Thanksgiving is all about celebrating the people, places, and things we’re thankful for. The RV community shows its gratitude by embracing campsites and the outdoors as the backdrop for their celebrations. Here at Camping World, we are grateful for the full-timers, weekend warriors, and everyone in between for their continued loyalty to the RV lifestyle. Our community is more solid than ever because of the bonds built around roaring campfires and along scenic trails.
Whether you plan to hit the road before, after, or on Thanksgiving, now is the perfect time to plan your adventure. Not sure what to prepare for? No worries, pumpkin! We’ve compiled an RVers guide to camping for Thanksgiving that will help you check all the boxes. With a bit of preparation, you can make this holiday with your loved ones the best yet. We’ve been around the campground quite a few times, so gather around and read on for our helpful tips – they’re easy as pie.
What to Cook for Thanksgiving Dinner?
While the Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect time to share what we’re most thankful for with the ones that mean the most in our lives, it’s also about the food. The meal is what pulls us in, sits us down, and allows us the opportunity to open up about the things we’re most grateful for. As a result, the meal cannot disappoint. It must be delicious!
What is Thanksgiving without a juicy turkey? Let’s start there. If you’re big on traditions and cook your turkey every year, you can still do so while camping. The main issue to consider is size. In this case, bigger isn’t always better. Consider scaling back the size of your bird or opt for several turkey breasts to cook instead. RV ovens aren’t equipped to handle the giant turkeys you see in pictures and on television this time of year.
If the turkey is the main character, then side dishes are the supporting characters, and you need both for a solid production all around. Many would even argue that the side dishes are just as important. The meal is a full cast, and everything has to pull its weight. Try adding a new campfire recipe to your menu this year or choose one of our favorites below; we guarantee everyone around the table will be asking for an encore.
How to Cook Your Thanksgiving Meal?
After nailing down a menu, it’s time to decide how and when to cook your selections. An RV oven may seem like the obvious choice, but it can really drink up your propane. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – you’re camping after all. Spark up the campfire and use it to your advantage.
A cast iron dutch oven is a solid choice. The versatility allows for endless possibilities, especially when thinking about your Thanksgiving menu. Make bread or chili or save it for leftovers and make a stew the next day. Don’t forget – safety first! Make sure you have a few pot holders or oven mitts nearby for handling your cast iron; you’ll be grateful you do.
Honestly, when we think of camping cuisine, we think of grilling. It’s not your typical Turkey Day cooking method, but once you give it a try, we have a feeling you’ll start a new tradition. Camp grills (propane or electric) allow you to regulate the heat for those finicky recipes that require precision, while charcoal grills add a smokey flavor that everyone is thankful for.
What Campsites Should You Plan to Visit This Thanksgiving?
With the meal taken care of, let’s talk location. One of the biggest perks of camping for Thanksgiving is the scenery. Aim for somewhere that has fall foliage fresh out of a fairytale so you and your guests have picture-perfect views while you eat.
Whether you’re new to fall camping with the family, looking to visit Native American-owned campgrounds for an educational Thanksgiving, or wanting to explore our national parks, there are plenty of options to consider. A few of our favorites are listed below.
- Asheville Bear Creek RV Park & Campground in Asheville, NC
- Whitewater Bluegrass RV Park in Mountain View, AR
- Mountain View Campground in Stowe, VT
- Big Cypress RV Resort is located on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation
- Boot Hill RV Resort located in Navajo Nation
Regardless of the campground, it’s wise to plan ahead. Camping for Thanksgiving is becoming increasingly popular, and locations tend to fill up quickly. Planning ensures you and your family have a designated campsite to host your celebration.
A Few Extra Things to Be Thankful For
With food and location decided upon, there are a few additional ways to ensure your Thanksgiving camping experience is satisfying – and gratifying.
Try having your TVs tuned to the football game for all the sports fanatics in attendance. Both inside and outside televisions can be playing the game so no one is sacrificing one tradition for another. If you’re starting the day early with cooking, throw on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and switch it to the game later.
Stock up on to-go plates and leftover storage like the Thinstore Collapsible Bowls. Thanksgiving is notorious for creating a ton of leftovers; having food storage options on stand-by for quick takeaway plates and convenient transporting means you and your guests aren’t scrambling to figure out how to clear the table.
Another stress-free tip includes delegating what you can. If you know you cannot prepare all the food in time, have some of it catered. Local restaurants and grocery stores offer Thanksgiving specials to make the hustle and bustle of the day a little less chaotic. Call ahead and reserve a side dish or two for pick up the day before you need it, so day-of meal prep is simply reheating.
The RV lifestyle is all about adventure, so create your own this Thanksgiving and make sure to save room for dessert – life is sweet.