Many people go camping to simply enjoy quiet time in nature. A good book and a comfortable camping chair makes for a very happy camping getaway. However, not all of use are wired that way. We need some camping activities at the ready to keep us entertained and to help us get the best out of our time in the wild.
To help make your next camping trip as easy and enjoyable as possible, we’ve put together a list of camping activities for kids, adults, families and groups that should keep you going for weeks! You’ll even find ideas of things to do at night, day out activities, and camping activities for couples to do at camp.
65 things to do while camping
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- Camping activities for kids
- Pooh sticks
- Treasure hunt
- Scavenger hunt
- Fairy house making
- Wide games
- Practise a theatrical performance
- Build a den or bivy shelter
- Make a bow and arrow
- Make daisy chains
- Go tree climbing
- Write a nature poem or story
- Create art with natural objects
- Play camping games
- Camping activities at night
- Make campfire popcorn
- Outdoor movie
- Campfire sing song
- Tell stories
- Play campfire games
- Star gazing
- Night hike
- Shadow puppets
- Family Camping Activities
- Learn new knots
- Build some camp furniture
- Make campfire pizza
- Bird watching / nature spotting
- Day out camping activities
- Mountain biking
- Day at the beach
- Paddle boarding
- Trail running
- Visit historic sites
- Rock climbing
- Horse riding
Camping activities for kids
Camping with kids can be the most magical vacation for the whole family, especially if you’ve scored a good campground with woodland and open space for the kids to roam free in. However, not all campgrounds have the luxury of space to go explore. And not all kids are inclined to go explore! Having camping activities for kids at the ready will ensure that everyone is kept entertained and will enjoy their time in nature as much as possible.
Try some of these camping activities for kids on your next trip:
Winnie-The-Pooh and friends certainly knew how to use their imaginations to keep themselves entertained. In the book The House At Pooh Corner, they devised a very simple game which involved dropping sticks into a stream or river from a bridge. The sticks would then race against each other to be the first to flow out from under the other side of the bridge. They called it Pooh Sticks. So simple, but so entertaining, and a great camping activity for toddlers and older kids alike.
Playing with bubbles at camp is a lovely solo activity for children of all ages. It’s so easy to get mesmerised and lost in the wonderful array of colours and shapes that the bubbles throw up into the air. And that’s only using a small bottle of bubbles. Use a and the results will take you to a whole other world, and one which the whole campsite can enjoy! The bubbles will draw kids in from all over the site to race them down and pop them, making them an excellent way of making new camping buddies.
Nothing beats the excitement and adventure of a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. Set the clues yourself if you have younger kids, then leave them to go seek their treasure while you enjoy seeking solace in your glamping sanctuary. This is also a great option for older kids who can set clues for each other and then go seek each others’ treasure. Extend the activity further by suggesting they create treasure maps of the campsite and write their clues on tea-stained paper for maximum effect!
04Fairy house making
Camping activities for toddlers and preschoolers often require bringing along equipment and toys. Transport them to a magical world of fairies and gnomes, however, and all you need is some sticks, stones, flowers, leaves and a little imagination. Create miniature tents or huts in the dirt using whatever natural things are lying around. Tiny seeds placed in empty nut shells make perfect bowls of fruit for your fairy friends. They’ll also love their flower parasol and tiny campfire of twigs you’ll create for them. And don’t forget to put up daisy chain bunting around their miniature campground. Come to think of it, I’m not sure this activity should be reserved for only little kids, get the adults involved too!
Those who have ever spent time camping with the Guides or Scouts will understand immediately how much fun wide games can be. They can take a bit of setting up, but once they’re up and running they can be some of the best camping activities for teens and older kids. Wide games work best if you have lots of space in a field or better still, woodland. Start with something simple like Capture The Flag where opposing teams race to capture their opposition’s flag whilst at the same time defending their own flag. With a little forethought, and depending on the space you have, wide games can get as complex and adventurous as you want them to be and are an excellent camping activity for groups.
