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20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

Campsite Tents

If you’re planning your next camping trip and need some inspiration for activities, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of 20 fun and must-do things to do when camping that’ll make your outdoor adventure even more unforgettable. 

We’ve covered all bases from activities in the campsite, to rainy day entertainment, through to sporting and water-based activities for more adventurous days!

20 Fun Things to Do When Camping

  1. Bird watching
  2. Collecting firewood
  3. Skipping stones
  4. Playing ‘Capture the Flag’
  5. Going fishing
  6. Learning how to boat
  7. Going swimming
  8. Learning how to water ski
  9. Playing volleyball
  10. Going for a bike ride
  11. Organising 5-a-side football
  12. Rock climbing
  13. Visiting local parks
  14. Finding new hiking trails
  15. Going geocaching
  16. Organising a scavenger hunt
  17. Exploring a nature trail
  18. Making s’mores
  19. Telling scary campfire stories
  20. Star gazing
Campsite
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

Fun Activities To Do from Your Campsite

Although camping holidays are all about adventure and discovery, there are always going to be days when you spend most of your time within the confines of your chosen campsite.

Anyway, the campsite itself can provide endless hours of fun for both children and adults alike! 

Here are a few ideas to keep you entertained in your home away from home:

#1 Do Some Bird Watching

Despite what you may initially think, bird watching can be a really fun pastime! Camping offers the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy bird-watching right from your tent.

Many campsites known for their bird populations provide booklets detailing the local species, adding an educational twist to your trip. The Lake Districts in the UK, for example, have a wide variety of birds to observe and are popular with bird watchers.

If you have children, you could make a game out of identifying different species or creating a nature journal to document the birds you spot. 

Or, if you’re a solo traveller, bird watching can be a peaceful and mindful activity to help you relax and appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.

Don’t forget to pack a pair of binoculars to help you spot more elusive birds that don’t venture too close to the site! We recommend the Whitby Gear 10×25 Compact Binoculars for a lightweight piece of kit that has impressive zoom capabilities.

#2 Collect Firewood

Okay, so this might be more of a chore disguised as a campsite activity, but with the right mindset, it can be a bit of fun, especially if you have younger members of your camping group.

In order to have a roaring fire to tell campfire stories, you need to have a decent supply of firewood to keep the flames going. 

Take a walk through wooded areas near your campsite and pick up small bits of kindling and firewood as you go. You can turn it into a friendly competition to see who can collect the most firewood before you get back to camp! The winner gets the biggest s’more!

Note: Check with your campsite whether fires are permitted and what types of firewood are allowed. Some campsites only allow fires with firewood they supply to avoid overly smoky fires.

Collecting firewood
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

#3 Skip Stones (If There’s a Lake)

A lot of campsites in the UK have small lakes or large ponds on their land that present the opportunity to engage in some classic pastime activities.

Spending an hour or two combing the shore for the perfect skipping stone can be a great way to fill a gap in activities. 

If you have children with you, you can teach them about the shape, size, and weight of the skipping stone to look for and how to get the perfect flick to make it all the way across the lake.

#4 Play Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is a perfect campsite game that entails two teams, each with its own flag or similar item, hidden within their territory. The objective is to capture the opponent’s ‘flag’ and safely bring it back to your territory without being tagged. 

You don’t necessarily have to use an actual flag – it can be whatever item you choose, like a bandana or even a stuffed animal.

This is a great way to get the whole group working together. You can also form teams with other campers on the campsite to create bonds and friendships, especially between younger members of your group.

Capture the flag
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

Water-Based Camping Activities

If you’re lucky enough to be camping near a body of water, a world of new activities has just opened up for you! 

These are our favourite water-based activities to keep you and the family entertained all day. We’ve chosen a selection that has something for all levels of confidence in and around water.

#5 Gone Fishing

If you’ve chosen a campsite that has a fishing lake near it, spending a day or afternoon sitting on the shore fishing can be the perfect way to relax and unwind on your trip.

This is a great water-based activity for people who can’t swim or who don’t feel confident in the water. And it’s a great time to learn a new hobby!

