Best Camping Activities

In today’s world of hustle and bustle, everyone is busy and working and life can get stressful for the entire family.   Taking a family camping trip can be very relaxing and enjoyable for the entire family.  There are many different places to go camping and many different vessels to camp in, from a tent to a camper or motorhome.  Camping can help to bring your family back together by allowing quality family time and working on setting up and maintaining your camp as a family.  It is a fun and exciting adventure for the young and the old alike.  Enjoying the wilderness, seeing the wildlife in a peaceful setting can give your family the recharge that they need.

Gather Your Firewood

One of the first things that is really good to do, is for the entire family to take a walk if you are in an area where it is allowed, close to your camp, and pick-up firewood.  This gives you the opportunity to get out and stretch after your ride and allows you to become a little familiar with the area around your campsite.  Even allow the smaller ones to carry or drag a piece of wood or small limb back to your camp, this lets them feel included.  If you are not allowed to gather downed wood, then it is best to go purchase wood for your fire.

Enjoying Your Campfire

Your campfire is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable places around your camp.  Sitting around the fire at night as a family, watching the flames, and telling stories or singing songs is a great way to get everyone involved and having fun.  A campfire is a great place to roast marshmallows or to make smores which everyone will enjoy.  Roasting hot dogs is another great activity utilizing your fire that makes a great dinner giving you time to feed everyone and still get your camp set up.

Playing Horseshoes

Bring your horseshoes and pegs and set up a game of old-fashioned horseshoes for your entertainment.  Your smaller ones might not throw a ringer at first but is entertaining and fun for the entire family.   If the younger ones don’t know how to play it’s easy to teach them how.   There isn’t much to horseshoes in keeping score except for knowing the shoe that is thrown must be within a shoe’s width of the peg to score and then there is the leaner and of course the famous ringer that everyone tries for.  It is fun and good exercise.

Ladder Toss Game

Ladder toss is a fun and easy game to transport, most of the ladders are folding and the balls connect to the frame.  It is an easy setup and take-down game that works well for the entire family.  It comes with 2 ladders each having 3 different colored rungs.  Most sets come with 6 sets of bola balls, in two different colors, ex 3 blue, and 3 red.  This helps to keep the balls separate for each team so there is no doubt who threw which color. These are two balls that are attached by a rope.  Divide in teams of 2 players set the ladders about 13 feet apart.  Throw the bolas at the ladders and try to wrap your rope around the rungs.  The top run scores as 3 points, the middle as 2 points, and the bottom as one point.  The team that reaches 21 first wins the round.  

Hiking The Trails

Hiking is a great family activity to enjoy while you are camping.  Many areas have nature trails with marked out hiking paths that you can take.  Let everyone have their own backpacks so that they can have what they want with them for the day and don’t forget the picnic lunch.  Stay together as a group and walk the marked trails looking at all of the beauty of the great outdoors.  This is great exercise and can be quite educational for the younger ones in your group.

Bird Watching 

Birdwatching is a great adventure and can help you to remember the different kinds of birds in your area.  Your local conservation department many times has free guides to various birds so you can see how many you can find.  This can be quite tricky because birds spook and fly away quickly, so if you are trying to get a good view, you must be quiet and sneak up, so they do not fly away before you get a good look.  Bringing a pair or two of binoculars can help you to get a good look at various birds before you have to get too close.

Fishing From The Bank

Fishing is a great way to spend the day watching your young ones catch their first fish will bring many family memories.  Be sure to check the area where you are and see if you need a fishing license.  If you are out of state from where you live you can get a day fishing license, so you do not encounter any problems with the laws.  There are many different types of fish that you can catch from a stream or even a lake.  There are perch, bass, crappie, and catfish to just name a few.  You can obtain a book with your license that shows you pictures of different fish and size limits so that you know what you caught.  It is always fun to see who catches the most and the biggest fish.


Everyone in your group taking pictures during your camping trip can be fun.  Make sure everyone has a camera, even if it is a disposable one for the children.  See who can come up with the most unique picture.  Take pictures of wildlife, scenery in the beautiful outdoors, also take pictures of your activities so you will have them for memories for many years to come.  Most everyone today has a phone that can take pictures, so use your phone.

