Fun Camping Games For The Family



A little over 30 years ago, my grandparents bought a small piece of land in the central Pennsylvania mountains.  Ever since then my family has enjoyed the many benefits of camping.  Over the years we have come up with a lot of fun camping games for the family.

Grass Field at Mountains
The grassy field that we play our games in at camp.

Our Favorite Pastimes

Over these last decades there are several games that have become the staple of our game time activities in the mountains.

  • Badminton
  • Whiffle Ball
  • Football
  • Cards
  • Hacky Sack
  • Glow Stick Battles
Franklin Badminton Set
Most sets also come with a Volleyball too!

Badminton – This is my daughter’s favorite game to play up in the mountains.  This is a simple game using a net and rackets to hit a shuttlecock back in forth, kind of like volleyball.  Actually a lot of Badminton Sets also come with a volleyball as well.

You do need a medium sized open area in order to play the game.  However even a smaller area can work if you forgo the net and play as a group to keep the shuttlecock from hitting the ground.

Whiffle Ball – While my family and I never really enjoyed watching baseball as a sport, we love playing it.  Using a Whiffle Ball & Batgives the whole family an opportunity to play the game together.  I also would recommend that you get some extra balls, especially if you have some more novice players.

Again this game does require some space to play, but you can also be creative in limited space.  For example at our place, we play on a grassy hillside and use the trees for bases.  Running up and down the hill is definitely great exercise.

Nerf Football Green
A classic football – the Nerf one!

Football – While we don’t play the actual game of football as much anymore, we still love to toss around the old pigskin and have fun.  Originally our football games started with night games, where we would pull all of our cars up onto the hillside and use their headlights to light up the playing field.

As time went on, and gas prices went up, we made the switch to playing by day.  We also started getting just as much enjoyment from just tossing the ball around and maybe running some routes.

When it comes to playing with the whole family I do recommend using a Nerf Football as it is a little safer for all.  It is also smaller and is easier held and thrown by all types of hand sizes.

Cards – Whenever we travel anywhere, but especially when camping, we like to bring along a standard Deck of Playing Cards.  With so many games that can be played with one deck, and not much space required to play, they make an essential thing to bring along.  You can see some games to play with your kids in the previous post here.

Hacky Sack – This is another great activity that my family and I enjoy when we go camping.  One of the best things about playing this game is that you can take a Hacky Sack with you just about anywhere you go.  Matter of fact, if I leave the house I normally have my Hacky Sack in my pocket just in case.

Glow Sticks 8 Inch
Throw them normally or as rings.

Glow Stick Battle – So first a word of caution… Running around in the dark and throwing glow sticks at each other can be dangerous.  However, if you have a nice open area to play in, this game can be a lot of fun!

My dad starting bringing up Glow Sitcks for the kids to have and play with, but soon the adults had come up with another use for them.  We started having battles with them out in our grassy field.  The little 8 inch sticks are easily thrown and fly very well.  I would recommend that you wear something over your eyes though as they do have very small ends.

Wrap Up

All in all we love to be active when we go camping and thus the bulk of our games tend to keep us moving around a lot.  I would love to hear about what games you are your family play when you go camping and ask that you please share them with us in the comments below.  Also, if you have any questions you can leave them there as well and I will do my best to promptly answer them.

If you are still looking for more information about camping, here is another great post along with a whole site full of camping info.  Also, don’t forget about some cool car games to play on the ride to and from camping.

James W D

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16 Replies to “Fun Camping Games For The Family”

  1. Such a good post, James. I love the way you are promoting good old fashioned, out of doors family games. I spent a lot of time as a kid camping in Africa, then frequently took my kids camping when they were small. Badminton was our favorite game then. It is such a great way for families to bond, apart from having loads of fun.

    • Thanks Rob, I really appreciate your feedback and for sharing your story. Most times as soon as we get to our camp in the mountains, some of the first words I hear are the kids asking to play Badminton.

  2. Hey there, James,

    Very cool post. We love to camp, me and the grandkids, from 12 to 18 a whole slew of them, maybe 6 to my one little ol’ me. I love having these ideas for a fun time in the sun, especially the glow stick one…what a hoot! We have played many an hour away with trusty old deck of cards too.

    Thanks for the reminders and new ideas. Now I’m getting anxious to go set up camp. “-)


    • Our glow stick battles have been some of the most fun we as a family have had in years up at camp. From young to old, everyone had a blast playing. We have also used the trusty deck of cards as well on many occasion, hard to go wrong there!

  3. Glow stick battles, sounds like a top idea.

    Since I last visited your site you have added so much more value. I always pick up a great idea/ideas from you James, keep up the good work mate.


    • Thanks Chris, I really appreciate that. The glow stick battles only started a couple years ago, but quickly became one of our favorite nighttime activities.

  4. Hi James,
    thanks for so many informations and ideas on playing games while camping…as a non-camping person, i´m glad to learn, cause we plan to do camping with the family in spring this year ! Will be whole lot more fun after reading your post…..:-).. Thanks – Janine

  5. me and my family might be going camping this year for the fourth of july week at ocean city, these are great ideas on keeping the younger kids busy and out of trouble and yet they can still have fun

  6. Yup! I’ve played all of these before while camping, just not the Glow Stick game. Ir was funny, while I was reading your description of the game and before you mentioned about wearing something to cover your eyes, I was thinking that clear painters goggles would be the way to play that game at night. – Though this game my friend John always brings with him takes up some space in the trunk, not in his suv, but Corn Hole is a cool game to play though you need 4 people to play it. That’s a fun family game. You should check that out sometime. – Great post James!

    • Robert, I think I know what game your are talking about and I never thought about having one of them for camp. One benefit to owning the land is that we have storage space there. Thanks for sharing and we just have to take a good look into something new for this year!

    • Yeah the old deck of cards is the trusty game that there is always room for. Especially if we get some rain or something and are all packed in together.

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