When you think of Thanksgiving camping trips, what’s the first thing you think about? Missing your beloved holiday recipes? You don’t have to! Your trip can include holiday family favorites! Enjoy a camping Thanksgiving dinner, simple recipes make it easier than you think!
In This Post:
Campsite Menu: Traditional Thanksgiving Meal
Did you ever think about camping on a major food holiday? Sure, lots of people camp on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day. But what about Thanksgiving weekend? Here is a great lineup of Thanksgiving camping recipes to enjoy turkey and all the trimmings!
- Grilled Turkey
- Classic Sage Sausage Dressing
- Grilled Spiced Potatoes
- Cranberry Toasted Almond Spinach Salad
- Orange Scented Cranberry Sauce
- Upper Crust Apple Pie
- Camp Coffee
- Pumpkin Chai
- Campfire Hot Chocolate
Printable Camping Thanksgiving Recipes
Get each PRINTABLE recipe for our entire Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner At The Campsite!
The Main Dish: Turkey
We have made Thanksgiving turkey at the campsite using several different methods. Just make sure you use a meat thermometer to ensure the meat is fully cooked before serving it.
You can make a whole turkey on a propane grill. If you don’t want to fuss too much with trying to maintain a constant temperature for a roasted bird, using a propane grill might be the way to go. You can almost “set it and forget it” when it comes to temperature control when using a good quality propane grill.
Our favorite way to cook turkey when we are camping is using our little Smokey Joe. We use our normal charcoal grill that we have simply modified (we’ve got tips to show you how) to handle a decent-sized turkey so we can feed 8-10 people.
You can also deep fry your turkey with a propane fryer. This is one of the easiest and quickest methods for cooking a turkey in the wilderness. The great news is that you won’t have to worry about making a mess with a little bit of splattering grease when you are out in the wild.
How To Cook A Large Or Small Turkey While Camping
If you are not cooking for a lot of people, roasting a turkey breast is a great option. They easily fit in a small RV oven or a regular camp Dutch oven on a meat rack. If you are camping with large groups or you just want leftovers, you’ll have to do something a little more complex.
Grilled turkey is our favorite way to make the star of the show while camping! No matter which method you want to use, we have tips to show you how to cook a turkey camping (with a PRINTABLE recipe)
And, this recipe includes making a homemade gravy without drippings! You just need to whisk together a little butter, flour and chicken stock to make a delicious gravy in a saucepan or cast iron skillet over hot campfire coals or an RV stove or camp stove.
Alternative Meal For Two
Camping meals for two can be challenging, especially when you want to get all the flavors of a Thanksgiving dinner in one meal. Instead of doing a main dish with a bunch of sides, consider making a casserole with fall flavors of the season.
Acorn squashes can be stuffed. Butternut squash is great for chopping and roasting for use in a casserole dish. Try adding some poultry seasoning and thyme to turkey sausage, browning it and then mixing with some onion, garlic, salad croutons or dry stuffing cubes and chicken broth. Spoon into a buttered Dutch oven and bake at 350 F degrees until heated through. This Butternut Turkey Bake is a great inspiration for you to create your own recipe.
Traditional Meal Side Dishes
If you’re camping with family members, you probably agree on those special recipes that must be included on your full Thanksgiving dinner menu. I’m sharing our “regulars” that I have adapted for campsite cooking.
Classic Sage Sausage Dressing
This Classic Sage Sausage Dressing (with a PRINTABLE recipe) is a great cast iron Dutch oven side dish to take to a potluck style camping Thanksgiving meal if you are not hosting the big campsgiving dinner event yourself. You’ll throw together a little day old bread, chicken broth, onions, celery and sage sausage to make this family favorite.
If you don’t want to make dressing that is completely from scratch, try frying up some sage sausage and adding it to a box of Stove Top Stuffing.
Grilled Spiced Potatoes
At home we usually make a sweet potato casserole that is topped with toasted coconut. But, the recipe feeds a ton of people and we usually don’t have that large of a group when we’re camping. So, I created a simpler recipe that has similar flavors.
These Grilled Spiced Potatoes (with a PRINTABLE recipe) combine sweet potatoes, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder and a few other spices. They get wrapped in individual foil packets which is great when we have a smaller crowd. If we have over 8 people, will will do a big pot of mashed potatoes too.
Cranberry And Toasted Almond Spinach Salad
A cold Cranberry And Toasted Almond Spinach Salad (with a PRINTABLE recipe) is a simple way to put a fresh green veggie on the table. This recipe features fresh spinach that is jazzed up with a simple homemade dressing, some dried cranberries and toasted nuts.
If we want to add a warm green vegetable we skip the traditional green bean casserole and simply steam a bunch of green beans and serve them with a little butter, salt and black pepper.
Orange Scented Cranberry Sauce
You could just open a can of cranberry sauce if you want to avoid the work of a recipe but I would not recommend it. The fresh cranberries, orange juice and walnuts combine to make this simple recipe taste AMAZING!
No matter where our family is celebrating Thanksgiving day, we can’t make enough of this Orange Scented Cranberry Sauce (with a PRINTABLE recipe). There is a price to be paid if we run out … so, I make more than I think we need and if there are any leftovers, we use a spoonful as an ice cream topping or as a mix-in for cocktails!
