Any time is a good time for camping, whether with family, friends, pets or solo; you will always reap the many benefits of camping by heading out into the great outdoors. It’s a fun, relationship-building and memory-worthy activity that should be undertaken as often as possible.
That said, it is normal to feel bored despite the magnificent views that nature has to offer and thus the need to be ready with some fun camping games to keep the tedium at bay.
We brainstormed and researched a couple of games that will not only be athletic, competitive and nature-friendly but also be tailored to appeal to all members of the family. Camping games for kids, adults, couples, the whole family and even with pets; we got you covered!
These are excellent games to pass time while stuck in a tent during downpour plus they fully challenge your intellect. They range from complex versions like Scrabble to relaxed versions like Bananagrams and Pick Two!
Particularly, Bananagrams is a tabletop game that requires no board and has 144 plastic letter tiles in a banana-shaped pouch. Each player independently works on their crossword with an initial set of tiles.
The end goal remains to have the most accurate crossword having used up the face-down tiles at the center. Bananagrams is perfect for 2-8 players aged over ten years old and can involve up to 30 minutes of playing time.
An adult’s edition of the game is Bananagrams Party that has power-ups such as The Thief, Pouch Head, The Re-Gifter and Switcheroo among others. The game is more disruptive and fast-paced than the tamer original.
Players alternate choosing a word out of a jar or hat then act out the word for the group to guess with the caveat being that the actor cannot speak. The first player to guess correctly wins that round and gets to choose the next word.
You can opt for easy charade words like animal names, transportation, everyday objects and tools or go for a single theme such as Disney Movies theme or Household Items.
The telephone game starts by whispering a word or phrase into another person’s ear who then whispers the same to the next player in the circle up to the last person. The last player then says the word/phrase out loud so the rest of the group can hear how much the message was distorted.
It is a good pass-timer for before or after meals around a campfire with family. The Telephone game can also help improve collaboration and is a lot of fun to play.
Telestrations aka Telephone Illustrations Game brings some visuals and props into the game where in addition to passing phrases or words, you can relay drawings around the circle. The result is a hilariously-muffled message and an enjoyable time for the whole family.
The game has accents and patterns to go hand in hand with the great outdoors while providing the exhilarating experience it’s been known for over the years. Additionally, your physical skills will be checked and improved by the increasingly difficult progression of the game.
The game is packed in a portable travel case and comes with two pig dice, a scoring booklet/table and two pencils. The miniature pigs have a dot on their right flanks and are thrown as dice in an attempt to landing scores such as "leaning jowler", "snouter" or "trotter" that vary from 1-60 points.
Each roll allows you to roll again for even more points or lock in your points by giving up the turn to the next player. A loss of points occurs when you roll a “pig out” that is one pig falls to the right and other to the left.
The pigs are tiny and the case is lightweight and compact making them a no-brainer camping game for backpacking trips with the family. It can also be turned into a drinking game for adults where everyone drinks up when a “double jowler” (sixty points) is rolled by a player.
Throwing games are an inexpensive way to engage you and your family’s mechanical skills, teamwork capacity and hand-eye coordination. They are perfect for the outdoor life that is camping and can also double up as fun backyard games.
Cornhole is a light and go-easy tossing game that can be enjoyed by the whole family even in small campsites.
The game requires two teams consisting of two to four people each, standing against each other and about 27 feet apart. Each team has a board with a hole cut into it in which they will toss four beanbags across in an attempt to get the bags into the goals/holes.
The first team to attain at least 21 points wins, a beanbag in the hole/goal scores 3 points but if it lands on the platform, it scores 1 point. If you come unprepared, you can dig a hole on the ground for the goal or draw a goal in which to toss some pinecones.
Cornhole, also corn toss, bean toss or Indiana horseshoes, is similar to the horseshoes tossing game. It is very portable, safe for everyone and great fun for the whole family.
Another classic tossing game is Horseshoes where you throw four horseshoes towards a stake that has been driven into the ground to score points. Similar alternatives to Horseshoe include Quoits, Washers, and Muckers.
You play in teams of two people or just two individuals taking turns to try to throw a “ringer” around the stake or simply get the shoe as close as possible to the stake. A ringer scores 3 points while landing the shoe the closest to the stake but within 6 inches gets 1 point.
The origin of the game dates back to the early 1900s and 1920s and thus you can expect the rules to be a bit stringent. It is played on a professional level and has its official rules and specifications well-detailed by the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA) body.
