The Ultimate List of Camping Activities For Families (20 Awesome Ideas)

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List of Camping Activities

Summer is just around the corner, and for many people, that means camping! It’s finally time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. 

Camping is a wonderful way to spend quality time with family and friends in a natural setting. It also gives you a chance to escape from home life and spend time with family, friends, or loved ones. 

Camping is not just about setting up a tent, cooking over an open fire with the campers, and occasionally sleeping under the stars. There are many fun activities you can enjoy together.

But if you’re not sure what to do for your next camping trip, we’ve created this list of camping activities that can help make any trip more exciting and memorable.

Let’s get into it!

List of Camping Activities

Some activities listed in this article might not be suitable for a certain group of people—for example, very young children or elders. Use your judgment to decide which one is the best for everyone.

Stargazing 

Stargazing

Stargazing while camping is a great way to bond with your son or daughter. You can share all of the knowledge you know about astronomy and learn more from one another.

In addition, it can become a very romantic and educational moment for you and your loved one if you have some basic knowledge of Greek and Roman mythology.

However, to best take advantage of these opportunities, you should follow a few basic tips: 

  • Brush up on your astronomy.  Get a few astronomy books and learn the basic constellations in your area at that time of year. Another source of knowledge can be the local university or weatherman to get further specifics on what to look for.  
  • Avoid bringing along a bulking telescope.  Instead, tote a good pair of binoculars with great range. In actuality, binoculars are simply to telescopes, so in the interest of space and binoculars, other possible uses (bird and animal watching), opt for a good pair to do some extra viewing.   
  • Bring along a good blanket or jacket to lie back on.  It will make your viewing that much more comfortable as you are likely to spend upwards of an hour viewing the stars. 

Did you know?

The Milky Way is a disk that measures about 120,000 light-years across. Its warped shape can be attributed to nearby galaxies in close proximity – namely Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. 

Hiking

Hiking

Hiking is a fun and inexpensive way to spend time with your spouse and children. There’s no telling what you’ll find along the trail, whether it’s an animal’s tracks or Hawk flying overhead.

Also, hiking is a great way to teach them about nature and instill in them the love of physical fitness.

You can even hike the same trail over and over again and see something new each time hiking. Outside is full of surprises, and it’s a great way for children to use their imagination.

Hiking activity is also connected to greater physical and mental well-being. Before stepping on any trail, you’ll need to plan and pack.

For your first hike, choose a trail that is close to your tent. Pick an easy trail, something one-mile round-trip and is mostly flat. 

Let your kids participate in planning what do they want to see. Speaking of packing, Make sure you have sufficient supplies for your trip.

The most important things you need to bring for the hike are:

  • enough water for everyone
  • sunscreen to prevent sunburn
  • sunglasses
  • hats
  • first aid kit
  • plenty of snacks
  • bug spray
  • layers of clothing (for cold weather)
  • camera
  • raincoat
  • guidebook
  • compass

Did you know?

Many studies associate regular time in nature, like hiking, to increase brain activity, reduced stress levels, ADHD, and depression in children.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

While you’re hiking, why not enjoy birdwatching together? Being away from the city, you have the opportunity to see several different types of birds that you would otherwise not be able to appreciate or follow. Here is a chance to see them in their natural habitat.

When you go camping, it may be more difficult to study the birds without a feeder. Since you will find them in their natural habitat and walking around might disturb them. 

Tell your kids not to make any noise and instead observe. You can also bring binoculars so that they can get closer looks. See the recommendation here.

A birdwatching journal is a great way to document the observations with detailed notes. Encourage your kids to note different aspects of the birds’ behavior. 

Are they singing? Perching? Walking? Swimming? Making nests? 

The journal will broaden their (and you too) knowledge about birds species. Hopefully, they will appreciate this amazing creature.

Did you know?

The world has an estimated 9,600 bird species, and 2,000 or so have been recorded in North America alone. Bird watching also is the fastest-growing outdoor activity in America. Click here to find more details about birds.

