With Thanksgiving around the corner, we get the chance to spend time around the dinner table with the ones we love most – but who says we can’t enjoy the holidays in the great outdoors? After all, as van travelers we’re the unconventional sort that tend to seek one-of-a-kind adventures at amazing natural destinations.
If you’re looking for the perfect place to mark your map for the holiday weekend, we’ve got you covered! From scenic spots for van style feasts and post-Thanksgiving outdoorsy activities to work off the meal to the best spots for a hassle-free dinner gathering, we’re listing the best parks and campgrounds to consider for your 2022 Thanksgiving getaway.
Work off your holiday feasting at the Big Bend Ranch State Park Thanksgiving On the Wild Side Guided Bike Ride. After you’ve treated yourself to a van style turkey dinner, traverse the Llano Loop by bike. It’s an easy to moderate ride that goes for roughly 10 miles. The admission for the guided ride is free when you purchase a Texas Parks Pass. You can speed up the entry process by reserving your spot online here.
If you’re all for staying on your toes with water activities, Crater Lake has got your family covered. We’re talking swimming, kayaking, and even unwinding at the Umpqua Hot Springs. You’ll have access to plenty of creeks and falls for a breathtaking post-Thanksgiving hike with expansive miles to explore at your leisure. The Pacific Northwest offers an abundance of breathtaking scenery that will serve as the perfect back-drop for some family photos in the heart of nature.
This destination is unique as it’s where the English colonists first landed in the New World in 1607. Stroll along the beaches of Chesapeake Bay or go fishing in a breathtakingly serene setting after treating yourself to a van-style Thanksgiving feast. Virginia hosts a post-thanksgiving hike that spans up to eight miles through the First Landing State Park. If you’re a photographer, you’re welcome to participate in the #OptOutside photo contest that takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving where you’ll have the chance to enter for prizes!
If you find yourself around the southwest during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Grand Canyon yields a perfect opportunity for an adventurous holiday weekend free from the crowds. Station your van at the Trailer Village RV Park with access to the El Tovar Dining room best known for its rustic tastes and aesthetic. If you’re looking to save yourself the hassle of whipping together a holiday meal, you have the chance to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day feast at any time between 11:00am and 10:00pm, where a mix of holiday classic dishes and southwest inspired meals are served at your convenience. Be sure to save space for your sweet tooth! There will be plenty of dessert options available too.
Active adventurers will love a Thanksgiving stay at Zion National Park. With plenty of trails to hike and bike through. Pack warm and waterproof boots if you’re up for exploring the narrows. The bright side is that with the season’s climate, cooler temperatures make the more strenuous trails easier to take on. There’s ample space for you to station your rec van. We’re highlighting the South Campground for its scenic Thanksgiving picnic spots and ease of access to several of the park’s key-interest trails.
Enjoy a getaway surrounded by old-growth oak trees that have provided a sense of natural magic to Florida for over 1,000 years. This destination will queue up your weekend itinerary with the outdoorsy delights of Thanksgiving picnicking, fishing, hiking, and sight-seeing along an elevated boardwalk through swampy terrain with local wildlife. Aside from the relaxing vacation vibes, the best perk of taking your Thanksgiving holiday to Florida is the warm and temperate autumn weather. What’s not to love?
Immerse yourself in the charming coastal destination of Tybee Island. You’ll get the chance to get ahead on your holiday gift shopping at a plentitude of local shops at the local pier and pavilion leading towards the Tybee Island lighthouse and museum. If you’re looking for some rest and relaxation along the sandy Savannah beaches, this inviting destination will bring a refreshing experience to your Thanksgiving holiday.
Want to go big with your holiday dinner backdrop? Look no further than Yosemite National Park. Whether you wish to host a van-style feast at one of the most stunning destinations in our country, or kick back with a professionally prepared meal, this destination provides the space and options for both types of Thanksgiving celebrations. Gather with your loved ones at the historic Ahwahnee Dining Room, go classic at the Victorian-Era Wawona Dining Room, or feast casually at the Mountain Room at Yosemite Lodge where you can die with a captivating view of the park falls. If you’re looking more for an intimate picnic gathering, we recommend Upper Pines Campground for a picturesque van-prepped feast.
What traditions have you kept with your friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday? Let us know in the comments below! If you’re looking to fill up your van travel itinerary for the month, be sure to check out our Top Van Destinations for November 2022! What’s to say you can’t squeeze in some extra stops along your way to your Thanksgiving getaway?