The great outdoors — whether you want to hone your survival skills, get away from it all, or simply spend some inexpensive quality time with the family — camping has something for everyone.
In order to make sure all of the members of your camping party have fun, it’s a good idea to come prepared with some activity plans and a few accessories to ensure the only slow moments in the trip happen on purpose.
Camping Activities Guide
Along with the following list of camping ideas, be sure to bring a good attitude and an open mind. Flexibility is usually the key to making any vacation a fantastic one.
Campgrounds With Built in Fun
One way to ensure everyone has a good time is to choose a campground with entertainment built in. Many locations offer a range of amenities to make your stay enjoyable and increase the likelihood that you will recommend it or visit again.
Albert Herring/ wikimedia
Although the amenities vary by park, here are a few of the most common ones:
- Playground equipment
- Clubs with game rooms or pool tables
- Ping Pong tables
- Horseshoe pits
- Driving range or mini golf
- Pool or hot tub
- Horseback riding or carriage rides
- Guided tours
- Daily or weekend organized campground activities
Furthermore, if you intend to camp near a tourist location, such as a national park or an amusement park, there will plenty to fill your days.
Water Camping Activities
Campgrounds that have a body of water, or are located near one, offer lots of fun options. Although some of these are appropriate in any type of water — such as ocean, lake, river, or pool — others are specific to a certain types.
The important thing is to get wet and have fun.
- Build sand sculptures
- Water volleyball
- Boat or canoe
- Water skiing
- Stone skipping contests
If you are unable to skip rocks, check out the following tutorial video before your next camping trip and impress your friends.
Playing games with your family or friends is a great way to bond while engaging in an enjoyable activity. Here are a few choices:
Some are great for expending some pent up energy outside; others are perfect for quiet time or play when it rains.
- Card games: there are more games than cards in a deck. Make the game “dealer’s choice” and take turns picking what to play.
- Tug of War
- Capture the Flag
- 20 Questions
- Red Rover
- Hide and Seek
- With a piece of paper and a pen, you can play “Pictionary,” “Hangman,” “Tic Tac Toe,” and “Dictionary,” among others
With a bit of organization, one game can last an entire day. It can also fill any times that the dreaded phrase, “I’m bored,” is uttered.
Sports come in a range of complexities and physical requirements.
Here are a few to choose from:
- Badminton or tennis
- Baseball or catch
- Basketball or shooting hoops
- Bike races
- Foot races
When picking a sport, it should be something in which the teams can be fairly evenly matched to ensure that everyone has a good time. That is the most important thing—fun.
Exploratory Camping Activities
Exploring the great outdoors is one of the main reasons that people go camping.
Mt. Hood Territory/flickr
Not only is it fun, it is informative and relaxing, as well as provides pretty good exercise to work off the s’mores you are likely to be eating at night.
- Look for wildlife
- Look for evidence of previous campers
- Bird watching
- Try to identify different berries or plants
- Hunt for interesting rocks, flowers, pinecones, or leaves to collect
- Photographing or sketching nature
- Scavenger hunt
- Collect firewood for the evening’s campfire
If you have never heard of geocaching, check out the following video to familiarize yourself with this popular activity.
It is important to have activities for inside the tent as well. It may rain, or you might want to have scheduled “quiet time” to let people rest up, or wind down before bed.
Here are a few options for inside a tent:
- Write in a journal
- Read individually
- Read aloud as a group
- Board games
- Card games
- Work on crafts
- Make up skits
- Make up stories to share at the campfire
- Break out the electronic devices
Try to vary indoor activities, it is very easy to get “stuck” in normal routines when the electronic devices come out and defeat the whole camping experience.
Relaxing Camping Activities
Often people see camping as a retreat from their normal, stressful life. It allows them to destimulate in a serene and relaxing environment.
Here are a few relaxing activities to explore:
- Nap on a beach
- Nap on floatation device in the water
- Take slow strolls through nature
- Swing in a hammock
- Watch the clouds
- Look for patterns in nature
- Listen to the sounds of nature — the tide, birds, frogs, etc.
These activities are great for helping one decompress and assess their life and priorities.
Nighttime Camping Activities
Some would argue that nighttime activities are the only reason to go camping.
With stars and campfires to light your activities, everything seems just a bit more exciting.
- Star gazing
- Night walk
- Tell ghost stories
- Campfire songs vocally or instrumentally
- Make S’mores
- Flashlight tag or Hide and Seek in the dark
- Midnight swimming
- Campfire skits or plays
- Truth or Dare
The options are nearly limitless and somehow take on a magical quality in the dark.
Thinking Outside the Box, or Other Ideas
Having an over all goal to your camping trip makes spending your time and planning your other activities easier.
Here are some other innovative ideas:
- Spend time dressing up your campsite or camper with Christmas light, Tiki lamps, or seasonal decorations.
- Let the children invite a friend or two
- Bring your pets
- Have a “pot luck” picnic with your camping neighbors
- Experiment with different fire cooked foods
- Learn a new survival skill
- Have an ongoing water gun or water balloon “fight”
- Learn to whittle or some other new hobby
- Use your smartphone and interview other campers for a video journal
It is sort of like having a mini job that helps provide structure.
With all of these different camping activities, it will be nearly impossible to become bored on your next outdoor vacation. In fact, the options are limited only by your imagination.
Please share with friends and family members who frequently go camping or are just looking for some fun new ideas. Most of these don’t even require camping to be enjoyed.