As a camping game for families, its rules can be bent a bit to make it enjoyable for everyone. Alternatively, you can acquaint yourselves with set rules of the game without any alterations.
Luckily, you won’t have to lug around heavy archaic animal horseshoes as there are modern lightweight stylized versions. NHPA-approved horseshoe sets will feature drop-forged steel material coated with a non-slip grip and will each weigh 2 to 2.5 pounds.
Ensure you have a properly setup play pit to avoid injuries and make it easier to determine someone’s score.
Kan Jam, the flying disc game, is played by throwing a Frisbee of sorts into a target that is the Kan. The game requires two teams of two-people each, the flying disc and two Kans. A perfect game requires a team to cooperate and score a total of 21 points/bucket shots, 3 points per round.
The Kans are set up 50 feet apart with a Thrower and a Deflector standing by either of the Kans. Scoring is possible in four ways:
The game set is portable, lighthearted, and easy to learn and set up. Additionally, family or friends can easily join in on the fun. Kan Jam has no age limits and is a good option for anyone who wants to bring the family closer, have fun together and spend quality time with loved ones.
Bocce/Bocci, which is also referred to as Italian lawn bowling, is one of the oldest and most popular outdoor or yard games. The game’s simplicity and inclusivity of all skill levels and ages have popularized it from its humble Italian roots to world acclamation.
Additionally, you can play Bocce ball on any stretch of flat grounds, whether on grass, trail, sidewalk or hard-packed dirt. You can choose to play against each other or split up the family into two evenly-numbered teams.
The concept: bowling but without the lines, throw the jack, in this case, the pallina in the court and take turns throwing the larger bocce balls as close as possible to the jack. You can toss a coin to decide who pitches the jack.
Points are granted with regards to the closeness of the bocce balls to the jack and the first team/player to get 12 points wins.
If you have ample storage space in your RV or camping van, you can get the regular size Bocce balls which are slightly heavy and bulky to transport. However, if space is a concern for you then there’s always lightweight versions available in the market.
Think super soakers and small water guns for each member of the family around the campsite. Water gun fights are fun for the whole family and are great for cooling off on a hot summer day.
It’s a night-mode version of the famous Tag game, where you evade the player who has been designated “it”. In Flashlight Tag, the game is played at night and a player can only be tagged by being lit up by a flashlight.
It commences with a hide-and-seek element and a selected “it” player who heads into the dark in search of hidden players. While the game requires a lot of dark, you can opt playtime at dusk hours in case the kids are afraid of the dark.
It’s recommended that the game be played around set campgrounds and campsites for safety reasons.
Also known as Captain’s Mistress or Gravitrips, Connect Four is a two-player game in which players begin by choosing a color and then take turns dropping one-color discs into a vertically suspended grip from the top.
The goal of the game is to align four of one’s discs in a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line, which is similar to playing Tic Tac Toe on a larger grid.
If you are not constrained by storage space, you may even opt for the giant-sized version that is perfect for kids as well as the whole family.
Whittling, foraging, building a fire, storytelling, finding north, photography, and knot-tying are not necessarily camping games but can be fun activities to carry out for the whole family.
Learning how to make a fire or build a shelter will come in handy when emergencies arise and thus the more reason to practice such survival skills in a relaxed playful manner. Scavenger hunts also make for fun camping games for kids.
To create an undying bond with your camping buddies, conversation games will help you know them on a personal level. They include:
Also known as Two Truths and One Not, this game requires no props, just your imagination. Each participant gets a turn to tell the group two truths and a lie about themselves. Then the rest of the participants can, in turn, make guesses on which is which.
If only one participant was correct, they go next.
A good strategy to make it harder to guess the right answers is to alternate your statements in each turn so that they don’t follow each other for instance; truth-lie-truth, lie-truth-truth and truth-truth-lie. The game makes for a good 20-30 minutes activity in a small group of campers.
A classic drinking game, Never Have I Ever has been a favorite for revelers and fun-loving folks for many years. The game, which also goes by “Ten Fingers” or “I’ve Never…” can be played in a circle where players take turns asking the group about activities they have not done.
If a player has done the activity mentioned then that player has to drink and if no one drinks, it’s the first player who must take a drink. The game then proceeds on and on around the circle, however, the statements have to be plausible but not too obvious.
While it makes for a good drinking game, it has other non-drinking versions that can be played by children. In such a version, participants count scores on their fingers instead of drinking.
The Voting Game peeks behind the curtain of friendships to uncover comical truth of what your friends think about you on trivial matters. You get to share personal stories and get to each other in a meaningful relaxed way.
