Guide to a Successful RV Campground Thanksgiving Dinner

Celebrate an RV campground Thanksgiving this year at your favorite fall campsite! Why leave your southern vacation destination when you can host a beautiful family dinner in your camper? From essential prep to the best advice other RVers have to offer, here’s everything you’ll need to consider when you host a campground Thanksgiving dinner.

Clean Up & Prep for Camp Thanksgiving

RV or traditional home, cleanup is essential before guests arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. Make sure you give your RV a good scrub down and all your favorite fall decorations are in order! One important consideration when it comes to extra food and guests in your RV is space. This means, before you go on your Thanksgiving shopping trip, you should clean out your fridge and pantry. Get rid of all the expired food and make room for a three-course Thanksgiving feast. You’ll need to store lots of ingredients and plenty of leftovers in your RV fridge.

Young woman measuring temperature of whole roasted turkey with meat thermometer.

Choose a Campground Thanksgiving Cooking Method

It’s possible to cook a delicious holiday turkey in the smoker, on the grill, in the oven, in the fryer, or even in-ground! One important decision when you plan Thanksgiving dinner is which cooking method you’d prefer to tackle. There are tons of creative ways to cook Thanksgiving dinner, especially the turkey. We’d encourage you to experiment with something new at your campground Thanksgiving!

Take Advantage of Outdoor Space

Even the biggest RVs only offer a limited amount of space. When you’ve got the grandkids coming to your campground Thanksgiving, there likely isn’t a ton of space for everyone to unbuckle their belts at the booth dinette. There are two ways to take advantage of outdoor space – as a prep station or as a dinner table.

Winter at a southern campground means comfortable weather all season long. When you host Thanksgiving at a campground, we recommend outdoor work and food prep stations. This can mean using an outdoor kitchen, or a simple foldable table, as space to prepare your favorite pies and casseroles.

If you need more seating than the dinette offers, you can always host your campground Thanksgiving dinner in the great outdoors. Enjoy fresh air and cool weather with your warm turkey and stuffing. Setting up tables outside means there will be more than enough room for everyone in the family to spread out and dig in.

Green beans casserole, traditional side dish for Thanksgiving.

Cook Thanksgiving Dinner in Advance

Even if you don’t completely cook your dishes, we recommend preparing everything in advance. This way, you’ll have less work on Thanksgiving Day and can spend more time with your family. Pies, casserole and stuffing are all great options to start preparing in advance. These can be safely stored in your freshly cleaned-out fridge, ready to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving.

Share the Work

Hosting an RV Thanksgiving is stressful! One way to lighten the workload is asking your guests to contribute. Not to mention, this also means a few less cooks in the compact RV kitchen.

This might mean asking your guests to come early and help with prep. Or, it could mean asking your family and friends to bring fully prepared dishes. Assign your family members different casseroles and desserts. This way, you can focus on deep frying a delicious turkey!

A group of young friends eats at a picnic table outside of their travel trailer.

If asking friends and family to contribute won’t work, you can always have your campground Thanksgiving dinner catered! Some restaurants and grocery stores offer Thanksgiving dinners to go, so all you have to do is heat up your meal.

Make Just Enough Food

Sure, we all love a leftover Thanksgiving meal, but in an RV too many leftovers can quickly take over the limited space. Think about how many people you plan to have at dinner and make just enough food. Most online recipes will tell you how many people the meal serves, and some can be automatically adjusted when you enter the number of people you plan to feed. If there’s no automatic adjustment, make some quick cooking conversions and you should be good to go!

Smaller portions and limited leftovers will help you save space both before and after Thanksgiving dinner. Even after you’ve cleaned out your fridge and pantry in preparation, space is sure to be limited if you plan to cook all or most of the meal yourself. If you want to make the most of your RV kitchen, the staff at Crossroads Trailers can show you some of our most spacious floorplans. And seasonal campers can browse our fifth wheel campers for sale in New Jersey.

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner in an RV doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Plan your dinner in advance, take advantage of all the space your campground offers and ask friends and family for help. And make sure, whatever you do, to leave room for dessert!

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