours on a vacation, take advantage, and during your stay, check out some of the activities below.

Toronto - $70/night average

As the country's largest city, Toronto hosts a wide variety of family-friendly Thanksgiving activities that will keep everyone happy. Farms around town hold Thanksgiving celebrations complete with hay rides, corn mazes, puppet shows, games, face painting and pumpkin and apple picking. And for those who want to eat a T-Day meal out, the Gothic landmark Casa Loma is hosting an eight-course meal on Sunday.

Vancouver - $80/night average

Scenic Granville Island hosts its annual Turkey Trot on Monday that's perfect for the runners, joggers or even strollers looking to burn some added Thanksgiving calories, and then pack them back on when they enjoy a gourmet meal at the finish line.

Montreal - $90/night average

The third most popular city plans a variety of cultural and musical activities to celebrate "Action de Grâce," from the Great Pumpkin Ball -- where you can put your carving skills to the test at a pumpkin decorating contest -- to the LGBT community's Black and Blue festival, which attracts 70,000 people annually and donates its proceeds to HIV/AIDS foundations and research.

Ottawa - $84/night average

With fall underway, Ottawa is a great place for fall foliage photo opportunities and one of the best ways to experience the leaves change is a weekend-long cycling tour. If you're a foodie, check out the Carp Farmer's market for music and dancing on Saturday, or bring the kids to the Main Farmer's Market for face painting and crafts.

Edmonton - $85/night average

Since Thanksgiving is about being grateful, hit the 60th annual Edmonton Corn Maze, from which all proceeds go to children in need. Not only can you hunt your way through 5 km of cornstalks, but you can ride in a tractor, feed farm animals and enjoy a picnic. Another family friendly option is Edmonton's Haunted Pumpkin Festival, which offers over 50 different activities fun for parents or kids.

*Average prices mentioned above are based on hotel bookings made on Hotwire.com between 9/10/14 - 9/26/14 for travel between 10/10-10/13/14.

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