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. In this post, we will give you some options on how to have 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

When you spend more time in the great 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. If you have access to WiFi during your camping trip with teens, download a wildlife app. These tools can encourage your 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 keep teens engaged on your camping trip. 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 that 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 ride. The camping experience for teenagers can help make lifelong memories from outdoor experiences.

4. Go stargazing – camping activities for teens

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 own space and see if you will be able to spot any planets. If the weather is right, you might even get to 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

It can be hard to find time to slow down and connect with your teens. But one of the best things for teens to do when camping is to reconnect. 

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 how to cook with cast iron by making a cobbler or casserole over the fire. Pancakes are easy to cook over the fire, and they will give your teens plenty of energy for the day.

Sitting down 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 

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 number one 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.

If you have multiple children, keeping them occupied can also reduce squabbles on camping with teenager’s getaways. Planning for teenage travel can reduce problems on the trip.

10. Take an excursion into town

If your teens are not keen on the idea of 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 give them a chance to explore a new place and broaden their horizons a bit. 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 just for travellers which are family-friendly.

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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 there is a lake or river 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 you go camping.

12. Play organized camping games for teenagers

If you have a big group on your camping trip, organised games 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 great outdoors and stay active. Let’s be honest, 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.

Take a trip back in time and visit York with teenagers

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 show

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 tweens.

Print out a fun skit or a short play for you and your family to act out. Test your teens’ theatre skills by encouraging them to write their own scripts.

Set up an impromptu stage at the campsite by arranging some chairs. Entertain the whole family with your theatrical attempts. DIY camping activities like this can sometimes be the most memorable.

Putting on a show is a fail-safe way to keep your teens entertained 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 for them to be alone. What’s more, it can 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 are planning 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 also 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 huge amount of camping gear for short trips is not achievable so they opt for camping parks or holiday parks that have 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 some new friends.

Final thoughts on camping with teenagers

A lot of people might ask how to make camping for teenagers fun? There are countless camping activities for teenagers to do when camping. 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, your next adventure into the wilderness.

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

Travel with tweens and teens and young adults has just as many issues as travelling with children. Choosing the best teenage vacation destinations can be so time-consuming. Use our Travel with Teenagers Destination Guides from all over the world for your next family vacation inspiration to make your family vacations with teens epic.

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