The various choices for games when camping can be overwhelming. It's not something that we think about specifically, but what you bring can determine the vibe you have during your camping trip. Normally we just throw a few games we have lying around in a bag and choose later. While this is usually 'good enough', thinking about what type of game experience you want during the downtime of a camping trip can actually impact the fun your family or friends will experience. This article breaks down all the potential options you have when deciding what games to bring by category. You may not even need to buy or bring anything fancy; some games can include card games, drinking games or storytelling. Our tip would be to come up with 5 of your best ideas for games and run with it. One of them or more will be the go-to game of the trip.
When to Play Games
When you are camping, you will most likely be busy with camping activities such as fishing, hiking, beach activities and other exciting outdoor activities during the day. But there are times when games will be very useful as a tool to bond with your fellow campmates or just to kill time. Here are some of those times:
When it RainsWe all don't want rain during a camping trip, but hey, it happens. So here are some fun indoor games to keep you all dry and happy.
- Telestrations - This award-winning party game will make your camping a LOL experience for everyone. It's the telephone game you played as a kid - but with a visual and funnier twist.
- Codenames - A team-based social word game that includes spymasters and agents. Did that get you excited? And whatever happens, avoid the assassin!
- Pandemic - Do you want to save humanity? Here's your chance! Stop four deadly diseases from breaking out and wiping out mankind with this thrilling strategy game.
- Forbidden Island - Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. Requires strategic thinking, problem-solving and teamwork.
- Sequence for Kids - A sequencing game made just for kids. Even if they can't read yet, younger children can enjoy playing this great strategy-building game.
- Road Trip - Take this game on your next road trip or camping adventure. Players travel across the US in their tiny station wagons.
When it Gets Dark
Not ready to doze off yet? These games will keep you awake in no time.
- Capture the Flag Redux - Classic outdoor glow-in-the-dark adventure game. Whatever age you are, as long as you can guard, run and hide, you'll find this game exciting. Box includes 2 Glowing Orbs, 8 Jail Markers, 6 Territory Lights, 16 LED Glow Bracelets and 12 Game Variation Cards.
- Glow-in-the-Dark Ring Toss - Night time version of the classic ring toss. Pick up glow-in-the-dark rings and sticks (there are a lot of cheap options in stores), and set the game up as soon as the sun sets. You can make up your own rules.
- Lumi-Niter Disc Kit - Sturdy, polyethylene disc that activates glow sticks for hours of endless, glowing fun. Glow sticks are waterproof and will last 6-8 hours. Mix and match colors to create your favorite glow patterns.
- Kan Jam Illuminate Glow Game - Action-packed toss and deflect team game perfect for night time. Includes 2 translucent goals, 2 LED glow pods (changes to 9 different colors), remote control for the LED lights and a glow-in-the-dark flying disc. Throw, deflect, score!
- Foxtail LED Light up Night-flying Toy - This light-transmitting foam ball creates a beautiful shooting star effect when thrown, and could fly up to 30 yards. Spin to throw and catch by the tail. Its multi-colored tail determines your score - the closer to the ball, the higher your score.
- Toysmith Nightzone Sky Flare Night Darts - This fast-paced game will light up your night camp. Grab a light-up paddle and adjust the straps for a custom fit, then try to catch the glowing dart as it arcs through the air.
Best Games for Adults When CampingThere are kids games and there are adult games. Many times the difference is the theme of these games. Sometimes there may even be a little bit of alcohol involved. Here's a list of games and ideas for adults only.
- Drink-A-Palooza - All the 'old school' and 'new school' drinking games rolled into one. The game includes kings cup, flip cup, socials, waterfalls, quarters, high/low, drunk tank, booze your turn, steal a bottle, beer pong, pour in drink cup, make a rule, and quarters.
- Cards Against Humanity - One of the most popular card games today. The rule of the game is pretty simple. Each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card. So pack up your sense of humor too.
- DIY Jenga Tower Drinking Game - Grab a Jenga tower and come up with your own drinking rules or you could copy the rules here.
- Draw What?! - A board game like Pictionary or Charades but with a fun, adult twist. Comes with 4 custom butt plug game pieces.
- Shot Glass Darts Bar Game Set - Features a target board with game rules - Half Shot, Full Shot, Drink with a Buddy, Assign a Shot, Pass, and Everybody Drinks. So aim carefully, or the next shot is yours to drink!
