Fun Camping Activities (Ideas for Both Kids and Adults)

Many people anticipate that camping will take up their free time, but that isn’t the case. It only takes so long to set up a tent, and then you’re faced with free time. What fun activities can you pack or find around the campsite that will keep you or your kids entertained for a weekend away? 

Scavenger hunts, geocaching, rock painting, or making friendship bracelets are some fun camping activities. You can participate in sports like paddleboarding, rock climbing, or paintball. Look for fun backyard games like axe throwing or cornhole. Gaze at the stars, watch birds, or catch fireflies. 

When you need some ideas for what to do on your next trip, here is a comprehensive list of ideas that you can try out. 

What Fun Camping Activities Can You Do? 

You dread the complaints from your children that there’s nothing to do on your next camping excursion.

They’re used to being constantly entertained by screens and video games, but you want to expose them to nature.

You’ll need plenty of fun activities up your sleeve to keep them active and engaged on your trip. Even if you aren’t taking kids camping with you, you can still enjoy some fun activities to keep you busy. 

You can learn about camping with kids from my article.

1. Scavenger Hunt

In a traditional scavenger hunt, someone hides various objects around a given area, and the rest of the group sets out to find them.

This is still a fun option if you have someone in your group who can go to the campsite and get set up. When it isn’t an option, you can institute your hunt using scorecards you find on the internet. 

For example, you might look for wild berries, animal tracks, or a specific type of plant. Tailor your scavenger hunt scorecard to your interests.

Bird watchers may go hunting for specific birds, while gardeners may be more focused on wild plants. The freedom to choose is yours!

Scavenger Hunt

2. Geocaching

Do you love the idea of a scavenger hunt but hate the idea of preparing to host one? Geocaching may be a better fit for you. This is like a scavenger hunt, except you use a GPS device to target specific locations.

You’ll be hunting for geocaches, small hidden containers. All you have to do is download the app to find geocaches near you and start searching!

This is a great team activity, with the winning team cooking dinner or doing another chore back at the campsite. 

3. Rock Painting

If trekking through the woods doesn’t sound like your idea of a good time, maybe you’d prefer a more solitary activity that unleashes your inner creativity.

Bring along some paint pens and spend an hour collecting river rocks. Once they dry out in the sun, you can decorate them.

Leave the rocks at the campsite, hidden for the delight of future campers.  

4. Animal Spotting

There are two ways to play this game: one in the daylight (great for kids) and one at night for the night owls. All you have to do is set out to observe your surroundings.

Note any fresh tracks from animals, piles of scat, or other signs that animals have been nearby recently. Do your best to track them down in the daylight. 

Doing the same thing at night proves more challenging, but you may be surprised at how much more wildlife you’ll find.

Nocturnal animals often go undisturbed because campers are sleeping, so they might be surprised to find you tracking their trails.   

5. Talent Show

Everyone has a special talent of some kind. Whether you can sing a great melody or do famous impressions of our Founding Fathers, it’s time to get up on stage.

Set up a stage before your campfire and draw names to see who goes first. The talent show’s winner gets to choose who takes out the trash that night. 

6. Stargazing

Is there anything more beautiful than looking up at the night sky without the interference of light and cars from the big city? This might be your best chance to observe the night sky. 

Bring along a list of constellations that should be visible in your area (this depends on your geographic location and the time of year).

See how many you can find in an hour or two before you turn in for the night. 

7. Practice Survival Skills

Chances are that you aren’t stranded in the wild at your campsite, but it can be a great time to test those survival skills.

Pretend you’re all alone in the wild and challenge yourself to survive using nothing but your wits and the woods surrounding you. See who can implement survival skills the fastest if you’re with a group. 

What kind of things can you attempt to do to prove that you’re an extreme woodsman or woodswoman?

Build your shelter, start a fire without using a lighter or matches, and even try your hand at foraging for your dinner.

Practice Survival Skills

8. Axe Throwing

Many areas are seeing the latest craze – axe throwing. While it can be a little bit expensive to do at a bonafide axe throwing joint, it’s perfectly suited to camping because it’s a free activity.

All you have to do is bring some type of target, even if you make your own at home using poster board and markers.

Set it up on a tree that won’t be hurt if you embed an axe in it. Then, clear out the area around the tree and ensure no one walks in front of it.

Get ready and throw your axe to let out some pent-up aggression from a stressful work week.

9. Rock Climbing or Bouldering

To practice your camping skills, you don’t have to be an expert climber. Look for the kind of massive boulder that you can scale or a small incline where you can try out your climbing skills.

Remember that you’ll need to bring the right safety equipment, like a harness, if you want to climb any significant inclines. 

If rock climbing isn’t your thing, consider tree climbing instead. It might be a little easier to start, and you can go just as high as you feel comfortable with instead of striving to reach the top. 

10. Paintball

Is there anything better than running free in the woods, hunting down the rest of your camping party to splatter them with paint?

