You’ve made it! You’re in the great outdoors. The tent is pitched, gear organized, the fire is made and suddenly you hear the dreaded “I’m bored”.
For some people, you don’t need a list of things to do while camping, your normal camping activities leave you perfectly content. Everything from planning your meals and packing up your gear before you leave, to getting all set up at your campsite and just sitting around the fire. Maybe you can even some hiking and sightseeing!
But have you ever found yourself bored at your campsite, unable to think of anything to do? After roasting your third s’more, you may be looking for something new to try.
We’ve put together a huge list of fun camping games, activities and adventures to be had no matter where you are camping or who you are camping with.
Jump Straight To The Activities:
- Camping Activities for Kids
- Camping Activities to Keep You Active
- Camping Activities for Nighttime
- Camping Activities on the Water
- Camping Activities in Winter
- Camping Games for Kids and Adults
- Camping Activities for Inside Your Tent
- Camping Activities for the Whole Family
Find out what your campground offers
Many private campgrounds offer everything from daily events and activities to a list of local places to have some fun. Give the campground a call ahead of time, check their website, or stop by the office to see what they have to offer.
Some campgrounds will have maps of local hiking areas, rent boats or kayaks for a day on their lake, or may even have seasonal events like firework shows and hayrides.
Check out the area
If you are camping at a public campground or dispersed camping area it may be up to you to find the local fun. Do an online search of parks and recreation wherever you plan to stay to find local hiking and fishing areas.
Look for other spots like pick-your-own farms and plan a picnic. Or find a local beach that allows bonfires to change up the nightly campfire routine.
What will you need to bring?
Part of planning ahead for your activities will mean making sure you have all the right gear and clothing. If you are going fishing you will want to make sure you bring your tackle. It’s also a good idea to know if you need a permit.
If you are planning a hike during the day it’s important to know how long or strenuous it is and what weather you may encounter along the way. This will help you pack the right clothing layers and ensure you bring enough food and water.
If you are planning on doing activities with your kids like making nature crafts, some of the materials you will be able to find right at your campsite. But other things may need to be purchased or brought from home.
If you plan to camp at a private campground, don’t always assume their camp store will have the provisions that you need for your planned activities.
Have a Backup
Sometimes you will be blessed with a beautiful weekend or even a whole week for your camping trip. But it is just as likely you will end up with a day when the weather isn’t cooperating with your plans.
For cases like these, it is important to have a backup plan so you aren’t stuck in your tent or car in a rainstorm all day. Or desperately searching for a local waterhole in a heat wave.
While your heart may have been set on fishing, it’ll pay off to have an alternate camping activity when you find the lake has been closed due to an algal bloom. Your friends and family will thank you and your plan B since they won’t be sitting at the campsite twiddling their thumbs.
Know Your Audience
Would your friends rather go hiking or fishing? If you have kids, will they be ok on a long hike?
It is important to consider the people that you will be camping with. If you are camping with a group of typically active adults, they may not be interested in paddling around a pond in a canoe. A more strenuous hike may be more up their alley.
If your group is more laid back you may not want to take them on a biking day-trip around the camping area. They may prefer to play some games around the campfire.
Camping with children can always be an extra challenge when they are looking to you to help them explore and adventure outdoors. But there are plenty of activities designed with kids in mind that will have them laughing and amused for hours.
And if you have children with you it is important to assess their interests, abilities and comfort levels. Some children who are used to camping and hiking may enjoy hiking through the woods on a hunt for wildflowers and acorns. But others who are new to playing outdoors may prefer to play games or read in a hammock.
Some activities may be too difficult or too long for the younger children’s energy levels and attention spans.
It can be tough to find an activity that works for everyone in your group. But finding the right camping activities for your friends and family will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Camping Activities for Kids
Camping with kids brings out the kid in everyone. Your family will learn to appreciate nature and develop their own love for the outdoors. Since your little ones will be leaving their toys, games, and comforts of home behind them it’s important to help them learn some ways to entertain themselves while camping.
Some of the best camping activities for kids are the ones that use their natural surroundings and their imagination. Choose an activity that best fits the age range of the children you have along with you. Older children may love to climb trees or go geocaching, while younger kids may prefer to collect leaves and sticks or do a craft.
Planning ahead is also very important when you have children camping with you. Some activities don’t require any preparation. But some, especially crafts, may require paint brushes, buckets, printouts, or some instructions.
