Getting away with your family for the weekend on a camping trip is priceless. You get to spend quality time together without the interference of daily life at home. It’s your break away from work and school. And there’s lots you can do to get the most out of your camping trip!
Here’s our list of 52 things to do when camping with family. Fun in the sun or when it’s raining…there’s always something fun and exciting to do.
Sporting Games and Outdoor Adventures
Pack a variety of balls and other sporting equipment in with your camping gear. All that outdoor space is a great opportunity for everyone to be active.
Walking and hiking is probably at the top of everyone’s list of camping fun. And you don’t need any equipment to do it. Pack along a picnic lunch and start walking, enjoying nature and the views around you.
Bring the family bikes on the trip. Even if you’re just biking around the campground, it’s a great way to explore the area. If you’re more adventurous, bike along the trails. Don’t forget the helmets!
3. Soccer, kickball, and football
Kids of all ages can kick or toss around a ball. Find some nearby green space and start a game with fellow campers.
Another easy to play sporting game. If you have younger kids, buy plastic bats and balls.
The classic fun of tossing around the frisbee never grows old. Bring along more than one and get a round of frisbee going.
6. Lawn bowling
Easy to buy and fun to play for all ages. Set up a game of lawn bowling. Or make your own with water-filled plastic bottles.
7. Ring toss
You’ll find a game of ring toss available in many toy or sporting stores. Or buy online.
8. Play in the rain
Even the best planned camping trips run into rain. Never leave home without your rain gear! When it starts to rain…no need to pack up and head home.
Put on the rain gear and get out and play in the rain until it stops. Listen to the rain as it falls through the leaves…and kids love stomping in puddles.
9. Make new friends
Introduce yourself to other campers and make new friends. It can be fun to sit around the campfire as a larger group and talk about where you’re from.
Night Time Fun
When the sun goes down, the fun doesn’t have to end. There’s lots to do under the stars.
10. Tell campfire stories
There’s something magical about sitting around a glowing campfire and telling stories. Or just talking!
11. Take a night walk
Grab the flashlights and take a walk in the dark. Things look and sound different at night…stop, turn off the flashlights, and listen for little night creatures moving around in the dark.
12. Night time hide and seek
Grab the flashlights and play hide and seek in the dark.
13. Swim by moonlight
Swimming under the stars or by moonlight is peaceful and calm…sounds seem to echo more off the water…you’ll be able to hear fish jump.
14. Light up the night
Once the sun goes down hang fairy, Christmas, or colorful LED lights around your campsite. Or hang glow sticks. It’s a nice way to light up the night.
15. Dance party
Once you have the fairy lights glowing, have a dance party. Turn on some music and dance, being mindful of your neighboring campers!
16. Colored fire
Pick up some fire crystals or sticks at the sporting store or online. Just toss a stick into the fire and watch as the flames change color – purple, green, and blue.
17. Play music
Bring along the musical instruments and play – guitars, harmonicas – even a flute if someone plays!
18. Tell ghost stories
Everyone loves a good ghost story and a little fright. Not recommended for the little ones. Unless you’re prepared to stay up all night.
19. S’mores and snacks
At the end of a great day outside, it’s time for campfire snacks. S’mores are a camping staple. Or try something different. Pop some popcorn, roast marshmallows, or try a new camping recipe.
If you’re camping near water, there are some great activities for water play. The beach, a lake, a river or stream – put on the bathing suits and be prepared to get wet.
20. Sand castles
Beaches are a great place to enjoy a warm, sunny day – perfect for younger children. Pack up the buckets and shovels and build a city of sand castles.
21. Beach volleyball
Many beaches have a net set up for volley ball. Bring your own ball and start a game with other campers. No net? Play beach volleyball anyway by drawing a line in the sand.
22. Swimming and water toys
Everyone loves splashing in the water and taking a swim. If you have little ones, don’t forget the water toys.
Take advantage of camping near rivers and streams and go fishing. Kids of all ages can join in – and you don’t need to buy too much fishing gear to get you started.
Don’t forget to bring your fishing license and know how many fish you’re allowed to catch!
24. Water balloons
Remember those water balloon fights you had as a child? Share the fun with your family when you’re camping. Fill balloons with water and see who stays dry!
Even if your campsite is nowhere near water, you can still enjoy this activity.
25. Water squirt guns
Another water activity no matter where your campsite is. This is great fun for younger kids on a hot day.
26. Wading pool
For the little ones…pack along an inflatable pool and fill with water. Let your kids play with water toys while you relax in the sun and supervise.
Explore the World Around You
One of the best things about camping is being out in nature. There are so many places to explore and things to learn about.
27. Bird watching
Take the time to watch the birds, you’ll be surprised how many different types you’ll see. Buy a bird watching book so you know what species are in the area where you’re camping.
