18 fun things to do when camping with teenagers

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If you are a parent of teens, you may be wondering how to keep them entertained while camping. It can be an enjoyable experience for the whole family, and teens will have fun as long as you and your family are prepared. This post will give you some options for a very successful camping with teenagers trip.

What to do when camping with teenagers

Whether you have one teen or many, it can be hard to keep them entertained after putting up your tent. Read on to discover 16 things to do when camping with teenagers. Your teens are sure to stay engaged and have fun throughout the trip. Will they love camping?

1. Discover the local wildlife – camp activities for teenagers

When you spend more time outdoors, you quickly become acquainted with the local wildlife. Even if you are not travelling far from home, camping is a perfect opportunity for your teen to discover wildlife.

Bring a nature guidebook or wildlife encyclopedia to help identify birds, animals and animal tracks.

Download a wildlife app if you have WiFi during your camping trip with teens. These tools can encourage teens to connect with their surroundings and discover new plants and animals.

2. Camping trips for teens – keep a wildlife journal

Help your teens record their wildlife discoveries in a journal. Bring a blank, unlined journal and coloured pencils or pens. 

Allow their creativity to run free. Your teens can write about what they have seen at the campsite or on a hike. If they enjoy drawing, this is also a perfect opportunity to express themselves by doodling plants or animals. 

A wildlife journal is a great way to engage teens on camping trips. It also makes a lovely keepsake that preserves your camping with teenagers’ family trip.

3. Take your teens hiking

When your teens were little, they probably didn’t enjoy hiking as much. Now they are older, they can go on more demanding hikes and will probably enjoy the challenge.

Two teen girls on a hike while camping in the woods.
Camping with teens should include plenty of outdoor activities

Pack well for your hike. Bring plenty of water, snacks, first aid supplies, and a map. Many National Parks have established tracks for hiking or bike riding. The camping experience for teenagers can help make lifelong memories from outdoor experiences.

4. Go stargazing – camping activities for teens

Teenagers camping in the remote wilderness could disconnect from technology and explore nature in its purest form. Camping can be a fun opportunity to see the stars, especially if you live in a city and don’t typically have access to them due to light pollution. Bring a guidebook or app to chart constellations with your teens.

There are so many teaching opportunities here. For instance, you can show them how to find the North Star or use the constellations to orient themselves if they get lost. 

Check the forecast, find your space, and see if you can spot any planets. If the weather is right, you might even see shooting stars. Stargazing is one of the best camping activities for youth at night.

5. Enjoy some bonding time when camping with your teenager

Finding time to slow down and connect with your teens can be hard. But one of the best things teens can do when camping is reconnecting. 

Teens sitting around a fire playing guitar
Camping Activities for Youth

Take your child on a one-on-one hike or excursion, and create a space where they can talk. Even if they don’t open up, it is a chance to show them you care about them and want to spend time with them. Create as much camping fun as you can when taking teens camping.

6. Bring fun food snacks for your hungry teens

Keep your teens from getting grumpy by providing lots of fun camping food and snacks. 

Keep a cooler full of their favourite drinks, and bring along some special snacks such as chips, gummies, or trail mix. Making meals easy while camping with teens will keep everyone happy.

Insider tips: What are the travel essentials for families travelling with teenagers

7. Teens camping – Cook over the campfire

Camping can be a chance to teach most teenagers cooking skills. You don’t even need to bring fancy cooking equipment for fun activities like this.

A teenager cooking some food over the campfire
Campfire cooking is a great skill to learn when camping with teens

Teach your teens to cook with cast iron by making a cobbler or casserole over the fire. Pancakes are easy to cook over the fire, giving your teens plenty of energy for the day.

Sitting together on one of your camping chairs and eating a meal together in the wilderness is a great bonding exercise when camping with teens. You will have a great time around the campfire.

8. Teach survival skills activities to do while camping

Teach your teens survival skills while you are out in the wilderness. This isn’t just an opportunity to teach safety but can be a fun way to learn how to live off the land. 

Teach your teens how to forage plants and berries and identify harmful plants. Instruct them in first aid and teach them what to do if they get lost.

Safety is a priority for family travel while camping with teenagers, but that doesn’t mean teaching safety can’t be fun. Reward your teens with a compass or Swiss army knife for their next outdoor adventure.

9. Plan for travel

A successful road trip or flight sets the tone for a great week of camping. Your teens will likely have a lot of time on their hands during the trip, so combat boredom by bringing fun things to do, like activity books, games, and movies.

