Family Travel Road Trip

The Worst Places to Be on Black Friday

Don’t spend the day after Thanksgiving doing the polar opposite of giving thanks.

Every year, millions of Americans make the decision to spend the day after Thanksgiving doing the polar opposite of giving thanks: rushing to a crowded box store to fight like animals over electronics, clothes, and appliances.

This year, however, the aptly-named Black Friday may have met its match. Outdoor retailer REI announced that all of its locations—yes, all 143 U.S. stores—will remain closed on November 27. “The outdoors, and the website, are always open,” the company says. Suggesting customers instead #OptOutside, REI isn’t the only one that’s anti-Black Friday this year. A number of State Parks will be waiving entry and camping fees on November 27, meaning you can now save money on an outdoor excursion instead.

Call me crazy, but I think the holiday season is about more than just exchanging gifts. It shouldn’t start by stampeding a shopping mall. In that spirit, here are six places you definitely shouldn’t be on Black Friday—and where you should go instead.


By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Plenty of extra thick hair elastics. They tame my frizzy curls and come in handy in a surprising number of packing and hotel dilemmas."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Climbing (yes, climbing, it's steep!) the Great Wall of China before it's gone."

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