26 Fun Camping Activities

February 28, 2024

While camping is the perfect time to relax around a campfire and go sightseeing on hiking trails, it is also ideal for spending quality time with friends and family. One of the best ways to create a fun, memorable trip is to incorporate plenty of family camping activities and games. Whether your camping fun is indoors or outdoors, there are so many different types of camping activities to enjoy with friends and family that will make your trip unforgettable.

Outdoor Camping Games
Indoor Camping Games
Nature-Centric Camping Activities
Water-Related Camping Activites
Sport-Related Camping Activites

An extra large outdoor checker game at a KOA campground.

7 Outdoor Camping Games

Outdoor camping games are great because they let everyone get active, soak up the sun and get fresh air. Here are some of the best outdoor games to play while camping.

1. Outdoor Checkers

The game of checkers is a fun way to help children develop critical thinking skills, and turning it into an oversized lawn version makes it even more exciting! You’ll need the following items to create your own checkerboard:

  • A sheet or tablecloth that is safe for outdoor use
  • A minimum of 24 bucket lids, all the same size
  • Two different colors of spray paint

Create your board by spraying a checkboard pattern onto a sheet or tablecloth. Then, paint 12 of the bucket lids one color and the other 12 a different color — these are your checker pieces. You can stick to traditional colors, like black and red or black and white, but feel free to get as creative as you would like.

2. Horseshoes

Horseshoes is a low-effort yet exciting game that both adults and kids can enjoy while camping. Some campgrounds, including certain Kampground of America locations, include horseshoes as an on-site amenity.

3. Ladder Ball

Ladder ball goes by many names, including ladder toss and ladder golf. This popular lawn game makes use of ladder-like structures and “bolas” — two golf balls attached by a nylon rope. Each player gets three bolas and tosses them at the ladders. Different points are assigned to each rung of the ladder — three for the top, two for the middle and one for the bottom. It is also possible to score additional points by landing a bola on each rung. As players take turns tossing, they can knock other players’ bolas off a rung. The first person to reach but not exceed 21 points wins the game.

4. Ringtoss

Ringtoss is a fun carnival game you can easily adapt to fit whatever materials you have on hand. For example, instead of empty glass bottles, you can use filled soda, juice and water bottles from your camping cooler. After the game, let the winner keep whichever drinks they toss a ring around!

To make your own rings, all you need is:

  • Durable hemp or jute rope
  • Hot glue and a glue gun
  • Decorative ribbon or tape
  • Heavy-duty scissors or utility knife

Use the scissors or knife to cut the rope into the correct length to fit around your bottles. Then, hot glue both ends of the rope and attach them together to make a circular shape. Continue to secure the ends together until the hot glue is completely dry. If using ribbon, add more hot glue to the outside of the rope ring, where the two seams meet. Cut a small piece of ribbon and wrap it around the seam. If you don’t have ribbon, a decorative masking tape or washi tape should do the trick. Repeat this process until you have at least 10 rings.

5. Tug-of-War

When it comes to camping games for kids, few are as fun and simple to play as tug-of-war.

The only things you need to play are:

  • A long rope
  • A flag or ribbon
  • A way to divide the playing area

Divide your playing space into two separate areas, marking the dividing line. Find the center of the playing rope and tie the ribbon or flag. Have your group separate into two equal teams — each side should have roughly the same number of players, as well as weight. The first to tug the flag onto their side of the dividing line wins!

6. Lawn Jenga

You could play Jenga on an outdoor picnic table if you would like, but why not try your hand at an oversized, outdoor-friendly version? There are plenty of lawn-sized Jenga games you can purchase, but you can also make your own out of six 8-foot 2-by-4 boards. Apply a wood protectant to keep your do-it-yourself Jenga set together so it doesn’t warp when exposed to moisture.

You play lawn Jenga just like you would the boxed version:

  1. Stack the Jenga tower by laying three blocks horizontally on the ground, then stack three more on top facing the opposite direction. Repeat this until the tower is complete.
  2. Each player takes turns carefully pulling one Jenga piece from the tower at a time and placing it on the top of the tower.
  3. The game is over when someone causes the tower to topple.

7. Obstacle Course

An obstacle course is among the top games to play camping because you can use whatever space and materials you have on hand. The idea is to create a course that is simple enough for your youngest player to complete, but challenging enough that it requires careful thinking and maneuvering.