Being occupied can also reduce squabbles on camping with teenagers’ getaways if you have multiple children. Planning for teenage travel can reduce problems on the trip.

10. Take an excursion into town

If your teens are not keen on spending the entire trip in the wilderness, see if there is a nearby city, town, or village to visit on your camping trip.

Going into town will allow them to explore a new place and broaden their horizons. Take them to a coffee shop, basketball court, ski lodge, cultural centre, or museum.

Stop by the visitor centre and see if they have any guidebooks or brochures. Many towns near camping spots have festivals or events that are family-friendly for travellers.

Iceland is an epic destination for families. Take your teens and discover all the best things to do in Reykjavik

11. Camping teenagers – find outdoor activities

Teens may get restless sitting around the campsite. Check your campsite website to see if there are any nearby outdoor activities.

Canoeing on a camping holiday with teenagers.
Many camping holidays with teenagers are spent on the water

If a lake or river is nearby, consider inner tubing, swimming, paddle boarding, or kayaking. If it is snowing, consider renting a snowmobile, snowboard, or set of skis.

Beyond those rigorous activities, teens can go on a nature walk, mountain biking, explore a nearby lake, or find a scenic lookout point when camping.

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12. Play organized camping games for teenagers

If you have a big group on your camping trip, organised camp games for teens can be an excellent means to keep everybody entertained, including your teens. 

Set up fun camping games for teenagers, such as Capture the Flag, hide-and-seek, tag, or soccer. 

Teenage camp games will help your teen enjoy the outdoors and stay active. Parents also enjoy fun camp games.

13. Prepare for a rainy day when camping with teenagers

Weather can be unpredictable on a teen camping trip. Given that, it’s best to ensure a fun trip for your teens by adding plenty of rainy-day activities to your camping checklist.

Bring board games, card games, magazines, and activity books. And, if all else fails, download movies or TV shows on your teens’ devices.

14. Camping ideas for teenagers – build a campfire

Help your teens learn how to chop wood and light a campfire.

Teaching them to handle a hatchet safely is a valuable life skill. It can also ensure you have an extra set of hands for chopping.

Teenagers sitting around a camp fore toasting marshmellows
Marshmallows are a must when camping with teenagers

You will need to instruct your teens on hatchet safety and monitor them while chopping the wood. 

Teach them how to construct a campfire properly and ensure safety. Help your teens learn about different types of lighter fluid and the best products to use. Make sure you set your own tent up away from the fire on your camping adventure.

15. Put on a showCamp activities for teens

One of the best things to do while camping is to get everybody engaged in a group activity, even if it is just you and your son or daughter. This can be one of the fun camping activities for high school students.

Print out a fun skit or a short play for you and your family to act out. Encourage your teens to write their own scripts to test their theatre skills.

Arrange some chairs at the campsite to set up an impromptu stage. Your theatrical attempts will entertain the whole family. DIY camping activities like this can sometimes be the most memorable.

Putting on a show is a fail-safe way to entertain your teens for hours while camping.

16. Bring a Hammock

Set up a hammock on camping sites for teens if your location has trees.

Teens may need downtime on a camping trip, and a hammock is an excellent place to be alone. It can also be a chance for them to pause and listen to the sounds of the wilderness.

If your teens are feeling a bit overwhelmed, setting up a hammock or a quiet space can give them a space to unwind and tune in with nature. 

17. See if they can bring a friend

If you plan a short camping trip with teens, see if they can bring a friend. At times, your travelling teens will love being able to bring a friend on a family camping trip, and it may be something their friend has not experienced before, either.

This will allow your teen to build another bond with their friend and bring even more enjoyment to their camping trip with family.

Accommodation with teens: Why staying in a hostel is good for your travelling teens

18. Encourage them to use the games room

For many families that travel, purchasing a considerable amount of camping gear for short trips is impossible, so they opt for camping or holiday parks with some facilities.

If there is a games room or an outdoor space like a tennis court or basketball court, encourage your teens to hang out there and see if they can make new friends.

Final thoughts on camping with teenagers

Many people might ask how to make camping fun for teenagers. There are countless camping activities for teenagers, from stargazing to learning survival skills. Camping can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

An outdoor adventure such as camping can teach valuable life lessons and be the perfect way for parents and children to reconnect while spending time together in the beauty of nature. All that’s left to do is plan your next camping trip and adventure into the wilderness. Going to a camp for teenagers is a great idea.

We hope this article from Wyld Family Travel has helped with some camping inspiration for your next travel with teenagers adventure.


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