Although camping can be awesome, it has the potential to get a little boring if you didn’t plan to do anything.
A quick search on the ‘net will pull up tons of resources for keeping the kiddos entertained, but what about the adults?
Well, we didn’t forget about you. This is exactly why we’ve curated this list of fun camping activities!
Things to Do Around the Campfire
Nothing says a camping trip like a roaring campfire! Here are some of our favorite activities to do while cozied up in front of the flickering flames.
Everyone loves a good old fashioned campfire sing along! There’s just something so classic and silly about it – like being a kid again, even though we’re all grownups now (*cue existential sobbing*).
To make your sing-along even better, get one of your friends to bring their guitar or ukulele.
Buf if you’re short on musically-gifted individuals, not to worry. You can use your phone to play music too….we won’t judge.
Ah, s’mores…another camping classic. All you need are marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Oh, and some handy roasting sticks too.
If you and your friends are feeling competitive, you could turn the s’more making into a competition.
Award points based on the marshmallow’s level of browning and/or blackening, the firmness of the chocolate, perfectness of the bite…the options are endless!
Tell Ghost Stories
Telling ghost stories is an age-old tradition harkening back to humanity’s earliest days. On your next camping trip, be sure to make the ghost stories as scary as possible!
If you don’t have any stories on tap, there are plenty of great YouTubers to check out.
Read Poetry Aloud
If spooky stuff isn’t your jam, then get your inner Dead Poets Society on by reading poetry around the fire.
And if you don’t know what the Dead Poets Society is, then immediately go watch that movie. You’ll thank me later.
But if you’re reeallyyyy short on time, check out this clip of the main characters reading poetry aloud in front of a smokey fire in a creepy cave. C’mon, you know you want to do that too.
When you’re done soaking up the rays in the river, dry off and check out our list of things to do on land.
Take a Hike
Clearly, going hiking depends a bit on your location. Are you camping at a public, crowded campground with not much room? Or are you camping in the mountains?
If you’re camping in the wilderness or anywhere offering a trail network, a hiking trip is a great way to spend the day soaking up all nature has to offer. Make it as challenging or relaxing as you’d like!
Pack a small book of birds local to where you’ll be camping. Then, go on a nature walk, snag your binoculars, and try to identify the birds you see.
If you’re feeling particularly lazy, you can also birdwatch from the comfort of your campsite.
And if you also happen to have cell service, consider pulling up compilations of birdsong and figure out what kinds of birds are tweeting near you.
Similar to birdwatching, you can pack a book of local trees and go on a nature walk.
Trees are categorized by their leaves, which are often signature to certain trees. It’s actually pretty cool once you’re able to start pointing out all the different tree types.
Plus, you’ll have some cool tree trivia/facts to impress people when you get back from your trip.
Slacklining recently gained a lot of popularity. All you do is tie up a special rope between two trees. Then you attempt to balance and walk across it without falling.
A quick word of caution: be sure you know how to properly tie up and work with the tightening system so the line doesn’t fall. I’m here to tell you that having the line snap out from under you is not an enjoyable experience.
Another wildly popular activity is geocaching. Really, it’s gained a cult-like following in the last few years.
Geocaching is essentially the practice of looking for hidden treasures, or “caches.” To get started, do a quick search for “geocaching near___”, filling in the blank of wherever you’ll be camping.
Host a Cook Off!
Test everyone’s creativity with a cook off! Challenge your friends to see who can make the best tasting dish with the available ingredients.
This gets even better if you don’t have the most amazing variety of ingredients at your disposal.
At that point, your cook off may resemble the TV show, “CHOPPED,” where participants are instructed to make gourmet dishes using at least one weird (and sometimes gross) ingredient.
Curate an Outdoor Wine Tasting
This will require a little planning so that you have the wines on hand. But if done right, it can be super fancy and super cute!
You can also bring candles or hand string lights for added effect and ambiance.
Oh and just so you know, we’ve already tracked down the 10 best camping string lights for your wine tasting.
When the sun sets, you can still have non-campfire-related-fun! Hosting a movie night is a perfect example.
You’ll need to bring a projector, a white sheet, and something to play the movie (like a laptop).
Unfortunately, since you need to bring some decently heavy gear, a movie night isn’t really feasible for anything but car camping or glamping.