Thanksgiving Desserts & Drinks
Upper Crust Apple Pie
Our entire family loves this Upper Crust Apple Pie (with a PRINTABLE recipe) so we make this when our camping group is smaller. If we have a group with over 8 people, we will also make a pumpkin pie to make sure everyone has a sweet treat to end the big feast!
You won’t believe how easy it is to make this pie. Throw together some apple slices, cinnamon and sugar then top it with a really simple upper crust. Forget about using an entire stick of butter, this recipe only calls for a tablespoon and a bit of shortening.
A warm cup of coffee is the perfect beverage with dessert. There are many ways to brew at the campsite. See how to make coffee when camping so you get the perfect cup every time. To give it a holiday flavor, add a dash of your favorite spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.
A warm and spicy beverage is great way to end a meal of delicious food. You can make a really simple cup of pumpkin chai by simmering a bit of water, pumpkin puree and milk on a camp stove, campfire or RV stove. Wisk it together and let it thicken a bit. Place a Chai Blend flavored tea bag in the bottom of a mug and pour the mixture over the bag. Let it steep for about 5 minutes and enjoy.
Campfire Hot Chocolate
When the weather is chilly, kids and adults love sipping on this yummy Campfire Hot Cocoa (with a PRINTABLE recipe). You can prepare extra batches of this mix, put it in mason jars and give it as DIY camping gifts too!
More Helpful Tips For Your Thanksgiving Camping Trip
To make sure your holiday celebration is stress-free, check out these helpful tips.
Timing the big Thanksgiving camping dinner can be a bit of a mystery.
If you want to make sure every recipe is done at the same time and without chaos in your camp kitchen … get these tips on meal timing for your recipes for your entire Thanksgiving dinner.
It is a given that tent campers are cooking everything outside … but … one of the best RV tips and hacks for an RV Thanksgiving dinner is using your outdoor cooking equipment more than your RV kitchen for this big holiday meal feast!
I find it easiest to prep ingredients inside, then, I place them on a large pan to transfer them to my outdoor cooking stations.
If you are renting cabins for large gatherings with people who don’t camp. At the time you make the reservation, inquire about the amenities for food prep and cooking inside the cabin. It’s nice to be able to distribute the workload among different people at different campsites.
Get Our FREE Printable Menu Planner
Advanced planning makes camp cooking fun and keeps things organized.
Get your FREE printable camping trip & menu planner before you create your next meal plan!
Why Camping On Thanksgiving Is A Great Idea
Relaxation is part of camping and Thanksgiving
- The Thanksgiving holiday season is all about giving thanks.
- Camping slows down time (that’s actually one of my favorite things about camping.) There is time to reflect and be thankful.
Hanging with the people you love
- In our hectic lives we don’t always make time for the really important things in life … the people we love.
- You can remedy that … Friends and family go with Thanksgiving and camping.
The big meal preparation
- If you are making a Thanksgiving feast at home, a big kitchen is usually a necessity.
- When camping, there is always room to spread out and use lots of cooking methods. You can cook with camp stoves, Dutch ovens, campfires and possibly even RV stoves and ovens.
Thanksgiving and camping focus on food
- The “What’s on the menu?” question is common at Thanksgiving celebrations and at campsites around the globe.
A day-long event
- After your family pitches-in to make a delectable Thanksgiving feast … it’s time to dig in and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
- Napping after the big meal is always optional and it’s easy to do at the campsite. Pick your favorite hammock, recliner, blowup mattress, couch or sleeping bag and let the tryptophan do its thing. 😉
- Walking, jogging or hiking after the nap that follows the big meal is always a good thing … and, those activities are always part of a great camp trip.
- If you are spending your Thanksgiving camping trip in a national park or state park, you will find beautiful scenery and possibly some planned activities you can enjoy too.
- Football-on TV or in real life. You can play flag football at the campsite to get the football thing in to your Thanksgiving celebration … or, if you must, you can always hook up the satellite dish to watch the games on TV.
Where To Camp And How To Get There Safely
This will help you with finding the best place to camp on Turkey Day, plan your route and be prepared for weather and more!
These simple decorating ideas and fun activities will bring the spirit of the holiday to your camp trip!
Doing easy crafts at the campsite make fun activities for kids and adults!
Your camping Thanksgiving trip will probably be longer than a day or two so you’ll need other meal options. Try these winter camping recipes to keep you warm during chilly trips!
More Seasonal Camping Tips
If your Thanksgiving camping trip will take you to colder locations in an RV, check out our Winter RV Camping Tips post!
Camping in a tent for your Thanksgiving camping trip? Our Staying Warm Camping In A Tent post is one you don’t want to miss!
Check out our Winter Camping Clothes Keep You Toasty post if your Thanksgiving camping trip will be below 78°F … LOL!
Yes, I really am that wimpy when it comes to cooler weather because something happened to my body after I moved to Phoenix and began living in 100+++++ degree summers where you can actually bake cookies on the dash of your parked car!
More Food Ideas For Your Camping Trips
There are so many interesting ways to cook and things to eat on camp trips. Try something new and get inspired.