One player starts by asking “interesting” questions like “Who would drink their urine for the least amount of money?” or “Who is most likely to be arrested?” Then the players vote for the friend who is most likely the answer to the question in a secret ballot.
The vote is revealed and you and your friends can go at it trying to figure out who voted for who.
WYR questions are good conversation starters when backpacking with new campers especially if followed up with a “why”. That way you learn new and interesting things about your fellow campers.
The questions can be as quirky as “Would You Rather be a reverse mermaid or a reverse centaur?” or thought-provoking as “Would You Rather be locked in a room that is constantly bright for a month or a room that is constantly dark for a month”.
While Wayne Brady-levels of improv mastery are not expected, Alphabet Improv requires that you bring your a-game every time.
The premise is simple; a scene has twenty-six lines of dialog, the first line starts with a given letter, and the retort to which must start with the succeeding letter. The dialog goes on until the alphabet has been covered.
Therefore, a starting letter (say “P”) bears a dialog as below:
“P-eople are really sad here”
“R-eally, it doesn't look like I know very many people here.”
“S-eriously, I think we'd know like three people.”
It helps to build the scene for the audience before jumping into the improv session.
The game is another favorite for any occasion or group of people. It offers a nice icebreaker or team-building exercise when you’re out and about. “Who Am I” works best with at least two people, but more is always better.
A player picks a card and holds it against their forehead without looking at it then proceeds to ask yes or no questions to try and figure out what they are. The cards will have names of animals, Disney characters, celebrities, politicians, biblical figures, nationality, fantasy creatures or any other subject relevant to the group.
Who Am I is a fun easy camping game for adults and families that closely relates to Charades and Celebrity Heads. You can write the names down on the cards or buy printed Who Am I sets for better legibility and range.
These classics can be played almost anywhere, whether on your camping bed or camping chair. They include; Poker, Black Jack, Kings Corner, Uno, Cards against Humanity, Conflicted: The Survival Card Game, Spoons and Wilderness Survival Playing Card Games among others.
Card games are easy to learn, inexpensive to acquire and highly portable.
On the other hand, board games such as Monopoly, Pictionary, Chess, Yahtzee, Backgammon, Taboo, and Candyland are some of the best options for family playtime. Board games will be an obvious choice if you’re car camping and have some extra room to spare.
Made by Milton Bradley in the early 1940s, Yahtzee is a simple dice/board game that includes a cup, a score pad and five dice. The goal of the game is to score points by rolling the dice three times to form either of 13 combinations.
Some of the combinations include Aces, Twos, Threes, Fours, Fives, Sixes, Three of a Kind, Four of a Kind, Full House, Small Straight, Large Straight, Yahtzee, and Chance.
There may be slight variations to the game if you are playing the traditional Yacht versus the more modern Yahtzee, however, they are all enjoyable to play and also come in travel cases.
Comparable to the 1999 card game Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity is an adult’s party game that is best described by the creators as a “party game for horrible people”.
The deck has black cards with questions and white cards with risqué “answers” printed on. To play, one player draws a black card and the rest of the players answer the question with the funniest answers possible. The funniest answer is awarded an “Awesome Point”.
The Cards Against Humanity card game is playful at best and tongue in cheek on most of the gameplay rules. The game is guaranteed to elicit some chuckles around your circle of friends and at most, you will have contributed to worthy causes with each purchase of the game.
While most camping games are just a rule away from becoming a drinking game, there are several ones in existence to ensure you stay buzzed. Beer pong, Drink-A-Palooza, Chandelier, Up & Down the River, King’s Cup, Cheers to the Governor, I’m Going to the Bar, Sevens, and Edward 40 Hands among many others.
The rules are flexible and unenforceable after a few chugs so you can try out any of the drinking games with friends without much knowledge of the game. A good idea is to pick a game that doesn’t go to extremes in terms of physical activity for you and your friends’ safety.
Remember to drink responsibly and to take prior safety precautions to counter any lurking outdoor dangers.
Ladder toss, which is also known as ladder golf, ladder ball and hillbilly golf, is a lawn game tailored for play around the campsite by all camping enthusiasts. The game involves throwing two golf balls attached with a string onto a ladder.
Getting the balls on the top rung gets you 3 points, 2 points on the middle rung and 1 point on the bottom rung. You can play as two teams or against each other with all focus being to get the bolas onto the first step and, of course, have fun while at it.
