Fun Activities to Do When Camping

Updated on September 6, 2016

Make Camping Even More Fun

Camping can be lots of fun. Sleeping outdoors and getting away from the hassle of the daily grind can be refreshing, and there is plenty of time for leisure and games. It can be a great time to try new activities or get back into hobbies you used to love.

Here are some fun things to do while camping, including water activities, sports, and games to play. You will also find things to do on rainy days and activities to do in the tent. There are ideas for nighttime and suggestions for the most fun places to camp.

You'll never have a dull camping trip again!

Water Activities

There are tons of exciting things you can do in the water if your campsite is near a lake, river, pool, or another body of water. Some of these activities are exhilarating, while others are for lazy, relaxing days. Slip on your bathing suit and have some fun in the water.

Learn How to Skip a Rock

Fun Things to Do While You're Camping

  • Skip stones
  • Build a sand castle
  • Fish
  • Swim
  • Float or lounge
  • Boat, canoe, or kayak
  • Go water skiing
  • Go tubing
  • Ride a wave runner
  • Play water volleyball or basketball
  • Dive
  • Snorkel
  • Go zorbing (check out the video below!)

Even if you aren't camping near water, you can still play with water. Try these fun suggestions that are great for cooling off on hot days:

  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Attack each other with squirt guns
  • If you are at a site that has utilities, bring an inflatable wading pool and fill it with water
  • Line a truck bed with a tarp and fill it with water for a makeshift pool

Aqua Zorbing

Sports and Physical Activities

Get up and get moving. There are tons of sports and physical activities that can be done while camping.

There are easy sports that don't require a lot of physical movement and other sports that are very active. Pick ones that suit your style and have fun playing.

  • Disc golf (frisbee golf)
  • Horseshoes
  • Ringtoss
  • Blongo (hillbilly golf)
  • Corn Hole
  • Lawn bowling
  • Soccer
  • Football
  • Kickball
  • Baseball
  • Bikes
  • Hiking
  • Spelunking (caving): Make sure you have an experienced guide with you
  • Rock climbing
  • Tree climbing

Blongo: Two balls attached by a cord are tossed at the goal. Scoring is based on where the balls land.
Blongo: Two balls attached by a cord are tossed at the goal. Scoring is based on where the balls land.

If you have a lot of people with you, these active games are fun to play:

  • Capture the Flag
  • Hide-and-seek
  • Sardines
  • Tag (there are dozens of variations)
  • Red Rover

Play Games

What better time is there to play games than while camping? There aren't as many distractions like televisions and computers. Games are entertaining and promote cooperation and family bonding.

  • Card games are perfect for camping. Cards are easy to pack and can be slipped into backpacks for easy access. Bring a deck of normal cards—there are limitless games to play with it. Other card games suitable for camping are Uno, Phase 10, Fluxx, Rook, Old Maid, Five Crowns, Quiddler, and Apples to Apples. Pack the cards in plastic freezer bags so you don't lose any or get them wet.
  • Board games can also be fun to play while camping, especially if you have a picnic table or other place to play. Keep in mind that pieces are easily lost in the outdoors.
  • Games like charades and I Spy are ideal because you don't have to bring anything with you to play them.
  • Bring paper and a pencil. Then you can play Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Dots.

Test Your Survival Skills

Play Man vs. Wild or Survivor by learning how to tie special knots, make a fire, or set a trap. Set up an obstacle course to test your endurance.

Exploring Nature

Part of the joy of camping is being close to nature. Explore the great outdoors with these activities. Be sure to respect the area where you are: Don't disturb or damage the wildlife!

  • Birdwatching
  • Animal watching
  • Collecting fireflies in a jar
  • Bug collecting
  • Nature gathering (pine cones, rocks, flowers, etc.)
  • Leaf collecting
  • Searching for wild berries, nuts, and other edible plants
  • Having a scavenger hunt
  • Going on a photo safari, taking pictures of the flora and fauna you find
  • Looking for evidence of Big Foot (or other creatures)
  • Picking berries
  • Whittling
  • Collecting firewood or kindling
  • Finding the perfect walking stick
  • Geocaching: Check out the video to find out more

Play Botanist

Familiarize yourself with both the edible and the poisonous plants in the area.

