How to Celebrate the Winter Holidays in Your RV

Nov 17, 2021 | Travel & Destinations

How to Celebrate the Winter Holidays in Your RV

An RV holiday camping trip can bring new memories and unexpected traditions. Here's where to celebrate.

By Amanda Adler

Photo: Erin Thiem

Making the Season Bright in Tight Quarters

Roadtripping during the holidays doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite traditions. There are many ways you can incorporate these cherished holiday rituals into your winter adventures.

Honor Family Traditions

Traveling in an RV makes it easy to hold onto the customs you hold most dear. Activities such as cookie decorating and storytelling can be done wherever you roam. Just as you would at home, get creative about finding spots for lights, wreaths, and other festive flair. My family even removed the unused bottom bed from our bunkhouse to make space for a themed tree, stockings, and presents.

You can also add to your trimmings as you travel. Collect keepsake ornaments from each place you visit to further adorn garlands or a small tree in your camper.

When it comes to ornaments, try choosing less breakable options, such as ones made out of plastic, metal, or wood, and secure them using twist ties to keep them in place during travel.

Related ‘Tis the Season: How to Decorate Your RV for the Holidays

Gather ‘Round the Fire

Inside your RV, make your fireplace the center of your celebration as it serves as a comforting place for loved ones to gather to share memories from the day’s travel. If you don’t have a fireplace, a small portable unit can add ambiance to your rig while also saving you from using too much propane from your onboard heating unit.

Feet in cozy socks warming up next to RV fireplace
Photo: Amanda Adler
Child in an RV with holiday decorations in nook area
Photo: Amanda Adler

Or with a little do-it-yourself energy, add a more permanent hearth to your home. Last holiday season my husband and I incorporated an electric fireplace into the back of one of our dinette seats. While this took some handiwork, we were able to frame it out with spare lumber, added a small mantle, and completed the aesthetic with peel-and-stick tile.

Celebrate With Family and Friends

A road trip can allow you to more easily spend time with loved ones who live farther away. If you’re traveling with other families who don’t have RVs, select a campground with onsite cabins or nearby hotel accommodations that allow for everyone to join in the fun.

Related The Best RV Campgrounds for Winter

Or, seek out a campground that hosts events for the holidays. The San Antonio / Alamo KOA Holiday invites campers to a Thanksgiving feast in November, as well as a tamale dinner and campsite decorating contest on Christmas Eve. As you look for a place to stay, inquire about their holiday plans and celebrations.

Headlines everywhere are touting the scarcity of campsites in summer, but the winter months are often overlooked. While booking at least 6 months in advance will always give you the most options, many privately-owned campgrounds still have available space, especially on weeknights. 

Selecting a Destination to Celebrate the Holidays

Perhaps the most important decision is where to go. One idea is to choose a theme for your winter excursion. Not sure where to start? Check out a few suggestions to help you in your planning.

For Foodies: Savor the Flavors of the Season

There’s no denying that food plays a pivotal role in most holiday celebrations. Cooking a Thanksgiving meal in your RV kitchen can be tricky, but it’s not impossible—or you could plan to host this year’s feast at a destination with remarkable cuisine.

If turkey is a must-have for your holiday table, consider serving it BBQ style while you tour the sights of Memphis, Tennessee. Stroll down Beale Street, explore the National Civil Rights Museum, tour Graceland, and cook up an Elvis-style peanut butter and banana sandwich back at your campsite. Tom Sawyer’s RV Park is located right on the iconic Mississippi River, making it the perfect spot to watch riverboats cruise by while you enjoy this taste of Americana.

RVs parked at campground set amongst red rock canyons
Photo: Amanda Adler

Or set off for Monument Valley, situated right on the Utah and Arizona border. Located on Navajo land, the spectacular landscape provides a quiet solitude for reflecting on the natural beauty of this sacred place. Goulding’s Lodge & Campground offers sweeping views of the nearby rock formations, and the onsite restaurant is the perfect spot to sample traditional fry bread Navajo tacos.

For Winter Wonderland Enthusiasts: Seek Out Idyllic Landscapes

Keep the spirit of the season alive at a destination known for its snowy disposition. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, Bozeman, Montana, is a true winter paradise, offering abundant hiking and skiing. The city also plays host to seasonally-appropriate activities such as ice skating, a holiday bazaar, and a torchlight parade. To warm up from your day of chilly adventure, stay at Bozeman Hot Springs Campground & RV Park, which offers unlimited access to its 12 heated pools. 

Child making a snow angel in white sand
Photo: Amanda Adler
Child playing in white sand dunes in desert
Photo: Amanda Adler

If you’re looking for traditional winter activities with less chance of freezing temperatures, then try sledding at White Sands National Park near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The powder white sand is a sunnier substitute for packed snow, and the park offers sleds for purchase or rent—although you can also bring your own. Las Cruces KOA Journey is a centrally located option near the mountains, dining, and attractions in Las Cruces, while still only being a short drive from the sights of El Paso, Texas.

For Entertainment Lovers: Embrace Themed Experiences

Consider taking your loved ones to a spot renowned for throwing epic parties full of glitz and non-stop excitement.

You certainly can’t get much bigger and bolder than Las Vegas, Nevada. Known for its jaw-dropping displays in any season, Vegas turns up the excitement level during the holidays. New Year’s Eve is an especially lively time to visit as the entire Las Vegas Strip closes to car traffic and transforms into an extravagant street party, complete with live music and fireworks. The RV Park at Circus Circus is located right on the Strip and offers a prime location to see everything that Sin City has to offer.

Child wearing Santa hat with dressed up mascot
Photo: Amanda Adler
Christmas tree with balloons at Disney World
Photo: Amanda Adler

A more kid-friendly option is to visit Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, which offers a dizzying array of holiday events, eats, and experiences for all ages. Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is the perfect option for your stay (although you’ll need to book early to snag a spot) as it features additional onsite entertainment such as nightly outdoor movies, campfire sing-a-longs, swimming pools, prime viewing of Disney’s evening spectaculars, and more.

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CampgroundsholidaysLifestyleRV Travel

Amanda Adler

Amanda Adler is a writer who splits her time between traveling the U.S. in her RV and soaking up the air conditioning in her home in Orlando, Florida. While on the road she seeks out national parks, theme parks, kid- and dog-friendly hiking trails, and local businesses that tout their wares as being “craft,” “artisanal” or “bespoke.”

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