Family Swimming Time

Swimming is normally one activity that everyone enjoys.  You can normally swim in a pool if there is one where you are camping or nearby.  You can also swim in the river or lake that is nearby.  Swimming is good exercise and a great way to relax and enjoy the sunshine.  Many lakes have roped off swimming areas and man-made beaches for everyone to enjoy.  Many times, there are picnic tables and grills near the swimming area so that you can enjoy your lunch or just sit and relax in the shade.

Marco Polo Water Game

Marco Polo is a fun game that can be played in the water by the entire family.  One player will close their eyes and yell Marco, while the rest of the group will yell Polo.  The person with their eyes closed has to try to follow someone’s voice and tag that person.  Once someone is tagged, they become the person to have their eyes closed and yell Marco.  If smaller children are playing it is wise to have someone sitting out and watching the group, making sure everyone stays safe.

Building Sandcastles

Building sandcastles on a beach, be it man-made or near an ocean, gives everyone the opportunity to show off their creative side.  Packing sand in pails and emptying it out makes a great base so that you can continue building up on your castle.  You can all work on the same one or everyone can create their own seeing who can make the best design.  When creating more than one, you can create your own kingdom, giving your family hours of fun.

Canoeing or Rafting 

Many places offer you the ability to rent canoes or rafts to float down the river or to play in the lake.  This can be a fun and exciting day for the entire family.  When you rent a floating vessel, most places will take you to the starting places and get you in the water.  When the day is over, they will be at the end where you take out and pick you up.  This gives you the opportunity to stop and swim, explore new areas, and picnic along the waterways, enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful nature around the water.

Playground Equipment For The Kids

Some campgrounds offer certain things to do like playground equipment for the younger children.  Many times, they have swing sets, slides, and merry-go-rounds.  This helps to keep the younger ones entertained while you relax and read a book or just relax and do nothing.  Watching your children swing or slide down the slide can be rewarding, knowing they are having a good time and laughing.  This also helps you to relax and just enjoy some downtime.

Tether Ball Competitions

Tether Ball is something that is found in many different places and is enjoyed by the young and old.  This consists of a pole with a ball tied to a string near the top of it.  The goal is to see who can wrap the string around the pole while your opponent tries to block it.  Many kids of all ages enjoy this activity trying to outdo each other.  This is a great activity for teenagers who are sometimes hard to get involved in activities.

Basketball Hoops

Many places install basketball goals for your enjoyment.  You can put together a team and play a game or just shoot hoops, trying to see who can make the most.  Many people take advantage of the basketball goals, as a form of exercise or family bonding time.  This helps the younger ones get to practice and learn tips from the older ones as they enjoy their time on your outing.  

Arcade Games For All

Some campgrounds offer arcade rooms with a variety of games and pool tables.  This is a great change for a rainy afternoon when you can not do much outside without being in the rain.  Of course, these machines cost so have a way to get change or take some quarters to the arcade with you.  Having some indoor activities like this can help to reduce the boredom of being stuck inside a tent or camper on a rainy day.

Horseback Riding On The Trails

When horseback riding is offered, most people love to take a trail ride.  Some places will rent horses and give guided trail rides.  Most all places that offer this will require you to sign a waiver for liability in case someone falls off and gets hurt.  Many of these trail rides last around an hour and go through the trails in the woods or around a lake for a beautiful scenery ride.  Check with the stables or the coordinator for age and weight limits.  This can vary for different stables, depending upon the horses that they have available.

Tennis Courts For Your Enjoyment

Some camping areas have tennis courts and an activity center where you can check out or rent equipment such as tennis rackets and balls.  Tennis is a great family activity for exercise and teamwork.  Many people play tennis as a fun activity and exercise, while others play on teams through schools and some actually play professionally.  It is a great sport for your children to learn to see if they have an interest in learning more about tennis.

Movies For A Rainy Day

Movies are a great option if there is an indoor movie room or theatre.  Sometimes in an activity center, some places will have a movie room and have a list and times of different movies they will be playing.  If it is a rainy day or just a scheduled slow day with not a lot of activities planned, catching a family movie together could be a great time.  Sometimes at dusk, there are places that will show an outdoor movie on a big screen.  This is a fun adventure in itself, bring your blankets or lawn chairs, snacks, and drinks and kick back and watch an outdoor movie on the big screen.  