An Explanation of Geocaching

Relaxation

Most people go camping to get away from the stress and busyness of everyday life, so take it easy. Relax and let the rest of the world fade away with these ideas for chilling out.

  • Swing in a hammock
  • Watch the trees blowing in the breeze
  • Listen to nature
  • Take lots of naps
  • Daydream and let your mind wander
  • Float on the water
  • Stargaze

Activities to Play in the Tent

There are times when you will need stuff to do in the tent. You might get stuck inside on rainy days, and you will be in the tent at night, too. If everyone else is sleeping, you may need a quiet activity to do.

These are things that can be done easily in a tent:

  • Read books or magazines
  • Read aloud to each other
  • Card games
  • Board games
  • Crafting (knitting, sewing, drawing)
  • Watch movies on portable devices
  • Play on other electronic devices (iPods, iPads, Gameboys, etc.)
  • Make up stories to tell each other
  • Snuggle

The Best Rainy Day Activities

1. Reading

2. Card games

3. Playing in the rain!

Source

Nighttime Activities

There's plenty to do in the nighttime while camping as well. The darkness can be more thrilling out in the woods without all the lights of the city.

Play spooky games to get your heart pounding or do things to light up the night.

  • Make shadow puppets
  • Go for a nighttime walk
  • Play flashlight tag
  • Play hide and seek in the dark
  • Go for a midnight swim
  • Study the stars
  • Shoot off fireworks or release sky lanterns (depending on fire danger)
  • Play glow-in-the-dark bowling: Put glow sticks in 2-liter bottles filled with water and use a ball to knock them down

Around the Campfire

Hanging out around the campfire is one of the most memorable camping experiences. These are some activities to do by the firelight:

  • Tell ghost stories
  • Play Truth or Dare
  • Sing campfire songs
  • Play a guitar, harmonica, or another instrument
  • Dance around the fire
  • Try out new varieties of s'mores
  • Reenact your favorite story, scene-by-scene
  • Make colored fire: Packages of colored fire crystals or pine cones are sold at most camping supply stores

Other Camping Ideas

  • Bring pets along while you are camping. They can join in on the fun.
  • Invite friends and family to go with you for company. Let the children bring friends to help keep them occupied.
  • Meet other campers. Talk and socialize. You meet very interesting people while camping. You may even make new friends you'll continue to keep in touch with.
  • Bring lights and decorations to make your campsite look cheery.
  • Try new camping recipes and food.

Make Campfire Crescent Dogs

Make Campfire Baked Banana Boats

Camping Poll

What kind of camper are you?

See results

Idea: Make a Video Like This!

Built-in Fun

The easiest way to make sure you and the kids don't get bored while camping is to camp somewhere with built-in entertainment.

Many campgrounds offer amenities that will keep you occupied. Look for these activities when deciding where you will stay. Pick a place that offers something your family enjoys doing.

This is a list of common amenities campgrounds often have. Some of these will vary on a site-by-site basis:

  • Pools
  • Some places even have "lazy rivers" and water slides
  • Playground equipment
  • Game rooms (pool tables, air hockey, arcade games)
  • Horseback riding
  • Miniature golf
  • Daily activities (group games, movie nights, crafts, lessons)
  • Themed weekends (holiday and seasonal activities)
  • Water sports (canoes, kayaks, wave runners)
  • Certain locations might have zorbing and zip lines

If you camp at a tourist spot or near an attraction (like an amusement park or a natural wonder), you'll be sure to have plenty to do. Below, you will find some of the best places to camp near attractions in the U.S.

So pack your gear and get busy having fun camping!

10 Most Fun Places to Camp in the US

show route and directions
A markerDisney's Fort Wilderness Resort -
4510 N Fort Wilderness Trail, Orlando, FL 32836, USA
get directions

Go camping right by Disney World. You get to experience the great outdoors in the campground and the fun of Disney theme parks all in the same spot.

