Camping in the outdoors soothes the soul. It gives you the freedom to enjoy nature’s bounty on your terms. Whether you’re exploring all day, kicking back, or avoiding an impending storm, you’ll eventually find yourself with a bit of downtime.
The best way to spend that time is by playing a friendly competitive game with your loved ones. Some camping games highlight athleticism, while others emphasize problem-solving. They’re all great tools for bonding and getting to know your camping party.
These camping games will keep everyone entertained without using up any screen time.
The Best Camping Games for Adults
Two Truths and a Lie
Two Truths and a Lie is a classic game that promotes bonding and openness. It’s a great way to learn about your fellow campers. This conversational game takes up almost no room, making it a great game to play around the campfire or in your sleeping bag before bed. To up the ante, you can opt for a more engaging game like Truth or Dare.
How to play Two Truths and a Lie
- Select a player to go first, second, and so on. It might be easier to select a player then move clockwise around the group.
- The chosen player states three facts about themselves (or their life). Two of the facts should be true, and one false. For example, a player might say, “I’ve jumped out of a plane, I’ve broken seven bones, and I have a crippling fear of spiders.” Two of the statements are true, and one is a lie.
- The remaining players take turns guessing out loud which statement is the lie.
- Once everyone has made their guesses, the lie is revealed. Each player who guessed correctly earns a point.
- Repeat steps two through four until everyone has taken their turn.
- The player with the most points at the end wins the game.
Night Frisbee (also known as glow-in-the-dark-frisbee) is a fun twist on a classic sport. It’s like regular frisbee, but you play at night amongst the shadows. You can play within the confines of your campsite or take it into the woods. Trees and other natural features add a welcome challenge to the playing field. Players wear glow sticks or headlamps to see in the dark. For added fun, you can also get an LED frisbee or glow-in-the-dark frisbee disc. To up the ante, you can play ultimate frisbee or disc golf under the same conditions.
Equipment: Frisbee disc, glow sticks (optional), headlamp (optional)
How to play Night Frisbee
- For the most basic version of this game, divide the players into teams of equal size. If you only have two players (or an odd number of players), you can play individually.
- The first player or team throws the frisbee to another player or team. They can throw it backhand or forehand; it doesn’t matter.
- The receiving player or team attempts to catch the frisbee.
- If the receiver catches the frisbee, they earn a point. Then they throw the frisbee to another player or team, repeating steps two through four.
- If the receiver misses the frisbee, they lose their turn and hand it back to the original player or team. The initial player or team earns an automatic point and repeats steps two through four.
- The player or team with the most points at the end wins the game.
Honorable Mention: Drinking Games
You can turn almost any camping game into a camping drinking game by including a wager. Board games, parlor games, card games, conversational games, and lawn games can all be made into drinking games with a few creative twists. The player who loses has to drink, the player who wins has to drink, or everyone drinks at a designated time. So pour those camping drinks and have a blast!
The Best Camping Games for Kids
Bingo is a simple game where players mark images on a specialized card. You can play it anywhere with a flat surface—in your tent or RV, at the picnic table, or around the campfire. It’s perfect for any age group and is a great way to keep all the kiddos in one place. You can make it more educational by teaching the kids about each object as you call them out.
Equipment: Bingo cards, calling cards, a small container, chip markers
How to play Bingo
- Distribute a Bingo card and 20 markers to every player. Each Bingo card should have 25 squares containing an image, a “free” center square, and a “Bingo” header. You can download and print camping Bingo cards or create your own. If you don’t want to buy markers, you can use common items like coins, marshmallows, or candy pieces.
- The Game Master has 25 individually cut calling cards corresponding with each image. Mix them into a hat or other container.
- Players begin by placing a marker on the Bingo card’s “free” square.
- The Game Master draws a calling card at random and announces the image on the card. So if they draw a card with a tent on it, they’ll call out “tent” and show it to each player.
- If a player sees that image on their Bingo card, they place a marker on that square.
- Repeat steps one through five until one of the players achieves a single row of five markers—vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
- When a player has five markers in a row, they call out “Bingo” to let other players know they’ve won that round.
- Start over with another round, repeating steps one through seven.