As fun as it is to be wild, sometimes it’s best to slow down, unwind, and relax in nature.
So we’re presenting a list of quiet activities for those who camp to get away from the craziness of life.
Relax in a Hammock
Contrary to a lot of our activities so far, not all camping fun has to be loud and crazy.
Lounging in a hammock is a great way to unwind and connect with nature. But not when there’s bugs involved! For a list of our favorite bug-free hammocks, check out the 10 best hammocks with mosquito netting.
Bring a book, a cold beverage, and settle into the sound of birdsong and the smell of the woods.
One of the greatest things about reading is it can be done literally anywhere.
Read in the aforementioned hammock, nestled in your tent, or in a comfy camp chair by the lake.
If you’re handy, bring along a favorite craft like knitting, needlepoint, or whatever you prefer.
Or, if you have a knife handy, learn to carve by whittling branches smooth.
Pack a sketchbook and draw or paint your surroundings! You’re sure to have plenty of beauty in front of you.
If you want to make drawing or painting into a group activity, invite your friends to sit in on a portrait or caricature session.
Even after everyone’s gone to bed, you can still gaze up at the stars from the comfort of your sleeping bag.
If you want, try your hand at identifying constellations. Or ponder your place in the universe. That’s cool too.
Card games are a camping tradition that sometimes sounds a little boring or overdone.
But not to worry: we’ve compiled some wholly unique offerings to reignite your appreciation of the humble card game.
Cards Against Humanity
Cards Against Humanity took the world by storm – and for good reason. This is not your average card game!
It’s hilariously fun and can most likely get even the more shy members of your group to laugh and loosen up.
There are numerous decks, some of which are designed to be super inappropriate and raunchy. For best results, we recommend choosing a deck like this.
Oh, and bonus points if you attempt to play while drunk.
My most vivid memories of playing Spoons consist of tackling people across the table for those much-coveted spoons. So I’m almost hesitant to label this as a card game!
Nevertheless, it is still considered a card game because, well, it uses cards.
The basic idea is that a deck of cards is passed around until someone collects four of a kind. When that happens, that player can take a spoon.
Keep your eyes sharp, because once that player takes a spoon, everyone can take one. And the catch is that there’s always one less spoon on the table than there are players.
The Game of Mao (Begins Now)
The Game of Mao (pronounced MOW) is insanely frustrating, yet hilarious. I spent hours playing with friends at my college orientation and instantly fell in love with Mao.
The premise is deceptively simple: get rid of all your cards first. But to do that, you have to adhere to a set of rules unknown to everyone but the Cardmaster.
Inevitably, everyone figures out the rules as players break them. Then the Cardmaster solemnly deals out penalty cards for not following the rules.
These rules can be literally anything. Some of my favorites include: “Failing to honor the advanced darkness.” “Failing to shout, ‘God save the King!’” “Failing to give the person on your left a hug.”
And as a last jab, there is no talking during Mao. But lots of snickering!
Drunk, Stoned, or Stupid
This game consists of 250 cards with goofy prompts printed on the back. Players take turns deciding who in the group gets stuck with a card.
For instance, a player could be voted to be the one most likely to “always want to play stupid card games.
Humorously, the game claims there are no winners, only losers: the first player to get tagged with 7 cards loses.
Contemplate Mortality with The Death Deck
Okay, this isn’t as creepy as it sounds, I promise. It can actually be quite enlightening and fun to play with friends.
The Death Deck is a card game created by a hospice social worker and a widow who wanted a fun way to start the conversation around death.
To do this, they made The Death Deck as a method to encourage people to begin these tough discussions.
Even though its subject matter may seem a little uncomfortable, The Death Deck manages to make it accessible through fun and quirky prompts.
If card games aren’t really your thing, we’ve got plenty of other games to keep you and your friends entertained for hours.
Yep, Monopoly: the classic, super long marathon game. Break this one out when the weather isn’t cooperating and you’re all stuck inside.
Really, as anyone who’s ever played Monopoly knows, it keeps everyone entertained for a loooong time.
We wish you the best of luck bankrupting your friends!
If you want to test your aim and throwing skills, bring a cornhole set on your next camping trip.
