Christmas Camping Ideas: Forget The Gifts, Go For The Experiences!

When you think about camping, do you envision sunny summer days filled with hiking, biking, fishing and swimming? Most people do, but what about a camping themed Christmas? These Christmas camping ideas just might give you a whole new perspective on exciting activities you can only experience on winter holiday trips! Forget the gifts, go for the experiences!

Christmas Camping Ideas by CampingForFoodies features a snow covered retro RV camper trailer with white Christmas lights around the entire side of the camper and a snow covered bench just outside the trailer door with text over the image reading Christmas camping ideas.

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Camp Trip Planning

A campers Christmas trip takes a little special planning to make the experience more than just a winter camping trip. It is easy to add a festive feel to your holiday excursion by choosing the right location, experiences, decorations, music, food, drinks and gifts (if you really want to include them).

Get our FREE printable camping trip planner template to help you plan the perfect trip!


Best RV Parks & Family-Friendly Campgrounds For The Christmas Season

Mammoth Lakes, California: Mammoth Mountain RV Park

With its location of almost 7,900 feet above sea level, the Mammoth Lakes area in California is ready to give you the white Christmas you desire. If you’re looking for a location where you can combine snowboarding and hot tubs, this is a great option.

The Mammoth Mountain RV Park is open all year long. The full hook-up sites are only available during spring/summer months. The year-round sites include cabins, tent sites and partial hook-up RV sites that have water and power (no dump hookup).

You’ll find an indoor heated swimming pool and spa, Rec Room and children’s play area at this property as well as restrooms, hot showers, laundry rooms, picnic tables and a dump station. This RV park is an ideal place to launch from because it sets across from U.S.F.S. Visitor Center and is 1.5 miles from the Gondola at the Village of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort.

This central location is perfect for camping, sight seeing, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, shopping and more. Don’t miss the Night Of Lights which is scheduled this year on December 18, 2021.


Charleston, South Carolina: James Island County Park Campground

The Campground at James Island County Park is not just a place to stay during the holidays. It’s also the location of the Annual Holiday Festival of Lights. Visitors drive through the three-mile spectacle that includes over 750 light displays.

You can park the car to explore the other events including marshmallow roasting, festival train rides, the Amazing Dancing Light Display, Enchanted Walking Trail, old-fashioned carousel, Santa’s Sweet Shoppe, food concessions, gift shops, “Mingle with Kringle” with daytime photo opportunities and the climbing wall.


Christmas, Florida: Christmas RV Park

The Christmas RV Park is centrally located for experiencing the holiday festivities in the Orlando area. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Fort Christmas Historical Park which includes a replica of a fort built in 1837 during the Second Seminole Indian War.

You’ll also see a traditional Florida “Cracker” house, eight pioneer homes, a schoolhouse, sugar cane mill and other historical farming equipment.


Silverhill, Alabama: Wales West RV Park & Light Railway

Want a great start to your holiday season? Visit the Wales West RV Park & Light Railway between Thanksgiving and Christmas when the Arctic Express train ride attraction is in full swing.

The RV park features a heated indoor swimming pool, sun deck, nature trail, playgrounds, community building, great room, library, exercise room, supply store, family bath and full laundry facilities. All campers are eligible for seasonal discounts on train tickets.


Borrego Springs, California: Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort

The Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort is a cute and swanky destination. There are vintage trailer rentals, airstream rentals, Wild West themed hotel rooms and two RV sites. Borrego Springs is less than 600 feet above sea level which provides warm winter temperatures.

Take a 30 mile drive up the mountain to the tiny town of Julian that sits at an elevation of over 4,000 feet to experience Julian’s Country Christmas. The town celebrates the old-fashioned way with tree lighting festivities, holiday decorations, shopping, a light parade, holiday hayrides and a letter writing station for kids to craft their message to Santa and drop it directly into his mailbox.


Lake Buena Vista, Florida: Fort Wilderness Resort Campsites

Disney’s Fort Wilderness is one of the best campgrounds to keep the whole family together for the holiday. The campsites include large RV spaces, some are full hookup RV sites that can accommodate luxury RVs and there are smaller tent sites too.

Can’t house all your family members in your rig but want to have a big family holiday celebration? Maybe your aunts, uncles and cousins like the idea of camping but they don’t have their own gear … there are RV rentals to accommodate them. Do grandma and grandpa want to join the family but don’t enjoy roughin’ it that much … no problem, there are rental cabins that are complete with full kitchens!

In addition to the normal Disney magic like swimming pools with water slides and kids water play area, this destination also offers more outdoor adventures. You’ll find horseback riding trail rides, bicycling on nature trails, and canoeing, boating and fishing water activities. Evenings are filled with shows, campfire sing-alongs, fireworks displays and the electrical water pageant that can be enjoyed from the white sand beach on Bay Lake.