B markerMyrtle Beach, SC -
Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
get directions

Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations along the Atlantic coast. Enjoy camping near the beach and the fun Myrtle Beach offers.

C markerGatlinburg, TN -
Gatlinburg, TN, USA
get directions

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are great places to camp. The cities are one of the most popular tourist attractions and they are near a national park.

D markerNew York, NY -
New York, NY, USA
get directions

Camp near New York. There will be no shortage of fun things to do in the city. Experience the contrast of the beautiful New York wilderness.

E markerBranson, MO -
Branson, MO, USA
get directions

Branson is one of the most exciting spots to visit in the Midwest. Experience the scenic Ozark mountains and the fun that Branson has to offer.

F markerSchlitterbahn Waterpark New Braunfels, Texas -
New Braunfels, TX, USA
get directions

Camp near Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, Texas. The waterpark has been voted as one of the best in the US. Great activity for summer.

G markerYogi Bear's Jellystone Park -
5495 U.S. 36, Roosevelt National Forest, Estes Park, CO 80517, USA
get directions

Located in Roosevelt National Forest, this campground is great for kids. There are tons of activities on site and themed weekends.

H markerGrand Canyon -
Jacob Lake, AZ, USA
get directions

Visit the Grand Canyon and camp out in the Grand Canyon National Park. Experience one of the most famous natural landmarks.

I markerLas Vegas, NV -
Las Vegas, NV, USA
get directions

Camp out in Las Vegas or in the desert near the city. There is plenty to do for the whole family. Enjoy camping and the busy city of Las Vegas.

J markerLake Tahoe, CA -
Lake Tahoe, United States
get directions

Lake Tahoe is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US. You can enjoy water sports in the summer and snow sports in the winter.

25 Nifty Camping Hacks

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        James 5 days ago

        Best advice and list I have found. So excited to go camping this week with my 2 kids!!!!

      • profile image

        Daisy 13 days ago

        This is great!

        It has helped lots and it was very fun trying them all out the most effective one would definaitly be crafting as it is time consuming and makes you fell lots of self accomplishment. I highly recommend it.

      • profile image

        Sophie desmearoux 3 weeks ago

        I like your site

      • profile image

        karinaomg 2 months ago

        this was really helpful thank you now i cannot wait to go camping this wqas some really helpful advice onthing you took this page very well : )

      • profile image

        Camping 3 months ago

        Great ideas!I was also thinking maybe everyone could help gather sticks to make a fire without a lighter or matches.I think it sounds fun and could be educational.But if you do this be careful.Make sure you know the rules where you are camping.

      • profile image

        Not telling 6 months ago

        You wher a lot of help thank you sooooo much I’m going Hollister Hills ca

      • profile image

        CCCCCC 7 months ago

        Oml that god you made this really helps jk didnt really help. No info

      • profile image

        #catdog123 8 months ago

        camping is so hip now i love it so much now my kids don't bother me. thanks :)

      • profile image

        Ruby Fan 9 months ago

        This has made me so much more positive! Thanks

      • profile image

        Reallocate 13 months ago

        Hi do you have any idea for camping outdoor activities for kids

      • profile image

        Grayce 14 months ago

        thank you I'm so excited to go camping now

      • profile image

        Outdoor Kings 22 months ago

        Very helpful information. Thanks

      • profile image

        Tent Trailer Camper 23 months ago

        Since childhood I have been camping. I'm now 75, and using a tent on a trailer to stay safely and dryly above the ground, but otherwise the same outdoor cooking and activities from decades ago. Our favorite places are along the Oregon and Washington coasts and inland among the foothills of the Cascade Range, both on the wet and dry sides. In 2006 we took my mother at age 101 around the U.S. camping along the way. It is hard to get kids off their electronic games and texting even out there since cell towers are everywhere. Riding along from one campsite to another is a wonderful opportunity for Mom and Dad to teach the kids songs that they can sing together around the campfire. Do you know a limerick song? an alphabet song? some funny songs you wouldn't think of singing at home? We used to find letters on license plates in alphabetical order, and we had a missing word game and an "I Spy" game to pass our driving time, which sometimes became the starting point for some good family discussions.