It might not feel good to be hit by a paintball moving as fast as a bullet, but it sure does get the adrenaline pumping to run through the woods, knowing what might be looming around the corner.  

11. Birdwatching

You won’t need anything to participate in this pastime. Campers can easily head into the woods and sit very still, waiting for these songbirds to come to them.

A pair of binoculars is useful for the more advanced birdwatchers who want to see farther away in greater detail.

However, most people don’t even need this to start accurately identifying birds in their region. 

12. Make Friendship Bracelets

If you want a small memento to remind you of good times with your friends in the woods, bring along some embroidery thread and make friendship bracelets.

At the end of your trip, you can trade designs with your friends and tie them around your wrist. You’ll have a real reminder of just how much fun you had on your latest trip every time you look down. 

13. Backyard Games

Most people think of backyard games like horseshoes and ring toss, but there are others on the market that you can take on your next camping trip.

Cornhole is always a popular option because it can be played in teams with larger groups. Other possibilities include bocce ball or ladder toss.

Backyard Games

14. Catch Fireflies

While most people don’t relish the idea of insects on their camping trip, there is one notable exception: fireflies.

Both adults and children love to see these luminescent bugs, and catching one of these fireflies brings back childhood nostalgia.

Bring a few mason jars (with holes in the lids) to catch them. Enjoy their glow for a little while, then set them free for others to enjoy. 

15. Experiment with Campfire Cooking

Professional chefs can make do with just about any ingredient you throw their way. Put your skills to the test with campfire cooking.

Instead of hot dogs on a skewer or s’mores, bring along some wacky ingredients like bananas, gummy worms, and chocolate cookies.

See who can make the best snack out of the ingredients that you brought. It’s sort of like being on a campfire edition of Chopped. 

16. Enjoy the Water

Campers fortunate enough to be near the water will want to do their best to enjoy the surroundings. Bring a paddleboard or rent one from the campground if you want a challenging excursion.

Otherwise, pack a giant float so that you can enjoy the water in style. Remember not to float too far downriver, or you’ll have a long trip back to the campsite! 

Canoeing and kayaking are other great options that get you out on the water and allow you to see nature from a new perspective. 

17. Water Balloons

As long as you aren’t camping in the middle of winter, you might be looking for some fun ways to cool off. If you don’t have water nearby, you can bring your water source as water balloons.

Campsites that don’t have running water will require you to prepare the balloons at home before you leave. 

18. Shadow Puppets

This is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. As the sun starts to go down, gather around the campfire and try your hand at making shadow puppets.

This is something you can practice using a flashlight at home so that you can impress your friends and family with your skills. 

For an added challenge, try to tell an entire story using nothing but shadow puppets for the visual. Allow your kids to make up the story as you try to follow along, making shadow puppets. Then, switch roles! 

19. Bring a Camera

Now that most people have smartphones in their pockets, the need to bring a deluxe camera is no more. Instead, you can whip out your phone and take pictures of the beauty surrounding you.

Have competitions with your friends to see who can take the best scene picture. Alternatively, you can all head off in different directions and see who comes back with the most beautiful picture.

The bonus to taking tons of pictures on your camping trip is that you’ll have a memento to recall your fun on the trip.

You can start a scrapbook with them or hang them in your house. If you decide to start a scrapbook, include other finds from your camping trips, such as pressed flowers or leaves.

Bring a Camera

20. Alphabet Game

This is a particularly fun game for children learning their alphabet or spelling, but adults can often have fun with it too. The first person must find an item in the area that starts with A.

The next person must find an item that starts with B. The goal is to get through the alphabet, one person at a time. It’ll force you to get creative and observant of the items around your campsite! 

21. Hammock

Part of the reason you wanted to head into the woods was so that you could relax. Hanging a hammock is fun, but it isn’t nearly as fun as enjoying that hammock when you’re finished.

You can spend time in your hammock sketching your surroundings, reading a good book, or simply taking a nap. There’s no wrong way to enjoy your downtime! 

22. Foraging

If you want a fun activity that leads to a full belly, you might want to try your hand at foraging. Look for edible plants, mushrooms, berries, and other items you could make as part of your dinner.

You might even want to bring along a fishing pole to get the catch of the day. It might take a while to find enough to fill you up, and you might not find anything on some trips.

Always pack backup food in case your foraging trip doesn’t work out.  

Make Memories with These Camping Activities…

Camping is a great way to spend time outdoors, but nobody wants to tag along on a trip just to feel bored.

Fortunately, you can do many things to enjoy your surroundings, and these 22 activities are just the starting point.

You can also pack cards, board games, and anything else you enjoy doing in your leisure time. Use this list as a jumping-off point to help you plan the perfect weekend getaway!

Shailen Vandeyar

A proud Indian origin Kiwi who loves to plant trees and play with his pet bunny when not out in the woods, exploring the infinite beauty of mother nature.

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