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6 Great Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Outdoors

Thanksgiving is likely going to look a bit different this year than it will any other year. With COVID-19 cases higher than ever, experts recommend keeping gatherings minimal and limiting time spent indoors with other people outside of our inner circle.

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to spend time together safely in the outdoors that we recommend below. So bundle up in your warmest gear and start planning how your family and friends will create new traditions in this not so traditional year.

Thanksgiving Dinner Camp-Style

Campsgiving anyone? The CDC has recommended celebrating Thanksgiving outdoors this year to curb the spread of Coronavirus. If the weather looks all right, plan a camping trip with your friends or family and celebrate with an outdoor feast. 

Here are a few tips for cooking a holiday meal in the wilderness:

  • Stick to sides, which are much easier to prepare with a limited camp kitchen
  • Meal prep at as much as possible at home with all of your tools and cleaning materials
  • To limit the spread of the virus, ask all guests to prepare and bring their own meals, or designate one person as the server.
  • Stick within your abilities, cooking outdoors is quite a bit different than it is cooking inside your kitchen
  • Double check that you have all of the tools and utensils you need
  • Night falls quickly late November, so plan for an early meal

Check out Fresh off the Grid for recipe ideas for all diets and outdoor cooking skills.

Lems shoe recommendation: Chukka - this comfortable shoe will keep your feet happy after standing over a camp stove or fire for a few hours.

Hit the Trails for a Family Hike 

Create space for the large meal by going for a morning or early afternoon hike on a nearby trail. The trails are a great way to spend time together while social distancing in a safe space. Keep the group minimal and make it fun by selecting a hike that no one has done before.

Bring a thermos and pack a hot beverage to share with your family or friends while overlooking a beautiful view. 

Need a few ideas for warm beverages? We’ve got you covered.


  • Egg nog
  • Spiced apple cider
  • Hot chocolate
  • Golden milk
  • Masala chai
  • Coffee


  • Mulled wine
  • Hot toddy
  • Hot buttered rum
  • Irish coffee

Lems shoe recommendation: Trailhead V2 - tackle any terrain in these lightweight, yet rugged shoes.

Plan a Family-Friendly Turkey Trot

If your family or friends enjoy a little bit of friendly competition, organize a Turkey Trot. Designate one person to map out a 5k or 10k course on a trail or road and send it out to all participants prior to Thanksgiving. You can provide a printed map and tie strings at turns to help keep everyone on track.

Select three prizes for the top three winners, making sure to have different categories for kids and adults.

Lems shoe recommendation: Primal 2 - this ultra-lightweight minimalist shoe will help you reach the finish line before your speedy uncle Bob!

Organize or Join a Trash Clean Up

Give thanks back to the planet by organizing a family trash clean up or sign up to join an organization that hosts them (which you can often do on your own to avoid groups). You’ll feel great about volunteering and beautifying your favorite outdoors spots.

All you need for a trash clean up are trash bags, gloves, and a good attitude. 

Lems shoe recommendation: Boulder Boot - available in waterproof, leather, and vegan versions, the Boulder Boot will keep your feet warm and comfortable while helping the Earth.

Go for a Family Bike Ride

Gather your friends and family together for a bike ride through new neighborhoods or through nearby towns that you’ve never visited before (just remember to keep pedaling through town to avoid risk of spreading COVID!)

Avoid popular bike paths to minimize contact with others and instead look for a lesser-known trail that you might not have otherwise discovered without the pandemic. Look for routes on local tourism board sites, on apps like MapMyRide, or ask your local bike shop.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve dusted off your wheels, make sure to do a thorough tune up before hitting the road. And don’t forget a spare tire!

Lems shoe recommendation: Mesa - this go anywhere shoe slides on like a sock, yet still performs like a shoe with true laces.

Gather around the Bonfire

End the day by gathering around a backyard fire pit or at a nearby beach if it is allowed. You can sip on warm beverages and toast marshmallows while keeping warm by the flames. Ask everyone to bring a camp chair and play boardless and cardless games, like the ones listed here.

Lems shoe recommendation: Any of our shoes are great for lounging around a toasty fire with friends and family!

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