In this backyard staple game, players take turns tossing small bags filled with corn kernels at a board with a hole at the end.
Challenge your friends and see which one of you can land the most scores!
Get ready to put your miming skills to the test with charades!
The object is simple: guess which animal, animal, action, or otherwise zany verb your friends are mimicking. But of course, whoever is miming isn’t allowed to talk. Or give hints!
By the way, charades is another game that’s extra fun to play if everyone’s just a bit tipsy.
Take turns asking a ton of yes or no questions ad nauseum with 20 Questions.
Basically, one person has an answer while everyone else in the group takes turns trying to figure out what the person is thinking of.
But of course, players aren’t allowed to ask anything that merits more than a yes or no answer…so good luck!
Exquisite Corpse Story
You’ve probably played some form of Exquisite Corpse before, but maybe under a different name.
To get started, one player kicks things off by writing a paragraph-long story on a piece of paper. Then, they fold it up so only the last line is showing.
The next person picks up the story from that last line and continues writing, and so on.
At the end, you wind up with a crazily disjointed story. When everyone’s had a turn, designate someone to perform a continuous reading of the entire trainwreck!
Perhaps you’ve heard of these games and thought they were different. In actuality, it’s the same game but with slight variations.
Mafia and/or Werewolf uses a deck of cards to designate roles. Face cards such as kings or queens will indicate higher roles, like the mafia person, or the werewolf.
The idea behind this storytelling game is to figure out which player is the big baddie before that person wipes out the rest of the players.
By the way, it’s a ton of fun to play around a campfire as well!
Have one person choose a prompt, most likely a scene setting. For example, “John was walking to the store on a bright sunny day….when suddenly he saw!”
Each player takes turns filling in a sentence or two to make a complete (read: disjointed!) story. The idea is to be quick on your feet and creative.
The whackier your lines sound, the better!
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a classic icebreaker game you probably played on the first day of classes or in other settings where you’re getting to know a bunch of people.
The idea is easy: everyone takes turns saying 3 things about themselves. Obviously, these things will consist of 2 truths and 1 lie, and everyone tries to guess which.
The answers might surprise you. And who knows, you may learn some cool new facts about your friends!
If you enjoy regular Jenga, then get ready for Giant Jenga, where the stakes are higher…literally!
Where Jenga is a small tabletop game, Giant Jenga can be built over 5’!
Needless to say, you’ll be biting your lip a lot harder as you carefully remove blocks and hope the tower doesn’t fall. Why? Because Giant Jenga will actually hurt if the blocks land on your feet!
Splurge on a Guided Tour
Guided tours exist for just about everything: kayaking, hiking, nearby caves, and various other attractions.
Anything related to professional tours will need to be booked far in advance.
Plus, if you’re planning your camping trip during the peak season – most likely summer – then you’ll need to be even more diligent so you can snag your reservation.
Remember, depending on what you choose, a guided tour can get pricey. Thus, you’ll want to get your camping buddies to help split the cost.
In the blazing hot summer months, there are few things more enjoyable than getting in the water. Here’s our favorite water-related ideas for you to try on your next trip.
For my avid fishing friends, pack a tackle box and comfy camp chair and head off to your favorite fishing spot.
Plus, if local guidelines allow it, you can probably cook up your catch for dinner!
And if you’re in the market for such a camp chair, look no further. We’ve brought you a list of the 10 best reclining camping chairs.
Rafting Tour – White Water Optional
Going rafting is something you’ll almost definitely need to arrange in advance. The only exception of course is if you’re bringing an inflatable raft of your own.
If you do end up going on a tour, it will likely be a guided trip. In other words, budget accordingly. (Hey, we know camping is expensive. That’s why we broke down the total cost of camping with a done-for-you budget.)
It’s also important to note that rafting trips vary in style and intensity. Some will be more gentle and suited to beginners. And then others will be more extreme, like a white water rafting adventure.
Because of this, be sure to check with everyone in your group regarding their experience and comfort level before you book!
Cruise Around on a Boat
The Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, and some larger National Parks are host to companies who rent out boats to campers for an hourly fee. These boats typically vary in size, requirements, and regulations.
But rest assured, you don’t need to be a seafaring captain to rent one. The owners will provide you with a quick crash-course on operating the boat. Then it’s all yours to cruise around the lake!