Some fun camping obstacle course ideas include:

  • Weaving in and out arranged camping chairs
  • Stepping in and out of buckets of water
  • Crawling under a picnic table
  • Completing chalk-drawn hopscotch on the sidewalk

Young family playing card game in a cabin by the fire.

8 Indoor Games to Play While Camping

While camping is the ideal time to get outdoors, there is still plenty of fun to be had from the comfort of your RV, tent or cabin. Whether you are waiting out a rainy day or looking for a creative way to unwind after all your outdoor adventures, here are some of the best indoor camping games for families.

1. Card Games

Card games are an easy way to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day outdoors. They can also help children develop their concentration and memory.

Some popular family card games include:

  • Uno
  • Go Fish
  • Crazy Eights
  • Speed
  • Matching
  • Old Maid
  • Rummy
  • Slapjack
  • Phase 10

Before choosing a card game, remember to check the recommended playing age. Some are ideal for families with young children, while others are better suited for older kids and teens.

2. Spoons

Spoons might technically be a card game, but it involves a little bit more attention and quick thinking than Go Fish or Uno. To play this game, you will need a table large enough for all players to sit comfortably, a deck of playing cards and a plastic or metal spoon for every player, except for one. The goal of this game is not to be the player left without a spoon at the end of the round.

Here is how you play:

  1. Place all the spoons in the center of the table within easy reach of each player.
  2. Deal four cards to each player.
  3. The goal is to get four cards of one kind, but you always keep only four cards in your hand. The dealer starts the game by looking at the next card in the deck and choosing to either keep it or pass it along to their left. If they keep the card, they discard another one in their hand and pass it to the player on the left instead.
  4. The person to the left does the same, and the cards continue to move around the playing circle until the dealer goes through the whole deck or a player gets four of a kind.
  5. When a player gets four cards of one kind, they must take a spoon from the middle as discreetly as possible.
  6. Once one player takes a spoon, the rest may follow, regardless of the cards in their hand — if they are paying attention.
  7. The round is over once all the spoons are gone. The player without a spoon is out. Continue playing until all players except for one are eliminated.

3. Charades

No matter who is playing, charades are a guaranteed way to get the whole group laughing. To play, just write down the names of movies, books, cartoon characters, well-known phrases, celebrities or even camping-related activities onto slips of folded paper. Toss the papers into a bowl and then take turns choosing and acting out the item listed without using your voice.

4. Cup Stacking

If you have some disposable cups lying around your campsite, you can use them for several types of stacking games. Have each person choose a different surface to work from and see who can build the tallest tower, or hold a “Minute to Win It” style game, where teams race against each other to see who can stack and unstack their cup towers the fastest. You can also reuse your plastic cups for a game of indoor bowling or mini-golf.

5. Camping Bingo

For this indoor game, print premade camping-themed bingo cards from the internet or make your own out of cardstock and stickers. If you go the homemade route, consider filling your Bingo card with pictures of camping-related things, like a tent, fishing pole, bear, tree, campfire or sleeping bag. Use coins, marshmallows or even acorns as place markers. You could also combine your Bingo game with another game, like trivia or a treasure hunt, to make it even more interactive.

6. Trivia

The best part about trivia games is that you can adapt them to any age group or subject matter. Try turning basic trivia into an interactive competition between family members to see who can rack up the most points. You can also use camping-related trivia questions to teach your kids important outdoor lessons.

Some camping-inspired topics you could use when crafting trivia include:

7. Board Games

Board games are traditional family entertainment for a reason — there are many types to choose from, and they are fun for every age. There are even camping and nature-inspired variations of some of the most popular board games, so you can stick with your theme.

Some of the best indoor cabin games include:

  • Jenga
  • Sorry
  • Yahtzee
  • Bananagrams
  • Trouble
  • Pictionary
  • Connect Four

You can also use pieces from different board games to create your own unique game.

8. Simon Says

Who knew a game about following the rules could be so much fun? This classic game is fun for kids of all ages, and it can help them learn awareness, motor development and sequencing skills.

