There are so many fun things to do while camping. It’s what makes the experience so special. Yet sometimes it can be hard to remember all of your options.
If you are planning on taking a camping trip this year, then here we listed activities to do while camping to make the most of it. Especially if you’re new to camping.
You won’t run out of ideas with this list that you can do with kids, your partner, or even by yourself. It’s time to get outdoors and make some memories.
Here’s a list of fun things to do when camping that you can use!
1. Hike a short trail
Start easy by finding a short trail nearby your campground. This is the best thing to do if you’re camping this with kids, or if you haven’t been very active lately. Don’t overdo it yourself. Start easy and enjoy it!
I do recommend that you bring a few things that will help your hiking experience go well.
2. Hike a challenging trail
Almost all national parks, state parks, country park campgrounds have trails ranging from easy to difficult.
Remember NOT to push yourself to finish a trail if you feel that your body can’t keep up anymore. The goal is to come back to camp feeling accomplished.
3. Have a bonfire
An evening camping is never complete without a bonfire.
Chat with fellow campers, let your kids play with the other kids in the campground, play games, and sing-along to campfire songs while surrounding a bonfire to make your camping memorable.
Honestly, when I think of fun things to do camping having a fire is at the top.
Related post: Creative and fun camping gifts for everyone
4. Roast s’mores
Plan to bring supplies for s’ mores! You’ll need a bonfire for this, but it’s totally worth it right? As long as you have the fire, you can roast some delicious s’ mores.
I highly recommend splurging once in a while, even if you’re a full-time RV family and camping is the norm for you. Indulge one-in-awhile and have a s’mores night.
5. Go fishing
You can pick up a cheap fishing pole at Target or Walmart and enjoy some time on the lake at your campground. If you have a child or grandchild with you, they can fish without even needing a fishing license.
Bonus if you catch a few ‘keepers’. You can grill them up for dinner. Talk about some hard work and patience that you’ll be teaching your kids.
6. Go swimming
If you plan to camp near water, be sure to bring your swimsuits. Swimming can be a great way to cool off on a hot day, or even take a natural ‘bath’ after a long day of hiking.
Go on a real-life treasure hunting game by geocaching. It uses GPS and is a great learning tool for adults and kids alike.
There are many geocaching apps on phones or you can ask the visitor center at the local state or national park if they have geocaching available. Sometimes they have GPS devices to borrow for the purpose of geocaching.
8. Photography or videography
Do you have a GoPro or a nice DSLR camera? If so, then what are you waiting for? Shoot those great photos and videos when you go camping.
Think of all the fun footage you can get while you’re out camping. This is the time to take a course on videography or photography, or just watch some videos on YouTube for free to learn a bit about your camera.
You could practice taking long exposure photos of the starry night sky. Or video footage of a great hike.
I love our GoPro Hero 7 and it’s self-stabilization feature. It’s like having a gimble without needing one.
9. Make shadow puppets
If you have young kids with you while camping, you can make a fun shadow show at night.
Shadow puppets are common even at home (using a flashlight). You can also do this using the light from huge bonfires or in your tents or RVs at night.
Related post: 25 of the Best Camping Gifts for Kids
10. Play hide and seek
Don’t forget to play the classic game of hide-and-seek while you’re camping. Hide behind trees, crash inside your friend’s tent for cover, or conceal yourself in shadows. It’s never boring when our family plays this game.
11. Play flashlight tag
Allow the kids, or the adults, to have fun after dark by playing flashlight tag. Just remember to watch out for animals. We once placed flashlight tag in a State Park in Florida and we came across an armadillo!
12. Use this app to study the stars
Stargazing is fun. But don’t you ever get the urge to know more about these bits of shining light in the night sky that we all love so much? Then download a great stargazing app so that you can know more about them by simply using your phone.
Star Chart is an app made to give basic star knowledge to those that are interested. It can also be a great tool to introduce astronomy to kids!
13. Play cards
For a quick and fun activity, be sure to bring a deck of cards. You can play outside, in your tent or RV, or even on a hike when you take a lunch break.
There are a variety of card games you can play and camping is a great time to learn new games. We especially love the game Uno.
14. Play a board game
Among the many activities that you can do while camping, playing board games is a favorite. It’s interactive, educational, and kid-friendly.
I always include it in our lists of fun gifts for RVers and outdoorsy people because a good game can make for some great memories.
15. Search for wildlife during the day
Oftentimes, you can get a glimpse of wildlife by walking or driving around national parks or state parks in the early mornings or just before sunset. You can check their websites or ask the rangers about where wildlife can be seen and they’ll give you tips.
Or you can wait at your campsite. Sometimes you get lucky and see them without looking for them, though. We once had a bear visit us and raid some of our stuff without warning!
16. Go on a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts are best when done in spacious areas like campgrounds. Hide some clues behind the trees, below tents, or under a pile of soil. Kids especially love scavenger hunts, but adults can have fun too!
17. Climb a tree
Climbing a tree in your backyard is different from climbing a tree at a campground. Well… the process is kind of the same, but the feeling, once you get to the top, is totally different.
Once you climb a tree you’ll see a great view of your campsite and the surrounding area. It brings you an entirely new perspective.
18. Go canoeing or kayaking
If there’s a nearby lake, don’t miss your chance to go canoeing or kayaking.
There are so many great portable kayaks, canoes, and even SUPs that you can bring along with you. Or, if you plan to camp near a popular destination they may have some to rent.
We experienced our first time kayaking on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park by renting out child-sized and adult-sized kayaks during our visit Glacier in Montana a few years ago.
I love this option for inflatable and very durable kayaks. Our good friend owns one and he’s taken it on a 4-day portage with friends and it held up great.
19. Ride bikes
Go for a bike ride while you’re camping! Plan to bring your bike or rent a bike at your campground. If you have kids along, this is a great activity.
It’s also helpful to have your bikes along to get around the campground if you don’t want to drive your truck or motorhome to explore.
If you want to go extreme, go mountain biking! We loved our mountain biking experience in Moab last year and hope to go back again soon.
Additional Camping Ideas and Tips
There are so many fun things to do while you’re camping.
Get out there and start planning by learning what the average cost of camping might be, where you'd like to visit next, and if you are thinking about doing it often or just once a year.
Whether you just want to unwind or you’re looking for adventure, camping is the way to go. You can camp in National Parks with these tips or find an excellent State Park nearby.
To know where to camp next, read our list of the top RV campsites we’ve been in 2 years of travel here.
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