Here is a list of ideas to get your kids exploring on your next camping trip.
- Scavenger Hunt
- Imitate bird calls
- Go on a bear hunt
- Outdoor kitchen play
- Make mud pies
- Climb trees
- Collect nature items (sticks, leaves, nuts, etc.)
- Nature Art and Crafts
- Paint with nature
- Paint rocks
- Leaf Threading
- Make a wind catcher
- Muddy Nature Faces
- Stick rafts
- Decorate walking sticks
- Make slingshots
- Pebble Pets
- DIY Rain Gauge
This is also an excellent opportunity to teach kids of all ages how to help set up and clean up at your campsite. All kids, from toddlers to teens, enjoy having a job to do. Just like adults, it gives them a feeling of accomplishment and pride and a sense that they have contributed.
The smaller ones may want to be your helper by collecting sticks and leaves for the campfire. Older kids may get more enjoyment from having a project of their own, like making sure all rocks and debris have been moved away from the tent site or, depending on skill level, setting the tent up on their own or with supervision.
It is also an opportunity to teach them real-life camping and survival skills like hanging a bear bag, building a lean-to or collecting and filtering water.
Camping Activities to Keep You Active
Some of the most rewarding camping activities are those that keep you active. There are so many opportunities to build muscle, burn calories and up your cardiovascular endurance. You can enjoy sports like kayaking and cycling. Or normal activities that will get your heart rate up like chopping wood for your campfire.
A lot of activities will really depend on where you are. If you camp by the beach, running in the sand, swimming, kayaking or staging a volleyball game will keep you sweating. You can often find nearby activities like ropes courses or rock climbing centers in mountainous areas. It will all depend on your fitness level and the amount of exercise you are interested in. Even a nice walk around a lake in the morning is a great way to keep you active.
Whether you are trying to stick to a fitness routine or just like to keep yourself moving, these camping activities will keep you in shape and on the go.
- Trail running
- Chopping wood
- Climbing trees
- Beach Volleyball
- Ropes Course
- Rock climbing/Bouldering
Camping Activities for Nighttime
Out in the wilderness, or even at the nearest public campground, lights are rarely as accessible as they are at home. But there are still plenty of fun camping activities to keep us entertained even after the sun has set.
Nighttime darkness adds to the fun and excitement of games like Manhunt and Capture the Flag.
You can lay a blanket out for stargazing and try to spot shooting stars, satellites or the space station. Phone apps like Google Sky Map can be very helpful when identifying constellations. Or you could bring a telescope to get a closer look.
If you happen to be camping by the sea or a tidal waterway, go for a nighttime paddle to see the water glow. Bioluminescent marine animals will leave a trail of glowing green or blue around and behind your watercraft when they are touched.
Nighttime can also be a great time to get to know the wildlife in the area where you are camping. Keep an eye out for bats and an ear out for owls when you go on a night walk or sit around a warm campfire.
There are some activities, that while fun and adventurous, do require some extra caution. Hiking in the woods at night can be beautiful and exciting, however, it can become dangerous if you lose your way.
Make sure there are people at your campsite who know where you are going and how long until you plan to return. Also, bring a flashlight, a cell phone or other communication device, and plenty of water. Emergency blankets and bivy sacks may seem like overkill, but if you get lost and the temperatures drop, you’ll be very glad you have one.
- Man Hunt
- Singing/Playing Music
- Skits/Talent show
- Shadow puppets
- Campfire desserts
- Beach bonfire
- Boating/Paddling to Bioluminescence
- Hunt for nocturnal animals
Camping Activities on the Water
Some of the best camping can be found by the water and that is often due to the recreational opportunities you have. Whether you are by the ocean, a lake, reservoir or river, throw on a bathing suit and get to splashing. String a hammock up in a tree and listen to the waves lapping on the shore.
And don’t be dismayed if you don’t have a boat or other water sports gear. Grab a used truck-tire inner tube and go rafting down a lazy river or surf a boogie board into shore. Find some uniquely shaped river rocks, dry them off and paint them. They can be used for decorations at home or in your garden to remember your trip. Swimming is healthy, fun and doesn’t require any special equipment.
If you want to try out some water sports but don’t have the gear, ask your campground office or do an online search for local shops that rent boats, canoes, paddleboards or kayaks. There may even be local companies that will take you on guided tours or help you learn a sport with private or group lessons.