- Disturbed Friends - 250 disturbing questions and 100 offensive cartoon cards. Not for the faint-hearted. Perfect for anyone with a pretty sick sense of humor. Definitely for adults only.
- Deck Around - Funny, adult-themed party game that's easy to play and guaranteed to get laughs out of the whole group. Get your dirty mind go wild!
- Shot Glass Roulette - This is a great addition to your next party or camping trip with friends - give it a spin and let the roulette wheel determine your fate!
- What's Yours Like - The main mechanic for laughs: describe what yours is like. Pick a card with a word on it - the words may seem innocent or mundane, but it's how you describe yours that makes the game funny.
- Pass-Out - Travel around this board game drinking and reciting tongue twisters. Grab your favorite beverage and start rolling the dice!
- Hot Seat - This game is all about you. Discover who among your friends know you best - all players answer pretending to be you when you're in the Hot Seat.
- Mini Pong - Compact and portable - it allows you to take the drinking party wherever you go!
- F**k. The Game - This game is both mentally challenging and hilarious. Contains swear words, definitely great for the mature audience.
Best Games for Kids When CampingKids get bored easily. If you want to keep theme engaged and busy during the down times or when it rains, make sure you pack activities and games for your kids as well. Since kids get bored of certain types of games, you may want a variety of games just in case.
- Stomp Rocket Ultra - Creative Child Awards' Top Toy of the Year for 2014. Run, jump and stomp to launch the rockets up to 200 feet in the air! Includes a Stomp Launcher and 10 foam-tipped Ultra Stomp Rockets.
- Little Explorers Camping Gear Toy Tools Play Set - Includes 20 pieces of camping toy tools - everything your little one needs to go camping. This toy encourages pretend play and social interaction. Plus the headlamp lights up!
- Deluxe Bungee Boing LED Pogo - Sturdy handle, durable footrest with motion activated LED lights. Squeaks with every bounce. Get your kids moving, and develop their strength, balance, and coordination.
- Elite Ring Toss Game - Toss the rope rings at the wooden scoreboard and see if you can hit the pegs. After you've thrown all five rings, use the number markers to add up your score. Whoever gets the most points, wins the game!
- Diggin Active Dodge Tag - A new twist on the classic game of Dodgeball. Each player wears an air mesh vest and picks 3 balls. Players throw the soft balls and try to stick them to their opponent’s vests. Run, dodge and throw!
- Race to the Treasure! - This award winning game teaches kids strategy, math-grid concepts and important social development skills with no reading required. Beat the Ogre to the treasure!
- POOF Disc Master Flying Disc Game - Classic game of disc golf you can play anywhere. Simply aim and throw the flying disc into the golf target. You can customize your courses too.
- Chameleon Double-Sided Bean Bag Toss Game - The dual panels offer multiple ways to play - the harder vertical and easier horizontal play. Promotes hand-eye coordination, number recognition, and counting skills in kids.
- Champion Sports Rubber Horseshoe Game - The horseshoes are made from lightweight rubber, so it's easy to throw them at the targets compared to heavier metal horseshoes. Child-friendly and teaches kids proper throwing techniques and hand-eye coordination.
- Jarts Lawn Darts - An aerodynamic twist on the classic yard game of horseshoes. Players take turns tossing the soft-grip darts at the bright-colored target rings. Includes 4 Jarts and 2 target rings.
- Active Play Gigantic 3 in 1 Net Set - Play jumbo volleyball, badminton, and tennis in this 3-in-1 fun net set. Net has adjustable height with oversized equipment - giant rackets, jumbo birdie, tennis balls, and giant volleyball.
- GeoSpace Pop 'N Catch Game - Includes 2 lightweight handheld pop-launcher baskets and 2 balls - launch and catch anywhere!
Best Free Games To Play When Camping
You can have fun without making any purchases or bringing any extra items at all. Since the dawn of human civilization, there have been games played using just our bodies and mind. You can also get to know your friends more while in the great outdoors with conversation games.
- Three Things I Can't Live Without - You only need papers and pens to play this game. Let everyone secretly write down 3 things they cannot live without. You can be funny or serious in your answers. Place all answers in a bag or bowl and mix them up. Everyone takes turns picking out one answer and reading it. The other players also take turns guessing who wrote that item. The winner is the player with the most correct guesses.