Foil Packs on The Campfire

Making foil packs on the embers of your campfire is a great way to involve the entire family.  Take aluminum foil and layer it about 3 layers, to keep your food from burning.  Make hamburger patties and place one in each foil, you can add potatoes, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, add a pat of butter, or any seasonings that you want, or anything else that you like to your packs.  Let everyone add the side food they want to their burger, that way everyone has the dinner of their choice.  Make sure that each one is wrapped totally in aluminum foil, so none of your choices fall out.  Put the packs when finished on the coals from your fire and watch them cook.   Enjoy a fresh hot dinner that everyone helped to prepare their own.  

Cloud Watching

Laying on your back in the grass watching the clouds drift by looking for different shapes in the sky, can actually be a fun activity for the entire family.  It is relaxing and entertaining to see what you can find in the clouds.  You might be surprised what you can find such as a dog, horse, cat, or even a lion.  With a little imagination, you might find a car, or a house, maybe even a tent.  See if anyone else sees the same shapes that you do in the clouds.

Family Bicycle Riding 

There are many places that have bicycle trails that you can take a bike ride on.  Most are paved for easy riding, with many natural beauties to enjoy along the way.  You can bring your own bicycles or there are places that you can rent them, so you are not having to try to haul yours from home.  If you plan on renting, call ahead of time, and make sure there are rentals available.

Making Campfire Popcorn

This can bring the entire family around the fire, with the popping sound and popcorn smell.  Use a Dutch oven with a lid or some kind of fire-safe all-metal pot or cast-iron pot and lid.  You can set a pot that has no melting parts in the fire on where it sets solid.   Put oil and popcorn kernels in the pot with a lid and set it on the fire if you wish.  Make sure you have heavy potholders to move the pot.  You can also set a pot on the grill above your fire allowing it to pop similar to what you would when making popcorn like this at home.  This makes a great snack sitting around camp or popcorn to take to movie night.

Boating On The Pontoon

When you are near a lake, there are normally many marinas that you can rent boats from.  If you have your own, then of course bring it along.  Boating can provide many hours of entertainment for the entire family.   Just out riding enjoying the scenery is amazing on most lakes.  If you have to rent a boat, there are pontoon boats, jet boats, boats that you can ski behind or pull a tube, which both prove to be a lot of fun.  Many hours can be enjoyed by being on the waterways of the area that you are camping near.

Water Skiing On The Lake

If you are brave enough or active enough, skiing on the lake behind a boat can be a great thrill for many.  There are marinas where you can rent the boat and the skis for a full day of exciting fun.  Make sure that you follow the safety guidelines and the rules for where you are on the water, these are made for safety reasons.  Make sure when you have someone on skis behind a boat that you also have a flagman to raise the flag when the skier goes down.

Tubing Behind The Boat

Being pulled behind the boat on a tube is a great amount of fun.  You do not have to be as active on the tube as you do on skis.  Relax, but hang on because as the driver of the boat makes their turns and pulls you over the waves, the tube will bounce and lean and you could fall off.  There are many different types of tubes some shaped like animals, others are just round and for one person, while you can get larger ones that will hold more than one person.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding

If you have the balance to stand up on a paddle board and paddle yourself around the lake area, this is a new activity that is taking many lakes by storm.  It is surprising how swiftly you can cruise on these from one point to another.  This is a rapidly growing activity and is being enjoyed by the young and old alike.  But beware, if you lose your balance, be ready to take a swim.   You can bring your own or rent one from many jet skis places or local marinas.  

Riding Jet Skis On The Lake

On the lake on any given weekend, you will see jet skis darting about everywhere.  If you do not have your own to bring, your local marina or jet ski rental nearby should have one for you to rent.  They come in different sizes for one rider and bigger ones for more than one.  If you have children getting a bigger one so that you can take them out for rides is probably a good idea.  Know your laws that govern the lakes and jet ski riding, so that you will not get stopped and have to deal with issues.  Just taking leisurely rides is great fun and if you are a bit more experienced, a little hot-dogging is fun too.