If you’ve never gone kayaking, I’m here to personally tell you: just do it!
Paddling around a quiet lake or river and exploring all the little offshoot coves (and subsequent wildlife!) is such a treat.
If this sounds appealing, you’ll need to make arrangements to rent a kayak. Some campgrounds have them available, or you can book a guided tour.
You can obviously bring your own kayak as well. No matter what you choose, remember you’ll have to plan all the logistics of transportation.
Believe it or not, skipping stones is actually a skill. My brother got bored one summer and taught himself to get 7-8 skips with one throw!
So why not you too? Try to hone this overlooked trick on your next camping trip and impress your friends.
If you’re camping in the summer, pack your swimsuit! In the heat of the day, nothing beats a refreshing dip in the lake or stream.
Just remember to use common sense, especially if the river has a stronger current.
To go snorkeling, you may need to pre-arrange the trip if you don’t have the required gear.
But who says snorkeling has to involve expensive wetsuits and bulky dive gear? You can always do a laid-back version using a cheap snorkeling set you pick up from Walmart.
Float in an Inner Tube
Inner tubes are great because they’re so simple to find. Your local grocery store or sports shop likely carries them…especially in the summer months.
Simply blow them up, drop them in a river or lake, and lounge away!
If you don’t mind being smacked with mini exploding grenades, then consider starting a water balloon war.
Split up into teams and make it a battle for the ages!
Paddleboarding is fun for those who’d rather stand on the water than sit in it inside a kayak or canoe. Plus, they’re a great way to explore your local lake in still water.
However, since you have to stand, they’re not recommended for rivers if there’s a chance the water will get choppy. (Read: Falling off of one isn’t fun!)
Again, if you have one on hand, great! But if not, you’re going to have to rent one, possibly in advance.
For the physically fit or anyone looking for a challenge, these high intensity activities will ensure that everyone in your group gets an incredibly good night’s sleep afterwards!
The great thing about going biking is it can be as intense or as easy as you want.
Want to embark on a technical obstacle course down a mountain? Check! Do you prefer just cruising along a flat path? Also check!
Bring your own bike, or rent one if you’re camping near a bike rental shop. And as always, check with all members of your group to gauge their experience and comfort levels.
Contrary to what we see on the sports channel, football doesn’t need to be played at the superbowl level…although you can!
It’s a lot of fun to simply chuck a football back and forth. Just that alone can be hilarious, especially if your and your friends’ catching/throwing skills are subpar!
The same principle applies here: your soccer match can be a go-for-blood sport, or it can become the funniest camping story of how you accidentally kicked the soccer ball through your tent.
In other words, it can be extreme or silly and laid back. The choice is yours! Just maybe try to avoid kicking the ball through a tent…
Hide and Seek
No, hide and seek isn’t just for kids. It can be enjoyed regardless of age!
If you’re looking to kick things up a notch, consider playing the version where people are allowed to change hiding spots.
Then if they get spotted by the seeker, players have to run for their lives back home!
Typically, people just toss the frisbee back and forth. But if you want to get crazy, you could try a game of ultimate frisbee.
And wow, do things get intense! Ultimate frisbee involves lots and lots of constant running, so I hope you’re all in shape.
Here’s another one that’s not merely for kids: tag, you’re it! There’s just something primal about sprinting all-out after your friends…or running away from them!
Zombie is another awesome version of tag, where once players start getting caught, they become taggers themselves! So give this one a try if you want to up the ante for all involved.
Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag is really just Tag but on steroids. Simply put, things can get real competitive!
Split your group into teams and designate 2 bandanas (or any item really) as the Flags. Hide them in each team’s designated camp.
From here, the objective is clear: break into your enemy’s territory without being tagged and carry their flag back to your camp.
Good luck, soldier!
Manhunt is a hybrid somewhere between capture the flag and tag. You aren’t trying to steal anything, just outrunning the single “manhunter” to make it back home.
Also: play Manhunt in the dark. Full stop. It’s ten times better. Yeah, you’re welcome.
Hopefully, you see that there’s plenty of things to do while camping, even (and maybe especially for!) adults. So don’t just sit around bored!
Give one or two (or a lot)! of these activities a try on your next trip!