Exploring and Learning about Trees and Nature

Trees and nature

Children can learn many interesting facts about plants through plant identification, especially when the trees are indigenous to your campsite area.

You can help them learn how to identify poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison oak, and poodle dog bush. Learning about these dangerous florae will give your kids all the necessary knowledge to protect themselves from potential harm.

Another way to learn about nature is by doing nature scavenger hunts. It’s a great way to sharpen identification skills. 

Identify the different colors of flowers and types of trees will broaden their knowledge and instill a love for nature at a young age.

Learning about trees and nature is not only about your children – but you as an adult. 

This activity makes you realize that trees are a wonderful part of nature. They are amazing and beautiful machines constantly working to make Earth a healthier planet.

Did you know?

Trees not only can improve our air quality but also can reduce the crime rate. Researchers have found that apartments with trees had fewer crimes than those without any greenery.

Treasure Hunters

Treasure Hunting

If you want to make your camping trip more exciting, consider a treasure hunter game. 

To make it a more exciting activity, any one of you can pretend to be Jack Sparrow of the Pirate of the Caribbean or Indiana Jones, searching for the hiding treasures somewhere near the campsite.

Before you leave on your trip, print out free topographic maps of areas near your campground. Hide small “treasures” for campers to find with the maps, and write clues on the back of the maps to help them find the treasures. 

Another fun treasure hunt is to bring plastic Easter eggs filled with little treats and hide them around the campsite for children to find. Make the hiding places more challenging for older kids.

Did you know?

The Gold-Bug, Wolfert Webber, and Treasure Island are all famous pirate stories used to popularize the myth of buried treasure. 

Biking

Biking

Do you want to know the best way to experience nature in a new way? Then take your bike with you on your next camping trip. It’s a great way to get exercise, explore new places, and enjoy some of the best scenery near to your campsite.

Here are some tips for having the best time possible on your camping biking adventure:   

  • Bring plenty of water 
  • Bring a camera
  • Pack snacks 
  • Wear sunscreen 
  • Bring along extra clothes 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Be careful on steep hills

Give this fun idea a try and see what adventures await! Your family or friends will have a good time together.

Did you know?

Among the popular places to go camping and biking in the US are Tsali (North Carolina), Santos (Florida), and Warner and Oowah Lake Campgrounds (Utah). You can read more details in this post.

Starting Fires Without Matches

Starting Fires Without Matches

Learning how to start a fire without matches and lighters is essential for survival in the wilderness. It can be a fun game to do when camping. Make it into an enjoyable competition with your friends or family and see who is the best.

If you have flint and steel, it is possible to start a fire without matches. You can use this old-fashioned method of striking the metal against each other to create sparks that will ignite dry tinder, such as straw or grasses, very quickly.

Another method you could practice is by using a bow drill technique. Here’s how to make the bow drill:

  • Get your bow stick, which should be strong and relatively inflexible to not slacken under moderate tension, and tightly secure your string, forming a bow. (The string should be just slack enough to be able to loop it around the spindle once.)
  • Now take your fireboard and make a small gouge in it, near the edge. This gouge should be made so the spindle can fit snugly into it – not too tight, but certainly not too loose. 
  • Cut a V-shaped notch out from the board edge to the gouge you just made so you can place the tinder right up to where the friction is, creating the most heat.
  • The rest is just placing the spindle into the gouge, looping the bow-string around the spindle once, and capping it with the wood or stone you have prepared. 
  • If the tinder is dry and close enough to the “action,” it’ll begin smoldering almost immediately, catching fire after about 20 or 30 seconds of pumping the bow.
  • Also, make sure the top end of the spindle is somewhat pointy. You want to minimize friction in all places, but the business ends down at the bottom. 
  • Lubricating this top end is also recommended to lessen friction further.

You’ve made it!. Congratulation!