Many campsites that have a fishing lake will also hire fishing gear, so you don’t have to have your own stuff to partake in this hobby. But if you are a fishing enthusiast, you can take your kit with you, like a fishing survival tin, and set up a spot right by the water’s edge.

Even if you’re not a whizz with a fishing rod, just being by the water can have calming effects and improve your mental well-being.

#6 Get into Boating

If your campsite is near a huge lake or open water, they might offer boating activities such as canoeing, kayaking, or even paddle boarding. These are all great ways to get out onto the water and experience it in a different way.

People of all ages and abilities can enjoy boating activities, so it’s perfect for families or groups. Most sites will offer lessons and equipment rental if you don’t have your own gear.

Kayaking
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

#7 Go Swimming

Of course, you can’t beat a bit of swimming when you’re camping near water. You can swim for exercise if you want, or the whole family can get in the water, play, and enjoy each other’s company.

When swimming in large lakes and open water, it’s important to follow signage and flags that denote where it’s safe to swim. Always exercise caution in and around water, and supervise children closely!

With any water-based activity, make sure you take dry robes or changing robes with you to keep warm and dry afterwards. Red Paddle Co makes brilliant dry robes for adults and kids, and we have a great selection available, including their popular 3-in-1 parkas.

Also, bring plenty of sun protection and apply it regularly to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

#8 Learn How to Water Ski

Some campsites or organisations will offer more extreme watersports, such as water skiing. This can be a great way to pass a whole day and learn a new skill.

If you’re having lessons, you’ll be provided with all the safety gear you need to be safe out on the water. Just make sure you’re using a highly-rated school or company.

Waterski
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

Burn Some Energy With These Sporting Activities

When you’re camping with children or are energetic yourself, you’re going to need something to burn off some energy during the day to help you get a good night’s sleep come nightfall. 

Here are some high-energy sporting activities that you can do both inside and outside of your campsite.

#9 Play Volleyball With Other Campers

Volleyball is a great way to get active during your trip and bond with your fellow campers. 

You can play this with or without an actual court; just try to set up a net between two trees or posts to help you keep score of the match! 

If you have some spare guy lines or ropes, you can tie them around trees or nearby objects and use them as makeshift net posts. 

#10 Hire Bikes for a Family Bike Ride

There are plenty of campsites that offer bikes to rent, so you can explore trails in the local area. This is a great activity that the whole family can get involved with. 

If you’re an experienced rider, you can tackle more difficult or off-piste routes. Just remember to always wear a helmet!

North Devon is an excellent spot for cycle tracks, and there are lots of great camping sites nearby. 

The Tarka Trail is a popular route that takes you through picturesque countryside and charming villages. You can also stop off at various picnic spots along the way or venture out to nearby beaches for a break from cycling.

Some campsites may even have bike paths or trails on-site, making it easy for families to enjoy a leisurely ride without having to leave the campsite.

Family bike ride
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

#11 Organise a Game of 5-a-Side Football

Another way to bond with your fellow campers, or your campmates if you’re a large enough group, is to organise a game of 5-a-side football. 

This can be played anywhere in the campsite; just pick teams and make goalposts out of jumpers like you did when you were a kid.

#12 Reach New Heights Rock Climbing

If you’re in the right area, you can get stuck into rock climbing to challenge yourself physically. 

Depending on where you are, you can opt for a climbing centre with indoor climbing walls, or if you’re advanced, you can scale actual rock faces in the area. 

Always make sure you’re climbing where you’re allowed to and with the proper safety equipment.

#13 Seek Out a Local Park

Local parks can be a great place for the whole family to burn off some energy. There are likely to be playgrounds for children in and around every campsite in the country. 

If you want somewhere you can all run around and play, many places have open parks where you can stretch your legs and play some games.

Park
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

Get Around With Some Land-Based Activities

If water-based activities aren’t your thing, we’ve also got some great options for keeping everyone entertained with their feet on solid ground too! 

These activities are perfect for the whole family to get involved with.

