Are you looking to get some fun and excitement on your next camping trip with teens? Teens are incredibly fun to camp with because unlike younger kids who need a lot of hand holding, teens usually just need a little direction to turn any outing into a full on party.
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to which I make small percentage if you choose to purchase through my links and support my site! This helps fund my site and our family’s pizza night.
4 Tips For A Successful Campout With Teens
- Involve them in the planning process:
Want your teens to be really excited about your next camping trip? Involve them in the process.
Let them choose which campground you stay at, the activities that you do, and even some of the food you eat. You will be simply amazed at what your teens can come up with. One of our best family trips ever was when we gave our kids a budget and a timeframe and let them loose on the planning. They figured out exactly where we would stay (and made the reservations), planned our activities (which were so unique and fun), and even budgeted our food money so that we ate frugally at some meals so that we could splurge on others.
The best part about letting teens plan your camping trip is that they’ll get so excited about all aspects of the trip. That enthusiasm is contagious, and before you know it, the entire family will be having a blast.
- Include Adventure While Camping
Camping trips aren’t just a good excuse for making s’mores and sleeping out under the stars.
We look at camping as our gateway to adventure. Our teen knows that whenever we’re getting ready to go camping, we’re headed off the beaten path in search of something amazing. Whether that’s whitewater rafting, hiking into a desert slot canyon, or scrambling to the summit of a peak, camping opens the door.
While it’s possible to adventure and stay in a hotel, we choose camping when we do big adventures because it’s easier to connect. Our teens naturally relax their barriers during an adventure, and it’s so much easier to get a good, deep conversation flowing after that when we’re sitting around the campfire instead of lounging on a hotel bed.
- Set Technology Limits In Advance
No one likes being told what to do, but teens especially HATE being bossed around. Technology can be a major fighting point between adults and teens while traveling together as a family.
Sit down before your trip and talk about what your technology policy is. Chat about what your goals for this trip are and how those can best be achieved. While some families adopt a no screen time policy, others are more relaxed and have different goals. Talk about what’s best for the entire family and then have everyone agree to the same limits (yes, that goes for mom and dad too).
Tip: If you have a teen who really loves to be on their phone, consider making them the family photographer/videographer. This allows them to feel like they still get to use their phone, but it’s doing something to help the family out.
As a bonus, teens almost always make better video than adults do (at least my teenage son does).
- Be Strategic About Your Evening Time
Parents, if you want your kids to really connect with you on your next camping trip, evenings are the time to do it. Campfires have a magical way of helping all of us to open up and relax. Instead of getting lost in a book or going to bed early, consider the benefits of staying up late with your kids and having some REAL conversations. Talk to them like an equal and ask engaging questions to get them talking. Open up and share stories from your life as well as letting them open up about their lives as well. Campfire evenings are a great time to share hopes and dreams, as well as to talk through frustrations and disappointments.
Tip: If you’re struggling getting the conversation going, remember to include food that kids will love. Food always brings everyone together and relaxes teens in the best way!
Top 9 Camping Games For Teens
This is our all time favorite top camping game for teens. Depending on personalities and activity level it can be a relaxing or a high speed game, so we love the versatility. Spike Ball can be played with 2-4 players, and when we have a group, we’ve been known to make teams of 6 so we can include more teens in the play. For extra competition with larger groups, create several teams and put together a revolving competition.
This camping game requires a bit of creativity, but the sky really is the limit. To create your own camping olympics, put together a series of activities where everyone can get a score. We like to include things like relay races, swimming, fire starting, and blowing up camping pads. If you’re really creative, you could create your own camping olympics to get camp set up or taken down in record time. Of course, make sure that you have a reward for the olympics winners.
If your kids liked badminton when they were younger, they’ll love Speedmitten as teens. Speedmitten is a high speed hybrid of volleyball, badminton and squash that’s perfect for camping. If you have an open space, you can play Speedmitten (we love to play it in grassy fields). The best part about Speedmitten is that you don’t need a net, just rackets and birdies.
Frisbee Golf, Camping Style
For this camping game, all you’re going to need is a set of frisbees (one per person), and some space. Set up your own “disc golf” course where you are, but instead of having baskets to get the frisbees into, change the rules so you only have to hit a certain object. We play this so that rocks or trees are our “holes” and it’s great fun!
Capture The Flag
This classic game is perfect if you’ve got a large group of teens camping or more than one family that you’re camping with. Split your playing area in half and have each team hide a flag. Your team wins if they can find and successfully bring the other team’s flag back to your side without being tagged. Make sure that the flags are bright colored to make this camping game easier.
Corn Hole has got to be one of the most popular games for outdoor fun. It’s incredibly easy to play by tossing bean bags into the hole. If you have a group with a wide range of ages, Corn Hole is the perfect game because everyone from young kids up to Grandma can play and enjoy the game together.
We love to play ladder toss with our teens because it’s a game that requires a bit more skill than a few others, but is still really fun. Ladder toss is a great outdoor game to bring along camping when you’re low on space because it can be easily put together and disassembled for easy transport.
For camping with large groups of teens, we’ve found that Ultimate Frisbee is the best outdoor game to play. It’s perfect to play with teens since everyone who can throw a frisbee can play the game (even if they can’t throw it straight like me). To make your game of Ultimate Frisbee more exciting, get a light up frisbee and play at dusk or in the dark.
Scavenger hunts are fun for kids of all ages, but for teens, we like to add a level of competitiveness to them. Instead of telling them to find a stick, they might have to find a stick covered in the most moss. Or instead of a round rock, it has to be the biggest round rock they can find (and carry). To simplify things even more, we grab this scavenger card hunt game so I don’t even have to think about what to have everyone hunt for.
Camping with teens can always be fun, and with a little extra planning to arrange some camping games, it can be an absolute blast.
We launched an app!
Enjoy hiking with your family? We launched an app called TrailCollectiv to help families get outside, find trails, and connect!
Download it on the Apple Store here and on Google Play here.
Want more resources on camping, backpacking, and vanlife? Check them out here!