Looking for fun things to do while camping? We’ve compiled a list of 50 fun things to do while camping with kids, camping as a couple, and even solo camping!
I love everything about camping. Being away from buildings, freeways and the hustle and bustle is just good for the soul. Being outside in the wild gives an opportunity to experience the beauty and simplicity that is the wilderness.
When I talk to most non-campers about camping, they just envision camping as sitting in the dirt with bugs. Sure, that’s part of the adventure, but there is so much more you can do while camping. I could just simply go camping to enjoy nature and get away from the hustle and bustle, but there is so much more.
Some of my favorite memories growing up include fishing with my family for the first time (even caught one catfish), seeing a bear for the first time, and sitting around a campfire with my cousins.
As soon as my little girl was old enough to go camping (about one year old), I took her out to the great outdoors. She goes with me a few times a year, so now she might be the only person who loves camping more than me!
For a lot of people though, the question comes up of “fun things to do while camping.” I can totally understand this question, especially if you’ve never been. It seems like a totally foreign idea to go sleep in a tent in the middle of the forest.
If you’ve never been camping, or haven’t been in ages, you might be worried about finding things to do while camping. This list of fun things to do while camping will give you plenty of ideas to stay entertained outdoors!
So get some camp activities from this list, get outside, and be ready to enjoy nature as its meant to be!
What Can Make Camping More Fun?
Starting your camping adventure with a plan, good camping gear, and a good mindset will make camping a lot more fun. Just remember, you’re leaving the comfort of your air conditioned home. Accept the mindset that you may be getting dirty or wet and plan accordingly!
Pick a Good Campsite
When you pick a campsite, keep your desired camp activities in mind. If you want to do a lot of swimming, find a campsite near a lake or river. If you want to do a lot of hiking, find a campsite near a national forest or great hiking trails.
On the flip side, if you’re worried about your tent getting too hot, stay away from hot climates in the summer. If you’re worried about camping in the rain, wait to camp until summer. Be intentional about finding a good campsite, and you’ll have a lot more fun.
Avoid Bringing Technology
Part of the fun of camping is getting away from that cell phone, laptop, or television. You need a break from technology, and so do your kids. Every recommendation we have in this blog is sans technology.
Make it your goal to avoid all technology once you get to your campsite. You will be happier, your spouse will be happier, and your kids will be happier. It’s time to return to nature. No tablets!
plan fun things to do whle camping at night
Make sure you can start a campfire and have some good lanterns so you can have fun at night. Headlamps are key if you want to do an evening hike. Part of having fun at night while camping includes being able to see at night. Bring those flashlights!
You will want to learn how to start a campfire and a lantern so your not left in the dark while camping.
things to do with kids camping
If you are camping with kids, there are a plenty of things to do to keep them entertained and busy. I have found kids naturally love going camping, and the hardest part for them is often leaving to go back home.
There are a lot of fun activities to do while camping with kids. Start talking about it early and let them see all the fun camp gear before you go. You can do a lot of fun things camping with kids that doesn’t include any screens or electronics.
Do a Camping At-Home Practice Round
Before going camping with your kids for the first time, do a practice round in the backyard. Camping at home will allow you and your kiddos to test out the camp gear, and get your kids excited about sleeping in a tent. Camping at home will get them excited and set expectations for the real event.
On the flip side, if they hate it, its much easier to cancel a campground in your backyard than out in the wilderness. But if they love it and are excited for the real deal, then fill up that rig and head to the wild!
Let the Kids Get Dirty
For kids, something as simple as playing in the dirt is a good time. Leave the good clothes and expensive toys at home, and only bring items you don’t mind getting dirty. There are plenty of ways to clean up your kid while camping, but in the meantime, let them get dirty and have fun.
Make sure to snap lots of fun photos of them covered in camp dirt!
Bring A Play Tent
If you have little kids, bring a small tent and throw a bunch of toys in there. You can keep them contained, clean, and entertained in an outdoor version of a pack and play. Just remember those tents can get pretty warm in the middle of the day so don’t leave them alone for long.
Leave the rain fly off the tent to keep watch on them easier, just be mindful of how much sun they are getting.
Go for a Swim
If you planned your campsite around the beach or lake, take full advantage of the water. Go swimming in the lake, play in the surf, and enjoy the sun.
If you let them your kids get super messy playing in the dirt, this is a great way to easily clean them up.
Some campgrounds have a public pool area also. Swimming and playing in the water is a great way to keep kids entertained for hours. Just remember your sunblock!
have a beach day
If you’re camping near the ocean or a sandy lake beach, go have a beach day. Pack your sand tools and umbrellas and a picnic lunch. Beach days can include scavenger hunts, exploring, sandcastle making, or just laying out and enjoying the sun.
