Feeling Thankful? Here Are 5 Family-Friendly Virginia Experiences To Explore On Thanksgiving

By Amie Knowles

November 22, 2022

Go for a run, experience fine dining, enjoy a free community meal, and more in Virginia this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to be, well, thankful for the people you care about most. And if you’re like us, it’s also a time to frantically look for fun things to do when all of your relatives come to visit. 

Thankfully (pun intended), there are plenty of things to do in Virginia on and around Thanksgiving Day. Here’s a scoop of some of our top favorites.

This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, but may hopefully spark some ideas to tweak and try in your own neck of the woods!

Turkey Trot

Feeling Thankful? Here Are 5 Family-Friendly Virginia Experiences To Explore On Thanksgiving
Frederick County Parks and Recreation

If going for a run is your type of fun, there are plenty of turkey trots taking place throughout Virginia on Thanksgiving. 

In Stephens City, the first runners get to their marks at Sharando High School as early as 7:45 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The event caters to the whole family’s needs with two kids fun runs for ages six through nine and a 5k for ages six and up.  

These races are good for amateurs and avid runners alike. The certified 5k course—a timed race—covers a path on track, pavement, and the woodland trails of Sherando Park. Prizes are available for the top three male and top three female finishers, as well as the top masters for both male and female. 

Registration for the event ends Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. You can register online by clicking here

Location: 185 South Warrior Dr, Stephens City, VA 22655

Thanksgiving Together

Feeling Thankful? Here Are 5 Family-Friendly Virginia Experiences To Explore On Thanksgiving
St Peters Episcopal Church<a href=httpswwwinstagramcompCGlfzeojs80>Instagram<a>

All are welcome to the free community Thanksgiving meal taking place at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Purcellville, courtesy of Tree of Life Ministries. 

On Thanksgiving Day from noon until 1 p.m., volunteers will hand out hot, ready-to-eat meals to anyone who stops by. The dinner even includes a pie!

There are two options for guests. They can either drive up to the church and request as many meals as they need for their family and take the dinner home to enjoy, or guests can sit at one of the tables set up in the church and enjoy their meal on-site. 

There are still volunteer opportunities available for the event. You can learn more about the event and/or volunteering by clicking here.

Location: 37035 Glendale St, Purcellville, VA 20132

Ellis Island Concert

Maybe some good music is how you’d like to spend your holiday. If so, you’re in luck. 

Compositions including those by Franz Joseph Haydn, Meredith Monkm, and Ernő Dohnányi will fill the Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs starting at 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Concert oppotunities continue over the weekend. 

The concert featuring solo, quartet, and quintet selections and performances by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and

Domenic Salerni will also feature a special add-on. For those interested in dining, a full Thanksgiving meal is available after the concert. 

The menu features traditional favorites including a choice of turkey or ham, chive pesto whipped potatoes, roasted baby carrots with fennel, roasted shallots and almonds, apple and sun dried cherry stuffing with parsnips and leeks, cranberry sauce with apricots and pears, thyme gravy with rolls and butter, bourbon pecan pie and whipped cream, and various other side salads and desserts.

In addition to being performed live, the concert will also be livestreamed for those who are unable to attend in-person. 

The link for the livestream is available by clicking here. To purchase in-person tickets, click here

Location: 403 Garth Newel Ln, Hot Springs, VA 24445

Thanksgiving at the Tides Inn

Feeling Thankful? Here Are 5 Family-Friendly Virginia Experiences To Explore On Thanksgiving
Tides Inn<a href=httpswwwinstagramcompCkPEx8eN2lE>Instagram<a>

If cooking isn’t your thing, you’re invited to dine at the Tides Inn in Irvington on Thanksgiving Day.

Serving both brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Chef Terrence and his team will present meals with regional dishes as the starts of the table. 

For brunch, the special buffet will host a seafood display with Rappahannock Oysters, king crab legs and shrimp; a shrimp and grits “action station” with andouille sausage and shrimp; and a carving station with herb roasted tom turkey, honey glazed Virginia pit ham, and Atlantic salmon. Traditional Thanksgiving pies are on the menu for desert, as well as additional options.

For dinner, guests fine dine to an entire four-course meal! The menu features twists on traditional favorites, including butternut squash bisque, cornbread stuffing, and pumpkin cheesecake with crème anglaise. Delicious local seafood also makes an appearance with Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab and rockfish with cauliflower risotto as features of the meal. 

You can learn more about the dinner and how to make reservations by clicking here

Location: 480 King Carter Dr, Irvington, VA 22480

Celebration in Lights

Feeling Thankful? Here Are 5 Family-Friendly Virginia Experiences To Explore On Thanksgiving
Newport News Parks<a href=httpswwwinstagramcompCI57qarJ 8E>Instagram<a>

Okay, okay, now that Thanksgiving is here, can we please deck the halls? In Newport News, they’re decking the park!

For the 30th year, Newport News Park will feature a Celebration in Lights. The event opens to the public Thanksgiving evening from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and goes until Jan. 1. 

For two miles, vehicles can weave through more than 1 million twinkling lights adorning the gorgeous natural scenery, together creating animated holiday and fanciful scenes. 

Advance purchase tickets for cars are available at a reduced rate at the Newport News Visitor Center at the entrance to Newport News Park. To learn more about ticketing options, click here

Ahead of Thanksgiving and for one night only on Nov. 22, there is also an opportunity for folks wishing to walk through the winter wonderland. Presented by the Langley Federal Credit Union, the Holiday Light Stroll is a charity event to benefit the Center for Child & Family Services. 100% of the profit will go to the nonprofit, which focuses on empowering people to face life’s challenges through counseling and support services.

The two-mile walk takes place at two separate time intervals, from 5 to 7 p.m. and  from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To learn more about the walk-through event and purchase tickets, click here

Location: 13560 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23603

  • Amie Knowles

    Amie is Dogwood's community editor. She has been in journalism for several years, winning multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association for news and features content. A lifelong Virginia resident, her work has appeared in the Martinsville Bulletin, Danville Register & Bee and NWNC Magazine.

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