32 Best Christmas Gifts for RV Owners (2023)

The best holiday gifts for RV owners include outdoor gear, interior decor, travel entertainment, kitchen gadgets, and much more. Here’s an ultimate list of gifts in all price ranges.

Whether your RVer likes practical gifts, fun gifts, or unique gifts, there’s something for every RVer on this list.

This article will be your one-stop shop for every RVer you want to buy a gift for!

Here is my ultimate list of the best Christmas gift for RV owners broken into the following categories:

  • Outside the RV: Camping essentials
  • Inside the RV: Home, bath, and storage
  • RV lifestyle tech: Remote workers
  • RV safety essentials
  • Fiction books, movies, and games for RVers
  • RV kitchen supplies

Each category has a range of options, big and small, cheap and luxurious! So be sure to skim the whole list to find the perfect gift for your RVer.

Outside the RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Outside the RV: Camping essentials

1. Outdoor portable propane fire pit

This is a great gift for those RVers who love to enjoy an outdoor fire but do not want to lug or hassle with firewood. It can be turned on and off quickly so you only have to hassle with a fire when you are ready to enjoy it.

2. Wireless backup camera for motorhome

A backup motorhome camera can be the perfect gift to ease the tension of having to back up such a large vehicle. Not only does it cut down on the driver’s stress level but it can be safer for everyone.

If this gift caught your attention, you should check out 7 Pro Tips for Backing up a Motorhome.

3. Tool set

This is one of the best gifts for RV owners who like practical gifts. This toolset can come in handy for many issues an RV owner might face from a loose screen door to a stuck trailer hitch.

This universal tool kit can easily be stored in an outdoor hatch (on the curbside), utility closet, or cabinet. If you’d like to see more tool gifts for RVers, go to What Every RVer Needs in Their Basic Tool Kit.

4. RV state sticker map

One thing that most RVers love to do is track and talk about where they have been. This sticker map lets them track everywhere they’ve been in the United States in a visually appealing way (Canadian maps are also available).

It is weather-resistant so can be mounted outside or inside the RV. It’s a nice, decorative reminder of travels and a great ice-breaker for those wanting to make friends while camping.

Christmas gifts for RVers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. Magnetic hide-a-key case

A magnetic hide-a-key case is a perfect stocking stuffer. This little box can save your RVer from being stranded (it happens way more often than it should).

It’ll also save you from having to frantically express mail or drive their spare RV key to them! Having some kind of hide-a-key is a must-have for every RVer.

6. Folding step stool

A step stool is a super practical gift for an RV owner making it easier to get in and out of the RV and to access the ladder and awnings among lots of other uses. A folding step stool is great because it collapses to easily store in the RV when it’s not being used. Interior folding steps are also available.

7. Hammock

Hammocks would make a fun gift idea for an RV owner to bring some comfiness to their outdoor space when they stop to camp. They can just keep the hammock in the RV and when they get to that epic campsite can set up a cozy reading or napping nook in the trees.

Laura S. Walker State Park, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Georgia State Parks passes & Friends membership

Gift a year of the great outdoors with Georgia State Parks passes or annual membership to the Friends of Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites. The combo pass package grants access to more than 60 attractions across the state and memberships have several perks including complimentary nights at the campsites, discounted lodge rooms, and free picnic shelter rentals. Plan a getaway to a state park.

9. Give the gift of the outdoors

Join the Texas State Parks’ 100-year celebration with the 2023 Texas State Parks ornament. This special ornament is crafted on metal and features a laser-cutting technique used to create a distinct dot for every one of Texas’s 89 State Parks. Each ornament is $19.95 plus tax.

Gift cards can be used for park passes, entry and overnight fees, and in-store purchases. 

Inside the RV: Home, bath, and storage

Throw pillow © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Cute and funny RV throw pillows

RVers love multifunctional items and throw pillows offer comfort while beautifying their RV. Plus, they can be easily exchanged when your RV wants to update their interior design.

11 Folding step stool

This practical gift would come in handy for any RVer. It folds flat for easy storage and can easily be stored under the sink or in a closet. It can even be tucked away under a couch or bed if they are elevated above the floor. If your RVer is vertically challenged this is a must-have.

12. Shower bag caddy

If your RVer regularly uses campground showers this is an excellent gift for them. It’ll make trudging to the shower that much easier and keep their items clean and organized.

