Fun Things to do While Camping – Ideas to Make Memories in the Great Outdoors

Camping with the people you love is the perfect way to spend a weekend or a holiday. Taking to the mountains, setting up camp in a cozy valley or pitching tents by the waterside to take advantage of rivers and lakes is an ideal way of making the most of time with your family and friends, surrounded by natural beauty.

Taking your children camping is a great way of getting them away from the TV and their gadgets. Leaving electronic gadgets at home and being without Wi-Fi can help your kids discover new approaches to having fun. Camping allows them to feel free and use their creativity to fill in the hours under the stars with entertaining camping activities.

Perhaps you have teenagers and they have grand plans of going to college in the near future. Going on a camping trip is an amazing way of spending as much time with them as possible before they leave the nest. It could be the kind of authentic outdoor experience and sweet memory that your child takes with them to their college dorm, and looks back on your camping trips fondly.

If you and your partner want time to be away from the daily grind of working too hard, a camping trip could be the romantic few days together you need to reconnect and de-stress.

Camping is also a fantastic excuse to grab your nearest and dearest friends, and hit the highway with your tents and sleeping bags in tow. It’s an inexpensive option when it comes to going on holiday with the people you love. And what could be more fun than sitting around a campfire with your closest friends, a few beers in hand and the stars above, laughing about old times?

No matter who you go camping with, there are so many things you can do to make the trip unforgettable. From water sports to release your wild side, to animal-spotting with your little ones, to experimenting with outdoor cooking over a steamy barbecue.

Fishing

Fishing has to be one of the most typical camping activities, and we can see why. You get the chance to sit outdoors in the peace and quiet, catching food for dinner that night. 

If you have a creek, river or lake near your campsite, pack your fishing gear and catch some fish for supper. It’s also a nice way of connecting with your loved ones. You can take your children with you, teach them how to fish, chat together and then let them feel the pride at succeeding in catching a fish or two.

Swimming and Snorkeling

Camping by water in the summer is a recipe for success. You can take advantage of the gorgeous weather and take frequent dips in the ice-cold lakes nearby. 

This is the perfect time to teach any young children how to swim and snorkel. Get them counting fish and racing each other, swimming laps of the lake. 

For true relaxation, bring an inflatable such as a donut and park yourself there, with a beer in hand, for as long as you see fit. Lazily float around the lake and watch your kids have a fantastic time splashing around in the water until the sun sets and it’s time for bed.

Cycling

Whether you’re going camping with kids, friends, as a couple or on your own, cycling is a fantastic way of appreciating the great outdoors.

You can bring your own bikes or research the area you will be camping in to see if they have any rental options. Before you go camping, have a look at some routes you can take. 

Perhaps you want an adrenaline rush and mountain biking is the way forward for you, or you want to take a simple, relaxing cycle around country lanes. No matter where you are, cycling outside of your campsite will allow you to see so much more than if you were to stay put by your tent all weekend. 

Barbecue

If you’re a keen cook at home, camping may fill you with dread. You don’t want to live off cup ramen and soggy sandwiches. But camping is actually a great time to experiment with cooking and see how many great meals you can make with a simple camping barbecue.

You may take a gas stove camping or you might be relying on a fire pit. Either way, bringing the utensils, crockery and ingredients you need is key.

You can easily cook up some delicious barbecue dishes, from steak to sausages, or even a pasta or rice meal for dinner. Come prepared with some recipes and a handful of useful spices to bring out the Michelin-star chef in you.

Make S’mores

There are some types of dessert that everyone loves, no arguments. The quintessential camping treat is the humble s’more, and it’s something that the whole family will want to get involved in. 

To avoid disappointment, add the ingredients to your checklist before you leave! Pack those trusty graham crackers, some fluffy marshmallows and delicious chocolate slabs. You can also pack some skewers to perfectly toast the marshmallows on the campfire. If you find yourself without them, you can use some clean twigs you find.

Even simple toasted marshmallows on sticks should hit the spot with your fellow campers, and it’s a great way of getting everyone around the fire together.

Singing and Playing Music

If you went to summer camp as a child, you will probably remember singing songs around the campfire. Why not recreate that with your own jam session!

Bring guitars or ukuleles in the car and any shakers so everyone can join in (pasta or rice in a sealed cup works just as well as a shaker!) and make a list of some songs you all love. 

Light up the campfire, break out the beers for some courage, and sing the night away. This works especially well if you’re the only group on the campsite – you can sing at the top of the lungs to make the trees shake!

In between camping songs, encourage your family to tell ghost stories into a flashlight or play charades to fill the campsite up with laughter.

Scavenger Hunt

If you go camping with children, you may be racking your brain to think of things to do to keep them fully entertained. Without access to Wi-Fi and electrical outlets, you may worry that they will get bored and restless.