Whether you are looking to add a new water sport to your repertoire, or you are into gear-free recreation, give some of these great camping activities a try on your next trip.
- Rock skipping
- Boogie boarding
- Hunt for seashells and sand dollars
- Find and paint river rocks
- Make a rope swing
- Whitewater rafting
- Watch the sunrise/sunset
Camping Activities in Winter
Brrrr… So you want to go camping in the winter.
Winter camping isn’t for everyone. It takes grit and resilience to withstand those cold temps. But humans have done it for thousands of years. With the right equipment and clothing and some really fun activities to keep you busy, winter camping can be an exciting and enjoyable adventure.
Take advantage of the snow and ice and pick up a new hobby like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. No snow in your area despite the dropping temperatures? No problem. If you are near a lake that has frozen over for winter give ice fishing a try.
Hiking in winter can be especially nice without snow. With all the leaves off the trees and the dry air, you’ll be able to see much further from whatever summit you climb. Look for signs of animals along the way like tracks.
Keep your mind off the cold with these fun camping activities to try all winter long.
- Cross Country Skiing
- Make an Igloo
- Ice Fishing
- Winter Hiking
- Hockey/Ice Skating
- Make a snow slide
- Look for animal tracks in the snow
- Snowball fight
- Dog sledding
- Make snowmen
Camping Games for Kids and Adults
Games are the hallmark of family fun. They can often bridge large age gaps and bring even the most reclusive teens into the group. If you have a large group start a game of Assassins at the beginning of your trip and let the fun play out for days. If you’re looking for a more laid back game that doesn’t take you too far from your chair or the campfire try a yard game like corn hole or horseshoes.
Mystery games like Murder in the Dark and Mafia are a great option when you’re sitting around the campfire at night. No cards or table needed and the darkness and night noises will help make the game more mysterious.
Whether you have a large group or just a few friends, here’s a list of games to keep everyone entertained.
- Man Hunt
- Ladder Toss
- Murder in the Dark
- Bocce Ball
- Corn Hole
- Two Truths and a Lie
Camping Activities for Inside Your Tent
It’s raining again! No campfire, wet chairs, soggy clothes. But the fun doesn’t have to end there. After you pile into your tent to escape a downpour it’s time to break out a whole new set of activities that will keep you busy till the rain calms down.
Cards are always a go-to activity for family fun. Learn a new game like Spite and Malice or try an old favorite like Go Fish. Bored of one game? Move on to the next or try to learn some card tricks. You can use YouTube videos to get instructions.
Crafting is another great option when you are stuck inside. Learn to make friendship bracelets or lanyards. Make some headway along your knitting or cross stitch project.
Coloring, for kids and adults, can be a soothing and consuming activity.
For children, legos can be a great way to keep them occupied in a small space for at least a little while. Bring along a box or two of new Legos (the more complex the better, while still age appropriate) and ask them to help you put it together.
Here are some of our favorite activities for staving off boredom while you wait for the clouds to move on.
- Cards (Rummy, Gin Rummy, Kings Corners, etc.)
- Board games
- Banana Grams
- Read a book
- Crafting (knitting, crocheting, etc.)
Camping Activities for the Whole Family
Sometimes it is hard to find time for families to spend time together with parents working and kids in school. Camping is the perfect excursion to encourage loads of family time.
One simple activity that can get your family working and playing together is learning to identify plants and animals. Give the kids some plant and animal identification books and go for a walk or hike. See how many things they can identify and mark things that they want to learn more about later. It’s a great way to get kids more familiar with nature and teach them about stewardship.
Looking to put together a more elaborate game during your trip? Try inventing a “camping Olympics” challenge. Family members compete in different events. You can make medals and awards out of twine and materials you find around you campsite like acorn caps, leaves, and stones.
Try making a film of your whole trip, documenting everything that happens from the time you leave to the time you arrive back home. When you get back, use a video editing app to create a title, fade-ins and theme music. Have a teen who isn’t that interested in participating? Ask them to do the filming and editing.
- Camping Olympics
- Learn/Practice some survival skills
- Build a lean-to
- Identification/Animal prints
- Learn knot tying
- Build a Campfire
- Learn/Play music (guitar, harmonica)
- Make a video
Whether you are looking for some recreational options for a large group of friends or some campsite games for your kids, this list has plenty to keep you entertained. No matter where you camp or what season it is, you can always find plenty of camping activities to keep you busy, active and having fun.
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