Did you know?

You can start a fire without matches by using a magnifying glass. This technique was found by a guy named Augustin-Jean Fresnel in the early 1800s. The general idea is to focus the sun’s rays into a single point of light and generate sufficient heat or sparks, which will create small smoking. You can get Fresnel Lens Fire Starter here.

Campfire

Campfire

A camping trip is not a camping trip without a campfire. There are many things families, and friends can do in the glow of the flames – roasting marshmallows and hotdog are just the start.

Everyone loves a good campfire. Whether it is just some friends and good conversation or planned out with skits, songs, and the whole works, they are a ton of fun and a great way to bond together. 

Also, if you bring your kids camping for the first time, this is the best time for them to learn a new survival skill like how to start a campfire.

Your family will have a good time building a fire, and all eat dinner together. Afterward, around the dark time, you can sit around telling stories, have great conversations, and gaze at the stars—a perfect night.

Did you know?

The color of the flames comes from soot, which becomes incandescent when hot and emits thermal radiation in the form of red or bluish-white light. The red light comes from the coolest part of the fire, while the bluish-white comes from the hottest. (Source)

Fishing

Fishing

Fishing while camping is a great way to bond with your family and get the kids involved in a new hobby. You can show off your fishing skill to them while also trying out some culinary skills, like cooking up grilled fish for dinner on an open fire.

To begin, you’re going to need some essential fishing gear. Spincast fishing reels are the easiest gear to learn for fishing for a beginner. They allow you to cast with ease and handle anything that goes wrong without getting caught up in the line. 

You simply press and hold down the button, cast the fishing pole towards the water, and release the button once your bait hits the water. As for your kids, they should get a spincast lightweight reel with a light rod as their first experience in angling. 

There are special spincast combo designs like this for your kids to practice. The bright colors and characters of this fishing spincast reel help to get kids excited for fishing.

Did you know?

Whether you’re fishing next to a river or lake, You will need a license in the state (USA) in which you are fishing. Read here for more details.

Deer Hunting

Deer Hunting

Why not take your next hunting trip to the woods with a deer hunter camping adventure? A deer hunting camping trip with family and friends is a great way to spend time outdoors. It seems like an extreme camping activity, especially with children, but it can be done if you plan ahead. 

Before you set out on your camping trip, make sure to pack all of the gears and supplies. This includes firearms, bows and arrows, safety belts, harnesses, and binoculars so we can spot any deer from afar.

Deer hunting is a very tiring experience but very rewarding if you find a prized head of a whitetail buck. Don’t forget to bring enough food along with you.

Did you know?

Every state might have different deer hunting regulations. Before you start your hunting trip, you should get permission from the relevant department. You might want to check out the hunting regulations at the links below:

Learn To Swim

Learn to swim

If you’re camping next to the lake, brook, or river, teach your kids how to swim. This is an important life skill that all of us should know.

Children who learn at a young age are more likely confident in any environment involving water when they are growing up.

But first, before you ready for the plunge, make sure it’s safe for swimming. Swimming doesn’t need expensive gear: just wear a swimsuit or swimming trunks. 

If you have young children, consider bringing a safety vest and inflatable float ring (if needed). When your kids know how to swim, you can introduce them to kayaking or canoeing in future trips for more fun.

Did you know?

Breaststroke is typically the easiest for beginners to learn because it allows you to keep your head above water at all times.

Stimulating Games

Stimulating games

The best way to spend time with your family is by playing stimulating games like board games. They teach you about strategy, foster skills in math and reading comprehension, help improve communication between players. 

And don’t forget that it’s a great opportunity for you to bond with your children while teaching them valuable life lessons through playtime.

Some of the amazing family-friendly board games you can bring for camping are:

However, if you do not want to bring those bulky board games with you, you can also spend some time playing card games.