Having some camping crafts at the ready will be a lifesaver on rainy days at camp. Set up a space under a tarp or in the tent and let your little ones get imaginative. Encourage camping themed painting, friendship bracelet making or leaf printing. Make jewellery out of natural things (nutshells, leaves, twigs, feathers) that are lying around the campsite. Crafts aren’t just reserved for rainy days, though. Crafting away on a picnic blanket in the shade can be a good camping activity for the really hot days, too.
07Practise a performance for the evening campfire
Evening campfires are all the more enjoyable with some light entertainment. But quality performances need planning and practice. Theatrical types and performers will love spending their afternoon at camp creating dances, skits and sketches to perform, making this once of the best camping activities for teens and older kids to enjoy with minimal adult input.
Another excellent camping activity for kids of all ages is a scavenger hunt. Like treasure hunts, these can be set by you, or older kids can set them themselves. Either way, a scavenger hunt encourages kids to really explore the area in which you are camping and to look at things from different perspectives. Scavenger hunts are also a good way to keep kids entertained when out hiking or day-tripping.
09Build a den or bivy shelter
If your campground is near woodland then you can assign a whole afternoon to den building. Use what’s lying around in the forest to create a shelter (which you could later use for a wide game!) and which can become a base for the kids to hang out in for the duration of your camping trip. If there’s not much in the way of natural materials then arm your kids with a tarp or old blanket and some rope, and see what kind of shelter they come up with.
10Make a bow and arrow
Find a bendy stick (that is preferably green inside), lash string from one end to the other pulling the ends towards each other to create tension, and you’ve got yourself a simple bow. Next up, find some straight sticks to use as arrows. Cut a small notch in one end so that the arrow sits on the bow string. Then, depending on your kids, either sharpen the other end, or round it off and stick something soft on the end, like cotton wool or blu tac!
11Make daisy chains
Is there anything more summery than sitting in the grass making daisy chains? It’s calming, creative and encourages curiosity. Plus, aside from improving dexterity, daisy chain making gets you and your kids closer to nature, literally! You can’t help but get right down there in the depths of the grasses and flowers. And once you’re there, who knows what you’ll discover! Use your daisy chains as crowns, necklaces, bracelets, anklets or miniature bunting for your fairy houses, of course!
12Go tree climbing
Kids just love to climb stuff. So if your campground has trees nearby then go climb them! Not only will they love the challenge and adventure of getting deep into a tree, but they’ll also get to see the area you are in from a different perspective, sparking curiosity and further exploration. Why not get up there and climb with them?!
13Write a nature poem or story
Time in the great outdoors isn’t all about exploring our physical surroundings. It can also be an excellent opportunity to get inspired by the external to explore the internal. Whether it’s a scorching or rainy day, find a quiet spot close to some trees or the water and see what materialises in your notebook. Setting aside quiet time in nature may just get the wheels in motion for something profound and groundbreaking, or something sweet and simple. Either way, it’s a perfect camping activity for go-slow days.
14Create art with natural objects
Another way to harness creativity when camping is to use natural objects and materials to create art. This might be as simple as line drawings in the dirt. Or piling up stones to make a sculpture. Use grasses and leaves, sticks and catkins, pebbles and shells to recreate a scene on the ground of your campsite.
Of course, as well as camping activities, there are also loads of games that kids can play on a campsite. Camping games generally involve an element of competition and usually need to be played in groups. Here are our favourites:
- Head catch
- Swing Ball
- Sleeping bag relay race
- I Spy
- Hide and go seek
- The Human Knot
Camping activities for adults
Many adults-only camping trips involve a lot of sitting around chatting and drinking. And while there’s certainly a place for this, it’s not for everyone, and it’s certainly not something for those who like to stay occupied. These camping activities for adults fit very well into the sitting around days, and they may also encourage your less activity-minded pals to get up out of their camp chair and give them a go!
Slacklining is a highly addictive activity that is ideal for a lazy day hanging out at the campsite. It’s not an easy activity to master, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, and the more you want to do it! Be sure to set up camp near a couple of trees and then you can leave the line set up all day to come back to whenever you fancy. Kids also enjoy bouncing around on a slackline, but without initial assistance from an adult they may become quickly disheartened.