      • D H Marks profile image

        D H Marks 2 years ago from China

        This is a very thorough list. Well done for that. I myself prefer to do things I wouldn't probably do in my neighborhood park, which leaves out most sports. Honestly, the mention of sports brings back memories of a camping trip when I was a kid when we played baseball. It was stuffy and hot and just uncomfortable overall, so not a pleasant experience. I've been wanting to go geocaching for years. I also want to try zip-lining. I love the water as long as it's not stagnant (or filled with alligators and/or poisonous snakes--looking at you, Florida). My favorite, though, is hiking. I was never good at sports (aside from swimming) so I found my niche when I was out-hike my family on hiking trips. No skill was required; just the perseverance to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Another favorite memory is spending the day in the tent with the ocean breeze wafting through, reading one of my favorite books to my sister.

      • GlennAnderson856 profile image

        Glenn Anderson 2 years ago from Airlie Beach

        Great Hub. So many ideas to make camping better :) Thanks

      • tirelesstraveler profile image

        Judy Specht 2 years ago from California

        You have given me so many new ideas. Would love to see what the life guards would do if we brought an inflatable pool to the lake for the youngest grand baby. -Love the recipes too. For some reason cooking while camping is fun, while cooking at home is dull. Nicely done hub

      • greenmind profile image

        GreenMind 2 years ago from USA

        I think that this is a great hub. You really write well and I enjoyed seeing what you had to say about camping -- great tips! Well done and I think HubPages could use more writers like you. Thanks!

      • Ahtasham Bajwa profile image

        Ahtasham Bajwa 2 years ago from Lahore, Pakistan

        Thanks a lot about all these fantastic ideas. i was looking forward to go on camping with my cousins. So this article helps me a lot. I will definitely do most of this stuff

      • kamyanets profile image

        kamyanets 2 years ago from Ukraine

        Thanks for the interesting ideas!

      • Jeolson profile image

        Jeolson 2 years ago from Champaign, Illinois

        Enjoyed reading your hub! These are great family activities to do around the campfire or anywhere else too. Thanks for sharing this. :)

      • letstalkabouteduc profile image

        McKenna Meyers 2 years ago from Bend, OR

        This made me want to go camping again! The older I get the more I like camping because it takes our family away from all the distractions (i.e. technology) and lets us just be together. We like to play Bocce ball, make s'mores (of course), and let our dog play in the water. I can sum up the secret to an enjoyable camping experience in 4 words: a warm sleeping bag! Great ideas. Voted up.

      • Aladdins Cave profile image

        Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

        I've been camping and outdoors most of my life.

        LOVE IT

        Its not done enough these days, kids prefer to sit around on

        computers. What shame

        Cheers from DOWNUNDER

      • Pamela Bush profile image

        howtopam 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

        I love camping so much that I camp year round in my RV. I stay in one place though, but I still do many outdoors camping things that recreational campers do. I like to cook during the summer on an open fire rather than with my barbecue or gas range inside the trailer.

      • bensen32 profile image

        Thomas Bensen 3 years ago from Round Lake Park

        My son and I have a little tradition to go camping together every year we have been doing this for the last 8 years and even now at 19 he still wants to go. We love being out there.

      • brendonthomas profile image

        Brendon Thomas 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

        We are planning a trip the end of the year and this is a good list to share with the family.

      • profile image

        WhiteMuse 4 years ago

        This looks like fun. I have to watch the video to find out what geocaching is. I think I may have read about it.

      • cocopreme profile image
        Author

        Candace Bacon 4 years ago from Far, far away

        Cardisa - Thanks! Hide and seek can be fun while camping as long as you make the boundaries clear. You may not want to play it with very young children unless you have enough people to hide in teams.

        mercuryservices - Geocaching is great!

