Campgrounds with restaurants . . . yum or gag??

Discussion in 'I Smell Something Cooking!' started by whitecastleman, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. whitecastleman

    whitecastleman Member

    Mar 12, 2015
    Since I like to prepare my own food, whether or not a campground has a restaurant or snack shop is not usually high on my list when I select a campground. If there is a camp store, I might buy a cold drink or a small container of ice cream (if the mood hits), but I have found that camp stores have a small selection, are often overpriced, and many times offer items that have been sitting on the shelf too long.

    The one exception to this was a small family-owned campground (Bielava Summer Resort) that I visited in north-central IN. They had a wonderful restaurant with an all-you-can-eat Polish buffet featuring traditional, homemade foods. I'm talking stuffed cabbage rolls, sausage, sauerkraut, potato pancakes (with sour cream, of course), cream of mushroom soup, numerous salads, and many other favorites. [My mouth is watering as I type this . . . ] Certainly not typical camp food, but it was some of the best Polish-style food that I've ever had.

    Have any of you come across other culinary surprises during your camping stays?
  2. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    90% of my camping is done in state parks and those I am lucky to even have a camping store, but most I'm lucky to get a couple vending machines. I do stay at one private campground in Gettysburg that serves typical American food. Pancakes on Saturday and hotdogs/hamburgers in the afternoon (closes at 2.) Prices were actually quite average and tasted about the same as a typical fast food joint. It's usually the kids that frequent the arcade that usually eat there, but found those that are leaving that day grab something there so they don't have to stop and or cook before packing up.
  3. Ductape

    Ductape Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2013
    Mmmmm....... Polish cooking ! I was raised on kielbasa & pierogi . That place sounds great. We will eat out once, twice tops in ten days of camping (while doing touristy things). I would always prefer our own camp cooking.
  4. Hatty

    Hatty New Member

    Oct 1, 2015
    When camping at Pfieffer state park in Big Sur we stopped by the Big Sur bakery after a long beach day and ended up taking whole pizzas back to the campsite. It was a delish luxury, while the on-site restaurant looked... Blah, at best.

    That said, the experience inspired us to bring our pizza stone and pre-made half baked crusts with tons of toppings on our next trip -- pizza made to order over the fire has revolutionized our camping meals! So easy! So little clean up! So yummy!
  5. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

    Jul 30, 2008
    I go camping to cook.
  6. GA Judy

    GA Judy Active Member

    Oct 15, 2010
    We were camping at Tompkins Bend on Lake Ouachita (AR) in 2011 and family came up to have a mini reunion. We met at the little restaurant in the marina in the CG and it was simple but good food. We got there too late on Sunday to tried the "famous" fried chicken. They were already sold out and we heard that was normal. Guess lunch starts at 11 a.m. for fried chicken.
  7. SLOTerp

    SLOTerp Member

    May 25, 2015
    Ashburn, VA
    Cherrystone Campground on Virginia's eastern shore. It's a resort with all the amenities including a cafe (never ate there). The highlight, however, is the farm stand. Besides fresh, local vegetables, they offer shrimp, clams, oysters, and blue crabs. They can be steamed to order on site by the incredibly friendly - and funny - owner of the stand. On our last night, we and our friends enjoyed a glorious seafood feast!

    [edit] The farm stand is on the campground. It was actually closer to us than the cafe.
  8. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2009
    Albuquerque, NM
    One of the reasons we enjoy camping, even for traveling, is that we can mostly cook our own food. We generally camp in public campgrounds, such as state and national parks and US Forest Service ones. Food in the campground itself is a rare occurrence.
    In some of the NPs, though, there are lodges with good restaurants. When we visit North Rim of Grand Canyon, for example, we often go for breakfast at the Lodge, as much for the fantastic view as for the food. There is a whole "experience" dinner and show available near the campground, but we've never done that (I don't think it was up and running yet when we were there this year).
    A few years back, we found a great place to get pizza at Grand Teton NP, but have no idea if that's still going on.
    When we camp anywhere near Moab, we schedule breakfast at the Jailhouse Cafe in Moab, so not exactly in a campground, but nearby.
  9. kcsa75

    kcsa75 Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Kansas City
    We stayed at the KOA in Limon, Colo. on our way home from Yellowstone. As I was checking in, they were making pizzas and they smelled great. Being that the only other options in Limon are fast food, we decided to give it a try. It tasted as good as it smelled and they even delivered to our campsite. [:)C]
  10. Harvardroger

    Harvardroger If it feels good, do it! If it hurts, Stop!

