friends gathering outside of a camper van rental

Go Camping on Thanksgiving

Camping on Thanksgiving is a beautiful way to disconnect from the noise and hustle, and reconnect with nature, family and friends. Traditions are only as strong as the reasons behind them, so this holiday season you could swap the kitchen for a campfire, and still enjoy togetherness and a nourishing meal with those you love.

Ready to holiday outside? Here are some suggestions on how to have an unforgettable Thanksgiving in a camper van.

What to Bring

All GoCamp vans are equipped with the right tools to set you up for success to cook on Thanksgiving. Your camper van will have a basic stovetop, a cooler or refrigerator, and a sink. Some vans, like any of the Storyteller Overland MODEs, even have a microwave. Your van will also be stocked with plates, bowls, cups, and silverware, along with pots and pans so you can prepare all your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. So what’s left to bring?

Friends and family

Bring your friends and family along on your Thanksgiving camping trip and you can suggest a potluck. That way the joy of cooking the meal will be shared. And so will the clean up duties!

Paper or compostable plates

Speaking of clean up, bring paper or other compostable plates and you’ll have much less cleaning to do after your meal is over. Similarly, if you do a lot of the prep work at home before you hit the road, you’ll cut down on dirty dishes.


If you think you’ll be doing some of your cooking over a campfire, consider bringing charcoal. With some added charcoal your fire will burn hot and last longer. This gives you more time to sit back and visit with your friends and family.

Thanksgiving Camping Menu and Meal Prep

One way to minimize stress in the campsite, and make your Thanksgiving camping trip successful, is to do some meal prep in advance. Get creative by thinking outside the oven.


Want to stick to tradition and go the turkey route? You have options. You could cook individual turkey breasts to your liking in your camper van or over a campfire. Or you could head to the deli section at your local grocery store and ask for a hunk of pre-cooked turkey meat rather than deli slices. Perhaps skip the turkey altogether and bring a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken instead. You could also sear salmon in a foil packet over the campfire. There is no hard and fast rule that says turkey is required on Thanksgiving.

Make Side Dishes Ahead

So many classic Thanksgiving dishes can be made ahead of time. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans or brussels sprouts can all be made in advance, then re-heated over the camp stove. You could quickly blanch your green beans or brussels sprouts at home, wrap them up in tin foil with some butter and herbs, then perch the package over the campfire to heat things back up. Don’t be afraid to try something new. This might be the year you discover a whole new way to enjoy sweet potatoes.

Pumpkin Pie S’mores

When it is time for dessert, put a Thanksgiving spin on the classic s’more with the following ingredients:

  • can of pumpkin pie filling
  • cinnamon graham crackers
  • pumpkin spice marshmallows (no really, it’s a thing!)
  • chocolate

All you have to do to turn your s’more into a taste of pumpkin pie is smear some pumpkin pie filling on your cinnamon graham cracker, then top with chocolate and your roasted marshmallow. You’ll want more than one for sure.

Caravan of camper vans on a mountain road

Reimagine your holiday routines

What if you reimagined your usual holiday routines to prioritize spending more time outside?  This could look like…⁣

  • Stopping for a hike while traveling for the holidays
  • Putting in that PTO request
  • Gathering loved ones around a campfire⁣
  • Building in down time and not over scheduling yourself

Whether in a GoCamp camper van or a rig of your own, we hope you get to spend some of your holiday outside this year. And if you’re looking for that perfect camper van to make camping easy, we’re here to help. GoCamp staff will be available throughout the holiday season seven days a week.

Rent a Camper Van for Thanksgiving

With a little advanced prep work and an attitude set to adventure, this year you and your family and friends could have the best Thanksgiving yet.

And the same goes for your pup. If you've got a four-legged member of the family, note that many GoCamp vans are pet friendly. Now you just need to find the perfect camper van. Click the button below to browse camper vans available for Thanksgiving.