Ahhh…Thanksgiving. A time honored tradition where a select few family members spend days preparing a feast that gets consumed in mere minutes.
Yes, Thanksgiving can be a great way to connect with family and friends while celebrating the things we are thankful for. But unfortunately that sentiment sometimes gets lost in the stress of the holiday.
Why not shake it up this year with a new tradition? Instead of the usual family gathering, jump in the RV and hit the road for a holiday you can be truly thankful for.
From the beaches of Florida to the sun drenched California desert, here are some Thanksgiving RV destinations that are sure to melt away the stress and add some fun to your turkey day.
Stuff Your Face — No Cooking Required
Spend less time in the kitchen and more time stuffing your face at these full service Thanksgiving feasts served up at some of the best parks in the country.
1. Yosemite National Park – California
What better way to celebrate the heritage of America than with an expertly prepared Thanksgiving meal enjoyed in one of the most stunning locations around the country? Yosemite National Park offers three Thanksgiving day meals prepared by professional chefs.
Choose from local organic fare at the stately and historic Ahwanee Dining Room, casual food with a view of the falls at the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge, or a classic meal in a Victorian-era setting at the Wawona Dining Room.
2. Tennessee State Parks – Tennessee
Tennessee has a huge network of state parks all offering a long list of amenities, including eight parks with on-site restaurants. All of the Tennessee State Park restaurants will be serving up a Thanksgiving day feast. From the Riverboat Restaurant at Paris Landing State Park, to the Thanksgiving Harvest Buffet at Cumberland Mountain State Park, Tennessee State Parks have got you covered when it comes to Thanksgiving.
For a full listing of the state park restaurants and their holiday offerings visit this website.
3. Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona
Celebrate the holiday in style at the El Tovar Hotel. Located in the Grand Canyon village on the south rim – and only minutes from the Trailer Village RV Park – the El Tovar Dining Room offers classic fare in a rustic setting.
A Thanksgiving Day feast will be served from 11am until 10pm, and features classics such as turkey with all the trimmings alongside less traditional southwest inspired dishes. Be sure to save room for an array of specially prepared desserts.
Potluck Style Thanksgiving
All around the country RV parks invite their guests to join them for a community potluck style Thanksgiving feast. Typically they provide the main course and you bring a side dish or dessert to share. Yes, that does mean you have to do a tiny bit of cooking, but it also means you get to try a bunch of dishes that are NOT the same Jell-O salad Aunt Ethel brings every year.
4. South Padre Island KOA – Texas
If beaches and palm trees are your idea of an excellent holiday, then the South Padre Island KOA is the place to be this Thanksgiving.
All guests are invited to their annual Thanksgiving dinner. The park provides turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes and gravy and guests are encouraged to bring a dish to share.
5. Chula Vista RV Resort – California
With endless sight-seeing and practically perfect weather, who wouldn’t want to spend Thanksgiving in San Diego? For a memorable Thanksgiving book a site at the Chula Vista RV Resort. The park hosts a potluck style dinner in the poolside room on Thanksgiving day. They provide the turkey and gravy and guests are asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. On the day after Thanksgiving guests are invited to gather at the sunset pavilion to watch as the holiday lights around the RV resort and marina are lit up for the first time. The evening continues with music, karaoke, and appetizers.
6. Top of The Hill RV Resort – Texas
Thanksgiving is serious business at this Texas Hill Country campground. Join them for their annual Turkey in Trash Can Thanksgiving Dinner. Watch as six large turkeys are roasted in an open pit covered with metal trashcans.
7. Emerald Beach RV Resort – Florida
Another great place to spend Thanksgiving if you love sand and surf. The Emerald Beach RV Resort in gorgeous Navarre, Florida celebrates the season with a potluck style Thanksgiving dinner. They provide the turkey, ham, stuffing and gravy, and ask guests to bring a side dish or dessert to share. After you’ve eaten your fill, walk it off on the world famous sugar sand beaches just minutes from the park.
8. River’s End Campground – Georgia
With sandy beaches, an iconic lighthouse, and tons of cute shops to explore, Tybee Island is a Georgia coastal vacation destination. Get into the spirit of the season at the River’s End Campground where they host a Potluck style Thanksgiving dinner. You bring your favorite side dish and the park provides the turkey and ham.
9. Emerald Desert RV Resort – California
Join the four day Thanksgiving Celebration at the Emerald Desert RV Resort in Palm Desert, California.
The fun starts on Wednesday with a casual meet and greet by the pool where you can prep for the main event by nibbling on provided hors d’oeuvres. On Thursday a Thanksgiving Day feast commences with turkey, stuffing and potatoes provided by the resort and guests contributing dishes to share.
On Friday you can either hop on the Black Friday shuttle bus and shop till you drop, or stick around the park for fun kids activities and the afternoon putting contest. The fun wraps up on Saturday with fruit, yogurt, juice and pastries by the pool.
10. Big Bend Ranch State Park – Texas
When it comes to Thanksgiving, Texas doesn’t mess around. At the Big Bend Ranch State Park Thanksgiving Dinner and Hike you can stuff yourself with pecan-smoked turkey breast, cranberry-orange relish, mashed potatoes and stuffing, green beans and carrots, and apple bread pudding with caramel glaze.
Work It Off
Because overeating is practically a requirement on Thanksgiving, here are a few campgrounds that offer a fun way to work off that third piece of pie you simply couldn’t resist.
11. Tallulah Gorge State Park – Georgia
Get out on the trail for a 3-mile Walk Off the Turkey guided hike on the gorge floor. This moderately strenuous hike will have you climbing over boulders and logs and hopping across a river on rocks. The cost is $5 per person plus park admission and is limited to ages 10 and up.
12. Highlands Hammock State Park – Florida
This wildly popular 5k Turkey Trot attracts more then 600 participants of all ages. Run or walk around the historic park filled with ancient cypress swamps and wild orange trees. Just keep your eye out for alligators. 😉
Registration costs $20 in advance or $30 the day of the race. Visit the Friends of Highlands Hammock State Park Facebook page for more info.
13. McKinney Falls State Park – Texas
Join a ranger-led day after Thanksgiving hike around the park to learn about the nature and history of the area.
The hike is free with park admission and takes place on Friday, November 27th at 10am.
Skip the madness of Black Friday shopping this year in favor of an after Thanksgiving hike at one of the 56 Tennessee State Parks. Choose from a history hike at the Bicentennial Capital Mall State Park, a waterfall walk at Frozen Head State Park, the Gobble Wobble hike at Panther Creek State Park and much more. Click here for a full listing of after Thanksgiving hikes at all the Tennessee State Parks.
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