Sail Boating On The Lake

Some marinas have sailboats that you can rent so you can just let the wind be in the sails, and power you around the lake.  If you do not know how to operate one, some places offer lessons to teach you how.  This can be a relaxing event as you glide around the lake taking in the sites and the beauty that nature has left for you to enjoy.  It is important to know how to operate the sails, because that is how you steer your vessel.

Family Paddle Boating

Paddle boats can also be rented at many lake areas.  These are fun and many times can seat 4 people.  The people that ride in the front have to do the pedaling, similar to that of riding a bicycle.  The paddles underneath the boat are operated by the peddles and glide the boat across the lake.  It is easy to steer by just turning the curved bar or other steering devices the way that you want your craft to go.  This is great enjoyment for the entire family and the kids will never want to go back to the dock.

Kayaking Down The River

A Kayak is a vessel that is similar to a canoe only it sits lower to the water.  The paddler sits in the seat facing the front and paddles with a double-bladed paddle, rowing from the front to the back first on one side and then on the other.  This helps the kayak to stay in a straight line.  To turn the kayak, you would paddle on the opposite side that you want it to turn.  In the original kayaks the paddler sits down inside, but in the newer version, the paddler will sit up on top in the built-in seat.  These are growing rapidly in popularity; they are lightweight and easy to handle.  They are great for one person floating down the river, playing on the lake, or any other body of water.

Relaxing By The Water

Put down your towel or blanket near the water and relax and you can sunbathe, working on your tan.  It is also a great way to just listen to the sounds around you.  Listen to the different birds or other wildlife nearby.  You can also listen to other swimmers playing and having a good time.  Sunbathing on the bank of almost any body of water is amazing.  Make sure that you use suntan lotion so that you don’t burn.

Catfishing At Night

Catfish are known to bite better at night.  If you fish and release, catfish put up a big fight and are really fun to reel into the bank.  If you like keeping fish, catfish are one of the tastiest fish when cooked properly.  Sitting out on the bank of a body of water at night under the stars with your lantern glowing is one of the most relaxing experiences.  If you choose to keep your catfish, make sure you have a heavy-duty stringer and secure it snugly to something on the bank.  

Snorkeling With The Fish

There are many areas, that the water is deep enough to go snorkeling with the fish.  Bring your fins, googles, and snorkel, and enjoy snorkeling with your own group as long as you are experienced enough to know how to do it safely.  If you are not experienced at snorkeling, check with the campground you are in and see if there is someone that will lead your family on a snorkeling adventure.  There are many wonderful things to see underwater that would be enjoyable for younger and older snorkelers.

Reading Your Favorite Book

Sometimes just getting away on a camping adventure, relaxation is the key.  Many times, it is a great way to get away from the phones and the everyday hassles.  Relax and get lost in a good book is very enjoyable for many people.  There are many different books for all levels of readers from children to adults.  This is also a great activity when the weather does not cooperate, and you are looking for indoor activities for everyone.  

Board Games Indoors

Always pack a couple of your family’s favorite board games just in case you need to spend a day indoors.  This helps to keep everyone entertained and the family to spend quality time together.  There are many to choose from and normally the children love to play games with their parents.  This is also a great evening event as everyone is settling down before bedtime.

Flashlight Tag At Night

Flashlight tag is a simple and fun activity for an evening spent around camp.  Make sure everyone has their own flashlight and no one ventures too far from camp.  It is played like normal tag, but it is played after dark, of course, the flashlights are needed so that everyone can see where they are going and how to tag another person.

Hayrides With Other Campers

Many places offer planned activities for the young and old alike.  Hayrides are always enjoyable, many times pulled by tractors or trucks, and sometimes by horses.  The wagon is filled with hay or haybales giving people a place to sit.  Halloween is a time for haunted hayrides at many places.  This can be a great activity for the entire family.  Sometimes it ends with a bonfire and snacks or hot dogs so you can get to know your other campers during your stay.

Craft Time For All

Craft times are also common in some camping areas, many times it is for adults and children alike.  There are many things such as rock painting, making designs out of leaves, and other natural items.  Normally when a craft time is scheduled in your camping area, there is a staff member that walks everyone through making a certain item in which you get to keep and take home for your memories of your adventure.