Go on A Camping Scavenger Hunt
Make a list of fun things to find around your campsite, and send your little camping explorer on a scavenger hunt. See who can find the biggest pinecone, the prettiest rock, and the most colorful flower. Be creative and let those little campers explore.
Go Wildlife Watching
Camping away from cities and people means you’ll be closer to amazing wildlife. Look for deer, quail, eagles, bears, and turkeys. Depending on where you go, there will be a bounty of wildlife you’ll never see in the suburbs.
Some animals are more active certain times of the year. If you want to camp at the ocean, plan it around the whale migrations. Do your research and plan your date and location during times when animals are most active.
Do A Kid-Friendly Camp Hike
While your looking for the aforementioned animals, you can simply enjoy a kid friendly hike around the wilderness. Make sure you know where you’re going and it’s not too extreme. Bring some water bottles and snacks as you walk through nature.
Have your kids own it buy bringing their own backpack. Have them pack their own water bottle, snacks, binoculars, or favorite toy. Just remember though, chances are you’ll have to carry your little camper and their gear out, so don’t overdo it.
Bring your Bikes
Most campgrounds are kid-friendly and have some great biking areas. Bring along those bikes and explore the campsite or dirt roads nearby. You should be pretty far removed from busy roads, so now is a great opportunity to cruse around on your bikes.
Find Kid-Friendly Entertainment
Sometimes family-friendly campgrounds will have a lodge with a playground or mini-market. I have seen those lodges host magicians or musicians on weekends. We spent an hour one time camping watching a very entertaining magician and the kids loved it!
Not all campgrounds have events like this. Be sure to do your research when finding a place to camp.
Bring Coloring Books
Most family campgrounds have picnic tables. If you or your campers need some downtime, bring some coloring books and crayons. They can get busy coloring all the animals they saw earlier while you get lunch ready.
Bring your camper’s favorite board game
Bring along Candyland and Chutes and Ladders for younger campers or Risk or Monopoly for older campers. Whatever your favorite board game is, camping is a great opportunity to relax around the picnic table and play. See our favorite camping games for adults here!
Let them explore
Let your little camper explore the campsite and larger campground if they are old enough. You’ll be amazed at how creative and imaginative kids can be when they don’t have a screen in their face. Let them see what they can find on their own, and what imaginative games they come up with.
Play hide and go seek, Tag, or Kick the can
If you have a group of kids, now would be a great time to play Hide and Go Seek, Tag, or Kick the Can. Just stay out of other camper’s sites, but your little ones should have plenty of rocks, logs, and trees to run and hide around.
Find the perfect s’more stick
A rite of passage for any young camper is to forage for the perfect s’more stick. Sure, you can buy a metal s’more stick from the store, but it is so much better to find your own stick and whittle it down into a fine point. S’mores seem to taste better using a wooden stick instead of a store bought stick too!
Forage for Fire wood
You’ll need to get that campfire going. Have your kids find some kindling and pinecones to help get it started. Sometimes a campground will say no foraging, so just be mindful of the local etiquette and rules.
If your local campground allows for foraging, a simple 200 yard walk into the forest will find plenty of dead wood, sticks, pine needles, pine cones, and other fire fuel.
Enjoy the camp fire
There is a magic about campfire that draws everyone in. I have even seen little kids calm down and enjoy the beauty and warmth of a campfire. This is a great opportunity to tell stories, talk, or just snuggle with your little campers.
I’m pretty sure its a law that you need to make s’mores while camping. Your child found the perfect stick and helped forage for the firewood. Now it’s time for them to appreciate their hard work, and make a s’more!
Take a graham cracker, break it in half, and put a chocolate bar on the bottom half. After you roast your marshmallow, sandwich it between the two graham crackers and the chocolate and you have a s’more! That’s the classic—feel free to get creative and try new s’more recipes as well!
Tell your favorite ghost stories
After you are done with your s’mores, have everyone share their favorite ghost stories. There are some great kid-friendly, scary stories you can share. Just don’t make them too scary. Sleeping in a tent for the first time could be exciting enough!
do some star gazing
Put a blanket on the ground and do some star gazing. Light pollution is a real thing, and having a lot of streetlights, building lights, and car lights mute the true view of the stars in the sky. I will never forget the first time I saw the wild night’s sky, and neither will your kids.