If you want to explore the wilderness, you can also prepare some active games for the trip. Great games that you can play outdoors include frisbee and flag football. A game of Duck Duck Goose around the campfire can also keep your small children entertained.

Did you know?

In 1979, the classic game Battleship was adapted to a computer format. This is one of the earliest examples of video games that are still popular today.

Telling Ghost Stories

Telling ghost stories

Do you still remember some of your childhood memories of hearing ghost stories from your parent? Why not sit around the campfire and telling stories to your kids or adults while roasting the marshmallows.

Campfire stories are best told dramatically. Using different voices, sound effects, and some creativeness can add to the scariness of your story. Here are some of the campfire ghost storytelling tips:

  • The atmosphere around your camping site is very important. Choose a dark night with a wind howling softly in the background that will make your stories scarier.
  • Begin telling your stories with a soft voice to get people to pay attention. Then as you reach the climax of the story, it gradually gets louder.
  • Just before the punch line, PAUSE for dramatic effect. It will build up suspense for your audience as they are eagerly waiting for what will happen next.
  • Jumping up and pouncing at a person in the audience will add that little extra element of suspense.
  • Before the story, you can have one of your family members (partner in crime) make a loud and scary noise.
  • Here’s the fun part. Hold a flashlight under your face and move it wildly as you scream at the top of your lungs. I’m pretty sure your kids will start screaming uncontrollably.

Not sure what are the scariest ghost stories you can tell? 

How about The Vanishing Hitchhiker, The Ring, Bloody Mary, Kid Looking for a Report Card, Trapped in a Cemetery, or Hanged Man in the Shower. There are many more and the best one might the stories told by your parent in the past. 

Did you know?

The Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark trilogy written by Alvin Schwartz in 1981 became a cult classic for preteens due to its dark content deemed too frightening and disturbing for younger children.

Story Tellers

Story teller

Instead of telling ghost stories, try something more challenging. Have each person tell one sentence from a scary or adventurous story while sitting around the campfire to keep it interesting and exciting as long as possible.

Other story ideas are to take a very famous movie or novel and re-tell the sillier or more impossible, the better. 

Another favorite idea is called Behind The Music – someone tells a short story, then another person sings an original song based on that tale.

This can be even more entertaining if someone brings along a guitar and accompanies the singer.

You could also entertain your children with family stories. Share some of the best moments you’ve experienced on all that’s happened over time and make them feel more connected.

Did you know?

Storytelling is an ancient art. Stories are what make our lives meaningful and memorable. They can be passed on through paintings, writings, or even the walls of a cave to tell how history is moving forward.

Vlogging

Vlogging

Have you ever thought about starting a camping Vlog? The rise of social media has made vlogging even more popular – thanks to YouTube! You can share your experience and lives on camera. 

And not only that – it’s also a great way to earn money!

Vlogging doesn’t require fancy equipment or cameras. A good quality camera like an iPhone or Samsung can produce excellent videos for your camping activities. Most of them can record 4K videos.

Of course, if you’re very serious about vlogging, you can invest in more expensive gadgets like GoPro, external microphones, and even drones.

Don’t know where to start? Maybe share videos on how your family members or friends work together to set up the tent. Or, maybe capturing landscapes or the journey is walking along the trails.

Did you know?

If your camping video channel has over 10,000 subscribers, you can access one of the YouTube Spaces dotted across the world. You can use professional sound stages and filming equipment that will bring your vlogging channel to the next level. (Source)

Orienteering With Map And Compass Or GPS

Orienteering With Map

Orienteering is a sport that challenges the intellect and the body. It’s an outdoor adventure game where you navigate through a series of control points marked on unique orienteering maps, signing in as soon as you reach each point to show your progress. 

Orienteering is about navigating cross-country with a detailed map. To become an accomplished orienteer, you must first learn how to step off of a consistent pace for distance and find your way on the course. 

GPS devices are popular and can locate your position within a few feet, but they should not be relied on until you have prepared yourself with the basics like a map and compass.

