Summer and fall are two of the most idyllic seasons for camping. In the summer, kids are out of school, temperatures are warm, and daylight stretches on for hours. In the fall, wildlife are more active, the weather turns crisp, and nature radiates with vibrant colors. So as traveling continues to become safe and accessible once again, these next few months will be perfect for a family vacation in the great outdoors.
Whether your idea of a camping trip includes an RV, tent or cabin, below are some fun and family-oriented activities to fill the time together and help solidify those bonds of connection. When you’re not hiking the trails, sharing campfire stories, or watching the stars at night, slot in these games and other forms of entertainment, all of which are sure to be crowd-pleasures for both the kids and adults alike in your crew.
Organize a Family Poker Tournament.
If there’s a rainy afternoon during the trip when you are stuck inside and can’t brave the elements, gather the family for a poker tournament. You don’t have to bet with actual money either—adapt this game for participants of all ages, so that everyone can join in the fun. Families with young children can use prizes or candy in place of cash betting, while adults can play for scratch-off lottery tickets. To customize the pace, flow and structure of your live poker tournament, download the mobile Global Poker App. With just a touch of a button, your whole group can enter into some friendly competition.
Play Charades Around the Campfire.
As the sunset expands over the horizon, and it’s time to circle around the campfire glow, take this opportunity to initiate a spirited game of charades. Once your fellow campers are split into two equal teams, and have each group choose a nature- or camping-related theme to act out for the other team to guess. Then set a timer, reconvene around the fire, and let the pantomimes begin. Remember: charades is a silent game, so no verbal hints are allowed, but be as creative and outside-the-box as you want with gestures or body movements. Half the fun is watching everyone just unleash their inner method actor.
Take a Nature Photography Excursion.
Whether you’re at a national park or a small regional campsite, there is no shortage of postcard worthy views to snap on camera. Turn this into a contest for the whole family and make a list of various nature sights that each person needs to locate and take a picture of on their camera or mobile device, like a photography scavenger hunt. Some items to include on the list could be something that moves, something that’s colorful, something that’s taller or shorter than you, something that feels soft, or something that’s pointy, for instance. After the trip, you can even print out all these photos for a family scrapbook.
Have a Build Your Own S’mores Bar.
Roasting s’mores over an open flame is a classic tradition for outdoor enthusiasts all across the country, so take these delicious, nostalgic treats to the next level with a DIY s’mores bar. In addition to the basic ingredients—marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers—set out a smorgasbord of other unique and creative fixings too such as peanut butter, strawberries, bananas, pretzels, coconut flakes, bacon strips, caramel, apple slices, walnuts or cookies. Then invite everyone to build their own s’mores creations, and gather outside by the campfire to connect with each other over this timeless dessert.
Set Up an Obstacle Course Together.
If your campsite has enough space, transform it into an obstacle course with whatever items you have on-hand. This is an ideal pastime for those afternoons you want to do something active, but aren’t necessarily in the mood for a strenuous hike. Enlist your crew to find objects around the campsite to use as hurdles or barriers, then work together to create an obstacle course from those items. Just about anything will suffice, from backpacks to water bottles to tarps or sleeping bags to ropes or bungee cords to other camp equipment. Let your imagination run wild, then try the course out once it’s finished.
Wherever your camping adventures lead this summer or fall, maximize your time off-the-grid with these fun activities to delight and entertain the whole family. After so much time spent indoors these past two years, it will feel like a breath of fresh air to bond with those you love amidst the scenic backdrop of nature views.