If looking for hidden objects using GPS devices sounds like fun for you then Geocaching is the hobby to pick up on if you haven’t already. You can hide objects for others to find or take advantage of what other hobbyists have developed.
Geocaching also provides enthusiasts with interesting ways to discover new places and interact with other like-minded campers. Orienteering is slightly similar to Geocaching as they will both challenge your navigation and survival skills.
Two teams go at each other intending to capture the other team’s flag that is located at either of the team’s bases. CTF is a favorite camping game for many people for a couple of reasons; it offers fast-paced gameplay with a mix of fun and fitness for all players.
It requires an open area with some natural obstacles like bushes, trees and large rocks to make the game more exhilarating. The flags can be made of anything be it socks, bandannas, beanbags or just old t-shirts, as long as they’re the same size and are brightly colored.
The game ends when one team has grabbed the other’s flag and returned it to its territory. Rules can be bent at will or you can choose to stick to set conventions.
Scavenger hunt games are challenging and equally rewarding to kids and pretty much to people of all ages. They are fun to play and provide an opportunity for players to showcase and develop their planning and creativity skills.
They are best suited for campgrounds or parks that are most familiar to players where they will have an easy time identifying locations of rivers, large landmarks, ponds and other areas of interest.
You can also try out new locations using maps of the area that way players get to play and discover new picturesque scenes of the outdoors.
Hacky sacks or footbags are easy to make and perfect for individual or group camping games for either kids or teens. There are many variations to the game including footbag net, buce, knockout and 21 among others, however, they all involve kicking a bag with your feet.
The goal of the game is to keep the footbag off the ground while kicking it around the circle. The “sack” can be a bean-bag or a sewn fabric 3/4 filled with rice or sand.
While the game used to be very popular in the 70s and 90s, you can still introduce your kids to it in place of excessive screen time. It will test their motor skills and enhance their team spirit.
A fun party game that you can play at night, this variation of the popular Ring Toss game requires two teams, five cups and six glow rings. The cups are lined up a few paces from the pitching line and players take turns to throw their three rings to get them around the cup.
The rules are flexible and the kids can make up their own however they like. You may also use water bottles filled with water and a few glow sticks in them for the goals and glow-in-the-dark bracelets for the rings.
Easily one of the favorites when it comes to camping games for kids, obstacle courses are energy burners, fun and unique for any campsite size.
They require a few props and some creativity to develop with the basic activities including the following; balancing elements, climbing, running, swimming, jumping and crawling. The obstacle courses will help test and develop your kid’s endurance, speed, and agility.
When developing your obstacle course you may consider ideas such as jumping over cups or rings, hopping one foot, carrying an egg with a spoon, doing jumping jacks, crab walking or even crawling over/under the picnic table.
You may also incorporate sleeping bag relay races in the course and have yourself some mini-camping Olympics. The kids can jump inside the bags or crawl like a worm to the finish line.
Camping during summer? Pass the Water is a cool camping game for kids that can help cool them off on a hot warm day. The game is pretty simple to play, the first player fills their cup with water and dumps it over their head into the following player’s cup.
The dumping of water goes on until the end of the line, if the last person still has some water, they run to the start of the line to start the chain all over again. The kids get to run around and stay cool with all the water splashing all over.
This is a popular party game meant for two or more players where you choose to either answer a question truthfully or perform a dare. While the questions and dares help foster creativity, they can be trying on someone’s tolerance and be somewhat embarrassing.
Slightly similar to Who Am I, the game involves you picking a secret object and your partner asking you twenty different questions that will ultimately help figure out the object. Keep switching places to make the game engaging and enjoyable.
Card games top the go-to camping games for couples and more so two-player versions. You and your loved one are spoilt for choice with the many card games available today including James Bond, Crazy Eights, Gin Rummy, Egyptian Rat Screw, Nerts Slap Jack, Speed, Beggar My Neighbor, Golf, and Idiot.
Sure, they sound like random names and the rules might be hard to follow for each of the versions but nothing beats a good ole card game to pass the time.
A waterproof deck of cards is especially preferred to counter any weather challenges you may face outdoors.
The back and forth of a Frisbee tossing game with your loved one offers a relaxed and enjoyable way to have quality time at camp. The game can be as competitive as you both like and equally you both get to improve your tossing skills, agility and speed.
Put in place silly reward systems like having to do chores if one loses to make the game active and engaging.
We are not talking of winning any Olympics here but juggling just two-three balls or beanbags is enough of a fun challenge for couples. You can start individually to learn the basics and slowly pick up on the team effort.