Every Disney property celebrates the holiday season in a huge way. During this time of the year, you’ll find tons of decorations and outdoor activities that begin in November and run into January. Fellow campers get into the spirit by decorating their spaces with their own decorations too.

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is located in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area of the Walt Disney World Resort. You can catch a water taxi that will take you to the Magic Kingdom. This location is convenient to Orlando and Universal Studios.


Santa Claus, Indiana: Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort

The Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort has some bragging rights:

  • A two-time National RV Park of the Year
  • Named the best RV Park in Indiana by Readers Digest
  • Named one of the 11 most family-friendly campgrounds by U.S. News & World Report
  • Named one of the top 10 best campgrounds for families by TravelChannel.com

The campground closes to outside campers from late October through late April. But, the Christmas Cabin packages are available the first three weekends of December.

The Santa Claus Land of Lights, located on the grounds of the Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, is a 1.2-mile drive-through family-friendly light adventure. It opens on Thanksgiving Night then continues on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays into early December when it opens every night (closed Christmas Eve & Christmas Day) through late December.

In the warmer months, guests love this location because of its proximity to the Holiday World Theme Park & Splashin’ Safari Water Park.


Stone Mountain, Georgia: Stone Mountain Park Campground

Stone Mountain Park is a popular destination that is just outside of Atlanta. It’s hard to describe this place … think of it like a national park meeting Disney World meeting a year-round indoor and outdoor special events facility … then you’ll have a vague picture of this 3,200 acre wonderland.

Stone Mountain Park Campground is inside Stone Mountain Park. There are over 400 camping sites that can accommodate RVs, pop-up campers and tents. Don’t want to haul your own rig? You can rent yurts, safari tents and RVs (they’re actually more like mobile homes) but you have to bring your own bed linens bath towels, pillows, toiletries, cookware, eating utensils, garbage bags, paper towels, dish detergent etc.

There are grills, picnic tables and fire pits at every site. You’ll also find amenities like laundry facilities, camp store, wi-fi & cable, dump station, swimming pool, sand volleyball court and horse shoe sets at the courts. The campground is conveniently located near the Park Attractions which include the Summit Skyride, Scenic Railroad, Skyhike adventure ropes course and more.

The park is open year round with an ever-changing list of events and activities. The fall and winter season gets busy on Halloween weekends with the Pumpkin Festival, Pie Eating Contest, Pumpkin Lasershow, Nighttime Party Parade and Glow-In-The Dark Experiences.

The Stone Mountain Christmas seasonal events begin in mid November and run through the New Year. You’ll find millions of dazzling Christmas lights, festive music, various shows including the Snow Angel’s Christmas Parade, the World’s Largest Christmas Light Show and Santa’s Big Flight as he flies overhead every night during the Enchanted Tree Lighting Ceremony.


Locations For Xmas Trips In National Parks

Did you know there are National Parks across the country that are winter wonderlands?

Many have opportunities to experience things like snowy scenic drives, skiing, stargazing, hiking, winter sports and wildlife viewing … at some parks you might even get to see The Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights!

Here are 18 National Parks you should consider for holiday camping adventures.

Alaska: Denali National Park and Preserve

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Snow Play
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Alaska: Kenai Fjords National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Dog Sledding
  • Ice Climbing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

  • Sightseeing

California: Lassen Volcanic National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

California: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

California: Yosemite National Park

  • Downhill Skiing
  • Ice Skating
  • Snow Play
  • Snow Tubing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snow Tubing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Maine: Acadia National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Ice Skating
  • Snow Play
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Maryland: Catoctin Mountain Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Minnesota: Voyageurs National Park

  • Snow Tubing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Montana: Glacier National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Ohio: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Oregon: Crater Lake National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Utah: Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Washington: Mount Rainier National Park

  • Snow Play
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Washington: Olympic National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snow Play
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Ice Climbing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Sightseeing

Experiences When Holiday Camping

In addition to enjoying winter activities in nature, you’ll really get in the holiday spirit if you add some special Christmas experiences to your jaunt. There are events in big cities and small towns all over the United States that celebrate the holiday in unusual ways.

Wherever you camp, find the local happenings that celebrate the Christmas holidays … some seasonal events charge a small entry fee, many are FREE to attend and request a donation if you are so inclined. These experiences are great on your budget!

Look for drive-through light displays, decorated small downtowns, elf and Santa appearances, sing-along Christmas carols, tree lighting ceremony events, holiday festivals and more. Here are just a few holiday activity ideas you might want to add to your list if you are camping near these locations:

Arizona: Williams

Williams is one of the most popular towns in Arizona during the holiday season because of the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express trip that takes passengers on a magical journey to the Grand Canyon and back.

