5 Steps to Telling Campfire Stories

April 19, 2022

These tips will help you become a campfire storytelling pro.

Do your part to keep the merriment around the campfire kindled by telling an original story on your next camping trip. Not a born storyteller? Don’t worry. Your experience and observations of the day’s activities are all you need to craft a thrilling tale. While chomping down on a gooey s’more at your favorite KOA think back on the day and line up the following elements to create an entertaining story to share around the campfire.

1. Identify Characters

Options for unforgettable characters surround you in the great outdoors. What critter or natural formation struck you the most during your adventure-packed day? Let’s say you saw a fox just thirty feet from the trail. Hey, that’s exciting. A fox would be a perfect main character for a story.

2. What’s the Point?

A strong story needs a sharp point to skewer the rest of the story’s elements together. Try using the natural attributes of your character combined with a life lesson you’d like to impart to your audience. The fox spotted earlier today was dragging some material out of its den. To create your story, make up the reason why the fox was doing this: The fox is a hoarder and can’t fit inside his den until he cleans up.

3. Setting Setup

Use details from your campground environment to set the backdrop for your story. Consider the time of year and where you are physically: snowy mountain forest, hot dry desert or misty rugged coast.  Take into account circumstances your main character might face. Does your character have family, friends or foe nearby?  Let’s say our fox lives in the mountain forest and it’s starting to snow. His other fox friends are snuggled deep inside their dens but he can’t fit inside of his. An eagle perched at the top of a fir tree watches the fox with much interest.

4. Start the Story

Choose an introductory sentence that either distances your audience or brings them right into the action of the story for your campfire story starter. Depending on what kind of mood you’re going for you can pick a classic starting point like, “once upon a time there lived a little fox…” or the “dark and stormy night” route. Make up an original lead-in that charges straight to the action. Start the story off with the character’s name and what they’re doing: “Frankie the fox flung dirt behind him as he tried to dive into his hole. But something was in the way.”

5. Tell the Story!

The story of “Frankie’s Very Crowded Den,” is ready to be told. Make your story larger than life by adding embellishments as you tell it. Acting out the story creates an interactive tale. Invite your audience to participate in the fun. They can make sound effects like the wind blowing through the trees while you embody the characters. One storyline can be told in a spooky or funny way depending on what words you choose and how you deliver them.

Your friends and family will be delighted by the original tales that you create and share around the campfire.

Eva Barrows

Eva Barrows is a San Francisco Bay Area freelance writer. Eva writes about local places, people and events on her website She founded the online literary journal Imitation Fruit ( in 2007 and has enjoyed promoting fellow writers and artists ever since.




5 Steps to Telling Campfire Stories

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