    Sep 5, 2011
    We ususally cook at the campsite. This weekend we wer at Sabbona SP and ate at the in park restaurant Sunday noon. The food was pretty good and got to catch the 1st half of the football game.
  11. campfreak

    campfreak Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    We usually really like to cook while camping, too, but there are times when we just don't want to deal with it.
    San Elijo state beach has a place called the Bultaco Grill right in the middle of the campground. They have a pretty amazing menu, Carne Asada, Shrimp, Duck tacos, even! It's a little hit and miss, though. There have been times that I wondered why I even brought food with me, and other times where it wasn't as good.
    A couple weeks ago, we were camping at South Carlsbad state beach, and had a pizza delivered to the campsite. That was a first for us.
  12. jeanmariemc

    jeanmariemc New Member

    Jun 22, 2012
    Theoretically, I like to cook while camping but in reality...we always wait too long to start and it become a hassle because I get hangry.

    This year our longest trip was to Frontier Town in Ocean City, MD. They have both a snack bar/sandwich shop in the camp store and a full-on bar/restaurant. We scoffed at this like it was overkill. Except...we didn't actually cook a meal except for the group meal we hosted with other family there. We spent a small fortune but ate like kings and got in more biking/fishing/(drinking). This isn't our usually camping behavior but it was there when we were hungry with no cleanup required so we took advantage.

    I think when my 5 y/o son is a bit older I will enjoy camp cooking more but for now I have to admit that having somewhere to get a cooked meal is quite nice.
  13. smye852

    smye852 Our Greyt Escape

    Sep 3, 2014
    We love Frontier Town!

    We too usually grab at least one meal at the campground. Whether it be a small snack for lunch from the cafe or a full dinner.

    My DH does all of the cooking - I am ok with
  14. djturnz

    djturnz Member

    Jun 13, 2014
    #jmkay1 Which Gettysburg campground are you talking about? We've stayed at Drummer Boy, Granite Hill, and close by Gettysburg, mountain Creek and Gettysburg Farm Campground
  15. HiFiDave

    HiFiDave Singin round the campfire

    Feb 1, 2012
    We eat where we can. When it comes to cooking, I burn water. Well, I can cook up a good bacon and egg breakfast but that's about it. My wife can cook real good but she has to cook at home all the time and gets a bit burned out on it all when we are out to relax camping. So, if we can find a place to serve us up when we are camping great! Having said that, most of our camping is dispersed away from the crush of humanity so we are usually heating it up out there. Last trip though, we had this nice lil place right by out camp site and could walk to it. YUM!

  16. LadyWolf

    LadyWolf Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    Garner Grill at Garner State Park (TX) was quite good. I haven't seen any restaurants or cafes in the other places we've stayed at so far (mostly state parks in Texas and one Army Corps of Engineer park). We would definitely try them if the park/campground has a cafe/restaurant.
  17. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

    Aug 22, 2013
    San Diego via MN
    I've had all options, but didn't actually have pizza delivered even i the ranger mentioned it was available!!

    Since I started boondocking I have no desire to go to a CG with other people near by, unless it is for a rally. But I have stayed at parks with a store and or restaurant.

    One of the stores outside a CP is insanely expensive, but the next closest place is 20 miles either way. A dollar store tube of sunscreen was $8!!! Same size/brand/color of the tube, insane!!!

    I am pretty frugal when it comes to my $$, if I spend it I wont have it... I would rather spend $4-6 per meal for my son and I than to spend $15-20 at a sit down place.

    But it is nice to have a place close to grab a tall boy and not drive 20-30+ miles for one...
  18. Scottbaldwin01

    Scottbaldwin01 New Member

    Jan 11, 2016
    I go camping to drink. [emoji6]
  19. generok

    generok Well-Known Member

    Feb 7, 2013
    Anchorage, AK
    Glacier View CG in Alaska had a nice cafe which served espresso and had a nice pizza place. That's the only CG I can think of with a cafe right on the property... well, Seward Military Resort has a snack bar where you can get a burger and fries. Now Seward Military Resort also has a bar right on the CG. That's something I DO take advantage of! Once the fish are in the freezer, I will have someone make me a Gin and Tonic and I will watch the sun set, at 11pm.

    We'll often opt to eat out the night we roll in to camp as a reward for popping up and take one thing off our plate. Either that, or stop at Subway on the ride out and eat on the road. It depends on how late we roll out. First night cooking when you've driven, set up camp (may be wet) just started being too much hassle. So we began looking for a place to go eat the first night out... if there is anything.
  20. GA Judy

    GA Judy Active Member

    Oct 15, 2010
    There is a nice little restaurant on the grounds of Thompson Bend on Lake Ouachita near Hot Springs, AR. Great fried chicken on Sundays that sells out fast!

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