el dorado county thanksgiving dinner

Top Thanksgiving family activities in El Dorado County

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for family, friends, copious amounts of food, and perhaps a football game or two. For folks looking for something beyond that, or families seeking activities that don’t involve shopping or television, you’re in luck, for there are plenty of interesting, fun, and educational things to do in El Dorado County this holiday.

Check out our top family-friendly activities in El Dorado County this Thanksgiving.

Visit a Gold Mine

Pack a picnic lunch (turkey leftovers optional) and head to the Gold Bug Mine and Park. This genuine gold mine, situated on 60 acres, is offering extended hours during Thanksgiving weekend. Take a self-guided audio tour of Gold Bug Mine or walk off that extra helping of pie on the Deer Hollow Trail. This interesting and educational self-guided walk explores the park’s unique mining history and how the landscape and natural habitats were altered in the quest for gold. The stamp mill, museum, and miner’s blacksmith shop will all be open as well.
>> Gold Bug Mine – Open Friday, November 24 – Sunday, November 26, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Children in Gold Bug Mine, El Dorado County
Make it an extra-memorable Thanksgiving by exploring a real gold mine at Gold Bug Park!

Take the Family to Hometown Holiday

Hometown Holiday (formerly the Festival of Lights) is an annual family-friendly tradition that’s a great way to kick off the holiday season! The old-fashioned festivities will close Historic Main Street and feature music, entertainment, and more at various locations up and down Main Street. The tree lighting begins at 6 pm at the Courthouse.
>> Hometown Holiday – Runs Friday, November 24, from 4-7 pm.

El Dorado County Festival of Lights Christmas Trees | Photo: Bill Robinson
Hometown Holiday is back this year on November 24. Photo: Bill Robinson Studios

Get a Christmas Tree

Get a leg on the Christmas season by getting your tree. Make it a fun outing and visit one of the Christmas tree farms in El Dorado County (think hot drinks, kiddie train rides, and more). If you’re looking for more adventure, you can cut down your own tree (but be sure to secure your permit early, as they do sell out!).
>> Christmas tree farms in El Dorado County
>> Christmas tree permits in El Dorado County

Christmas Tree farm
The Christmas tree farms in El Dorado County aren’t just about trees but also hot cider, mini train rides, and more.

Explore the Quilt Trail

Load up the car and make a game out of who can spot the most barn quilts along the bucolic backroads. Not your typical quilt, barn quilts are hand-painted public works of art that adorn and complement old barns, historic buildings, gardens, and other locations in El Dorado County. Discover these welcoming beacons of color (and history) for yourself.
>> Quilt Trail Map – Download your free map – and be sure to tag any photos you take with #ElDoradoCounty!

Barn Quilt at Rainbow Orchards, El Dorado County

Experience Gold Rush History

Go back in time at Marshall Gold Discovery State Park. Pack the leftovers, bring Fido, and enjoy a stroll through history along the American River. Day-use facilities, the Visitor Center, and Blacksmith Shop are open.
>>Marshall Gold Discovery State Park – Day Use Areas: 8 am – 5 pm. Visitor Center and Museum: 9 am to 4 pm.

Views of Coloma from Marshall Gold Discovery State Park

Take a Hike

Work off the holiday meal, enjoy some fresh air, and stretch your legs with a hike. You’ll find numerous trails of varying lengths in the foothills and lower elevations, including the El Dorado Trail, Dave Moore Nature Area, and Cronan Ranch trail network.
>> Short hikes in El Dorado County
>> More hiking information

El Dorado County Film Map

Watch a Movie Filmed in El Dorado County

Why not watch a movie (or TV show) that was filmed in El Dorado County – and take a road trip to see it afterward? Find a list of shows shot on-location here.

Discover more holiday events and activities in El Dorado County.

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Upcoming El Dorado County Events

el dorado county fair grounds
Top Thanksgiving family activities in El Dorado County
Lavender Blue Festival graphic | Lavender-Basket-El Dorado County

Community Events Calendar

May 23, 2024
6:00 pm A Picture's Worth : NEA Big Read at the Gallery
June 12, 2024
Meyers Mountain Market
REGISTER NOW: 2024 Youth Summer Camps - June 3 to Aug 2, 2024
REGISTER NOW: 2024 Youth Summer Camps - June 3 to Aug 2, 2024
11:00 am Whiskey & Wine Wednesday at Poor Red's
June 13, 2024
El Dorado County Fair
Rucksack Community Nights
4:00 pm Coloma Community Market
5:00 pm Miss El Dorado County Scholarship Pageant