Camping can be an enjoyable experience when done right. A little research goes a long way and takes the frustrations away so you can focus on what matters most: having fun! There are a lot of fun activities that enhance the camping experience for you, your friends, or your family.
How Do You Make Camping More Enjoyable?
Camping provides a lot of benefits for your physical and mental health. When you unplug from your electronic devices, you will be in the moment with your camping partners.
This leads to a better mental state and relieves the anxiety that comes with social media. Camping also provides lots of ways to exercise.
Your camping experience can vary depending on who you go with.
When you camp with friends, expect lots of fun-filled activities in nature, on the water, and at the campfire. When camping with kids, you must tailor the experience to keep them safe, interested, and fun.
A camping trip with your partner can be a very romantic experience and provide the fantastic one-on-one time you won’t get during your everyday life.
Planning and knowing the campground rules will make your camping experience more enjoyable. You will take the guesswork out of the equation and the resulting frustrations or safety issues that could arise from not being adequately prepared.
Fun Activities To Do While Camping
The great thing about camping is that there is something for everyone. Whether you are a campfire enthusiast, love exploring nature and water activities, or are a night owl, we have provided recommendations to make your camping trip a blast.
The most quintessential activity you can do while sitting around a campfire is telling stories. Whether they are spooky stories with your friends or wholesome tales with your kids, telling stories will have everyone using their imagination.
Everyone loves toasting marshmallows regardless of their age. There’s nothing better than eating a toasted marshmallow while hearing a story from a fellow camper!
For an even sweeter treat, you can bring graham crackers and chocolate to make delicious s’mores.
A campfire wouldn’t be complete without singing campfire songs to the sounds of an, often bad-sounding, acoustic guitar. This can be fun as it allows you to embrace your musical side while being silly and not caring about what anyone thinks.
Most campgrounds are located in areas that have natural wonders like waterfalls, lakes, and majestic views. To get to these areas, you will most likely need to hike to them. Hiking can be a fun experience because of going deeper into nature and getting a bit of exercise.
Bird watching can be a very relaxing experience. Not only will you have to hike to find specific birds, but you will also experience wildlife in their natural habitat and experience the sights and sounds of nature not found in the city.
There are a lot of water activities for you to do while camping. Fishing, boating, tubing, swimming, lounging, and water skiing are a few examples of the many water activities.
Hide and seek, tag, truth or dare, and charades can easily be played and require no additional items. These can be played while sitting at the campsite or while hiking.
Team Building Activities
If your campground has a lot of space, capturing the flag is one of the best team-building exercises. In this game, you will break your campers into two teams whose goal is to locate the other opponent’s flag and then successfully bring it back to their base. This will require that teams work together and think outside the box.
Nighttime is probably one of the main reasons you go camping, and for a good reason! Being able to see the night sky without light pollution is pretty amazing. A small telescope and a resource book will provide you with hours of stargazing fun.
Swimming at night is an excellent way to cool off after a long and hot day filled with physical activities. Once you are done swimming, you can sit at the campfire to warm up and enjoy other fun activities.
Shadow puppets is another activity to bring out your creativity with your friends and family. It also requires very little and can be done at any location with a small light source like a flashlight.
Many fun activities keep you busy if you are stuck in your tent due to inclement weather or don’t feel like sleeping. Board games, card games, and reading can give you an easy way to pass the time while in your tent.
Fun Things To Bring Camping
Once you have packed all the essential camping items, you can focus on bringing things that will provide lots of fun. Think about who you will be camping with and what type of fun you are after. The smallest things can provide a surprising amount of fun, so don’t overthink what fun things you will bring!
Cooking food can be a fun experience that all campers can participate in. Whether roasting hot dogs, toasting marshmallows, or grilling meat, there is nothing better than food cooked out in nature!
When camping with friends or other adults, it can be fun to consume alcohol while doing other activities. Just make sure you know your campground open container laws and practice good judgment when doing things like swimming or being out in the sun.
Furniture can provide additional space for activities and doesn’t have to take up a lot of space. Most of the furniture on the market is foldable and can be set up in seconds. Items like chairs, tables, and floating devices can provide additional space for fun activities!
Ball sports like football, soccer, and baseball require little space and let you have fun with other campers. If you have the space, you can even split up your campers into teams to have a fun game of whatever sport you like to play.
Horseshoes and corn holes can add extra fun at your campsite and require minimal setup and clean-up.
Board games, card games, and paper and pencil games can be played by many people at once, which gets everyone involved.
Kids toys like squirt guns and balloons can be fun for campers of all ages. Having a water gun or water balloon fight is a fun way to stay cool in the summer heat.
An acoustic guitar, harmonica, or kazoo are a few examples of musical instruments that don’t require power to be played. They are a lot of fun and can be used by musicians of all skill levels.
20 Camping Essentials You Should Not Forget
Here are the 20 camping essentials you should not forget:
- Campsite Items
- Sleeping Bag
- Campfire Items
- Portable Stove
- Air tight Container
- Compass / GPS
- Proper Clothing
- Hat (sun or beanie)
- Hiking Footwear
- Shirts (short and long-sleeved)
- Personal Items
- First-aid Kit
- Toilet Paper
- Bug Repellent
Whether you are an experienced camper, a beginner, or bringing your kids for the first time, we have provided additional tips and items that will make your experience frustration-free and fun!
As an experienced camper, you are more likely to go off the beaten path, so you must bring items that keep you safe. Things like a GPS, compass, or map will help you find your way back to your campsite.
Non-perishable food reserves like trail mix and protein bars will give you nutrients when you cannot cook food using a fire.
