Give Me S'More

Campground Fine Dining

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter January Outdoor Living Newsletter
Seared Ahi Tuna on table
Seared Ahi Tuna at Back Bay Restaurant, Newport Beach Dunes Waterfront Resort

Hot dogs, beans, and s'mores, traditional though they may be, are just too simple for some campers and RVers. There's a new trend on the rise tempting outdoor thrill-seekers: gourmet camping fare. Don't be surprised if you cross forks with a group of foodies while you're enjoying the best of what mother nature has to offer. The days of charred campfire cookouts or tedious RV kitchen cooking could be numbered.

Traditionalists may turn up their noses at the idea of fine dining in the camp where they've pitched their tent or parked their RVs. To some, roughing it is the only way. But there is another breed of camper out there. One that appreciates steak, fresh seafood, and dishes that are hard to pronounce. One that wants to relax and let someone else do the cooking. Here is a smattering of options that are available out there to wet your appetite:

  • Top end culinary options are redefining the RV resort landscape. Newport Beach Dunes Waterfront Resort, CA, has the Back Bay Bistro, with Executive Chef Daniel Jimenez at the helm. Offering contemporary dining and stunning waterfront views, no resort RVer wants to miss the Seared Ahi tuna or rib-eye steak topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions.
  • Santa Maria Style Barbecue is a regional culinary tradition rooted in Santa Barbara county on the Central Coast of California. This method of barbecuing dates back to the mid-19th century and is today regarded as a "mainstay of California's culinary heritage." And every Friday night you can enjoy this local specialty at the Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, CA. BBQ master Richard Boucher serves the unique cut of beef, discovered right here in the Santa Ynez valley, to the delight of regulars and RV visitors all year long. Also available and seasoned traditionally with just salt, pepper & garlic are 1/2 Chickens and Baby Back Ribs. Served together with Chef Richard's famous sweet potato fries and a bottle of Pinot Noir from one of the nearby wineries and you have beginnings of a fantastic weekend at Flags.
  • At some parks, restaurant offerings include hearty meals to fill bottomless pits. At Meadowcliff RV Resort, CA campers can take in the dramatic scene of the sun ascending over the beautiful cliffs of the Eastern Sierras as they enjoy a great country breakfast alongside real cowboys. Whether it's the breakfast pancake stacks with blueberries, which once made a customer cry because they reminded her of the ones her grandmother use to make, the popular Biscuits and Gravy which have a local following, or the Meadowcliff Hungry Man double-decker (2-1/3 pound patties), you won't leave hungry.
  • Picnic lunches to go are du jour at Cherry Hill Park, MD which allow RVers to take off and explore the nation's capital. The Star Café carnivores will delight at the extensive variety of meat plates available, whether it be beef and chicken gyro's, turkey and corned beef ruebens, roast beef, or the Swamp Venom Ribs (in case you are wondering...zesty ribs served with sides of baked beans and homemade coleslaw). Even seafood aficionados will be able to treat their discerning taste buds; Star Café offers Maryland Style Crab Cakes that are packed with fresh crab meat that is locally caught. Meat or seafood lover, the Star Cafés offerings will get your taste buds talking!
  • West Coasters can stay at San Elijo State Beach in the northern part of Cardiff State Beach for their food fix. "Restaurant Row", located in front of San Elijo Lagoon, draws campers, surfers and fine food scavengers with a spread aims to please southern Californian residents and visitors alike.

If the idea of enjoying gourmet meals is palatable to you, but the campground or rv resort you're staying at doesn't offer it, consider preparing your own gourmet meals before you hit the road. Shop at the nearest farmers' market, where you will find high quality, locally grown vegetables, dairy, and meat products. Pair a bottle of wine with whatever food you choose and settle down to a satisfying meal.

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