Try out some of these commands for an entertaining, educational playtime:

  • Physical: Encourage movement by giving commands like “Simon says pat your head and rub your belly” or, “Simon says start dancing.”
  • Directional: Help your kids grasp the difference between their lefts and rights by saying, “Simon says high five the person to your left,” or “Simon says touch your right knee with your right hand.”
  • Creative: Encourage creativity with commands like “Simon says act like your favorite animal,” or “Simon says sing a verse of your favorite song.”
  • Complex: To make things a little more challenging, include things like “Simon says solve this math problem,” or “Simon says blink 10 times, do five jumping jacks, whistle a tune and then spin around.”

Three young girls look at a map on the forest floor as part of a scavenger hunt.

4 Nature-Centric Camping Activities

Camping is all about getting into nature, exploring wildlife and taking in the scenic views. Here are some nature activities for camping that let you experience the great outdoors to the fullest.

1. Hiking

Hiking is the quintessential camping activity for a reason — it is the best way to explore all that nature has to offer. When hiking, you get the chance to spot diverse plant and animal species and gaze upon scenic landscapes. Hiking also gets your body moving, keeping you fit and healthy. This activity can be adapted to any age or skill level, so simply find a trail, lace up your hiking boots and get started!

2. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts make a fun, educational camping activity for people of all ages. To start, choose a camp-related theme for the hunt and create a list of items participants must find. For example, if your theme is “wildlife,” create a list of plants, insects or animals you can find near your campsite. You might even split into teams and make it a competition. Set a timer and have each participant head off onto the trail, snapping pictures of the items on their phones. Bring camping prizes for the team who finds all items on the list first.

3. Bird Watching

Bird watching is a fun activity for people of all ages. It lets you experience the beauty of nature and learn something new about wildlife. Plus, when you are on a camping trip in a different location, you get the opportunity to spot birds you might never see in your own backyard. All you need is a pair of binoculars or a camera as well as a notebook or sketchbook. Bring along a bag with sunscreen, snacks and water, and make a picnic out of the event.

4. Draw Your Surroundings

Nature art is a fun way to express your creativity while camping. Bring along a sketchpad, crayons, markers, paint or any other type of art utensils you might prefer, and start drawing your surroundings. Take your sketchpad on a hike, while bird watching or even while sitting by the campfire. You’re sure to find lots of inspiration around your campsite, with plenty of interesting new sights to take in. Have each person in your group create their own piece and present it to everyone around the campfire at the end of the day.

4 Water-Related Camping Activities

There are plenty of fun water activities for camping, from water balloon games to skipping stones. Here are a few ideas for your next camping trip.

1. Water Balloons

Beat the heat with an exciting water balloon game! There are several types of water balloon games you can choose from, depending on your group’s age and how much space you have available. Change into your swim gear or an old T-shirt and spend the day playing one of the following:

  • Water balloon fight: Whether you split into teams and play dodgeball style or it is each player for themselves, a water balloon fight is a fun, active way to stay cool. Just remember to stay aware of neighboring campsites!
  • Hit the Target: There are two different ways to play Hit the Target. One involves creating a target on a large board or on the ground and having each player try to toss their water bottle closest to the center. Another option is to attach water balloons to a target board for a fun twist on darts.
  • Relay race: A relay race makes the perfect game for younger kids. Start by having each player stand in a line. Then, have each person roll their water balloon across the ground, seeing who can make it the farthest without the balloon popping. For older kids, you might bring water-safe chairs and have them separate into teams. Each person must then run with their balloon to the chair and sit on the balloon until it pops. The first team to pop all their balloons wins.

With any of these games, be sure to collect any balloon pieces afterward!

2. Canoeing or Kayaking

Kayaking and canoeing is a fun physical activity to explore nature. Plus, you can cover more ground than you would on a hike. If your campground is near a body of water and offers a launch point for canoes or kayaks, bring your own or see if your campsite offers rentals. You can easily spend a few hours on the water, enjoying the views while spending quality time with loved ones.

3. Fishing

Bait your hook, cast your line and hope for a big catch. Even if you don’t have much luck, fishing makes a wonderful bonding activity you can enjoy with family and friends. It is also a great way to relax at the end of a big camping trip, helping you reduce stress as you gaze out onto the water and reflect on the memories you’ve made.

4. Skipping Stones

Skipping stones is another relaxing activity to help pass the time while camping with friends and family. Find a flat rock and watch it hop across the water. You might also make it a fun competition by seeing who can get their stone to skip the most number of times.

Group playing cornhole on a campground.