If you’ve never tried slacklining then read our guide for beginners to see what to expect and how to start.
Chipping away at a piece of stick with a sharp knife may seem somewhat archaic as a camping activity, but it’s actually highly therapeutic and meditative. It’s the kind of thing you can do whilst listening to music, whilst having a conversation or simply whilst enjoying the sounds of nature around you. Plus, you may even create something useful out of your nature therapy!
If the idea of sitting around the campsite all day chatting doesn’t appeal much, then you’ll need some solo activities to keep you entertained without being too unsociable. Practise some circus skills and not only will you have a great time, but you’ll also provide entertainment for your camping companions as they sit and while away the day. Start simple with juggling then progress onto diabolo and poi. Before you know it you’ll be busting out a complex fire poi routine for everyone to enjoy at the evening campfire.
Yes, chopping wood ready for the evening campfire may be a necessary job, but it can also be a lot of fun if you do it with other people. Judge each other on accuracy, efficiency and style, always aiming for the perfect chop. But of course, be sure to observe safe axe use and avoid, at all costs, the temptation of chopping evolving into serious axe-throwing competitions!
If cooking at home is your thing then try your hand at campfire cooking. It’s one of the best camping activities for adults to enjoy while the kids are off playing in the woods. It takes time and patience, and a little preparation and planning will go a long way to the success of the meal. Plus, you’ve all got to eat anyway, right? So why not make an afternoon of creating something delicious for your friends and family to enjoy?
Drinking games are one of the few camping activities for adults that kids can’t join in on. So enjoy the silliness, frivolity and downright childishness or punishing each others’ mistakes with sips of something stronger than orange juice.
If you like ball games and are partial to a bit of athletic competition then you will LOVE spikeball. In fact, forget about any other camping activities. This is THE one for you. It’s insanely addictive once you get the hang of it and the better you get the more heated and exciting the competition will be.
If you’ve never played it before then read what it’s all about and why we love it so much.
Camping activities for couples
Some camping couples are very content just hanging out at camp and enjoy time with each other. No activities need to be involved or planned. Gazing into each others’ eyes all day, however, isn’t for everyone. So having a few camping activities for couples at the ready is essential, especially for the days when you just don’t fancy leaving the campground.
Playing card games with your camping companion is a highly enjoyable and relaxing way to spend the day at camp. Get into a game that you both love and you’ll suddenly realise you’ve been playing it non-stop for hours! Up the stakes and play to duck out of washing up duties or even start a mini tournament that lasts the whole trip. The loser has to pack everything away on their own!?!
24Camping board games
Like card games, camping board games can take care of an afternoon very nicely. Choose a camping or outdoor themed game and get into character. Or opt for a game that is weatherproof and packable to take with you to the beach or river. Plus, having board games with you at camp is a great backup activity for rainy days and lazy days alike.
25Bat and ball
Bat and ball is the perfect camping activity for sporty couples who love a bit of light-hearted competition. Aiming to get to a specific number of hits without the ball going to ground will keep you focussed and committed to the cause, and will also keep you coming back for more at every given opportunity. When that challenge is achieved then try playing with your non-playing hand. Or even switch between the two! Hours of fun, competition and giggles.
26Camping cocktail making
For more guaranteed giggles, and for those who enjoy sipping on the strong stuff, mix things up and try your hand at cocktail making. Choose the easy camping cocktail mixers, or bring all the proper ingredients along with you to get a bit fancy and glampy. Posh camping goblets only, of course!
27Read to each other!
Yes, this may sound a bit mushy, but in reality, reading to someone else is a really enjoyable way to while away a sunny afternoon. Keep things serious and gentle to create a calming atmosphere for your listener to drift away to. Or pull out your best silly voices and accents to tell the story with drama and comedy for an entertaining listen, possibly coupled with camping cocktails?!
