Campgrounds are more and more investing in park model cabins and cottages, which have kitchens that enable people to cook their own meals.
But some campgrounds, RV parks and resorts also provide their guests with onsite restaurants whose food is so good it’s worth the drive just to eat there.
One case in point is Sundermeier RV Park and Conference Center in St. Charles, Mo. The park, which is located near the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Trail, is home to the 92-seat Beef Eaters Restaurant.
“We our famous for our prime rib and our steaks and clam chowder,” said Carolyn Strong, who developed the resort with her husband, Bill.
MotorHome magazine named Beef Eaters Restaurant the number one restaurant in RV parks and campgrounds in 2005. Sundermeier RV Park also has the Banquet Center of the Hills, which caters to wedding receptions, corporate and social events, and has the ability to host visiting bus tours.
Of course, some restaurants have their own campgrounds as well, and those that do sometimes offer some pretty unique dishes. Consider Linger Lodge Restaurant and Campground in Bradenton, Fla.
In addition to serving standard seafood favorites, such as calamari and coconut shrimp, Linger Lodge Restaurant also serves Cajun style crawfish, frog legs, fried green tomatoes, gumbo and fresh Florida alligator, all of which prompted Al Roker to name Linger Lodge “one of the top 5 weirdest restaurants in America.”
Even Forbes.com chimed in, calling Linger Lodge one of “the most unusual restaurants in the world,” according to the restaurant’s website.
Here’s a sampling of other campgrounds across the country that have onsite restaurants as well as restaurants that have their own campgrounds:
— Evergreen Campground in Solon, Me.: This campground has an onsite restaurant that serves a variety of dishes, including burgers, meatloaf, chicken, pork chops as well as vermicelli marinara and vermicelli with meatballs.
— Hagerstown KOA in Hagerstown, Md.: This campground features a 50s style diner with lots of old fashioned favorites, including root beer floats, banana splits, malts and brownie sundaes. During peak season, the menu includes hamburgers, pizza, Southern or spicy chicken wings, salads, steamed shrimp and homemade crab cakes. The breakfast menu includes fluffy pancakes and overstuffed omelets.
— Lake in Wood Campground in Narvon, Pa.: This campground, which is located in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is home to the very unique Gnome Cafe, photos of which can be found on the park’s website. The restaurant serves special breakfast dishes as well as themed dinners, which could vary from a pig roast to a German themed sausage fest with German potato salad to standard prime rib dinners. Other dinner specials have ranged from tacos to all you can eat chicken wings to Hawaiian pork.
— Lakeview Restaurant & Camping Resort in St. Agatha, Me.: This family style restaurant has a complete menu of steak and seafood dishes as well as its own campground.
— Mio Pine Acres in Mio, Mich.: This park features an onsite pizza parlor that draws at least as much business from the city of Mio as it does from campers in the campground.
— Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina in Newport Beach, Calif.: This resort is home of the Back Bay Bistro, which features extensive breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as a Sunday brunch and holiday specials. Breakfast and brunch menus include Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, omelets, pancakes and French Toast, while lunch and dinner menu items range from portabello mushroom sandwiches to Baja fish tacos, salmon burgers and gourmet dishes, such as steak au poive, Hawaiian teriyaki steak and baked sole.
— Schatzi’s 4 Seasons Resort in Gordon-Wascott, Wis.: This park, located in Wisconsin’s North Woods, is home to “The Golden Chipmunk Bar & Grill,” a 60-seat restaurant that is very popular with local residents and visitors alike. Popular dishes include barbecued pork ribs, half-pound hamburgers and Friday night fish fries.
— Sunset Lakes Resort in Hillsdale, Ill.: This park has a grill that offers a full range of “comfort food,” including burgers, hot dogs, oven-baked chicken, tenderloins, jerked pork, prime rib and steaks as well as soft serve ice cream. The grill also handles special menus for large groups, including weddings, rallies and retirement parties.
— Thunder Bay Golf & RV Resort in Millman, Mich.: This park offers a four-hour, world class gourmet dining and wine tasting experience, which is complemented with a horse-drawn carriage ride through a 130-acre elk preserve. The resort also offers the same package in the winter months with a sleigh ride.
— Wisconsin Riverside Resort in Spring Green, Wis.: This park is home to Shifflet’s Bar & Riverside Grill and features a few of the Wisconsin River. The restaurant serves burgers, sandwiches, steaks and pizza in addition to having Friday night fish fry events and Saturday prime rib dinners.