28. Critter watching
It’s also fun to watch for wildlife – just be cautious and safe, and don’t approach any wild animals. Chipmunks and squirrels are always fun to watch as they scurry around your campsite.
29. Nature hunt
This is a fun thing to do with younger kids. As you walk or hike, have them gather items they find – pine cones, rocks, leaves, and twigs. Leave the flowers unpicked!
30. Scavenger hunt
You’ll want to prepare this at home before your camping trip. Make cards for everyone in the family with a list of things to find and see. Birds, animals, round rocks, or a ladybug.
Once you find an item, mark it off the list. Put a time limit on the hunt and see who can find the most items on the list in that time.
Pull out the games and play around the campfire or picnic table, or in the tent.
31. A simple pack of cards
All you need is a pack or two of cards to play numerous games. And cards don’t take up any room in your camping gear.
Play games that are age appropriate. Go Fish and Old Maid for younger kids. Gin Rummy, Hearts, and Cribbage with the older ones.
32. Card games
There are many themed card games you can buy…and they still won’t take up a lot of room. Some favorites that everyone knows how to play include Rook, Uno and Phase 10.
33. Board games
Board games are fun to play on the picnic table or in the tent – and there are games available for all ages. Candyland and Trouble are good choices for the younger crowd. For older kids anything goes.
Be ambitious and start a game of Monopoly! Keep the small pieces in a zippered plastic bag so they don’t get lost.
Bingo is another easy to game to play…and you can take it to the woods. Make or buy bingo cards that are camping themed. As you spot a bird or find a pine cone, cross it off your bingo card.
This may be an old classic, but still entertains. You can play this game with pencil and paper or in the dirt or sand.
Everyone loves a game of charades…and you can play anywhere. Have a theme to the game, such as film and television.
37. Silly games
Like charades, there are other fun and silly games to play as a family – Red Rover, Stoplight, Tag, and 20 Questions.
38. Impromptu contests
Announce an impromptu challenge. Not only will it be fun for your kids, it gets them involved with camping chores. See who can gather the most firewood. Who can get dressed and ready for the day the fastest?
Whether it rains or not, there are times you’ll spend in the tent. And there’s lots to do as a family or each on your own.
39. Story time
Telling stories isn’t just for when you’re sitting around the campfire. Tell stories at night before it’s time to sleep. Older kids will enjoy a good ghost story. For younger kids, a silly story is sure to amuse.
40. Talk about the day
With everyone in the tent, it’s a great time to talk about what you did and saw that day…sharing experiences about your day in the outdoors.
Bring the games into the tent…along with the popcorn!
42. Shadow puppets
By the light of a lamp or flashlights, make shadow puppets on the wall of the tent. Not sure how to make interesting animals and shapes? Buy a book that shows you how to make intricate animals with your hands so you can entertain your family with your skill.
43. Electronic time
It can be difficult to separate older kids from their phones and electronic devices. Compromise and give them some time in the tent to play a game or watch a movie.
Rain keeping you inside the tent? This is a good time to pull out the craft box. Kids of all ages can draw, color, and make crazy art with odds and ends in a craft box.
Many campgrounds have amenities for recreation. Although this isn’t rustic camping, it’s a great way to spend the weekend camping with your family.
Swings, slides, and more…these are ideal for younger kids. It’s a safe place to play and helps them burn off some energy.
46. Swimming pool
Many campgrounds have an outdoor heated pool. These can be a life saver on cooler days when the kids are starting to get bored.
47. Water slides
Slipping down the slides is a fun way to spend the afternoon. Some campgrounds are built around water slides and are the main focus of the site.
48. Mini golf
Some campgrounds have a small game of mini golf. Challenge your family to a game…and even the youngest in your family can play.
Don’t own your own canoe, kayak, or boat? Look for campgrounds that rent…it’s a great way to enjoy being out on the water without owning your own watercraft.
Relax and Enjoy
Going camping doesn’t mean you need to be busy all the time. Take the time to relax and enjoy the world around you. After all, this is your time away from the hectic pace of life at home.
Bring along a hammock or two and tie it up between two trees. Then lie back and swing in the breeze. This can be a nice time to curl up in the hammock and talk with your child.
51. Reading time
Camping is a great time to get caught up on your reading. And a good way to encourage your kids to leave their phone and electronic games at home. If you have younger kids bring along a few books to read to them.
52. Search for the stars
Away from the bright lights of the city, the stars are bright and shining. You’ll be able to see stars that you might not see at home. Bring along a book on astronomy and see if you can find the Big Dipper and the North Star.
Make your next camping trip even more fun than ever with our list of 52 things to do when camping with family. With all of these fun things to do it’s going to be impossible for anyone to be bored!
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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