#14 Find a New Hiking Trail

We couldn’t make an ultimate guide to camping activities without including hiking. To keep things interesting and challenge yourself, try to find new trails that are a little out of your comfort zone.

Some of the best hiking trails around the UK include:

  1. Hadrian’s Wall in Brampton
  2. The Jurassic Coast in Dorset
  3. Snowdonia National Park in Wales
  4. The West Highland Way in Scotland
  5. Scafell Pike in the Lake District
  6. The Brecon Beacons in South Wales
  7. The Peak District in Derbyshire
  8. The Causeway Coast Way in Northern Ireland

#15 Get Into Geocaching

Geocaching is like a modern-day treasure hunt. With the use of GPS, you can search for hidden containers or “caches” that are scattered all over the world. This is a fun and exciting activity that will get your family exploring and working together to find hidden treasures.

Geocaching
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

#16 Organise a Scavenger Hunt

If you want to keep the kids busy for a day, organising a scavenger hunt around the campsite or local area can easily pass a whole day. 

Make sure the prize is enough to keep the older kids engaged! Some areas organise their own scavenger hunts, so keep an eye out for leaflets or information about them.

#17 Go on a Nature Trail

Wildlife is abundant around campsites in the UK, so a nature trail can be incredibly interesting and while away a few hours. 

Again, the information centre at the campsite is likely to have leaflets about local wildlife and might even have their own nature trail maps to help your camping adventure.

Wind Down With These Night-Time Activities

When the sun goes down on a camping trip, things start to feel a little bit magical, especially on a family camping trip. Here are our suggestions to help everyone wind down after dark and bond over the campfire. These ideas also work for backyard camping ideas!

#18 Make S’Mores

No camping trip is complete without making s’mores. Ideally, you’d make them over a campfire, but if your campsite doesn’t permit them, you can also use a camping stove. 

We have a great selection of camping stoves from brands like JetBoil and Fire Maple that are lightweight and compact for easy transport on your camping trip.

Don’t forget to pack the graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows!

S'mores
20 Things to Do When Camping (That Are Actually Fun!)

#19 Tell Some Scary Stories

If you are permitted to have a campfire, nothing beats some scary campfire stories! It’s up to you how scary you make them, but remember that you’re the one who has to deal with any nightmares during the night! 

You can also play charades around the fire if the stories start to get too scary!

#20 Do Some Stargazing (Cloud Dependent)

If you’re lucky enough to be camping on a clear night, nothing beats a bit of stargazing, especially if you’re camping as a couple. 

You can also try and catch fireflies if they make an appearance for a truly romantic end to your day.

Summary: Make the Most of Your Camping Trip with Wood to Water

So there’s our collection of camping activities and games to add to your camping to-do list! 

Whether you’re a seasoned camper looking to change up your regular outdoor activities or you’re a newbie wondering how to pass the time, these camping activity ideas should help you make the most out of your next trip sleeping under the stars.

Find more great camping ideas and hacks over on our blog!

FAQs

What Are You Supposed to Do While Camping?

Camping is about connecting with nature, bonding with fellow campers, engaging in outdoor activities like bird-watching and water sports and enjoying nights under the stars. It’s a chance to unwind and explore the great outdoors.

What is the Most Popular Camping Activity?

The most popular camping activity is undoubtedly making and enjoying a campfire. It offers warmth, light, and the opportunity for storytelling, cooking, and socialising. Make sure your campsite allows campfires before booking!

How Do I Prepare for My First Time Camping?

To prepare for your first time camping, research your campsite, check the weather forecast, and pack essential gear, including a tent, sleeping bag, clothing for all weather, cooking equipment, food, water, and a first-aid kit. Familiarise yourself with basic camping safety and etiquette.

How Do You Make Camping Fun?

Camping is what you make of it, so the more activities you fit into your schedule, the more fun you’ll have. Research the area you’re staying in and see what outdoor activities are available, such as hiking, swimming, and cycling. 

A lot of camping sites will have facilities on location, like swimming pools, nature trails, sports facilities, and other activities. Bring along games, books, and puzzles to keep you entertained during downtime.

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