- I Have Never - Give every player 10 (or more) pennies each. To start the game, one player says “ I Have Never...” and fills in the blank. Everyone that has done that activity gives a penny to that player. After everyone has taken a turn, the player with the most number of pennies wins. You can also add a little twist by making every player that has done the said activity take a drink.
- Would You Rather - What you need to play this game: nothing. Start the game by asking the person on your left or right “Would You Rather…” then fill in the blank with 2 options. The receiving player must choose only one of the options. So bring out your best hypothetical questions. Some suggestions here.
- Most Likely To - If you want to know what your friends really think about you, this is the best game to play. Gather around the campfire and take turns asking the question “Who’s Most Likely to…” then fill in the blank. More 'most likely to' questions here.
For kids and the whole family
- Nature Scavenger Hunt - Plan a scavenger hunt for the little ones. Create your own rules or get scavenger hunt ideas here. Nurture their natural urge to explore - kids of all ages can play!
- Ghost in the Graveyard - Select some players to be ghosts. The ghosts hide somewhere in the playing area, while the other players gather at the “home” or “safe” area, close their eyes and count, “One, o’clock, two o’clock…” up to “Midnight!” Then the kids start looking for the ghosts. If a player spots one of the ghosts, she yells “Ghost in the graveyard, run, run, RUN!” This warns all the kids to race back to the safe area, while all the ghosts chase after them. Anyone they tag becomes a ghost in the next round.
- Camping Olympics - This is great for the whole family or large group outings. Create a set of games from treasure hunts, relay races, swimming competitions to puzzles and other obstacle courses. You can fit each competition according to the age level and athletic skills of your group.
- Elves, Giants, and Wizard - Players are assigned to be elves, giants or wizards. They try to tag others to join their team while avoiding being tagged themselves. Elves beat wizards, wizards beat giants, and giants beat elves.
- Park Ranger - Let the kids play Park Ranger - more like a game of tag, but features animals, trees, and boundaries. Instructions from Ultimate Camp Resource.
- Camping Bingo - Print these downloadable bingo cards and let each player mark off their camping bingo square when they find an item. This activity will help kids learn more about nature.
- 10 Pin Knockdown - Each team strategically place pins on their side of the playing area. The aim is to try and knock down the cones or pins from the other team's side. Read the full game instruction.
Best Card Games To Play When CampingIf you want to pack light, all you may need is a pack of cards. Here are some of the most popular card games you can play while camping.
- Camp Talk - A creative and engaging card game that sparks hilarious conversations and discussion with every question in just a matter of seconds!
- 5 Second Rule - Pick a card, name 3 things that fit the topic... in 5 seconds! Players get tongue-tied, and funny answers come flying out. Laughter is sure to follow in this fast-paced party game. Watch this hilarious clip with Ellen Degeneres and Sofia Vergara.
- Trivial Pursuit National Parks Edition - Designed to be challenging for both the history buff and outdoor enthusiast. Fun game for people who really know their national parks, as well as for people who doesn't know quite as much!
- Exploding Kittens - Kittens, goats, magical enchiladas, explosions and laser beams - you will absolutely love this family-friendly and highly-strategic card game for your camping trips or game nights.
- Monopoly Deal Card Game - Deal and steal your way to success with this card version of the classic Monopoly game. Fast-paced and totally addictive!
- Quiddler - If you love word games, this one's for you. Quiddler has won over 20 Best Game Awards!
- A Game of Thrones: The Card Game - The bestselling book and hit TV series is now in a card game! Embark on an unforgettable journey as the Great Houses of Westeros struggle to control the Iron Throne.
- Munchkin Deluxe - Mega-hit card game about dungeon adventure. You and your friends compete to kill monsters and grab magic items.
- Sushi Go! - Are you a huge sushi fan? In this easy to learn and engaging pick and pass card game, the goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi!
- Sleeping Queens - See the wonderfully whimsical world of napping nobles in this entertaining card game and meet the Pancake Queen, Cookie King, Ladybug Queen, and a pack of over-protective dragons!
- Love Letter - All of the eligible young men of Tempest seek to woo Princess Annette. Your goal is to get your love letter into the princess' hands while deflecting the letters from competing suitors.
- Guillotine - This funny card game takes place during the French Revolution. Players represent rival guillotine operators vying for the best collection of noble heads in each round. Heads are definitely going to roll.
- Hanabi - Winner of the prestigious Spiele des Jahres Game of the Year Award for 2013. In this challenging cooperative card game, players work together to launch a spectacular firework display!