You can also turn the bag into a gift basket by adding shower shoes and a travel hair dryer. But for those who mostly shower inside their RV…

13. Adhesive shower caddy

For RVers who mostly use their RV shower a caddy set helps make them feel at home.

Life is a beautiful ride in an RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

14. Hanging closet organizer

Maximizing closet space is always a challenge for RVers. A hanging closet organizer is a game-changer.

15. Charcoal air purifier

If you’re spending an extended amount of time in an RV you might start to notice that it starts smelling a little less than fresh. Charcoal air purifiers naturally absorb odors without adding a fake scent. They can be stashed or hung around the RV to keep it smelling nice and it will be a much-appreciated gift for motorhome and trailer owners.

RV lifestyle tech: Remote work and RV office

Remote working (whether full-time or part-time) has seriously grown in popularity in recent years. More and more RVers are trading in their home office for a mobile office in their RV.

Throw pillow © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

16. HP 2700 All-in-one printer

The wireless HP 2700 series allows you to easily print documents when you are on the go. It is lightweight, compact, and prints high-quality, crisp documents, and photos. 

17. Cell or Wi-Fi booster

Getting away from it all is important but when your family members are on the road for weeks at a time, staying connected is important, too. A Wi-Fi or cell booster will extend and expand any available signal. That could mean taking a campground Wi-Fi signal and making it stronger or improving cellular coverage when they’re out and about.

RV safety essentials

I know the safety of your RVer is of utmost importance to you. That’s why the following safety essentials can make great gifts for RVers.

For one, they bring peace of mind to you. For two, they fill in the void of often overlooked items your RVer sorely needs, an oversight that can leave them in a dangerous situation.

Smoke alarm © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

18. Natural gas and propane detector

Carbon monoxide poisoning is an all-too-real threat to RVers’ well-being. Most RVs come standard with CO detectors but some older models do not. Not to mention the ones that need replacement.

19. First alert EZ fire spray

In addition to their standard RV fire extinguisher every RVer should have this quick-and-easy extinguishing aerosol spray. It’s lightweight and as easy as pushing the top to use which is ideal for sudden BBQ or RV kitchen fires. Or even for campfires that jump the fire ring.

20. She’s Birdie personal safety alarm

Originally designed as a personal safety alarm for women, this loud siren is now popular among men, too. It’s a great gift for solo RVers and boondockers who often camp overnight in parking lots.

Many RVers attach it to their dog leashes or hiking backpacks in case they encounter a threat (whether person or animal) on their walks. But for bigger threats, your RVer will need the following…

21. Counter Assault bear spray

Encountering bears is a common occurrence while camping. And, unfortunately these encounters have led to more injuries and deaths than I care to mention.

This bear spray will give you peace of mind and truly help to protect your RVing loved one if they encounter a bear. We consider it a must-have for any RVer who camps in bear country (which covers a LOT of the U.S. and Canada).

Christmas gifts for RVers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

22. Emergency roadside kit

While you can’t always prevent roadside emergencies you can at least be prepared for them. That’s when a good emergency roadside kit comes in handy.

This post will also take you to 23 Must-Have Items for your RV Roadside Emergency Kit.

You can buy a premade kit, make your own, or buy individual items as stocking stuffers.

23. Emergency first aid kit

RVers are usually good at putting a first aid kit in their RV when they first buy it. However, we are often terrible about checking expiration dates and restocking used supplies.

That’s why an all-purpose first aid kit is great for any RVer. Even if they already have one in their RV, they can easily slide this one into their hiking backpack or bike pack.

Fiction books, movies, and games for RVers

Nature offers plenty of entertainment but RVers still need to entertain themselves on lazy afternoons, in the evenings, or on long road trips.

24. Thelma & Louise

Snuggling up to a movie after a great day on the trail is a perk of camping in an RV rather than a tent. There’s a movie for everyone on these lists that covers every genre including the classic Thelma & Louise.

25. Embroidery starter kit

If your RVer loves crafts or is looking for a new hobby an embroidery start kit is the way to go. It’s everything they need to get started in the world of embroidery.

But there are lots of crafty gifts and activities perfect for RVers!

Christmas gifts for RVers © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV kitchen supplies

26. Portable ice maker

Ice is often a luxury while RVing and one that many RVers don’t like going without.

