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 25 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 Night 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.
20. Make Shadow Puppets
A fun activity for kids of all ages is making shadow puppets. This activity will encourage everyone to put on a creative and sometimes an educational type of entertainment. This can even be done inside or outside your camper trailer. It’s one of those rare activities that requires no equipment, no electricity, and no previous experience necessary!
21. Catch Lightning Bugs In A Jar
A lot of us remember catching lightning bugs in jars as a kid. This is a great night time camping activity but only if you release them right away as we do not ever want to harm nature or her precious animals.
You can use this as a teaching moment with your children by explaining the delicate balance between humans and Mother Earth. It could lead to some very interesting, and educational, conversations with your family.
22. Family Dance Party
This one is great for getting in some exercise for when you “bust a move.” You may not have a disco ball handy for the night time camping activity, but you do have flashlights, a campfire, and stars that can put you in the dancing spotlight!
Hand each kid a flashlight or any light source (cell phones can be used here actually). Turn on some groovy music and start dancing your heart out. This is a great way to exhaust the kids so they go to bed easily, and it will probably do the same for you. LOL
Just remember, if you are staying at a campground, be conscious and observe the quiet hours posted. You do not want to make your campground host or neighbors upset with you!
23. Creative Camping Bingo
Who doesn’t love a game of bingo?! It’s easy. It’s fun. And the whole family can join in. With a little planning, you can create your very own version of family camping bingo.
If your kids are old enough, you could have each of them design their very own bingo cards based on where you are camping and duplicate enough of them so everyone can play. Of course, you will need to bring paper and pencils or crayons for them to do this. But if it is raining, what a great and creative way to keep the kiddos busy!
24. Make Trail Mix for the Next Day
This night time activity will be greatly appreciated the next day when you and your family go for a nice hike in the woods or have a long travel day planned.
Start making your family trail mix by handing each child their own zippered style sandwich bag or quart sized bag. If they are old enough, have their write their name on their bag with a permanent magic marker.
After dispensing the bags set out the following and help each child to put a portion (use a 1/3 measuring cup) into their bag.
Here are some ideas of what to put into their trail mix bags. Remember, if a child does not like a particular ingredient or is allergic to something, there are plenty of mix and match ingredients to pick from below. The most common Trail Mix ingredients are:
- Small snack sized pretzels
- Small snack sized butter crackers
- Candy coated chocolate candies (with or without peanuts or caramels)
- Crunchy cheese snacks
- Small bagel bits or larger bagel bits that are broken up
- Dried raisins
- Dried blueberries
- Dried cranberries
- Dried apricots
- Dried plantains
- Whole grain cereal squares or circles
- Flaked coconut
- Fruit leather sliced into smaller sized bits
- Fruit snacks or gummy snacks
- Broken up bits of chocolate bars
- Chocolate Chips
- Peanut Butter Chips
Making trail mix together is fun and practical because everyone gets what they want to eat the next day. You can be as creative as possible. Buy the above-mentioned ingredients in bulk and design your family’s very own style of trail mix and wait for the rave reviews.
25. Fairy Princess or Pirate Lights
If you have only girls, this game can be a fairy or princess twinkling lights. If you have boys in your family, you could call this activity pirate cannonballs. Basically, you will string strands of twinkling LED lights around your campsite. String them up in trees and bushes, even attach them to the corners of your camper trailer. This will create a magical atmosphere and you can take turns adding to a storyline aka “Telephone Game”.
How it works: The first family member in the circle whispers a word or sentence into the ear of the person sitting or standing to their right. The game continues. Players whisper the whole entire phrase or story to their neighbors to the right until it reaches the last player in the circle. That person tells what “they heard” and it could be a funny story by the time it reaches them!
With these 25 Awesome Camping Activities At Night, 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!
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