28Try some nature photography
Photography is a good camping activity for anyone, really. But nature photography requires quiet, calm and patience making it best for couples or adults without kids. Set yourselves up in a hidden spot in the forest or by the water and then sit and wait for whatever comes along. You can compare your captures later on and suggest improvements or changes for your next snapping session.
Lying on a blanket watching the clouds skud by is a dreamy way to enjoy time with your other half. Lie there long enough and the fluffy white clouds will start to become scary vampires, or laughing dogs. Gnarled faces with boat-like nostrils or carrots with legs running away from an exploding camera. Get really lost in your dream world and you’ll be able to create a whole story of the wacky world up in the clouds.
Camping activities at night
Evenings at camp are an opportunity for reflexion, relaxation and recuperation for more fun the following day. But the darkening skies also offer a change of scene for making magical memories that will last a lifetime. Organising camping activities at night means you get the absolute best out of your trip. Here are a few that we love:
30Make campfire popcorn
Making campfire popcorn can be done in a few different ways, depending on your equipment and who you’re cooking for. Kids can create their own little packet of popping fun by placing their foil-wrapped corn kernels in the embers of the fire. You can also use popcorn pans that have long handles to hold over the fire. Or, let the popping commence in a big pot set on a grill over the flames. Whichever method you choose, it’s an easy and fun way to enjoy an evening snack around the fire.
31Have an outdoor movie night
Couple your popcorn making with a fireside outdoor movie! Ideally, project the movie onto a hanging sheet with the spooky forest as the backdrop. Or simply set up a screen on your camp table, snuggle up under your blanket and enjoy. The scarier the movie the better. Just make sure it’s not so chilling that you won’t be able to sleep!
32Have a campfire sing-song
If you want to stay on good terms with your camping neighbours then keep this camping activity to earlier on in the evening. Otherwise, choose a camping spot that is nowhere near other people so you can sing ‘til your heart’s content. Bust out the guitar, uke, drums, fiddle or tin whistle and let the mesmerising flames of the fire fuel your musical expression.
33Tell stories around the fire
Another great camping activity for the performers and theatrical types is telling campfire stories. Story-telling provides an excellent opportunity to pass on old family tales or legends from your culture or heritage. But it’s also a good way to entertain with silly, funny and scary stories.
34Play campfire games
Another way to guarantee laughs aplenty is to play games around the campfire. Good campfire games require little movement and no equipment so that you can stay put in your cosiness around the fire without the need for extra lighting.
Pick a clear night, lay down some blankets on the ground and enjoy as the night sky puts on a display of twinkles and sparkles like no other. The more remote your camping location the better, and if there’s the promise of a meteor shower then it’s worth taking a hike to where the light pollution won’t affect the skies. Count the shooting stars and spot the constellations whilst contemplating your own place within the universe.
36Take a night hike
Most camping activities at night involve sitting around and relaxing. But if you’ve still got energy to burn by nightfall, or if the day has been too hot to get out and about, then hit the trails at sunset. Not only will you get the trail to yourselves, but if you move quietly you’ll also get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the natural world as it comes out to play for the night. Plus, get your timing right and you can summit at sunrise – the perfect reward for the hours of hiking in the dark.
Tents and torches make the perfect setting for a spot of shadow puppetry. Get the kids to make some props and puppets during the day to create a performance for the whole family to enjoy after dark.
Family Camping Activities
Many of the above activities are suitable for the whole family, depending on the age and interests of your kids. Most of the below family camping activities need to be carried out with adult supervision or at least some input and guidance. But the activities are also just as fun for the adults as they are for the kids. Win, win!
If you’re not opposed to ditching your devices during your wilderness getaway, then once the best uses of your smartphone is to go geocaching. It’s basically a treasure hunt but with unknown treasure for everyone! Download the app and use the GPS to track down location points where there may or may not be something there waiting for you. Always take something along to replace your treasure with.
39Learn new knots
All campers should know some basic knots. But they’re not always that easy to learn. Spend some time as a family creating stories that help you all to remember which end goes under and which one goes round and over. Practise them until you can do them with your eyes closed and then try building some fun stuff using them.