California: Nevada City

The Nevada City Victorian Christmas transforms the town’s downtown into a genuine holiday card come to life.

California: Newport Beach

These holiday boat parades have been happening for over 100 years. The spectacularly decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail in the parade that has many public viewing spots.

Colorado: Durango

The Durango & Silverton narrow gauge train is always a popular attraction and in December it features a Polar Express-inspired trip.

Georgia: Helen

Did you know there is a place in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains that has the charm of Bavaria? In Helen, Octoberfest is a big deal … but … so is Christmas!

Indiana: Santa Claus

There is a little town in Indiana named Santa Claus! About 100 years ago the local postmaster promoted the town and suddenly letters to Santa began arriving from kids everywhere! Now, during Christmas time they have parades, a candy castle and Santa’s Land of Lights which is a drive-through holiday light show.

Michigan: Frankenmuth

If there is a place that knows how to celebrate the holiday … it is Frankenmuth … the community that celebrates Christmas 365 days a year!

Minnesota: Duluth

The Duluth Winter Village is a community event, celebrating seasonal food and beverages, bonfires on the shore and more!

Missouri: Branson

Branson celebrates the holiday with parades, lights, live shows and the Ozark Mountain Christmas festival.

North Carolina: McAdenville

McAdenville, North Carolina is known as “Christmas Town U.S.A.” during the holiday season. This small town started its traditions with decorating the trees around the McAdenville Community Center with red, white and green lights in the 1950s.

Today, the historic downtown area continues to shine with beautiful holiday lights, a Tree Lighting Ceremony, a Yule Log Parade, Christmas carols played on bells and the ChristmasTown 5K run or walk.

Pennsylvania: Bernville

For over 70 years, Koziar’s Christmas Village has been spreading holiday cheer through unique items and light displays around the property’s lake, walkways, trees, fences, and buildings. Some have called it the best outdoor Christmas display in the world!

Tennessee: Williamson County

If you are near Williamson County and want to step back in time, check out the Annual Dickens of a Christmas. The festival features musicians, dancers and characters who fill the streets of historic downtown Franklin with its Victorian architecture … celebrating the time of Charles Dickens.


Camping Christmas Decorations

RV Christmas Decorations

You don’t have to go crazy with decorations. A few little touches is all you need if you find the right RV Christmas decorations.

Christmas RV Decorations by CampingForFoodies features a collage of RV Christmas decorating ideas including a Happy Winter Campers garden flag at a snow-covered campground with RVs in the background, a decorated table top Christmas tree, joy Christmas candle, Santa retro camper inflatable, star shaped fairy lights, decorative throw pillow with cute retro campers in snow the bows, trees and candy canes and flocked wreaths with Christmas bows and text over the image that reads Christmas RV decorations.

RV Christmas Tree

There are so many options to have an RV Christmas tree inside a tiny space. From wall-hugging trees to table top models and pop-up/collapsible Christmas trees … you can find the perfect fit for your rig.

Christmas Tree For RV Campers by CampingForFoodies features a collages of table top, wall hanging mini Christmas trees with text over the image that reads Christmas trees for RV campers.

Camping Themed Ornaments

You can go minimalistic … or go all out with your camping ornaments and Christmas decorations. You can do a mini tree, ornaments, decorations and lights pretty easily to put holiday touches on your camp experience.

Camping Christmas Tree Ornaments - Camping For Foodies .com

Holiday Music

Who doesn’t listen to music at the campsite? Instead of playing your everyday favorites … enjoy seasonal tunes that really set the holiday mood.

Michael Buble Christmas

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The Best Of Penatonix Christmas

The Best of Pentatonix ChristmasThe Best of Pentatonix ChristmasThe Best of Pentatonix Christmas

 


Campsite Games

There are so many fun camping games for every occasion … campfire games, rainy day games, large group games … but … try putting a holiday spin on classic games instead. If you have kids that like to play pin the tail on the donkey, give it a twist and play pin the nose on the reindeer.

Have Christmas Vacation fans in your crowd? Test your knowledge about the most famous RV of all time with these trivia questions, fun facts and Cousin Eddie quotes!

The Cousin Eddie RV Trivia Fun Facts Quotes On The Most Famous RV Of All Time by CampingForFoodies

Food & Drink Ideas

Whether your celebration includes a handful of immediate family members or you’re serving large holiday meals to extended members of the family, here are some awesome recipes to fill your picnic table.

Warm & Hearty Meals

Plan a menu of winter camping meals to keep everyone warm and nourished. Here are a few ideas.

Traditional Turkey Dinner

Let’s talk about the big Christmas dinner first. Make sure you have all of the special supplies you’ll need for this meal. We make this traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings on our Thanksgiving and Christmas camping trips. It is easy with our tips and printable recipes!