A compact and affordable ice maker is the perfect gift.

27. Instant pot

While it’s not just RVers that adore the Instant Pot, it’s especially useful in an RV kitchen where space is super tight. The smallest Instant Pot (6 quarts) will still take up some space but it packs such a punch with what it can do that it’s totally worth it.

Of course, you can make hearty stews, rice, and grains in it but did you know you can also bake banana bread, make hard-boiled eggs, and even cook dessert in the Instant Pot? This is the gift that will keep on giving delicious meals!

Bonus gift ideas

The following are more of the best gifts for RV owners. From gift cards to national park passes here are more gift ideas to go.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

28. America the Beautiful Pass

One of the greatest things about RV travel is visiting the national parks. The annual America the Beautiful Pass costs $80 and gives your camping loved ones access to more than 2,000 parks and recreation sites across the country. The pass is good for 12 months and covers park admission for everyone in the entire vehicle. It’s a gift that’s appreciated all year long.

29. Benchmark Road and Recreation Atlas

Benchmark Road and Recreation Atlas books are available for many states and the information includes backcountry roads, trailheads, campgrounds, points of interest, hunting units, RV parks, golf, and boating locations .

30. Dyrt Pro membership

RVers are always looking for great new places to explore and beautiful campgrounds and RV parks. One of my favorite parts of RV living is all of the beautiful places we get to see while we are camping. A great membership to simplify the process of planning a camping trip and saving money is the Dyrt Pro membership.

31. Harvest Hosts membership

Want to give experiences instead of things to your RVer? A Harvest Hosts membership is the perfect option. It is a unique membership service that lets RVers camp overnight FOR FREE at lovely outdoor venues such as wineries, breweries, museums, farms, orchards, and creameries. There are more than 2,000 such places across North America to choose from.

There is also an upgraded membership where you can also camp overnight at golf courses.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

32. Costco

There are many benefits to having a Costco membership especially during the holiday shopping season. Sure, the advent calendars are fun and the variety of small items for stocking stuffers is superb but there’s something else that is a far better bang for your buck.

Buying gift cards from the retailer may save you hundreds.

Whether you’re looking for gift cards for restaurants, movie theaters, stores, or theme parks, Costco has it all. Here the best deals on gift cards are right now:

  • $500 Southwest Airlines gift card for $449.99
  • $100 worth of Fogo de Chao gift cards for $79.99
  • $100 worth of Domino’s gift cards for $79.99
  • $100 worth of Peet’s Coffee gift cards for $79.99
  • $100 worth of California Pizza Kitchen gift cards for $79.99
  • $100 worth of Spafinder gift cards for $79.99
  • $100 worth of Chuck E. Cheese gift cards for $74.99
  • $100 Xbox digital download gift card for $89.99
  • $60 worth of Krispy Kreme gift cards for $44.99
  • $60 worth of Pinkberry gift cards for $47.99
  • $50 Cinemark Theatres gift card for $39.99

Make sure to periodically check the Costco website, especially during different holidays as the selection of gift cards may vary by season and could be temporarily out of stock at certain times.

Worth Pondering…

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.

—Dave Barry, Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide

Surprise, Surprise: A Ton of People Plan to Travel for the Holidays (2023)

Plus, most Americans say they don’t have much faith in airlines right now

Halloween is over, and pumpkins are being composted. And even if you aren’t someone who cues Mariah Carey’s holiday theme song as soon as the clock strikes midnight on November 1, you are already thinking about holiday travel.

And that’s going to be necessary considering that four different studies predict that most Americans will be traveling this season.

The 2023 holiday season is expected to be one the busiest on record with 122 million people or 63 percent of leisure travelers planning to travel between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Of those travelers, 20 million are planning to go RVing this holiday season, a 30 percent increase over 2022.

Christmas at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

55 percent of RVers plan to take a trip within three hours of home allowing for less time on the road and more time enjoying friends and family over the holidays. Millennials are more likely to stay closer to home with 61 percent planning a trip within 3 hours while 43 percent of Boomer respondents said they are planning trips more than 16 hours from home. 

According to the just-released RV Industry Association Holiday Travel Intentions Survey, the top reasons people are planning to go RVing are the love of road trips, the desire to travel in comfort, interest in exploring the great outdoors, and the affordability of RV travel. With RV vacations costing 50 percent less than comparable hotel and plane ride trips and a third less than hotel and car ride trips, RVing is an attractive option for people looking for the freedom to travel while also controlling their travel expenses.  

