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Celebrating Thanksgiving at a Campsite

family eating thanksgiving while camping

Are you tired of the same old Thanksgiving routine? Want to break free from the confines of your kitchen and celebrate the holiday amidst the beauty of nature? Then, it’s time to pack up your camping gear and head to the great outdoors for a campsite Thanksgiving like no other. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your campfire Thanksgiving a memorable and delicious adventure, suitable for campers of all levels.

Decking Out Your Campsite with Thanksgiving Cheer

Even in the wilderness, you can add a festive touch to your campsite. Here are some easy and camp-friendly decoration ideas:

Nature-Inspired Centerpieces: Collect colorful leaves, pinecones, and small branches to create rustic centerpieces for your camp table. They’re free and bring a touch of the outdoors to your Thanksgiving meal.

Battery-Operated String Lights: Hang these around your campsite for a warm and inviting atmosphere, especially in the evening. They’re safer than open flames and can create a cozy ambiance.

Tablecloth and Cloth Napkins: Yes, it’s a campsite, but a tablecloth can instantly elevate the setting. Cloth napkins add a touch of sophistication while being eco-friendly.

Pumpkin Decor: Carve or paint mini pumpkins as a fun craft activity with the family. They can double as decor and table settings.

Blue reversible camping rug for tents with carry bag

Keeping the Little Ones Occupied

While you work your culinary magic over the campfire, it’s essential to keep the kids entertained. Here are some activities to keep them busy:

Nature Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items for the kids to find in the surrounding area – pinecones, specific leaves, or interesting rocks. It’s a great way to teach them about nature while having fun.

Thanksgiving Crafts: Set up a crafting station with supplies for making handprint turkeys, leaf rubbings, or even DIY Thanksgiving cards for loved ones back home.

Nature Art: Encourage them to use their creativity by making art with the natural materials they find. They can create leaf collages, rock sculptures, or even nature-inspired jewelry.

Storytelling: Gather around the campfire and take turns sharing Thanksgiving stories or creating your own. It’s a great way to bond and create lasting memories.

cooking dishes over a campfire

The Campfire Thanksgiving Menu

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – the food! Here are some fantastic recipes that are perfect for cooking over a campfire:

Campfire Roasted Turkey Breast: Roasting a whole turkey at the campsite can be challenging, so opt for turkey breasts instead. Follow this recipe for a succulent and flavorful turkey.

Dutch Oven Stuffing: This easy and delicious stuffing recipe cooked in a Dutch oven will become a campsite favorite. Check it out here.

Campfire Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes are a must-have. Cook and mash them at home, then reheat them in a cast-iron skillet over the campfire.

Grilled Veggies: Wrap your favorite vegetables in foil with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill them over the campfire. It’s a simple yet tasty side dish.

Campfire Apple Pie: Dessert is essential, and you can’t go wrong with apple pie. Bake it at home and warm slices over the campfire.

Dealing with Leftovers

Now, let’s address the challenge of leftovers. Campers don’t have the luxury of a full-sized refrigerator, so here’s how to handle them:

Cooling Safely: In RVs, use the fridge for perishables, and in tents, rely on a good-quality ice chest with ice packs. Keep the temperature as low as possible.

Storage Containers: Bring airtight containers to store leftovers properly. You can even double-bag items to prevent leakage.

Consume Within a Few Days: Leftovers can be a treat during your camping trip, but remember that they have a limited shelf life. Plan to finish them within a couple of days.

young people sitting around a campfire

Creative Leftover Recipes

Instead of reheating the same meal, why not get creative with your leftovers? Here are some delicious recipes:

Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich: Layer turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes between slices of bread or in a tortilla for a satisfying sandwich.

Turkey and Veggie Hash: Dice up your turkey and any leftover grilled vegetables, then cook them in a skillet with some spices for a hearty hash.

Campfire Turkey Quesadillas: Make cheesy turkey quesadillas using tortillas, turkey, cheese, and any leftover veggies.

Thanksgiving Leftover Soup: Combine turkey, vegetables, and any leftover gravy or mashed potatoes to make a hearty soup.

Celebrating Thanksgiving at a campsite is a unique and rewarding experience. It allows you to connect with nature, create lasting memories with your family, and savor delicious campfire-cooked meals. So, this year, trade the traditional dining room for the great outdoors and embark on a Thanksgiving adventure you’ll cherish forever. Happy camping and even happier feasting!

Never camped before with the kids? Don’t panic – you can do it! Read this guide.


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