Ready to pack up your spacious family camping tent and hit the road for some outdoor fun? Aren’t we all! But before you do, consider a few ways to keep everyone entertained. From discovering mother nature to showing off creative flairs, here are 14 family camping activities and games certain to create big smiles, hearty laughs, and lasting memories of your trip.
Yes, they take up a ton of room, but if you have the extra space, bring along cornhole boards. Cornhole has gained popularity and can be fun for kids and adults alike. The good news is you can find a version that packs flat with foldable legs and even durable bags to keep them contained and scuff-free. Grab a cornhole board with glow-in-the-dark elements or LED lights to continue playing into the night.
#2 Kite Flying
Check the wind knots for the area – you might have perfect conditions for flying kites! With open ranges like grassy plains and beaches, you can let loose that kite finally and see what she’s made of. According to the American Kitefliers Association, the ideal flying conditions are when the wind speed is 8 to 15 miles per hour.
Whether a tabletop version or a giant lawn Jenga (watch those toes!), Jenga offers a fun family camping activity, rain or shine. Take your Jenga stack inside your tent on a rainy day or even for a nighttime activity. And check out this clever Jenga National Parks Edition – a great way to teach kids!
Checkers makes a classic two-player game and takes up little room in the camp gear. They even have compact rolled canvas versions that slip into backpacks and bins perfectly.
Stargazing is one of Life inTents absolute favorite family camping activities, hands down. So we can’t recommend it enough. Bring a telescope, if you like. Or take in the views with your own eyes and a stargazing app. Just be sure to plan your camping trip during a new moon when the stars are their brightest and be sure to check out our stargazing calendar for special events.
And, of course, consider a Stella Stargazing tent, designed with 360-degree transparent roof panels that let you gaze up into the beautiful night sky.
#6 River Tubing
Perfect for staying cool in hot summer weather! Inflatable water toys like tubes can be easily packed and brought along to waterfront campsites or campgrounds with lakes and rivers. If you’re lucky, you might even find local river tubing companies that offer excursions, picking you up downstream of a lazy river.
#7 Birdwatching (and Other Wildlife)
Pack a pair of binoculars to get an up close glimpse of the local birds and wildlife. It’s a great way to teach patience to littler ones and to create a sense of wonder and appreciation for nature. Plus, it’s an easy excuse for a family hike.
#8 Nature Treasure Hunt
Looking for a fantastic family camping activity and game to last the whole getaway? Create a nature-themed treasure hunt or nature Bingo. Make a checklist of wildlife, bugs, rocks, trees, and even specific landmarks from the area you plan to camp. Then, have the kids search for each item (documenting with a phone pic) and see who spots the most by the end of the trip.
#9 Campfire Stories
Campfire stories are a great way to pass the time and get to know each other, especially if you’re camping with relatives like aunts, uncles, and cousins you don’t see every day.
Not a great off-the-cuff storyteller? Don’t worry! You can always play the Add-a-Sentence game. To play, start with one person giving one sentence, going around in a circle. You can come up with some pretty wild tales this way. Or even try this handy Campfire Stories Card Deck (or the kid-friendly version).
A nice alternative is these Basecamp Cards, which doubles as a deck of playing cards.
If you’re a more rowdy crowd, then play charades. Charades is always an easy family camping activity and game. With only your creativity and imagination, charades can make you laugh and save space in an already packed full car. It’s a no-fail option that’s great for rain or shine. Just mix it up and set the tone with a camping or outdoorsy theme.
Is someone musically talented? Bring a guitar, harmonica, or whatever they play and do a family sing-along style jamboree. Have each family member suggest a song. Just don’t scare off the wildlife or keep your camp neighbors up after dark.
#12 Arts & Crafts
A creative camping activity for the whole family, but perfect for younger ones! Grab some craft supplies (like popsicle sticks, colored paper and stickers) and put together one of these fun camping themed crafts projects.
#13 Paint-By-Numbers or Coloring Books
Pretend your Bob Ross and paint some happy little trees. Pick up a paint-by-numbers kit with an outdoorsy theme related to your trip. Think wildlife and animals, bugs and butterflies, or even landscapes like beaches and mountains.
The pre-mixed paint capsules keep things mess-free and are easy to cap, allowing everyone to pick up where they left off later in the trip (or even back home).
Although, keep the paint-by-numbers for older teens and adults. Instead, choose coloring books for the kiddos. Stick to colored pencils and markers (crayons will melt in the heat).
#14 A DIY Dessert Bar
Don’t just bring chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows for s’mores. Bring a smorgasbord for a DIY dessert bar! From mixing up the base with bananas, marshmallows and apple crumble to creating the finishing touches with sprinkles, cherry pie filling, caramel and chocolate sauce, make an entire dessert spread. There are plenty of creative alternatives to s’mores!
What’s Your Favorite Family Camping Activities?
There’s a lot to pack when planning a family camping trip. So be sure to follow and download the Family Camping Checklist to keep yourself organized. And once you have the essentials – pack the fun too!
Just remember: you don’t have to purchase the coolest newest game to bond with each other. But if you’re stuck for ideas and need help entertaining everyone, just look back to this handy list for some easy ideas.
With countless activities and games to make the most of family camping trips, which is your favorite? Or, better yet, do you have recommendations? Let us know in the comments.
As a former hospitality interior designer with an adventurous spirit and love for travel, I now help interior designers and tourism-related businesses in creating online content and media.