Family Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are always fun, first, you normally have teams or individual hunts.  You are given a paper with a list of things to find and bring back to a certain area.  Normally the first team or person to get back with their list completed wins a prize.  On a normal, there is a time limit set and when the time runs out you should report back to your starting point.  If no one has completed their list, then the person or team with the most items found will be declared the winner.  

Organized Sports Games

Organized sports games are usually a lot of fun for the teenagers in your group.  Many times, there are organized basketball, baseball, volleyball, sand volleyball, or water volleyball.  These have teams from different campers and are organized by the staff at your camping area.  This gives the younger ones a chance to meet others and enjoy activities with other people near their own age group.

Tug Of War

Many like to participate in games such as tug of war, normally teams are divided up according to size and strengths.  Each team gets near the end of a rope and tries to pull the other team over a line or a trench of water or mud.  This is many times fun and competitive, allowing teams to show off their strengths and which combination of players are the strongest.

Red Rover For The Young

Red Rover is a fun game for the younger crowd.  In a wide-open space, they evenly form two lines all holding hands.  They all chant the red rover chant and someone from the other line tries to break through the line by disconnecting two of the players’ hands.  If someone breaks through, the two people that they broke through have to sit out.  The line with the most players left is declared the winner.  This is a great team sport and exercise for the younger crowd.

Lego Time For Kids

Lego time for the kids can be a great time for them, plus a bit of a break for you.  If there is a scheduled time for your children to go inside and build things out of Legos with other children and staff members.  This gives you a chance to relax for a bit, maybe even find a comfortable chair or a shade tree and read your favorite book without interruptions while your child plays.  

Color Time For Kids

Take your children to the organized color time and allow them to be creative with other children.  This gives them the opportunity to color pictures normally of their choice and make a surprise for you.  It helps to give them their independence while being supervised but knowing you are still close by and will be there when color time is over.  

Family Bingo

Family bingo is played at many events and many different areas and is a great activity for the young and old alike.   Bingo cards are given out and various games are played.  When someone yells bingo for a game, they many times win a prize.  It is fun for the entire family and is normally played by many campers at the designated organized time.  

Potluck Dinners

Potluck dinner nights can be organized and fun for many campers.  Everyone normally brings a covered dish, and it gives everyone a chance to get together and meet your other campers and make new friends.  Sometimes music is played, and everyone enjoys different foods.  It gives the campers an opportunity to learn different things about camping and different places that are good to camp and fun for the family.

Miniature Golf For The Family

There are a variety of different miniature golf courses scattered around near places where many people go to visit and camp.  There are sometimes miniature golf courses in the camping facility area.  Many people like to try their hand at a game of putt-putt as it is sometimes called.  It is a fun family competition to see who can score the highest and see if anyone can get a hole in one.  Sometimes you have to maneuver the ball around a waterfall or through the turning blades of a windmill to get to the hole.  Some of these courses require some talent and makes it a challenge for some.

Frisbee Golf Courses

Frisbee golf is a great game and entertainment for the entire family.  The course will be either a 9- or 18-hole course.  Each hole will have a metal basket with chains that are attached to a pole.   Each player will throw their frisbee at the basket.  If the frisbee doesn’t make it to the basket, there is a marker that you put where your frisbee lands.  Stand where the marker is and throw your frisbee again.  The object of the game is to get your frisbee in each basket in the least amount of throws.  The winner will be declared by the person that has gotten their frisbee in the most baskets with the least number of throws at the end of the course.  

Frisbee Throw At Camp

Playing catch or throwing the frisbee back and forth to each other is also fun for the entire family.  It is entertaining and provides good exercise as you of course have to move or run to catch a throw that may not be coming straight at you.  There are many different frisbees that you can get to provide your family with hours of fun and enjoyment.  

Nighttime Frisbee Throw

Bring a lighted frisbee that is really fun to play with after dark.  You can throw the frisbee back and forth to each other following its lighted path to make your catch.  It is also entertaining to watch the lighted circle glide through the night air.  You can make up your own games such as keep away and try to keep the person in the middle from getting the frisbee.  