- One Night Ultimate Werewolf - Each player gets a unique role: A Werewolf, Seer, Troublemaker, Robber, Minion, or another, all with special abilities.
Best Electronic Games To Play When CampingWe know many view camping as an electronic free, nature only experience. People want to embrace the outdoors in all its glory. But let's be real, most people still bring their cellphones and check messages while camping, especially to take and post pictures of their experience on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. There's no rule that says you can't bring along some electronic games as well. Here are a few popular ones you may want to consider. Don't forget the batteries!
- Cozmo - Never a dull moment with this highly popular, super smart game playing machine. Whether he’s playing with his Power Cubes or challenging you with his favorite games like Quick Tap and Keepaway, he's always ready for action.
- Electronic Catch Phrase Decades - Get your team to guess the word or phrase from 5 decades (the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s) that appears on the screen by describing it any way you can. A timer keeps track and buzzes when you're out of time. Word and scores of each team appear in the display area, with over 5,000 words and phrases to display.
- Radica 20Q Artificial Intelligence Game - Just think of something and then answer the ball's numerous queries by pressing buttons for yes, no, sometimes, or don't know. This 20 question handheld game just refuses to lose!
- Uno Attack Rapid Fire Card Game - This classic #1 family card game comes with a special electronic card shooter and an exclusive Attack! Attack! Command Card.
- Simon Electronic Memory Game - An addictive memory game which features flashing light sequences that the player needs to repeat correctly. As you get better, the level of difficulty increases.
- Bop It! - Features hilarious commands to keep players on their toes. Respond as quickly as possible to the command, and each time a player responds correctly, the unit will call another command, and the commands keep getting faster and faster.
- Hyper Toss Action Game - Catch the soft ball quickly in one of the three colored cups - all by following audio instructions. With four game modes to choose from Hyper Toss, Memory Toss, Super Toss and Freestyle.
- Electronic Battleship Game - Go head to head with your opponent, launch multiple strikes and naval battles - destroy all enemy ships for the win!
- Hot Potato Electronic Musical Passing Game - This musical game can be played by the whole family. Just squeeze the Hot Potato to start the music and let the fun begin!
- Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit - Learning while camping? This kit provides your kids with hands-on experience designing and building models of working electrical circuits.
- Twister Moves Hip Hop Spots - Prepare for a camping dance-off and have a blast following the lights, hopping on the colorful spots, and dancing to the rhythm!
- Yahtzee Handheld Digital Game - Roll the digital dice and rack up the scores in this addictive, action-packed electronic game. To win this portable, on-the-go dice game, you have to score against the combos on the screen.
Best Camping Games to Play for BondingGoing on camping trips have a magical way of bringing people together, inviting them to converse, laugh, sing, and tell secrets. These games provide a great opportunity to bond with your family and friends and enjoy some quality time together.
- Spot It! Gone Camping - Keep your eyes peeled and your reflexes quick in this fun, fast-paced family game. Race to find matches between a number of camping items.
- Camp - This educational game is designed to grow with the player starting at level one. As players increase in their knowledge about the outdoors and camping, they go into higher level questions.
- Speak Out - Hilarious and fun mouthpiece challenge game that's guaranteed to keep the whole gang laughing all day long! Includes 5 mouthpieces, 200 double-sided cards, and timer.
- Spontuneous - Do you do a concert in the shower? You think you know the lyrics to all songs? This game is for you!
- Pie Face Showdown - Go head to head with your opponent and get their face full of whipped cream! It can get pretty messy, but it's so much fun.
- Reverse Charades - Instead of one person acting out a clue for a team to guess, a team acts out clues for one person, so now everyone is in on the fun!
- Wet Head - Get ready for a splash of fun with this water roulette game. Just give it a spin, pull a pin and be the next wet head!
- Boom Boom Balloon - Objective is simple: try to keep the balloon from popping! Roll the die and "click" a stick for each number rolled. But be careful - too many clicks and the balloon will go BOOM!
- Suspend - Take turns hanging the notched, rubber-tipped wire pieces from the tabletop stand. As you add more pieces, the balance shifts and the sculpture transforms. Watch out - one wrong move could send it all crashing down!
- HedBanz - This fun game of “what am I?” leaves everyone guessing. Ask questions to figure out if the card on your head is a person, place or object.
- Scattergories - In this game, being different matters! Try to outwit other teams by coming up with unique answers for each category that begin with the letter on the die.