Creating a fun scavenger hunt in the woods or by the river is a nice way of spending quality time with your kids without spending a penny. It will keep them entertained for hours and doesn’t take a huge amount of time or effort to create.

Quickly research where you will be camping and make a note of some of the things you can see there, from wildlife, to trees, to flowers. Print off some pictures of each thing you want your children to find on one or two pieces of paper, and give them a pencil to tick off what they find on their hunt. You could use this time to play hide and seek with your kids, encouraging them to get out in nature and tire themselves out for a good night’s sleep!

You could also make fun activities such as ‘take a selfie with a frog’, ‘find the biggest pine cone’ or ‘pick a leaf from this type of tree’ to make it as interactive as possible. Reward their results with toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate by the fire.

Stargazing

For those quiet nights when the fresh air has hit you and made you feel dazed with heavy eyelids, stargazing is your answer to a peaceful late evening activity. 

Drag your sleeping bags out of the tents, lay on blankets, or hang some hammocks between trees, snuggle up and keep your gaze up at the Milky Way. Put on some relaxing music or appreciate the sound of crickets and wind brushing through the trees. Cozy up with your loved ones and wait patiently to catch a shooting star make its way across your eye line.

You could even read up on some constellations and visible planets so you can get your kids learning while looking at the night sky. Count how many shooting stars you see, trace the constellations with your fingers and enjoy the peace and quiet until it’s time to hit the tent for a much-needed sleep.

Wildlife Watching

It doesn’t matter if you’re camping in a field, a forest, a valley, a beach or up a mountain, there is always plenty of wildlife to admire.

Camping trips allow avid bird-watchers to fully immerse themselves in their hobby. Pack a few pairs of binoculars and a bird book and wander under the trees’ canopies, keeping your eyes firmly fixed upward. See how many local or rare birds you can all spot together.

This could also be a fine time to hone your photography skills. Walking around your campsite and other areas could lead you to deer, bears or other wildlife. Stay a comfortable distance away and always be aware of precautions to take with dangerous wildlife. 

If you’re at a safe distance, you can take some photographs and see how many wild animals you can see in one day. Back at the campsite at the end of the day, ask your children to draw their favorite animals from the day. Don’t forget to pack paper and crayons!

Hiking

While you’re out in the hinterland, it would be rude not to explore it! Drag your friends or family away from their tents and the comfort of the campfire, and plan a route with some beautiful sights.

You could arrange a peaceful walk around a lake with a picnic at the halfway point. Or a more strenuous hike up a hill or mountain, with heavenly views promised at the peak.

Pack some delicious snacks and plenty of water and adorn any young children with whistles around their necks in case they wander off into the bush.

Enjoy Some Water Sports

For the thrill-seekers among us, a camping trip is the ideal time to get on one board or another and hit the water. If you happen to be lucky enough to be camping by the ocean and you have some big waves, rent surfboards or bring your own on your car roof and ride those waves back to shore.

For lakes or rivers with calmer water, you could consider stand-up paddle boarding. It is surfing’s much easier cousin and will allow you to make your way across still water with ease. You could rent one or two boards and paddles for a couple of days and make the most of the water nearby.

If surfing or paddle boarding are not for you and you’re looking for something a little easier, take some kayaks or canoes down to the nearest body of water and paddle the day away. Rent tandem kayaks so your kids can partner up with you, and take to the rivers or lakes. You can get new, beautiful views of your surroundings from the waterways when kayaking or canoeing.

Soccer

Do you have kids who constantly have a games controller, phone or tablet in their hands? Well if you manage to pull it from their grasp long enough to get their attention, why not suggest a soccer game?

Getting your family moving, running and having a great time together is an excellent way of sneaking in some exercise. Separate your camping group into two teams, mixing abilities and ages so it’s anyone’s guess on who could win! Find a nice, grassy open field with plenty of room to run, chase and tackle one another.

If soccer isn’t your family’s sport, you could bring a football, some tennis rackets and balls or hula hoops, frisbees and roller skates to keep the little ones entertained.

If the kids are a bit too tired for sports and the fresh air has made them sleepy, play some fun games at your campsite around the campfire. Make shadow puppets against the canvas of your tent with a flashlight, play board games, card games, tell scary stories or play truth or dare.

So when you’re getting ready to set out on your next camping trip, remember – family camping is an amazing way to bond and get to know your loved ones in a whole new way. Whether you’re geocaching, playing some flashlight tag, singing campfire songs, playing capture the flag (which is always more fun at night with glowsticks), birdwatching, or doing any other fun things or camping games you come up with, use that time to take in the camping experience with fun camping activities with your family and friends!

Sam Brooks

Sam Brooks

Hi, my name is Sam Brooks and I'm a huge hiking, fishing and camping enthusiast. I bring my dog Max as often as I can because he also loves the great outdoors. Although I consider myself a private person, I really want to share my passion and knowledge with the readers here at outdoorcommand.com