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10 Campgrounds Across the Country that are Perfect for Van Camping this Thanksgiving


Camping is far from the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving, but with everyone home celebrating the holiday, it’s a great opportunity to explore in your van. Ready to hit the open road this holiday season, but aren’t sure where to go? Today we outline ten ideal campsites for a unique Thanksgiving vacation just for you. From New Mexico to Kentucky and beyond, check out the details below.

Guest Post by Eric Mulliniks

Jemez, New MexicoWhere to Camp: Vista Linda Campground

Vista Linda campground is a beautiful, calm, and easily accessible campground in the Jemez forest. Enjoy the view of the mountain faces that surround the site, as well as the Jemez river that runs along the campgrounds. Vista Linda is a no-reservation campground making it a perfect destination for Thanksgiving but, make sure to arrive early. This site is heavily trafficked and only has 13 sites.

Sheridan, Texas
Where to Camp: Splashaway RV Park

A short drive from Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, this campground is perfect for those who want a variety of activities. From putt putt to lazer tag and fishing ponds, Splashaway RV park has it all, making it a perfect campground to spend time with your family this Thanksgiving. Splashaway requires reservations so make sure you book your campsite ahead of time.

Valley of Fire, NevadaWhere to Camp: Atlatl Campground

With temperatures reaching as high as 120 in the summer and often dropping below freezing in the winter, fall is a perfect time to visit the Valley of Fire. Stay at the no-reservation Atlatl campground that includes full amenities. If you’re not able to find a site there, make your way to Arch Rock Campground. You will want to make sure to pack your hiking boots for this trip; the Valley of Fire has many great hiking trails for you to explore while you enjoy your stay.

Campsbellsville, KentuckyWhere to Camp: Green River Lake State Park

With 167 RV sites, 60 primitive campsites and 28 miles of all purpose trails, Green River Lake State Park is another excellent choice for a Thanksgiving campsite. Take a drive through the park on Thanksgiving Day and you may be lucky enough to spot a turkey or the other wildlife that inhabits the park such as deer, eagle, hawk, or squirrel.

Kingman, Arizona
Where to Camp: Blake Ranch RV Park

Experience the southwest at this unique Arizona campsite this Thanksgiving. While this park lacks the attractions that larger RV parks provide it makes up for in an authentic desert experience. The site features a horse motel and is a short drive from Oatman and Chloride, two old southwest towns, perfect for exploring before retiring back to your campsite.

Long Beach, Washington
Where to Camp: The Lamp Camp

Another great option to spend your Thanksgiving, the Lamp Camp, located next to the ocean, is a quiet campsite with a community kitchen and fire pit, perfect for meeting fellow adventurers during your stay. Explore the peninsula, which is the longest contiguous beach in the United States, and be sure to include some authentic seafood in your Thanksgiving meal lineup.

Crested Butte, ColoradoWhere to Camp: Dispersed Camping

For some amazing free camping, you must checkout Crested Butte. With abundant BLM land, you should have no trouble finding a spot to park your van and setup shop for a wonderful holiday experience. If you are new to dispersed camping checkout our guide featuring Everything You Need to Know About Boondocking. While you are there, enjoy the various hiking trails suitable for any level hiker.

Rogue Rive, Oregon Where to Camp: Dispersed Camping

If you want your holiday experience to be without the interruption of there people around, another great option for dry camping is Rogue River in Oregon. Stop by Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, before making your way to the various primitive camping sites scattered about the park.

Emery County, Utah
Where to Camp: San Rafael Swell

Covering 2,000 square miles, San Rafael Swell is another excellent choice for dispersed camping this Thanksgiving. Spend your time exploring trails by foot or on bike. The area is known to be windy, so make sure to keep your trash secure and pack plenty of water as you won’t have any that’s easily accessible on the grounds.

Virginia Beach, Virginia Where to Camp: First Landing State Park

For a complete Thanksgiving experience, explore the park where the Virginia Company Colonists first set foot in the Americas. With over 200 campsites to choose from, First Landing State Park fits perfectly with the Thanksgiving theme. Enjoy the 1.5 miles of sandy beachfront and 20 miles of hiking trails as you imagine what it would feel like to explore unknown land.

We’re sure one of these campsites will provide you with an excellent van camping experience this Thanksgiving! If you’re looking for additional destinations to check out this holiday, check out our guide featuring 10 National Parks to Venture to this Thanksgiving.