Bring a book on constellations, or just gaze in wonder of the wild night’s sky. You may even see some shooting stars. If your extra lucky, your little one will fall asleep allowing for an easy transition into their sleeping bag.
camping as a couple
There are a lot of things to do while camping, especially if its just a couple or a group of adult friends. Plan your camp site around amenities you are interested in. This could be beach camping, camping in the forest, or camping next to a lake or river.
make the best camp coffee ever
Waking up to a hot cup of coffee in the wild is one of the best ways to wake up. My two favorite ways to make camp coffee is with a percolator or French press. Bring whatever creamer, sugar, or other fixings you like for your coffee, but in my opinion, camp coffee cant be beat!
Go On a long hike
Get a day pack, fill it with water, trail snacks and a map, and hit that trial head right by your camp ground. You’ll get some great quality time together while exploring the nature trails or hikes. Keep an eye out for wildlife and make a whole day out of it.
Make sure you know where the trail goes, and how long it is. Most trail heads will let you know if it’s easy, intermediate, or hard, and roughly how many miles it is. Go prepared and make sure you have good hiking boots.
Find a great spot for a picnic
Sure you can stay in camp, but chances are your super close to a beautiful lake, or an ocean’s beach or a mountain meadow. Pack your soft-sided cooler with sandwiches and some beer, and spend a few hours sitting, eating, and enjoying the view.
Part of the fun in camping is to explore the wilderness around you. Quite often, you can drive to a trailhead or a day-use area that has lots of great picnic areas. Go enjoy lunch in the wilderness!
Explore dirt roads in your 4×4
You sprang the extra few $1000 to get the 4×4 over the 2×4 version. Well now its time to get some dirt on those tires! Usually there are dirt access trails right next to your campground. Just make sure you keep tabs of where you’ve been and where you’re going so you don’t get lost. Bring some water and snacks just in case!
This could be a great way to find a hiking trail or picnic area mentioned above.
go mountain biking
if you don’t want to get that 4×4 dirty, those dirt roads are perfect for mountain biking. Sometimes there are trails specific for mountain bikes. Hit the trails and keep an eye out for wild animals and epic views.
First time fishing? Get a rod and a license and plan on catching nothing. Its okay! You’ll still have fun if you have the right mindset. Find a sporting goods store within a few miles of your campsite, and they’ll be able to give you some pointers.
Fishing is a great thing to do camping. If you end up catching some mountain trout, you can cook them for dinner. Not only are you a camper, but a self-sufficient survivalist!
Bring a kayak or two
One of the most memorable camping trips was with my wife and a one-person kayak that we almost sank. So bring two, or invest in a two-person kayak and explore that lake next to your campground. If you’re with another couple, you can easily make a party out of it.
Not only is kayaking a great way to exercise, but it will give you an amazing view of the lake or river you wont get on land.
Cook gourmet camp food
Hear me out on this one! If you get a good recipe, have some good gear, and are prepared, you can have legendary camp meals. Food always tastes better when you’re camping, so go above and beyond the standard hot dog (though, hot dogs are awesome camp food too)!
Just remember, it always takes much longer to cook at the campsite than it does at home. It will be an experiment. The more you prep at home, the easier camp cooking will be.
Have a Wine tasting or beer tasting event
Bring up a couple different bottles of your favorite adult beverage or have each couple bring their favorite, if camping with friends. You can sit around the picnic table and compare and enjoy. The best part is you don’t need to worry about finding a ride home! Your tent is only 15 feet away.
Camp TABLE Games
One of my favorite games is Liar’s Dice, and all you need is some dice and cups. Or you can bring a deck of cards for Poker, Speed or any other card game. Camping is a great opportunity to bring up some of your other favorite card games like Exploding Kittens, Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity.
After a long day of hiking and exploring, relaxing with friends at the table and playing cards can be a great ending to the day.
camp day games
During the day, set up your ladder golf, cornhole, horseshoes, or redneck horseshoes games. If you’re with another couple you can have fun competing against each other.
If you’re interested in ladder golf, cornhole or redneck horseshoes, you can make them at home. If you’re not a DIYer, then most sporting goods stores will sell a version of these great camp games.
Play wandering bocce ball
Buy a set of bocce balls and play wandering bocce ball. One person throws the small boccino ball, and then people take turns getting their bocce ball as close to the boccino ball as possible. Whoever gets the closest gets to throw the boccino ball, wherever they want.
After a few rounds you’ll end up exploring the forest around your campsite, and have a blast while doing so!
read some books
There is nothing better then reading a book in the middle of the day in the shade. It’s ok to have a slower pace while you’re at camp. Bring your favorite book or two and catch up on your reading.