Another top reason people are choosing RV travel is their pets. 60 percent of RVers are planning to bring their pets with them rather than boarding them over the holidays. Of those sharing the trip with their furry family members, 87 percent will travel with at least one dog and 52 percent will travel with at least one cat.

Christmas at Whispering Oaks RV Park in Weimar, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Not all will hit the road though. 56 percent of those planning to use an RV this holiday season will park it at home and use it for guest accommodations. 49 percent will use it as an extra kitchen for food prep and storage.

“With the rush and stress that comes with traditional travel during the holidays, people are choosing RVing as a way to still travel and see friends and family but do so in a more relaxed and comfortable way,” says Craig Kirby, President & CEO of the RV Industry Association. “Whether using an RV for guests or bringing your pets along for the ride, RVing allows people to spend more quality time with those they love this holiday season.”

A second survey conducted by Enterprise Mobility found that 56 percent of Americans surveyed are planning at least one overnight trip 50+ miles away from home between November 2023 and January 2024 with 61 percent of those trips to take place in an owned or rented vehicle this holiday season.

48 percent of trips are planned to take place in a personal vehicle, just over one in ten (11 percent) are anticipated to be a rental vehicle, and 2 percent plan to utilize a rideshare service.

Just over a quarter (28 percent) plan to use loyalty points toward booking travel and a third of those plan to use their points toward a rental vehicle.​

Americans who are traveling are planning an average of two trips this season with Christmas being the most popular holiday for travel (66 percent) followed by Thanksgiving (49 percent).

RV decorated for the holidays © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of all holiday trips planned in the U.S. more than half are to visit friends and family (58 percent) but almost one quarter (23 percent) are purely for leisure, a vacation getaway without visiting friends or family. And December is the busiest month for travel over the holiday season with 46 percent of all travel days happening in this month (departures and returns).

In addition, nearly half (46 percent) of trips are less than 200 miles from home and slightly more than half (54 percent) are 200 or more miles away.

Generationally, Millennials (age 27-42) are the most likely to have travel plans this holiday season (62 percent) while Generation Z (age 18-26) is the least likely (43 percent) and 53 percent of both Generation X (43-58) and Baby Boomers (59+) are planning to travel this holiday season. Of all the trips planned this season, Gen Z is least likely to have a trip planned to visit friends and family (47 percent) but most likely to have a vacation getaway planned, not visiting friends or family (27 percent).

When taking a holiday road trip the majority of Americans (90 percent) enjoy listening to at least some holiday music.

The top three domestic destinations this year are warmer states including California, Florida, and Texas.

RV prepped for Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to a survey conducted by Motel 6 of 2,000 Americans, 84 percent of respondents plan to travel to at least one gathering this year with at least 52 percent of respondents expecting to take multiple trips.

In another survey conducted by The Vacationer which polled 1,013 Americans, 67.23 percent of respondents said they plan on traveling for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. For Thanksgiving, specifically, The Vacationer study found that an estimated 117 million American adults plan to travel which was 2 percent more than last year’s estimates.

While the Motel 6 data and the Vacationer data differ, both studies show that well over half of the population plans to travel for the holidays. Given how crowded roads and airports were in recent years during the winter holidays this information serves as an indicator that we can expect the same thing this year.

There’s not much confidence in airlines from those who plan on traveling for the holidays which isn’t too surprising considering the delays, cancellations, and general chaos of recent years. The Vacationer study revealed that 59.23 percent of respondents have little to no confidence in airlines being able to avoid excessive delays and cancellations during the holidays.

RV decorated for Christmas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Looking for more travel tips?

Whether you need destination guides or camping suggestions or make sure your RV is prepped for travel, I’ve got you covered. Keep reading for RV travel hacks and everything you need to help you plan your next big adventure.

Worth Pondering…

Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.

—Catherine Pulsifer

Ditch the Air Travel Chaos! Road Trip this Holiday Season

This year, many people are choosing to avoid flying and hit the road for the holidays instead

What do Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and over 15 million Americans have in common? They are all planning to spend the holidays in their RV. With the projected number of RVers on the road during winter breaks, it’s clear the trend is on the rise.