Yard Dice Games

You can purchase huge dice, called large dice.  There are many different games that you can play with dice.  You can play 10,000 which is where you score on 1s and 5s or any 3 of the same number.  Tossing all of these large dice could be entertaining by itself.  There are many different games that you can play with dice, just be a bit creative and play the same games with the larger dice outdoors.

Rock Skipping Fun

Rock skipping fun for the family could start by taking a walk to the water.  It does not matter if it is a lake, river, or stream.  Find smaller stones that are as flat as you can find, especially for beginners that have never skipped stones across the water before.  Hold the stone flat in your hand between your thumb and your pointer finger.  Bring your arm back and throw sideways as level as you can towards the water and watch your stone bounce across the water multiple times.  The more you practice, the better you will get and the more times your stone will bounce across the water before it sinks.  Also, the better you get, the stones will not have to be as flat as when you were a beginner.

Nature Walks

Taking a family nature walk is very educational for the younger ones.  Look at different leaves and tell what type they are.  Look at the different types of plants and tell the names of each one.  Let the children know which ones to stay away from such as poison ivy or poison oak.  There are a variety of different berries that can be seen and named, some of them are eatable, such as blackberries, and wild strawberries.  There are different berries that are known to be poisonous such as Polk berries.  There are different nuts such as acorns that squirrels feast upon and walnuts can be found around the walnut trees.  There are many different things to investigate and teach the younger ones what they are good and bad for.

Crafts From Nature

Picking up leaves and nuts and some other various items that are found on the ground, but you need to check and make sure it is legal to pick up these items in the area that you are camping.  Take these items and make a collage or even make a wreath that you can take home or hang on your tent or camper.  This can be fun and creative, keeping your family entertained for hours.

Rubbing Designs 

Collect a variety of different leaves that you like, and think are different and unique.  Take and put them on a solid surface such as your picnic table or maybe a folded cardboard box.  Lay a piece of paper on top of the leaf or leaves and take a pencil and lay it on top of the paper.  Gently take the pencil and apply pressure as you rub it over the top of the paper.  The imprint of the leaves will show up on the paper with the details of the leaves.  This can be done with an individual leaf for a detailed design or will make like a collage of various leaves for a cool design.


This allows you to use your electronics that everyone was supposed to stay off of during your camping adventure.  Download the geocaching app to your phone and look for locations in your area.  Using your app and your GPS you can find a variety of different interesting items.  These finds can be small or large and can contain many different interesting items.  Once you locate one that you want to try to find, add to your GPS and follow its directions.  You may find a wooden box with various items inside from the area or about the person that established it.  Once you find the location, check out what you found.  It is okay to add additional items to the box.  If there are notes inside, take the time to read them and you could learn about the area that you are in.  Feel free to add more information or items to the box for the next person that finds it.

Rock Climbing or Repelling

Rock climbing or propelling down a cliff or something can be a great activity.  This is something that with the use of rock-climbing walls has grown in popularity.  There are many adventurers that prefer primitive camping so near a large rock formation so that they can climb up the mountain.  Many tourist areas have rock climbing walls that people can pay to be taught properly how to climb.  With the use of safety equipment such as harnesses and ropes, one can safely learn how to climb up and repel down a mountain.  With the use of the harness and ropes, if a person slips with their footing or handhold and falls, they are caught and can swing down to safety.


Going camping with your family is a wonder activity that helps to reduce the stress on everyone.  It is important to find activities that the entire family can enjoy, to keep everyone from getting bored especially the children getting close to their teenage years.   If the camping adventure is fun for everyone, you family will look forward to many more adventures and will be looking forward to your next outing.  Enjoying various camping activities gives everyone a change of pace and your family an opportunity to spend quality time together.  This is important as a family unit, to have bonding time and showing your children that you are there for them.  Including everyone in various activities will help your family grow together and let everyone know that they are included in your family life.

Where To Go Camping

There are many different places that you can go to set up camp.  There are wilderness campgrounds or camping areas, there are state parks, beaches, lakes with camping areas, camping areas near rivers and streams.  You have so many choices to make for you and your family to be able to get away and enjoy an exciting adventure on your camping trip.   Once you have selected where to go and you arrive at your destination and have your camp all set up; What are you going to do?  There are so many different activities that you can include in your camping trip, get ready to enjoy.

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