        IslandBites - Thanks!

        Better Yourself - Sitting around the campfire is a great experience. Thank you!

        epbooks - Camping can be lots of fun and you don't necessarily have to do it in a completely primitive way. Zorbing is something I would like to try someday. Thanks!

        Suhail and my dog - Camping can definitely be loads of fun. Hope you can find some camping buddies!

        creativeaqua - Thanks so much!

        jdw7979 - Thanks!

        Violet - I have done lots of these. My favorite is geocaching because it is cool to find treasures. I also like to play card games around the fire. If I am camping near water, then I definitely like to play in it.

        MarleneB - Thank you! The truck bed pool is a great way to cool off when you aren't near places to swim.

      • MarleneB profile image

        Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from USA

        Camping is something my family really enjoys. I like your idea of creating a makeshift pool in a truck bed. Thank you for sharing your wonderful and creative ideas.

      • profile image

        violet 5 years ago

        just wondering have you done all these activities, and what ones are your favorite?

      • jdw7979 profile image

        John David 5 years ago from Middle America

        Great Hub! Thanks for the ideas..

      • creativeaqua profile image

        Yorja Rahmani 5 years ago from India

        Nice ideas you have got. Will surely use some of them in my next camping trip.

      • Suhail and my dog profile image

        Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

        I hike long distance with my dog and put out a tent at night as and when required. I am seriously thinking of camping with my friends' families soon. This is a very good hub to start from to convince people to share my enthusiasm.

        Vote up!

      • epbooks profile image

        Elizabeth Parker 5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

        I've never gone camping...yet...but thoroughly enjoyed this hub and your ideas. Zorbing- now that looks like fun- never heard of it before! If I do camp, I'm definitely printing this out. Thank you!

      • Better Yourself profile image

        Better Yourself 5 years ago from North Carolina

        Enjoyed your hub! Lots of great ideas and family friendly! I love sitting around a campfire with family and friends!

      • IslandBites profile image

        IslandBites 5 years ago from Puerto Rico

        Nice ideas!

      • mercuryservices profile image

        Alex Munkachy 5 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

        Geocaching!

      • Cardisa profile image

        Carolee Samuda 5 years ago from Jamaica

        Very detailed hub! Loved the activities idea. I was actually telling someone that it was a bad idea to play hide and seek while camping but I can see I was wrong...lol

      • cocopreme profile image
        Author

        Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

        leticia - There is a link to game ideas about halfway through the article. Check those out.

        Esmeowl12 - Camping is a great activity for families. It's great for bonding. Thanks!

        Aston and John - Camping is the best!

      • profile image

        John 5 years ago

        Camping is awesome

      • profile image

        Ashton 5 years ago

        Love to camp

      • Esmeowl12 profile image

        Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

        Our family loves to camp. We have evolved from a tent to a pop-up camper to a small travel trailer and have loved them all. Thanks for sharing all the fabulous things to do on a trip. Check out my camping hubs. We definitely have something in common!

      • profile image

        leticia 5 years ago

        hi do you now any game

      • cocopreme profile image
        Author

        Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Far, far away

        Karen - Glad it was useful!

        Kommadant - Hope your camping trip is great! Thanks!

        topquark - Thank you!

      • topquark profile image

        topquark 5 years ago from UK

        Great comprehensive hub. Thanks for the tips!

      • profile image

        Kommadant 5 years ago

        Thank you for the new ideas. I haven't been camping in awhile, but I do have plans to go soon.

      • profile image

        karen 5 years ago

        thxs..helps a lot

      • cocopreme profile image
        Author

        Candace Bacon 6 years ago from Far, far away

        @ MelChi - Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

        @ Sargent a girl - Thank you! Have fun camping.

      • profile image

        Sargent a girl 6 years ago

        Coool

      • MelChi profile image

        Melanie Chisnall 6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

        A really well written and interesting hub, with lots of fun ideas! Thanks for sharing! :)

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