To start, you must create a course on a map nearby your camping site. Then, place any of your family members at the starting point and direction and all between points and bearings. Next, instruct him/her to find the target.

However, to make this challenging activity successful, your family members or friends must be familiar with map reading and the use of a protractor and compass. 

Did you know?

The idea of a Geo Positioning System or GPS was based on LORAN and Decca Navigation Systems. They were used during World War II to help the navigation of ships and planes at a long-range.

Canoeing

Canoeing

If you have a pickup truck, taking an enjoyable canoe trip is one way to make your group or family caping more memorable. It can be a bit challenging, but it can give you a genuine adventure experience.

For adults, paddling a canoe while enjoying the picturesque surrounding can be therapeutic and relaxing. For kids, though, it might not be very exciting or interesting to them. 

You can consider paddling close to the shore for a few minutes to provide everyone an opportunity to watch for animals and birds and look for unique beach rocks.

Having your own canoes will make the best possible canoeing experience for your trip. You can see this fun activity together whenever you want. But, if you don’t have them, you could always consider renting them.

Did you know?

The Green River is a great back-country flatwater canoeing adventure, with beautiful scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. It can be an excellent camping trip for families with younger children.

Knot Tying

Knot Tying

Knot tying is a great way for kids and adults to have fun together. For those who know how to tie knots, the activity becomes even better when building something with rope and sticks. For example: build a fort, a shelter, a bridge, or even a catapult.

Knot-tying is an invaluable life skill that your kids should know. Knowing how to tie knots can save their day, and most importantly, it may even save theirs lives someday.

Learning some of these essential knots will prepare them for nearly any circumstance, whether they’re securing a tent or trying out the camping gear.

Watch the video below to learn how to tie knots for camping.

Did you know?

Gorillas and weaver birds have impressive knot-tying abilities, but neither is known to wear a climbing harness.

Practice Knife And Hatchet Throwing

Knife And Hatchet Throwing

Learning to throw a knife and hatchet when camping will make the camping experience more exciting. Knife throwing is much harder than throwing a hatchet because it has less weight. But both are fun techniques that every man should learn.

Knife and hatchet throwing is a fun activity that can be challenging but rewarding once you get the hang of it. It’s like playing darts, only much more manly! Young children should not be practicing knife & hatchet-throwing because it could be resulting in serious injury. 

Make sure before you do this kind of activity, always check the campsite regulation where you’re camping because some states that are carrying knives are illegal.

To start, it would be better if you can get a knife that’s made just for that like these. The next thing that you need is you want to have a good target made of wood. 

Watch the video below to learn some techniques for throwing knives.

Did you know?

You can spin this knife in two different ways, depending on where you hold it. Holding the blade will make only half of a rotation, while holding from the handle will result in one rotation in full.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

If you’re camping somewhere near the Yosemite Valley or Red River Gorge (or any rock climbing place), why not consider the rock climbing activities.

Rock climbing is not just for grownups, but it can also be fun and beneficial to your kids. It has many benefits, including boosting one’s esteem by pushing their limits physically and mentally.

Rock climbing requires some preparation. You need to have essential gear like ropes, harnesses, quickdraws, protection devices, water bottles, first aid kits, etc.

If you never rock climbing before, reading rock climbing instructional books and watching rock climbing videos will all enhance your experience, lessen your learning curve, and avoid possible injuries.

Did you know?

Did you know Easton rock climbing isn’t just for adults? It’s a hobby even our smallest family member can enjoy. It’s a fun-filled, exciting activity that’s not just for grownups but also kids. Learn more here.

Conclusion

It’s important to remember that camping is a lot more than just the activities. Don’t forget about downtime and enjoying the experience. 

Make sure you bring some good books, magazines, or games for those slow moments in between all your fun activities.

We hope this blog post has proved to be helpful and informative for you. If by chance you’re also looking for a camping tent, check out our articles below: