camping, camping tips, family camping

We Love Camping With Teenagers!

And Our Teenagers Love Camping With Us Too!!!

Camping with teenagers is lots of fun. We successfully navigate this treacherous trail many times during the year...both on our family camping trips and our scouting trips.

Camping with teenagers can be a great trip...planning camping activities for your teens and and bringing along fun things for them to do will engage most teens. Teenagers do enjoy more adventurous and challenging activities when camping, but not all have to be thrilling or heart-stopping for the parents...and many can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.

Here are some great tried-and-true you can use when you are camping with teenagers:

  • Building the Campfire: Teens love building fires. Put your teenager in charge of collecting the firewood, building, and lighting the campfire. This is a great activity to keep him/her busy..or something you can work on as a project together.

  • Canoeing and Kayaking: Many campgrounds have rental equipment. You can check ahead and plan your trip accordingly, if your teenager wants to do this activity. Of course life jackets are mandatory.

  • Cooking: Put your teens in charge of a meal or two, breakfast and dessert for example. They can plan beforehand so you know what to add to the shopping list.

  • Bicycling: Many camping families invest in a bike rack to bring their bicycles with them. The kids can ride all over the campground (in groups for safety) or on trails if available. They also come in handy for a quick trip to the bathroom!

  • Board Games: This is one of our favorites and it is hard for us to go camping without bringing a few. The teens can play together...or make it a family activity and they can play with the younger children or even the parents.

  • Fishing: Whether camping by the ocean, a lake, a pond, or a river, anywhere there is water there is potential fishing.

  • Hiking: Arm some of the older kids with some good nature books and send them out for a hike, in groups for safety. Make it a scavenger hunt to see how many interesting discoveries they can make out in nature.

  • Knot Tying: Print out the some knot tying instructions and give them a length of rope and challenge them to learn how to tie some knots. After they have mastered some basics challenge, them to gather some wood and build a new camp gadget such as a tripod, or even attempt to put up a dining fly.

  • Geocaching: This is a fun treasure hunt you can do almost anywhere you go, all over the world. The most well-known site for geocaching information is (link will open in new window). Register for a free account, put in the zip code or coordinates where you are camping and see how many caches are hidden in your area. This is another great activity the whole family will love.

  • Survival skills: What better place than a campout for a teen to learn some basic survival skills. Buy a good book that has some basics, such as the Boy Scout handbook. Over the course of your campout the kids can learn how to build a shelter; build a fire without matches; learn how to make humane small animal traps to catch; learning how to use a compass and some orienteering skills. Most of these require some equipment...inexpensive, but items you will want to bring with you so have your teen plan in advance and pack for some of these activities.

  • Whittling: Give an older child a good sharp pocket knife and let him find a piece of wood, and learn how to whittle. A great first-time project is a ball or an egg. Simple, yet it will take some skill, concentration, and time.

  • Plant and Animal Identification: Some good plant and animal or insect identification handbooks in conjunction with a hike (see above) will keep kids involved for a while and help them learn something about the environment.

  • Stargazing: Pack a star map, a book on constellations, and a telescope if you can..although a lot can be seen with the naked eye. In most cases camping is done away from the city lights and billions of stars are now visible to the naked awesome site, one that many kids don't see very often. This is an activity you can do when camping with teenagers or camping with younger kids as well.

  • Marshmallow guns: Marshmallow gun wars provide hours of activity...let the kids make them first from simple PVC pipe cut into lengths, and they can shoot mini-marshmallows at each other. At the end all of the marshmallows do need to be picked up...or it needs to be done far away from the tents as the marshmallows will tend to be sticky, get stepped on and tracked around, and attract insects and other animals.

  • Guitar Playing: What is better than live music around a campfire???

In short, there is just way too much to do in the outdoors for you to hear any complaints. If you come prepared with some ideas...and some simple equipment such as compasses, rope, and informational books, you will have plenty of activities when camping with teenagers that will give them a trip that will provide them with not only lifetime memories, but some newfound outdoor skills as well. Camping with teenagers is also an experience to help rekindle some family time with that young adult who is starting to leave the nest.

A Printable Camping Checklist for Camping Games and Activities

Do You Have Toddlers or Older Children?
Try Some of These Ideas When You Go Camping With Kids

Don't Forget The Tiny Ones! You Can Go Camping With Babies and still have fun!

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