Float the river or lake
If you are camping near a river, grab some beer and a float tube and go float the river. Some rivers have rules on no alcohol during some three day weekends, so check your local rules first. Otherwise, float and enjoy the sun and clean mountain water.
If you’re floating a river, remember to plan where you are exiting. If it’s far from camp, make sure one of your fellow campers leave a vehicle at the river’s exit so you don’t end up having to hike it all the way back.
Work on your Tan
If you are next to the ocean, lake, or river, head down to the beach with your towel and work on your tan. Even if you aren’t near the water, you can still find a sunny meadow and lay out in the warm sun.
Enjoy an afternoon nap in a hammock
Being lazy is perfectly acceptable while camping. If you had a busy morning hiking and exploring, then set up that hammock and take an afternoon snooze in the shade.
have a beach bonfire
If you’re camping on a beach near the lake or ocean, have a beach bonfire. There is nothing better then ending the day with a big bonfire with your closest friends on the beach. Just make sure the local laws allow it.
Camp outside of your comfort zone
If you don’t have a kid, it’s time to do some adventurous camping. Plan a camp during the rain or snow. Some of the most fun I’ve had camping was during the rain or snow. Gear and mindset is going to be key in the snow or rain, but it can be a blast.
Now is also a great time to try dispersed camping. Follow the written and unwritten rules on dispersed camping, but this is essentially camping out in the wild away form a camp site. Just remember you won’t have water or toilets.
be a kid
If you don’t have any kids, you probably skipped over the Things to Do With Kids Camping section. Go back and consider some of them. Make s’mores, get dirty, enjoy star gazing (when was the last time you just stared at the stars?) It’s always fun to be a kid again.
Do absolutley nothing
If you found this blog, you’re probably concerned about finding fun things to do while camping. Try doing absolutely nothing. Sit, relax, and enjoy the sites, sounds, and smells of being away from civilization.
This is where it helps to have a good camp chair or a hammock. You work hard—now is a great time to find some inner camping peace!
How Do I Entertain Myself Solo Camping?
If you are gong camping alone, it’s a good idea to let people know where you are going and when you expect to come back. You’ll probably be fine, but just in case, it’s good to let someone know where you plan to be.
Practice your survival craft
The best time to test out your survival gear is when you don’t need it. Practice using your tools when it’s not an emergency. You’ll be glad you did if you’re ever in a true survival situation.
If you’re like me, you have a bunch of survival gear, some of it legit, some of it gimmicky. Well now is the chance to actually practice lighting that fire with your ferrocerium rod.
Test out those freeze dried meals
Since you’re not cooking for a crew or your family, give your freeze dried meals a shot. See which ones are your favorite.
If you are going to get into backpacking, you’ll want to get familiar with these meals. They are a lot easier and lighter to pack when going on a long hike.
Experiment with new gear
Solo camping is a great time to test out your new gear. If you are used to being the camp host, then you probably only bring the gear that is tried and true. If it’s just you enjoying a solo camp, bring out that new, perhaps gimmicky gear you’ve been wanting to try out.
If the new gadget pasts the test, add it to your normal camping gear stash.
Hunt or Fish
Speaking of survival craft, go out and procure your own meat. Make sure you have the proper license and that it’s hunting season. One of the best ways to enjoy nature is to become part of its food chain. You’ll have more appreciation for your meal as well.
Find other solo campers
if you are going on that epic hike, you may come to a hiker-only campground. This is a great way to meet other outdoorsy people. Other campers is the best way to learn about hiking trails, destinations, or other camping hacks.
Whittle something cool
Every camper should have a good pocket knife. Find a good piece of wood and whittle yourself a spoon, a walking stick head, or some art. Whittling is a great way to keep your hands busy while you’re relaxing by a stream.
bring your favorite book
You will have some down time, so now is a great time to bring that book you’ve been meaning to read. Bring a light paperback if backpacking though. The last thing you want is something heavy.
Go for an epic hike
If hunting or fishing isn’t your thing, go for an epic hike. There are some amazing areas that are only accessible by hiking. Sometimes, if you hike long enough, you won’t see another soul until you want to.
Now is the perfect time to try sleeping in your hammock or on the ground outside of a tent. Just remember that animals roam at night, and condensation cumulates at night. Make sure your gear is water resistant. As for the animals, make sure you have something that could scare the animals away if they get too close.
Take a deep breath and pray, meditate, or self-evaluate. There is no better place to relax and find inner peace than in the wild.
Be creative, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors.
Whether you are camping solo, camping as a couple, or camping with your kids, the most important thing is to just get outside. Fun will follow, and you’ll discover plenty of fun things to do while camping.
Now go out there and get dirty!