3 Sport-Related Camping Activities

Here are some of the most fun sports to play when camping to satisfy even the most competitive people in your group:

1. Cornhole

Cornhole is a classic outdoor game, and all you need to play is two to four players, a set of cornhole boards and bean bags.

Here is how it works:

  1. Space the cornhole boards a fair distance apart – the official distance is 27 feet from front to front.
  2. Separate into two teams with one or two people on each team, depending on how many are playing.
  3. Take turns tossing bean bags into the holes of the cornhole board.
  4. If a bag goes into the hole, it is worth three points. If it lands on the board without going in the hole, it is worth one.
  5. Tally the points in each round and count the difference toward the team with the higher number. For example, if you score eight while your opponent scores five, you get three points.
  6. The first team to reach 21 points wins.

There are also rule variations for cornhole you might implement. For instance, you might tailor the game to the age ranges participating and move the cornhole boards closer or farther away. You could also make the winning point number lower to make it fun for everyone.

2. Frisbee

Frisbee is a beloved sport because it is easy to play, and you can involve anyone — including your friends, kids and even your dog! You’ll find countless ways to enjoy this sport, including:

  • Free throw: Free throw is a great way to practice your Frisbee skills or play with younger kids before starting up a more competitive game. To play, have each person throw their Frisbee to see who can make theirs go the farthest.
  • Tic-tac-toss: Tic-tac-toss is a type of frisbee game that involves creating a tic-tac-toe board with a tablecloth or a tarp and laying hula hoops on the ground. Rather than using X or O markers, you’ll toss your Frisbee into your chosen square or hoop.
  • Bowling: This simple yet fun game involves arranging a tower of plastic cups at the end of your play area. Each person will then take turns trying to knock down as many cups as possible with their Frisbee.
  • KanJam: For adults and older kids, KanJam is a great way to introduce some healthy competition into your camping trip. To play, you will want to split into teams. Place two bins at least 50 feet apart and have each team take turns trying to get their Frisbee into the bin while the other tries to deflect.

3. Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is one of the best games for camping trips because it’s something kids and adults can play together. It is also a great way to promote fitness, teamwork, healthy competition and strategic thinking.

Here is how you play:

  1. Prepare the area by separating it into two distinct territories. Make sure the areas are equally spacious and free of any tripping hazards. The two territories need to be easily distinguished from one another.
  2. Once the play area is complete, split your group into two teams of equal size. Each team must hide their flag somewhere in their territory — just make sure some part of the flag is visible.
  3. Players from each team must work together to find and retrieve the opposing team’s flag without getting tagged.
  4. If a player gets tagged by a member of the opposing team, they are frozen or sent to a “jail zone,” where they must remain until one of their own teammates unfreezes them. You can also change the rules to eliminate the jail zone and replace it with a task the tagged player must complete, like running in place or sit-ups.
  5. The first team to capture the other team’s flag and take it back to their territory is the winner.

You can easily adapt this game to fit several teams if you have a large group and ample playing space.

Family Campground Activities at KOA

In addition to the indoor and outdoor games you bring yourself, KOA has plenty of entertainment to keep you busy. All campgrounds have fun playgrounds, as well as level and spacious campsites for you to play your own lawn games. For indoor activities, enjoy the comfort of a Camping Cabin or hook up your RV to a Back-In or Pull-Thru RV site.

Select KOA locations feature additional on-site amenities, such as:

  • Mini-golf
  • Game rooms
  • Water recreation
  • Jumping Pillows
  • Resort-style pools
  • Organized family-friendly events and activities

Contact your chosen KOA location for more information about available amenities and events.

Reserve Your Stay at KOA Today

Are you ready for a fun-filled family getaway? With plenty of comfortable ways to stay and endless on-site amenities, KOA is the perfect spot for your next vacation. Find a KOA location to get started — just don’t forget to pack the games!

About the Author: Kampgrounds of America

Kampgrounds of America is the largest system of open-to-the-public campgrounds in the world, with over 500 locations across the United States and Canada. Founded in Billings, MT in 1962, KOA’s family of campground brands – KOA Journey, KOA Holiday and KOA Resort – today serve more than a million camping families each year. KOA is dedicated to “connecting people to the outdoors and each other” by providing people with a variety of camping experiences and the information they need to make the most of their camping trip. Read more of their camping and travel resources by visiting

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