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Not-So-Roughing It: Camping with Restaurant Luxury


Credit: Hagerstown Antietam Battlefield KOA

Serving Lobster. Credit: Old Quarry Ocean Adventures

People travel to Old Quarry Ocean Adventures in Stonington, Me. because it’s a kayaker’s paradise, a scenic campground and kayaking outfitter with access to more than 60 forested islands, many of which are popular destinations for adventuresome campers who have always dreamed of spending the night on a deserted island.

But park owner Bill Baker offers more than a great place for camping and kayaking. He also serves of fresh Maine lobster.

“I started a small restaurant last season,” Baker said of his park, which is about 1.5 hours south of Bangor and six hours north of Boston. “I cook them every night. Sometimes all day long. We can do a full lobster dinner.”

But while Baker’s Old Quarry restaurant is take out, his guests can enjoy lobster on a deck overlooking the water or they can enjoy it at their campsite. Baker’s guests also enjoy an intimate camping and dining experience. His campground has just 10 tent sites, two RV sites and a three-room bunkhouse.

Old Quarry Ocean Adventures is one of a small but growing number of campgrounds across the country that have on-site restaurants. 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:

  • The Evergreens Campground & Restaurant 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 Williamsport, 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.

  • Kamp Klamath in Klamath, Calif.: This campground offers all you can eat salmon or chicken barbecues on Saturday nights during the summer months. Meals come with rice pilaf, stir fry vegetables and fresh salad, picked fresh from the campground’s garden.

  • 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 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.

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