A scavenger hunt (also known as a treasure hunt) is one of the best ways to keep kids engaged and learning about the outdoors. It’s a flexible game where you can set your own parameters and time limits and choose the complexity of clues. It’s even better when kids from neighboring campsites join in the fun. You can expand the parameters to the entire campground and surrounding natural features.
Equipment: Various items to collect or find, paper or index cards
How to play Scavenger Hunt
- Create a list of objects for hunters to find. Depending on space and players, a list of 10-15 items should be sufficient. If you don’t want to make your own list, you can print these camping scavenger hunt lists. To make it more educational, hunters can search for existing nature objects, like plants, animals, or natural features.
- Hide the objects around the camp or make a note of items you want hunters to find (like plants or animals).
- Create clues for each item that helps hunters find them. Each item can include more than one clue. Make the clues appropriate for hunters’ age and knowledge level. For an added layer of fun, you can turn clues into riddles or puzzles.
- Write all the clues on a single sheet of paper or each clue on an index card and distribute them among players.
- Give the hunters a time limit, and let them hunt!
- The hunter that finds all the objects first is the winner.
Honorable Mention: Board Games
Board games are the perfect way to pass an afternoon in the tent or RV. Just throw up a tarp and prepare for some rainy fun. They’re a fun way to teach your kids friendly competition strategies while strengthening their reasoning skills. Popular camping and outdoor-themed board games include National Parks Yahtzee, Starlink, and Parks. But you can’t go wrong with classics like Bananagrams, Candyland, Monopoly, or Connect 4. Board games pair well with delicious camping snacks and fruit juice. A little friendly competition amongst friends (and family) is great for the soul.
The Best Camping Games for the Whole Family
Charades is a classic parlor game of acting and guessing. It’s guaranteed to bring laughter and joy to everyone in the family. Players can decide how difficult to make their clues, depending on the age range of everyone involved. You can make it even more special by acting out camping-themed words and phrases. It’s most fun around a campfire but can also be played inside a roomy cabin tent while it’s raining.
Equipment: Paper, a pen or pencil, a small container
How to play Charades
- Divide the players into teams of equal size, creating teams of two to five players.
- Select a neutral player to keep score and time and a player to go first.
- The neutral player writes down words or phrases onto slips of paper and places them into a baseball cap or other container. The words or phrases should represent commonly-known objects, ideas, or media. For example, movie titles, popular activities, or song lyrics. Keep the phrases under five words and avoid using proper names.
- The first player draws a slip of paper, and the neutral player puts three minutes on the clock. 5. The player pantomimes the word(s) or phrase on the paper without verbal cues. So, if the paper says “White Duck,” they might point to something white, then flap their arms up and down like a duck.
- The rest of the players on the team have to guess the word(s) or phrase being pantomimed before the time runs out. The player who guesses correctly earns a point.
- Repeat steps one through six for each team.
- The player with the most points at the end wins the game.
Cornhole (otherwise known as Bean Bag Toss) is a classic lawn game that’s easy to learn and fun for the whole family. It doesn’t require much space, making it an excellent option for smaller campsites. Cornhole is an exciting game for adults and kids alike as they show off their tossing skills and encourage each other. You can bring a cornhole set or make a family project of building your own DIY boards.
Equipment: 2 cornhole boards, 8 bean bags
How to play Cornhole
- Divide the players into two teams of equal size.
- Place the two cornhole boards 27 inches apart, opposite each other. You can get a travel cornhole set or make a DIY cornhole board.
- Divide the bean bags equally among the players or teams and select a player or team to go first.
- The first player or team throws a bean bag to the opposite cornhole board, aiming for the cut-out holes. Throw the bag underhand. Repeat this step, alternating between players or teams until both have tossed all their bean bags to the opposite board.
- Award each player or team three points for every bean bag that goes through the hole (even if another bag knocks it in) and one point for each bag that lands on the board.
- Repeat steps one through five for the following rounds.
- When all the rounds have been played, tally the points to determine a winner.
Honorable Mention: Card Games
You can’t go wrong with card games. They usually only require a deck of cards, making them great options for days inside the tent or confined to the campsite. There’s a card game for everyone in your family, regardless of age. Adults enjoy games like Cards Against Humanity or Exploding Kittens, while kids prefer games like Go Fish and Uno. With a simple deck of house cards, you increase your options exponentially. Grab a card deck and a book of card games, and go nuts.