According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), 29 percent of Millennials and 20 percent of Gen Z will spend some time from Thanksgiving through New Year in the comfort of an RV. If you’re one of the 15 million Americans planning to avoid travel chaos during this time of year by hitting the open road in a motorhome, travel of fifth wheel trailer, van, camper, or converted bus you’re making a great choice.

The holiday season sees airports notoriously packed with stressed-out travelers. Meanwhile, RV parks and campgrounds remain relatively quiet. So, why not leave behind the airlines and travel in style in an RV? There are many reasons to ditch traditional holiday travel and enjoy a road trip.

Christmas in an RV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Flexible travel plans

Traveling in an RV provides more leeway for planning a trip. Drivers don’t have to be committed to being in specific places at specific times like you do when flying.

Spend time with family and friends

For people working around the holidays taking a few days off for a local road trip is less stressful than planning an elaborate vacation far away from home. It may not be what your family has always done but it might be a fun opportunity to start a new tradition and make special memories.

“Spending time with friends and family is an integral part of the holidays and we know that whether RVing together for a holiday vacation or traveling in your RV for a holiday visit, spending time with friends and family is a primary reason people are going RVing this holiday season,” said RVIA Executive Vice President James Ashurst.

RVing with Fido © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bring what you want

Are you worried about leaving the dog at home? Bring Fido along. Have food allergies? Make food in the RV. Spending Christmas break in a recreational vehicle gives people space to enjoy their environment and have creature comforts while surrounded by the magic of this special time of year.

Camping at Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Less expensive

Camping at a state park, national park, or RV park is less expensive than a traditional trip where you’d pay for airfare, hotels, and rental cars. On average, an RV vacation costs 50 percent less than a trip requiring airfare and hotel rooms.

According to a study commissioned by Go RVing and RVIA, there are cost savings of 21-64 percent for a four-person travel party while a two-person travel party saves 8-53 percent depending on factors such as the type of RV and type of vacation.

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Enjoy the great outdoors

Who says the holidays are just for staying indoors and being all cozy? Whether you’re hitting the slopes or taking a hike in nature, getting some exercise while enjoying the company of friends and family is a great way to spend your free time.

Shopping La Petite Gourmet Shoppe in La Grande, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Support the economy

RV travel and the outdoor recreation industry have exploded contributing $862 billion to the U.S. economy along with 4.5 million jobs, according to the Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account (ORSA).

“These two studies demonstrate that the RV industry and its customers are vital contributors to America’s economy and all indications are that they will continue to be so,” said RVIA Executive Vice President James Ashurst. “Growth in the industry is being increasingly driven by younger and more diverse RV buyers whose purchases are largely motivated by the desire to experience the great outdoors.”

When surrounded by nature, it’s hard not to relax and appreciate the simple things in life. It is easy to see why millions of people are choosing to road trip during this magical time of year.

Golfing Sky Mountain Golf Course in Hurricane, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Make new traditions

All in all, the pros of RV travel and road-tripping far outweigh the cons. In today’s hurried world, more and more people realize that taking the time to slow down and enjoy the ride is priceless. So, this holiday season, ditch the frantic airport lines and opt for a leisurely road trip— skiing, hiking, or visiting friends and family instead.

Best winter road trips for the holidays

If you are in the mood for a road trip to end the year, continue reading for some of the best spots to travel to for your holiday road trip.

Grand Canyon National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, Arizona

While desert landscapes may not provide a winter wonderland experience, Phoenix knows how to do the holidays right with its famous Tumbleweed Tree tradition, a lighting ceremony, and Christmas parade. Before or after enjoying it, take a road trip to the Grand Canyon where there’s a good chance you’ll see at least a dusting of snow with the South Rim sitting at about 6,800 feet in elevation bringing lots of picture-perfect photo-ops without the crowds. And, during the holidays you can ride the Polar Express Train from Williams to the South Rim.

Big Bend National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Austin to Big Bend National Park, Texas

This is one of those drives where the journey is as interesting as your destination. Driving from Austin to Big Bend National Park is 435 miles, a leisurely two-to-three day adventure with time for stops along the way.

You can have two totally different road trips from Austin to Big Bend National Park. If you move west on I-10, you can directly drive from Austin to Big Bend without many stops in between whereas the alternative route which cuts through Highway 90 is a lot more interesting thanks to the number of stops you have in between. If you take the second route, you could choose to stop at Del Rio for food and fuel and make a pit stop at Langtry to visit the Judge Roy Bean Museum.

