The end of summer is closing in fast, so if you still haven’t gone camping in the wild, either alone or with a group of family and friends, now’s the time to do that. Forget about needing a huge budget to get all the equipment you’ll need for a successful camping trip, and get ready to plan your easiest and least expensive—yet most enjoyable—trip ever!
If you’re not sure what to do first when you get to your campsite, check out this list of the best camping activities for teens to partake in alone or in groups for some inspiration.
8 rewarding solo activities
Having some alone time could end up being a great opportunity for learning, discovery and introspection. Should solo adventures be the way you roll, then we have eight enriching activity suggestions that may be suitable for you.
Bring Along a Book
It might not sound exciting at first, but delving into the contents of a good book while kicking back in front of breathtaking natural scenery, or while sitting around the bonfire under a starry sky, can be refreshing for the soul and rejuvenating for the body.
If you plan on taking a hike or going camping alone, you should consider taking along that book you always wanted to read but never had the time to, or simply buying another one if you’re a bookworm who consumes more words than food.
It’s not difficult to bring along a mattress that you might find in your home or on the shelves of the closest Walmart for an inexpensive price. Once you arrive at your camping destination, you can search for an ideal place to lay it out and then use it as your Yoga mat.
What you’ll get in return for this small investment is a combination of stress-relieving exercises outdoors and fresh oxygen that’ll get your blood pumping and energize you more than anything within the ruckus of the city could.
There’s nothing better than visually commemorating the moments that bring us joy. The best part about taking pictures these days is that it doesn’t cost much, as you can use your own personal phone to do so. By doing this, you won’t just be making art—you’ll be making memories!
Meditating is capable of increasing your self-awareness, providing you with a new perspective on things that are happening in your life, enhancing your imagination and your creativity, and much more.
Around the fire, over the hill or under a tree: You can sit down anywhere, breathe and relax, and sail in the calm waters of your mind. You don’t need anything to meditate, other than the ability to sit still for a certain period of time, but the benefits you’ll get from the practice are often immense.
Write in a Journal
One of the best camping activities for teens and young adults is writing a journal in the evenings. This isn’t just an outlet for your emotions and the thoughts you’re having about your day, but also a catalyst for imagination and creativity. Moreover, journaling can improve your communication skills, as you’ll learn how to organize your thoughts and pick the right words to articulate your points.
Your journal doesn’t have to resemble a professionally written novel or dissertation. You can use a notebook you have in your home and a pen that’s been sitting in your desk drawer for some time. This activity is a particularly good one for teens who are already interested in writing.
Unleash the Child Within You
Considering the many sources of stress in our world today, when was the last time you actually let loose and enjoyed your youth? Most people may not even remember the last time they had fun without sparing a thought for their responsibilities.
That’s why young adults should run around, play in the mud, jump into the creek, and stand at the top of a hill and scream at the top of their lungs. If the stress of everyday life has made you exhausted, playing in nature will re-energize you, and it’ll also help you rediscover the inner child that you left behind among the pages of the years.
Cooking in the outdoors might be one of the most enjoyable activities that a teen can do alone while camping. The level of accomplishment they’ll feel from cooking their own meal will be high. Furthermore, as a teen, you likely won’t feel too bad if you burn the food when you’ll be the only one eating it. That being said, though, you must constantly be mindful of the safety of the environment around you.
If you have the ingredients you need for your desired dish at home, you can bring them along and then buy whatever else you need from a nearby grocery store. You may also need a lighter to start a fire if you can’t make one on your own, and finally, you may need a pot, a pan and a spatula to help you cook and serve your food.
Simply Do What You Want
There are tons more fun camping activities for teens to participate in alone. If you’re a teen or young adult, camping in the wild is an activity that was made for you, and you should explore your surroundings in the unique way you want to. Do whatever you think is fun, no matter how expensive it is or how trivial it may be, as long as it’s legal and safe.
8 activities for small groups
If hanging around other people is the way you jam, then you might enjoy some (or all) of these camping activities with your friends and family members.
This is a particularly fun activity to do with a small group of people, especially since it’s easy to gather things from nature during a camping trip. A scavenger hunt is suitable for people of all ages and can be played with or without having to shop for items.
If you don’t want to shop, you can race to find common things such as sticks or rocks, and then compete to find more complicated things such as certain types of insects or even fish!
Those campers who want to plan ahead can hide certain items that can each be found with a clue leading to the next item on the list. The first person or team to find all of the items and clues will be led to the grand prize that they’ll ultimately find at the end of the scavenger hunt. You may want to include a time limit to make things even more exciting.
Having a mini-Olympics on a camping trip can be a lot of fun for teens and young adults. Your group can compete in a wide variety of games, such as soccer, swimming, relay races, word puzzles and even rock skipping.
After you decide what kind of games you’re going to have, you’ll know what supplies you’ll need. If you’ll be playing soccer and you have a ball lying around your home, the problem is solved, and if not, you can buy a ball at a sporting goods store near you.
We’re natural story absorbers, and sitting around a campfire at night is the perfect setting for a storytelling session. Decide on some good stories (you can look online if you’re drawing a blank), plan your budget for the s’mores, and voila, you’ll be ready to start that fire.
