Eating Out or Dinning In at Your Campsite?

Foil packet meals can be easily customized for any taste and with the proteins and vegetables, you have on hand.

How do you tackle meals while camping?  Do you cook all of your meals and stay in?  Or do you like to venture out and explore the local cuisine?  It's a toss-up.  And, it all comes down to budget and the camping experience that you want to have.

We camp mostly at State Parks.  While some parks do offer, lodge dining restaurants for visitors to use, I find these places at very few parks.  I do know that private parks tend to have different amenities and may offer these services.

Many times I make cinnamon rolls, biscuits or pigs in a blanket and freeze them ahead to bake in my Dutch Oven at the campsite.
For me, I feel like I can cook a much better meal at my campsite than that of a lodge buffet.  And, I don't like to spend the money on a mediocre meal.  The only draw of these experiences is the convenience factor.  We have stayed at some state parks that offer lodge dining, and it is $10 per person and up to eat.  And the food just never has been that great.  And, I despise buffets.  I cannot stress this enough.  HATE buffets.

But, what if the area where you are camping has great local spots.  Maybe you are at the beach and want seafood or you are in a new place that you want to explore?  Why not!?

Stop by the ranger desk and ask for recommendations.  Or, you could plan ahead by using a book like  Roadfood, 10th Edition: An Eater's Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America   You might discover a write up about a place that is on your way to the campground or in the area where you are staying.

This book could help you find hidden gems on the road for dining out!
I would recommend calling the ranger station ahead if you are thinking about eating out on your trip to find out what is available.

Another suggestion that is a good happy medium, visit local markets to prepare food with fresh ingredients where you are camping.  There may be a local farmers market, fish or seafood market or more that would provide some unique selections for dining right at your campsite.  Summer is particularly a good time for these options as farmers markets tend to be plentiful even in small towns these days.

Fresh fruit could be foraged at the right time or year or bought at a farmers market to enjoy at the campsite.
The thing that I love about camping is visiting new areas that offer things that are different from home.  Experiencing the local food is an excellent way to explore an area and meet new people.  As you are planning your camping trips for the 2018 year, look for farmers markets and local places to enjoy food as you travel.  Taking a trip off the beaten path may be just what you need to shake up your camping game in 2018.

If you are looking for more meal and menu ideas for your campsite, take a look at my Lists and Menus Page for links to meals that we have done one previous trip.   I've also added a Camp Kitchen Page to share items specifically for campsite cooking.

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