Thanksgiving RV Trip: How to Enjoy the Holiday on the Road

Planning a Thanksgiving RV trip? Read Cruise America’s guide to having fun on the road this holiday season. We share top tips and considerations.
Cruise America RV parked by trees with Autumn colors.

The classic vision of Thanksgiving typically involves a giant stuffed turkey with multiple side dishes and pies, all covering a long dining table surrounded by family and friends. 

However, as RV travel continues to grow in popularity and more and more people adopt decidedly non-traditional lifestyles such as digital nomads and full-time RVers, the entire concept of holidays is rapidly changing. They should still be spent making memories and connecting with loved ones, but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending several days meal planning and prepping, or even staying home. 

This year, why not consider taking a Thanksgiving RV trip? Whether you go to a favorite place or a brand new one, head out solo or bring your whole family along, cook up a quintessential Thanksgiving feast or skip a traditional meal altogether, hitting the road is a fun and memorable way to spend the holiday.

Love this idea but don’t have your own RV? No problem! Cruise America has a variety of RV rental models available 365 days a year, with nearly 130 convenient pickup locations so you can plan your dream Thanksgiving RV trip from anywhere!

Reasons To Take a Thanksgiving RV Trip

  • Experience national parks and other popular destinations during the “shoulder season,” when there are few other visitors — enjoy less-crowded viewpoints and trails, little to no traffic, and your pick of campsites!
  • A Thanksgiving RV trip creates a new tradition with your significant other or family
  • Minimal cleanup as compared to a kitchen in a house for Thanksgiving dinner
  • If you’re not full-timers, a Thanksgiving trip can extend your camping season and let you get one more adventure in before storing your rig for winter

Ideas for Your Thanksgiving RV Trip

The sky is really the limit when it comes to places you can spend Thanksgiving in your RV, but here are some unique ideas. 

National Parks

Even the parks that close individual entrances or most roads for winter have at least one campground open all year. Planning a Thanksgiving RV trip is a wonderful way to experience some of the country’s most popular parks in a unique way, without the crowds, and in a much quieter setting. 

Best of all, some parks even host special Thanksgiving programs! For example, restaurants in Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park host elaborate Thanksgiving spreads. If this interests you, be sure to make reservations well in advance. 

State Parks

A quieter alternative to national parks, many state parks are open year-round and are very accessible. Choose one close to home, look for one that will still have fall foliage late in the season, or pick one that offers a warm climate. It’s a design-your-own-Thanksgiving-RV-trip!

Traditional RV Parks

Camping in an RV park over Thanksgiving can give you access to full hookups, outdoor seating and table space, and perhaps even shared kitchen facilities. Some parks may even host Thanksgiving events where you can meet other travelers. 

Boondocking

If you want to try something different and completely unplug over the holiday, consider boondocking. You’ll need to do some advance planning in terms of grocery shopping and meal prepping, plus decide how you’ll make Thanksgiving dinner, but this is a fantastic, memorable way to create new traditions.

Potential Downsides of a Thanksgiving RV Trip (and How To Deal With Them!)

Being away from loved ones 

If you’re used to spending the holiday with a big group of friends and family, this can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to take a Thanksgiving RV trip. Thanks to so much modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones. Consider scheduling a FaceTime call at some point during the day so everyone can say hello. 

You can also plan a traditional Thanksgiving meal when you’re all together in person, even if it’s nowhere near the actual holiday. Who knows, this could become a new favorite tradition!

Wanting to prep a traditional meal but not having enough space

Whipping up a Thanksgiving meal can be challenging even in a single-family home, so there’s no denying it’s difficult in an RV. However, it’s not at all impossible! 

Think about what you realistically have fridge and oven space for, and come up with creative ways to prepare and cook everything else. For example, maybe you make no-bake pies instead of varieties you have to bake or you cook some dishes over the fire pit or grill. 

And if table/counter space is an issue, make use of any surfaces you have outside the RV. There’s no rule saying you can’t decorate a picnic table or folding chairs for Thanksgiving!

Bad weather

Late November can be dicey weather-wise, no matter where you are. Plan ahead and have some day-of backup plans in case inclement weather forces you to stay inside. Do your Thanksgiving grocery shopping well in advance to eliminate the possibility that you’re short one or two key ingredients, and if you’re planning to dine outside, have an indoor layout in mind so there’s plenty of space to accommodate everyone. 

Head Out on the Road With Cruise America

If a Thanksgiving RV trip sounds like just what you need this year, reach out to Cruise America for the perfect RV rental. Take a road trip in comfort and style with our convenient rental options. It’s time to hit the road and start a new family tradition! Contact us for more information.

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