The bigger the meal, the more people you’re probably feeding. Make sure you have plenty of cooking supplies so all of the participants can pitch in to help. Those nieces and nephews are usually happy to do a little chopping!

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at the Campsite - Camping For Foodies .com

Traditional Camp Food

If you want to pack your normal cooking supply box, here are some great meal ideas that will keep you warm and your bellies full!

Campfire Chili

Stay warm with a campfire chili dinner. This recipe feeds 8-10 people and can easily be scaled up for larger crowds. It’s an award winner!

Dutch Oven Campfire Chili - Camping For Foodies .com

Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is a classic comfort food that is perfect for cold weather camping trips. This recipe serves 6, only takes 15 minutes to prep and is one of my easy one pot camping meals. That’s right … you don’t have to boil the pasta separately!

This Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff Camping Recipe by CampingForFoodies is ready for serving as it sits in a camp Dutch oven inside a campfire ring on a sunny camp day. The golden colored pasta is mixed with the creamy sauce and meat, all covered with bright green fresh parsley.

Campfire Stew

You can’t get much warmer than when you eat campfire stew! This recipe contains meat, potatoes and carrots all in one pot. The fork-tender beef simmers in a rich tomato-based sauce. It’s a yummy, super-popular meal!

Campfire Stew Dutch Oven Camping Recipe by CampingForFoodies

Hot Italian Sausage Soup

Serve this soup with crusty bread and it is a meal! It contains Italian sausage, potatoes, spinach in a rich and creamy soup. It’s filling, warm and satisfying!

Hot Italian Sausage Soup Recipe - Add Crusty Bread To Make A Meal - Dutch Oven Recipes For Camping - Camping For Foodies .com

Mountain Man Breakfast

I like serving one-pot casseroles on Christmas morning. Our Mountain Man Breakfast will warm you up … and fill you up … so you are ready for an adventure-packed day. It’s a hearty, substantial meal!

Mountain Man Breakfast Dutch Oven Camping Recipe by CampingForFoodies

Camping-Themed Holiday Sugar Cookies

If you want happy campers, you’ll need to fill their bellies with holiday food and drinks. You can do super cute decorated sugar cookies that you make at home and either decorate ahead of your trip or make the cookie decorating part of your camping activities!

Trailer Glamper RV Camper 4'' Cookie CutterTrailer Glamper RV Camper 4” Cookie CutterTrailer Glamper RV Camper 4'' Cookie Cutter

 


Hot Chocolate By The Campfire

The best part of enjoying sweet treats is sitting around a campfire on at night indulging in a little holiday cheer or campfire hot cocoa!

Campfire Hot Cocoa - Camping For Foodies .com

More Cold-Weather Recipes

Winter Camping Recipes by CampingForFoodies features a cast iron camp Dutch oven with coals on top of the lid and a lid lifter ready to remove the top to check on the food cooking inside, in the background a campfire is burning with orange, red and yellow flames inside the campfire ring with text over the image that reads winter camping recipes.

Seasonal Camping Tips

In addition to packing your normal camping gear and first aid kit, you will need to pack other items to be prepared for the season. Use our FREE printable seasonal camping checklists to stay organized!

Getting Ready For Your Trips With The Best Seasonal Camping Checklists by CampingForFoodies is an image of a small trailer being towed through the redwoods on a shady road above text reading camping seasonal checklist with an image below the text of a small wooden framed black chalkboard with white chalk writing of boxes and lines with check marks.

Tips For Camping In The Winter: RV & Tent

Here are some camping tips that are important during the cold weather holiday season…

Staying Warm Camping In A Tent

Cold Weather Camping Gear Keeps You Toasty!


Gifts For Campers

You don’t have to go crazy with camping gifts if you have more experiences planned for your trip. But, if you want to exchange presents, here are some ideas for camping Christmas gifts for tent and RV campers.

Christmas Gifts For Campers And RV Owners - 100+ Ideas For This Holiday Season - Camping For Foodies .com

Camping Stocking Stuffers

If you want to bring gifts on your trip but are worried about the limited space for packing, consider small items like camping stocking stuffers to wish each other a merry Christmas.

Camping Stocking Stuffers For RV And Tent Campers Starting Under 10 Bucks hand selected by CampingForFoodies for men, women, kids, friends and families for Christmas gift ideas and holidays!

Camping Gift Wrapping Ideas

Here are some cute camping gift wrapping ideas if you decide to include a gift exchange during your trip.

Cool Camping Wrapping Paper And Creative Gift Wrap Ideas - Camping For Foodies .com

If you’re looking for awesome ideas for yummy camping food, you’re in the right place!

Camping Food With Easy Meal Ideas And Original Recipes by CampingForFoodies

Here’s our entire camping recipes list.

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