Camping with the family is a great way to explore new places, relax in nature and spend quality time with the family. You can spend the day riding bikes, hiking, swimming or just swinging in the breeze in a hammock. You might be wondering, though, what can we do as a family when it gets dark? Well, we’re here to tell you, the fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down. Here is our list of 19 Awesome Camping Activities at Night!
1. Sit Around the Campfire
A staple for a lot of camping trips is to sit around the campfire. Just staring, poking and adding wood is sometimes all you need to entertain you for hours. Nothing brings people together more than sitting around a warm, cozy fire until the late hours of the night. Throw some magical flames on the fire for some added color!
2. Tell Stories and Jokes Around the Campfire
Goofy, embarrassing, funny, scary or even made up! While enjoying the warmth of the campfire, take turns telling stories and funny jokes that’ll make time fly.
3. Word of Mouth Games
If you’re all out of stories, try and play a silly word of mouth game that’ll engage everyone around the campfire. My favorite game to play is called the “Alphabet Game.” You first pick a theme like “animals” or “foods” and in a circle you take turns naming one thing that starts with the next letter in the alphabet and compiling as you go. For example, the first person would say “Aardvark,” then the next person would need to repeat “Aardvark” before saying something like “Beaver,” the next person would then say “Aardvark, Beaver…Cat!” and so on. It’s fun to see who can remember the whole list by the end!
4. Play Music
If you’re lucky enough to have a musically talented friend, encourage them to bring their guitar or banjo to your next camping trip and sing along to some tunes while the fire provides background noise. You can even make it into a game by merely humming a tune and seeing if your friends can guess the song! Just remember to observe “quiet hours” if you’re at an established campground!
5. Play Games Around the Fire
If you have a little too much energy left to sit around the fire, you can play super easy games that don’t require a lot of set up like charades, truth or dare, two truths and a lie, and who am I? You’d be surprised at how many games you can think of. And the best part is that you don’t need more than the light the fire provides!
6. Make Dessert
There’s nothing better than some roasted marshmallows or s’mores made on an open fire. If you’re looking for a fun new activity with the family, try and make a new fireside dessert like a “campfire cone” where you take ice cream waffle cones, fill them with marshmallows, fruit, chocolate chips or whatever your heart desires, wrap in tin foil and sit next to the fire for a few minutes, let cool, and enjoy!
If the fire is dying out and you’re lucky enough to be far enough away from the city lights, take some time to lean back and stare at the never-ending stars. If you prepare enough beforehand, you can even get a stargazing app on your phone that helps you identify the stars, planets, constellations, and also tells you facts about them all! If you like to be a bit more old fashioned while star gazing. Bring a telescope that connects to your iPhone to get an even better view. The kids will love it!
8. Go For a Walk
Like camping during the day, camping at night doesn’t have to have a lot of bells and whistles for you to enjoy yourself. Just grabbing a flashlight or headlamp and taking a cruise around the campsite can be an excellent way to wind down before bed. To make it even more fun, you can turn off the flashlight, let your eyes adjust and be amazed at what you can see! If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to spot some wildlife as well.
9. Practice Your Night Time Photography
You probably have tons of shots of the kids jumping in the pool or the overlooks you saw on your hike during the day, but the night time provides a whole new world of photography opportunities. Whether you’re trying to get an excellent capture of the moon, your lit up tent or the kids running around with glowsticks, take the time to play with your settings and see what you can capture when the sun goes down! There is a great website called cameratips.com where you can buy cheat cards for your camera. The cheat cards tell you the exact camera settings for your specific camera to take all types of shots including photos of the stars. I’m not an affiliate but I have them and they are a great resource.
10. Go for a Swim
If your family loves swimming during the day, there is something a bit taboo about swimming at night that makes it even more exciting. Not only that, if you happen to be camping near a natural body of water, the water usually feels warmer at night. It might feel like a warm bathtub to play in! Grab your flashlights, towels and sandals and head to the lakeside! Note – do not swim in the ocean at night!
11. Play Flashlight Hide and Seek
Another good way to burn off some energy before getting snuggled into bed for the night is to designate who is “it” and tell everyone to run and hide! After a few seconds, whoever is “it” gets to try their hand at searching for the rest of the family with their flashlight! It probably doesn’t need to be said, but it’s important to find a safe open spot to run around with little to no obstacles to make sure everyone stays safe.
12. Play Flashlight iSpy
If running around isn’t in the cards, have one person flash their flashlight around to spot something then give everyone else a turn to take guesses as to what they spotted. If they guess correctly, they get to spot something next!
13. Play Cards or a Board Game
Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate, and it forces you to hang out in the tent or the RV for the night. If you can’t play outside, bringing along some cards or a small board game can help the time fly. If you have a deck of cards, go around in a circle choosing which games to play!
14. Play a Game on Your Phone
If you don’t want to bring along a deck of cards or a whole board game, you could easily download a group game like “Heads-Up” on your phone before your trip and take turns playing.
15. Watch a Movie on your Phone/Device
Sometimes after a long day of exploring and playing, merely watching a show or movie on your device is a good bonding tool for you and your family. Save your data plan by downloading some choices before you leave home.
16. Do a Craft
If your family is handy, this might be the perfect opportunity to knit a new scarf or paint an original watercolor to decorate the inside of your RV. Camping crafts are an ideal quiet activity for you and your family on a rainy night or to have a calm evening.
You might have pictures to remember your activities with, but nothing can describe the trip quite like your own words. Winding down at the end of the night is the perfect time to write in a journal or diary and recall the days’ events.
18. Read a Book
Whether to yourself or out loud to your family, curling up with a good book is a timeless camping relaxation activity.
19. Look at the Pictures You Took Throughout the Day
Take some time and look at all the pictures and videos you took during the day. It’s a great way to have some laughs and appreciate the day! GoPro has an awesome app called Quik that takes the days video and pictures and combines them all to make cool music collages. Below is a Quik video of Mike from RVBlogger made with his daughters in Shenandoah National Park.
With all these fun activities, the night time might even be the most fun your family has! No matter what nighttime camping activity you and your family choose, you’re bound to have a good time!
Do you have any favorite nighttime RV Camping activities? Please share them below!
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Kelsey Mirehouse is a recently graduated Masters of Sports Medicine student, avid camper and crazy dog mom. You can usually find her and her little family hiking down a dirt road, huffing and puffing over a mountain pass, or chilling on the couch watching a Netflix documentary. She loves to write about all things outdoors.