You are bound to experience bouts of laughter, frustrations and fun, guaranteed to make it a memorable camping trip.
Truly the best sundowner game for two, Backgammon is a vintage board game with the primary goal of moving all provided checkers off the board before your opponent can. It has its fair blend of strategy and luck and can turn a bit competitive in a matter of a few moves.
There are two variations of the game i.e. Dutch Backgammon and Acey Deucey. Ensure at least one of you know the rules so they can teach the other.
Playing with your dog regularly is necessary for keeping them stimulated and strengthening the bond between the two of you. However, it can be tricky maintaining this while camping due to dangers like wild animal attacks and stern rules regarding pets in campgrounds.
That said, you can still play some light games with your dog around the campsite without much worry. They include hide & seek, tug-of-war, flirt poles, treat toys, Frisbee, and agility courses among others.
Modify your routine game of fetch by hiding the dog’s toys around the campsite so they have to work by sniffing to find the toys. You can do the same with their favorite treats resulting in a heightened sense of smell.
Pet experts advise that an occasional game of tug-of-war with your dog is healthy and fun as long as the dog maintains obedience each time. Encourage them to grab a toy that is soft and comfortable and keep them engaged by shaking the toy in any direction.
You can prompt your dog to grab or release the toy using phrases like “get it”, “grab it” and “leave” to help develop obedience and a common language between you and the dog. Choose when they “win” or lose to reduce any risks of making them too aggressive.
If there’s space to allow it, you can make your dog a mini-course to run and play around. It offers a great way to mentally and physically stimulate your dog as well as to teach them new tricks.
You may buy ready-made courses at pet supply stores or just DIY one with natural supplies around the campsite. Sticks and wood planks can make good weave poles and seesaw courses of which you won’t have to carry around unlike store-bought courses.
The agility course may be built in a way to help teach tricks like sitting, rolling over, laying down, or anything you might have in mind.
Some dogs will enjoy digging and sniffing things out and thus a treasure hunt can be a fun way to play with them while outdoors. You may choose a hiding spot to bury some treats, toys or something smelly for the dog to find by sniffing.
When lounging in a camping chair, the cup game can keep your dog just as engaged. It requires three cups. Put a smelly treat under one cup and move around the cups and prompt your dog to pick where the treat is.
If the dog picks the right cup, you can give them an extra treat as a reward then keep on playing.
Puzzles are practical methods to stimulate your dog mentally and physically whether you’re indoors or outdoors. The puzzles will help you both combat boredom, reinforce your bond and improve your dog’s confidence.
Some of the puzzles will even help you improve your dog’s digestion system by slowing down mealtime.
When going out on your next camping trips, you may want to carry with treat-dispensing toys like Kong or Bob-A-Lot for use in the RV or around the campsite. Such toys enhance your dog’s natural scavenging ability and can be mentally stimulating to them as well.
Essentially, Frisbee is just a variation of a game of fetch and can be great exercise and fun when played often. If you’ve never played Frisbee with your dog, start with a soft disc and throw it short distances on the ground. Increase the distance gradually to get the dog excited about the game.
Take advantage of recreational areas in campgrounds and ensure that you follow set rules of the grounds.
Take your dog to the beach, play a game of fetch in water or “hose down” your dog BUT only if they are into that kind of fun. Remember to bring a doggie life jacket in case there will be any swimming or playing in water or rivers.
You may also teach your dog to chase bubbles especially if you want the kids to also play with the dog. While the bubbles may be non-toxic they may upset your dog’s stomach if ingested so be sure to wipe off your dog’s face afterward.
Camping packs lots of benefits – vitamin D exposure, reduced screen time and physical exercise among others – thus the more reason to spend more time outdoors. Camping games can help enjoy your downtime in a fun engaging way.
There are numerous games you can go for or even invent to play around a campfire or at the campground. A classic board game or any other coffee-table game comes in handy during a heavy downpour and it is small, compact and lightweight to backpack with.
We enjoy playing some of the aforementioned camping games and we hope you will have fun playing with them too!
When he's not camping or adventuring the outdoors, you'll find him grinding hard on his keyboard to put up some super-awesome content on campingmaniacs.com. Starting off on camping escapades back in 2011, he has grown fond of the activity over the years. His exposure to a myriad of different camping terrains, gear and the outdoor atmosphere has hitherto changed his perception of the entire outdoor life. He enjoys sharing the experiences of his adventures and gear reviews with the awesome camping community on this platform. Read more about us.