Additional items include a camping knife, a water bottle with a built-in filter, and personal heating devices like heat packs.
You will want to buy clothes made specifically for camping and hiking. The material used in these clothes handles the sun, sweat, rain, and dirt better than traditional clothes. They will hold up better to the elements, keep you warmer, and prevent you from getting things like rashes.
We recommend you bring a tent, sleeping pad, and a sleeping bag for maximum comfort when sleeping outdoors.
Other essentials include grills, plates, and a cooler to store drinks and perishable foods.
To prevent unwanted guests in the form of curious animals, you should bring plastic containers to store your trash and food items while sleeping.
There’s nothing worse than getting sunburned or bitten by bugs on your first day of camping. Preventative items like bug spray and sunscreen will save your camping trip and conditions that could last beyond your trip.
When camping, you will explore nature which could lead to minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and splinters. One first aid kit can provide minor aid to all of your campers and will prevent major issues like infection.
Let’s face it. Women have additional challenges when it comes to camping, but those challenges shouldn’t stop them from enjoying camping.
Women can make themselves more comfortable by bringing things like disposable hygiene products, comfortable clothing like sports bras, and urination devices when traditional restrooms aren’t available.
Camping can be challenging for kids because you take them out of their natural environment. Things like sleeping, restroom use, and exploring nature could terrify them. Here are a few tips to make camping easier for kids and make them want to do it again.
Bring a kid-sized version of typical camping furniture so your kid will be comfortable and feel like they are part of the group. This includes foldable chairs, tents, and additional bedding. You can also bring a portable potty to make it easier for them to use the restroom when needed.
Breaking kids away from their electronic devices can also be tricky. Planning a scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep them from missing their electronics during the day. Other fun games like Go Fish and Old Maid are excellent ways to distract them while waiting for dinner to cook at the campfire or in their tents.
If your campground allows pets, you must ensure you bring the essential items. This includes a harness and leash, poop bags, dog food, water bowls, a dog bed, and a few toys. Other things you may not think of are dog identification tags, vet records, and the location of the nearest emergency vet.
Printable Camping Checklists
Here are a few printable camping checklists that you can use to help you pack for your next camping trip. Whether experienced or beginner, this list will have everything you need for a safe and fun-filled trip!
What Should You Not Bring During Camping?
Camping comes with the responsibility of protecting the environment and wildlife inhabitants. It also means not ruining the experience of other campers. There are two different types of items that you should not bring during camping: prohibited and not recommended.
Prohibited items will vary depending on which state your campground is located. You must look at a list of prohibited items provided by the campgrounds ahead of time so you can pack appropriately.
However, we have provided you with the most common prohibited items. Using the below items will not only ruin your camping experience but could also get you into legal trouble.
- Even though recreational drugs like marijuana have become legal in many states, it is still prohibited on campgrounds. This includes the drug itself and all related paraphernalia.
- Glass bottles can become hazardous for fellow campers and wildlife because they break easily. They are also not easy to dispose of, so a sustainable alternative should be used.
- It may seem like a good idea to fly a drone to better view your campground, but drones can lead to animal injuries and potential forest fires.
- Aerosol cans will not only ruin the fresh air of your campsite but can also pose a potential explosion danger if exposed to heat.
- Recreational vehicles will either be prohibited entirely or will have a limit on the number allowed per camping reservation.
While the items below aren’t necessarily prohibited, they can cause you to have a negative experience while camping. We don’t recommend these be brought with you during all stages of your camping trip.
Bringing your firewood from home is highly frowned upon by the National Park Service. This is because you can inadvertently spread non-native pests in the forest you are camping in. Most campsites allow you to collect firewood or purchase it close to the campsite.
Perfume, colognes, and scented lotions can turn you into a tasty buffet for insects like mosquitoes. You will also want to use unscented deodorants and soaps as these can also attract insects.
On the flip side, you also want to ensure you stay clean if you will be camping for an extended period. Being too dirty can attract unwanted pests.
Cooking food while camping can be enjoyable and healthy. However, we do not recommend bringing raw chicken due to possible health risks. If you want to bring chicken, you should cook it before leaving and reheat it using your campfire.
Essential electronic devices can be a life saver, but other devices like tablets can take away from experience. Unless you need them, it is recommended that you leave these devices at home.
Here are some of the most common questions regarding camping.
Do campgrounds allow campfires?
Per the National Park Service, each park sets its rules regarding campfires. It would be best to research the rules of the park you will be camping at.
How do you find the nearest campgrounds?
There are a ton of directories you can search online to find a campground nearest you. You can also use most directories to book your spot. One such directory is KOA. KOA has over 500 locations across the United States.
Click here to use their search engine to find the nearest campground near you.
You can also look at official government websites to learn about campgrounds in your area. Not only will you have official information on your chosen campground, but you will also have up-to-date information on things like prohibited items based on the time of year. One such government resource is Recreation.gov.
Click here to use their trip builder to plan your perfect camping trip today!
Can you sleep in your car at a campsite?
Most campsites allow you to sleep in your car overnight. Since the space of a car is limited, you must plan well beforehand. You should also install window shades to block the sun and provide privacy.
Where do you shower during camping?
Campsites with showers exist, so look for one when searching an online directory of available campgrounds. Showers in campgrounds are usually no bigger than a gym shower. You may have to pay to use a campground shower and have limited time.
You will need to bring the necessities like toiletries and towels. It is highly recommended that you bring some shoes to wear in the showers, like flip-flops.
Here are some campsite shower alternatives if you are unable to book a campground with a shower:
- Truck Stop Shower
- Wet Wipes
- Lake or River
- Sponge Bath
- Portable Shower