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Stay Up Late With These Fun Family Nighttime Camping Activities

Adults And Kids Will Love These Nighttime Camping Activities

Everyone loves a good camping trip. However, most kids don’t like the fact that, for the most part, their camping activities have to end once the sun goes down. After all, the dark isn’t exactly conducive to running and playing, so when the sun sets, things tend to simmer down quite a bit. Believe it or not, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are fun things to do in the dark that can keep the fun going for hours after sunset. Most of these activities are tons of fun for adults and kids, meaning the whole family can get in on the action. Below is a list of our very favorite nighttime camping activities. Give one of these a try on your next trip into nature. Just be sure you don’t stay up too late and bother the neighbors.

Campfire games
Image source: Unsplash

Camping Activities Around The Campfire

When the sun goes down on your campsite, the most obvious thing to do is start a campfire. But, unfortunately, once the s’mores are eaten, a campfire alone doesn’t do much to entertain kiddos—and while you and the other adults might be fine with chatting, the little ones are going to need a bit more to keep them occupied.

Fortunately, there are tons of great things to do around the fire that are fun for kids. This book has hundreds of ideas, but some of the best options are listed below.

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Campfire Songs

Nothing says camping quite as well as singing songs around a campfire. This is especially fun if you have someone in your group playing the guitar or another instrument, but you can certainly do it a cappella. Either way, you’ll have a blast singing such classics as “Little Canoe” and “Kumbaya”.

Other favorites include:

Campfire Games

Not a musical family? That’s okay! Campfire games can be just as fun as singing, and there are dozens to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Two Truths and a Lie — Moving clockwise around the circle, each person takes a turn saying two truths and a lie about themselves. Everyone else tries to guess which is the lie.
  • Charades — Most people already know how to play this classic. However, if you aren’t sure of the rules, you can see those here.
  • Never Have I Ever — To play “Never Have I Ever,” everyone begins with ten fingers up. Each person in the circle takes a turn saying something they’ve never done. Anyone who has done that thing must put one finger down. The game continues until only one person is left with a finger raised.

Campfire Stories

Telling stories around the fire has always been a great pastime. Some people like to tell scary stories, while others prefer the sillier sort. We love to play a storytelling game that involves each person telling a small portion of the story before the next person gets to add to it.

You can find lots of campfire stories here.

Glow games
Image source: Pixabay

Glowing Camping Activities

Are you looking for something a bit more out-of-the-box than campfire fun? Glowing games might be an excellent option for your group. These games get you up and moving even when it’s dark.

Flashlight Tag

An entertaining mix of tag and hide-and-go-seek—and played in the dark of night—this game is tons of fun for people of all ages. There are actually many variations of this game, but the basic idea is to hide and not be caught by the flashlight.

You can see all the rules and variations of this game on wikiHow.

Glowing Egg Hunt

Egg hunts don’t have to be reserved for Easter. In fact, a glowing egg hunt is fun no matter what time of year it happens to be.

To play, you’ll need several plastic eggs. Prepare by placing one activated mini glow stick into each egg. Next, have one person hide the eggs before allowing all players to hunt for them.

The game can be repeated multiple times until everyone is tired or until the glow sticks stop glowing.

Glow Bowling

Another great activity that uses glow sticks is glow bowling. This one does take a bit of planning and preparation, but it’s worth it for the fun it offers.

You’ll need six empty 2-liter soda bottles, six glow sticks, and a ball to play. When you’re ready to play, place one activated glow stick in each bottle and set the bottles up in a triangle shape just as bowling pins would be (but missing the back row). Give each player a turn to roll the ball toward the pins and see how many they can knock over.

Shadow Puppets

Of course, you could also use whatever glow you can come up with to put on a show. Shadow puppets are tons of fun and require very little in the way of preparation or setup.

You can make the puppets on the side of your RV or a tent using a flashlight. Experiment with different shapes to see what kinds of animals you can create, or use paper cutouts to make more intricate puppets. You might be surprised how entertaining this activity can be!


One of the very best things about heading out of the city and into nature is the night sky. Thanks to a lack of light pollution, the stars and moon seem much brighter out in the wilderness, and stargazing becomes a very appealing activity.

Bring a telescope along to see things up close and personal, or grab a constellation book and see how many you can locate. Whatever you do, you’re sure to be left in awe of the beauty of our universe.

Are You Ready For The Sun To Go Down

Whether you are traveling with a bunch of little ones or there are only adults in your group, the above camping activities will keep the fun going long after the sun goes down. What are your favorite nighttime camping activities? Let us know in the comments.

About the Author:

8 thoughts on “Stay Up Late With These Fun Family Nighttime Camping Activities”

  1. I go camping to get away from noise and rowdy neighbors and screaming kids. Please don’t encourage this behavior in campgrounds, it’s bad enough already

  2. There are some very cool apps you can point at the night sky and they will identify the stars, planets and constellations you see.

  3. Yeah, just what I want, a bunch of people close by making all sorts of noise. I would get a LOT less noise by just staying home, so for sure don’t need to travel somewhere just to hear a bunch of noise. An owl hooting is fine, it’s nature after all. A bunch of humans, no way.

  4. How about just going to sleep early so you can wake up early the next day and enjoy the day? Campgrounds suck with all the shrieking, out-of-control kids, drunk people yelling, teenagers speeding around on golf carts and 4-wheelers, and unleashed dogs. Boondocking away from all the BS rocks!!!!!

  5. Don’t be so grouchy. Sometimes families get together to camp and have fun. It’s an affordable option. We like quiet too but once a year we all get together as a family at a campground. Find a remote campground to enjoy the sounds of nature. There are a lot of boondocking areas.


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