40Build some camp furniture
With your newly learned knots and some sticks from the forest floor, spend the afternoon building some camp furniture! Start with a simple tripod to use as a washing up stand, and work your way up to more complex items like side tables and shoe racks. You’ll be building complex shelving units before you know it!
This is definitely a camping activity to do as a family. And if in doubt, then don’t pick it. That said, there are some really easy to identify edible plants out there that are also highly nutritious, and delicious too. Be sure to do your research and take a guide book with you to double check your findings. Then, once back at camp add them to your meal for seasoning, top your dessert with berries or munch on nuts around the campfire.
42Make campfire pizza
Pizza and camping. Does life get any better than that?! And yes, you really can make excellent pizza (homemade dough and all) on a campfire. There are a few different ways to make it including wrapped in foil. So make a family activity of creating and cooking your pizzas and see which method works the best. Delish!
43Bird watching and wildlife spotting
This is a tricky activity to do with young kids as they’ll need to sit still for long periods of time to get the best out of it. However, if older kids are able to stay put in a hidden location near a lake, river or in a forest, then the wait will be well worth it. For the best experience, where clothes that you won’t get too hot or cold in whilst being still, take some binoculars and have something to sit on. A notebook and pen is also a good idea to record what you’ve seen and you can even take a wildlife book to identify your findings as you spot them.
Group camping activities
As well as wide games, campfire sing-songs and camping games, some of the best group camping activities are based around sports and competition. The below activities are suitable for adult-only groups but can also be adapted for families and groups of all ages.
The beauty of holding a mini olympics at camp is that you can draw it out over the whole trip with small events each day culminating in a grand final, with prizes and all, on the last day. Tailor the events to suit the participants, making competitions as inclusive or competitive as is fitting for the participants. Some ideas include: egg and spoon race, sack race, tug of war, cracker eating competition, pea sucking race, bean bag race, skipping competition, headstand challenge, memory game, balancing challenges, staring competition, musical statues etc.
You can turn almost anything into a challenge or competition, so get creative and inclusive, and have fun!
45Cricket, rounders or softball
You’ll need some space in a field away from tents to play these bat-based team sports. But you don’t need full teams to have a great game, and you also don’t need much equipment; just a bat and ball. These are great games to get the kids active and to practise co-ordination, but they also give adults the opportunity to do their best hitting without it being too much of an unfair competition.
Volleyball is a good group camping activity for adults and is one of our favourite beach games. Leave the net set up next to your tent and dip in and out of games as and when you feel like it. Despite the small amount of space needed to play, a proper game will entertain up to 14 people for hours. And that’s if you don’t have subs! Volleyball is also good for kids to get involved in, though it’s a little less frustrating for them if you lower the net, or even play ball games without a net.
When it comes to entertaining a large group of campers, you can’t beat a good old quiz. If written well, a good quiz should cater to everyone in the group. Be sure to add a kids round if there are young folk in the group, and don’t forget something for the golden oldies! Make it education, fun and relevant, and of course, include a camping round!
To get your group thinking about their impact on your natural surroundings, include a Leave No Trace round. We’ve even written these quiz questions for you.
Day out camping activities
When there is such a variety of fun, engaging and exciting camping activities to do without leaving the campground, it’s easy to forget about planning day trips out. Of course, what you choose to do on your day out largely depends upon what is on offer in the local area. You don’t want to have to spend hours in the car getting there. So try to plan something that is close by.
Below, you’ll find some ideas of day out camping activities that might take your fancy. If you are new to the activity then click on the link to learn more.
- 57. Visit historic sites
- 58. Surfing
- 59. Rock climbing
- 60. Picnic
- 61. Snorkelling
- 62. Canyoning
- 63. Horse riding
- 64. Fishing
- 65. Sailing
Hopefully there are some options in our list of camping activities that appeal to you and your family. Some of them need a little preparation and planning, but most of them can be done without too much forethought. However you choose to spend your time camping in nature, may you enjoy it with curiosity and respect.