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Asheville and the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina

Camp near Asheville and take a road trip north or south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to soak up spectacular mountain scenery that can be even more beautiful during the winter. It’s all about the journey so go slow and stop frequently. Before or after heading out you’ll be able to enjoy Asheville’s sparkling holiday light displays and decor and a visit to the Châteauesque-style mansion known as Biltmore Estate, the country’s largest privately-owned home. It’s worth touring any time of year but at Christmas the evening candlelight tour features over 50 Christmas trees.

Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

St. Augustine, Florida to Savannah, Georgia

Winter transforms beautiful St. Augustine, Florida, America’s oldest city, into a stunning spectacle of lights. Its magnificent Spanish architecture is lit up with over three million individual bulbs and there will be horse-drawn carriage rides to view them all. Afterward, take off for Savannah to enjoy the Boats on Parade with more than 40 lighted vessels parading both sides of the waterfront accompanied by live music, a tree lighting ceremony, and fireworks. Or enjoy an old-fashioned celebration with Christmas on the River with local entertainment, music, and seasonal treats.

Mount Washington Resort at Bretton Woods, New Hampshite © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Burlington, Vermont to Jackson, New Hampshire

The drive from Burlington, Vermont to Jackson, New Hampshire is gorgeous, traveling through the White Mountains with its red covered bridges surrounded by a dazzling winter wonderland. Stop in Bretton Woods to take advantage of Mount Washington Resort’s downhill runs, sleigh rides, ice skating, or tubing before continuing to one of the country’s most picturesque Christmas towns, Jackson. Here you can enjoy all sorts of snow sports and the Annual Journey to the North Pole train ride, complete with Santa and his elves.

Worth Pondering…

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

—Norman Vincent Peale

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

Why not shake it up this year with a new tradition? Instead of the usual family gathering, jump in the RV and hit the road for a holiday you can be truly thankful for.

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 non-traditional lifestyles such as digital nomads and full-time RVing, the entire concept of holidays is rapidly changing. They can still be spent making memories and connecting with loved ones but that doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending several days in meal planning and prepping or even staying home. 

This year, why not consider a Thanksgiving RV trip? Whether you go to a favorite place or a new one, head out solo, 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.

Enjoying Thanksgiving at Clerbrook Golf and RV Resort, Clermont, Florida

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 a full-timer, a Thanksgiving trip can extend your camping season and let you enjoy one more adventure before storing your rig for winter
Spending Thanksgiving in Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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. 

Camping at Arches National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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. Most national park campgrounds are dry camping with no utilities.

Related article: 49 Million Americans Will Road Trip This Thanksgiving, 15 Million by RV

Best of all, some national parks even host special Thanksgiving programs. For example, restaurants in Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park host elaborate Thanksgiving spreads.

Camping at Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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. State park campgrounds offer a variety of sites including no services, electricity, and water only, and full-service camping. It’s a design-your-own-Thanksgiving-RV-trip.

Camping at Vista del Sol RV Resort, Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traditional RV parks

Camping in an RV park or resort over Thanksgiving can give you access to full hookups, scheduled activities, clubhouse and pool, fire pit, 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 near Quartzsite, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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 can be a fantastic, memorable way to create new traditions.

Related article: Top 8 Tips for Planning a Road Trip this Thanksgiving and throughout the Holiday Season

Potential downsides of a Thanksgiving RV trip (and how to deal with them)

Carrots for a colorful Thanksgiving dinner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Being away from family and friends 

If you’re used to spending the holiday with a large group of friends and family, this can be a major factor in deciding whether or not to take a Thanksgiving RV trip. Thanks to modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with loved ones. Consider scheduling a FaceTime or Zoom 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.

Thanksgiving dinner? © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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.

Pie for Thanksgiving dinner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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 purchase a pie from a local bakery 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.

Be prepared in case bad weather © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

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 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. 

Related article: Thanksgiving & Our RV Lifestyle: Giving Thanks

Do something different this Thanksgiving, Go RVing! Take your family off the Wi-Fi craze for a few days and enjoy a nearly work-free meal prep and enjoyable conversation with the whole family. It will be an experience you never forget!

Worth Pondering…

Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.

—Catherine Pulsifer