While camping, you shouldn’t feel pressured to tell only horror stories or tell a story that’s as long as a novel. It’s enough to sit down with other people and let the conversation spontaneously lead you in a certain storytelling direction.
Murder on the Camping Trip
To play this game, follow these five steps:
- Place a number of folded scraps of paper that’s equal to the number of people participating in a bowl, marking one piece with the letter “D” and another with the letter “M.” The rest will be blank.
- The person who draws the scrap of paper with the letter “D” is called the “detective,” and the person who picks the one with the letter “M” is called the “murderer.”
- The rest of the players are called “potential victims.” While the detective is looking for the murderer, the murderer will be winking at people to “kill” them without the detective noticing who did the winking.
- Once the murderer winks at someone, the “victim” may “die” in front of everyone.
- The game ends when the murderer kills everyone except the detective, or the detective figures out who the murderer is.
Pass the Water
If you like getting wet, this game is for you! All of the participants, who will be blindfolded, will stand in a line while each holds an empty bowl. The person at the front of the line will be holding a bowl filled with water.
Next, the first person will raise it above their heads and pour out the water behind them, without looking back to see where the water is going. Then, everyone else in line will repeat this step, and it’ll be a matter of luck to get the water to the last person in line without spilling too much. The fun part is having an unsuspecting person get soaked with water!
If you don’t have several bowls to spare, buying a few new ones at Walmart is the best decision. Who knows when you might use them for another game of Pass the Water, or even for cooking? Either way, it’s a win-win.
Imagine being in the woods with your peers and blasting some music at sunset. You’ll feel your body instinctively start to move, and in no time, you’ll all be jumping, dancing, laughing and acting goofy together. Once you get started, you can challenge some of your friends to a dance battle in which the winner is decided by the amount of cheering they get.
Glow-In-The-Dark Ring Toss
Obtain an inexpensive pack of glow-in-the-dark rings and find a long piece of wood to start. Then, toss the rings at the piece of wood to see who can get the highest score by landing the largest number of rings over the piece of wood.
This is a simple (yet fun) two-on-two game that’s sure to get your blood pumping. If you’ve never played, here’s a YouTube Tutorial about how to play it. The rules are simple: You and your partner can touch the ball once, spiking it off the net, with the goal of knocking it onto the ground before the other team can do the same.
You’ll be able to order a whole spike ball set online for as little as $33, and the fun will be shared by all who join the game, especially if you conduct a championship match.
9 activities for larger groups
They say “the more, the merrier,” and that’s never been more true when it comes to these fun camping activities for teens who travel in large packs.
This activity is both competitive and fun! Using only a strong rope that you can find in a hardware shop or possibly around your home, have two teams with roughly the same number of people compete to tug the rope away from the other team to win.
Dodgeball is perfect for a large group because everyone can participate at once, and the more people there are, the longer and more exciting each match becomes.
All you’ll need is a ball, and maybe a few pieces of tape to mark the parameters of the field. If possible, you can also mark the parameters in the dirt itself with a stick or your heel.
If you’re at all unfamiliar with dodgeball, check this video out to learn exactly how to play.
Volleyball is just as fun and group-oriented as dodgeball. To play, you’ll require a ball, a net, and something to tie the net to, such as two trees that are a few feet from one another. After your equipment is ready, you’ll have to set up the parameters of your court with tape or by making marks in the dirt, as mentioned in relation to the dodgeball game above.
Capture the Flag
This is an intensely competitive game during which you’ll race against the other team to capture their flag and bring it back to your side, before they do the same to yours. You’ll need at least two flags, one for each team, or you can choose to treat other objects you have at your campsite as “flags.” This video will explain exactly how to play Capture the Flag, and once you’re experienced, you can stage a championship by having three or more teams compete at the same time or in turn.
Plain and simple: You tag someone in an open area, and then they become “it.” They then chase after the other players as everyone tries to run away. If they capture someone by tagging them, that someone is “it.” This game can be refreshingly chaotic if you play it with a fairly large group, and no one needs anything besides a capable pair of legs!
Cat and Mouse
This game can get wild, and it goes as follows: You’ll decide on one person who’ll be the “Mouse,” and another who will be the “Cat.” After that, the rest of the people will form a circle, spreading their joined hands wide enough for a person to pass through. When the chase is on, the cat will chase the mouse both inside and outside the circle, and the players making the circle will aim to close the path that the mouse and cat pass through during their chase.
If the cat catches the mouse, then it’s game over. The mouse’s goal is to lock the cat out of the circle or inside the circle. If both the cat and mouse are locked inside, then the players must count to 10, giving the cat 10 seconds to try and grab the mouse before they award the mouse the win.
Ultimate Frisbee is played like football, but without all the hard tackling, and all you’ll need to play it is a Frisbee.
For a quieter afternoon, you can bring along any card game you want on your camping trip—just be careful of the wind you might face, should you play in an open area.
This activity is like regular tic-tac-toe and is played by the same rules, but you’ll play it on a much larger scale and use more than your brains. You’ll simply need to race with others to place all your Xs and Os on your playing field before the opposing team can do so—check this video out for more information.