27 Family Camping activities at night (written by a camping mom!)

As the sun dips below the horizon and casts its warm glow onto the world, the enchantment of a camping trip takes on a whole new dimension. While daytime adventures often steal the spotlight, it’s in the dark at night that that camping cam move to the next level of fun and excitement. 

While stargazing together all cuddled in sleeping bags and settling in around the campfire for a long night of sharing stories are my family’s typical evening camping activities, there really are so many other things to do while camping at night.  

Below you’ll find all sorts of activity ideas for after dark… But, if you want the quick top ten..

Top 10 Favourite things to do while camping at night:

  1. Set the lanterns out on the picnic table and enjoy a night of card and board games
  2. Have a night time scavenger hunt
  3. Grab the glow sticks and play hide and seek
  4. Cuddle up and do some stargazing – especially fun if you catch a meteor shower!
  5. Any musicians in the family?  Guitars and campfires make many memories
  6. Share some ghost stores or play some word and talking games around the cozy fire
  7. Little ones might have fun learning how to make shadow puppets
  8. Go for a moon-light hike
  9. If it’s warm and you’re brave (and it’s safe), enjoy a night swim at the pool or beach
  10. Make use of the campfire to cook up some yummy late night treats

Want to read more… after a full day of experiencing nature, running, crafting, and generally exploring, your kids might be ready to fall into their sleeping bags at their normal bedtime. But on the off-chance that they may never want to go to bed because they are having too much fun, get them pumped up with some camping activities at night!

an illustration of camping at night, a tent and a moon

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Fireside Snacks

One of the best things about camping is the food! Be prepared with novelty camping goodies and don’t be afraid to mix it up every night.


You could probably make these every night and no one would complain. With simple ingredients (graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows), they are never a bust. Just don’t forget the roasting sticks! Feeling creative? Go ahead and mix it up by using peanut butter cups or caramel chocolate squares instead of chocolate bars!

Pudgy Pies / Campfire Pies

Use cast iron campfire pie cookers to make pudgy pies! This extremely versatile food is as simple as adding buttered bread to the cooker and tossing in your favorite ingredients. 

These are the pie irons we have. One is cast iron, one is aluminum. The kids prefer a pie iron with the longer handle and the littler ones find the cast iron pie iron quite heavy to hold over the fire, but it’s fine if there’s a grate to rest the pie iron on.

Some campfire pie combinations worth trying:

  • Milky Way Pudgy Pie (chop up candy bars, add graham cracker crumbs and marshmallows), 
  • Apple Cinnamon Pudgy Pie (apple pie filling with cinnamon raisin bread)
  • Chocolate Cherry Pudgy Pie (cherry pie filling with chocolate chips)

READ MORE: Cooking with Campfire Pie Irons and a huge list of great recipes to try!

Campfire Bananas

This goody can be customized for each person. I recommend something crunchy, something melty, and something sweet to be added to each banana. Simply cut a slice through the concave side of the banana, being careful not to cut through the other side of the peel. You can also cut a wedge out of the concave side. Add your selected goodies (examples: marshmallows/chocolate/pecans or strawberries/chocolate/peanuts or coconut/chocolate/almonds), wrap with aluminum foil and either warm them on the fire grate (if your fire is blazing) or in the embers (if the fire is dying down).

Campfire Apples

Core an apple and stuff cinnamon, sugar, and butter inside then wrap in foil and bake in the coals, turning a few times so they don’t burn. 


Everyone loves popcorn!  Bring along a Jiffy Pop or if you don’t want to do it the ‘real’ way, get yourself one of these campfire popcorn makers.  


If you’re a family that loves the night sky you might even want to plan your camping trip to coincide with an anticipated meteor shower.  

Bring along a constellation guide or download an app onto your phone if you’d like to try identifying various constellations.  

I have some very fond memories of cuddling with my kids in my sleeping bag, laying on the hammock just watching the sky, talking, and enjoying the night together.  

​Board Games and Card Games

Just because it’s dark out doesn’t mean the gaming needs to stop!  Surround the game board with lanterns and candles or hang some string lights above the picnic table.  The novelty of playing outside in the dark will add some excitement to the game you choose!  

You may want to choose a game that doesn’t rely heavily on colour identification as that may be difficult in the dark.


On our last camping trip the kids had fun playing Werewolf.  This is a game where all players are secretly assigned a character and then have to guess who is who based on the actions directed by the audio instructions of the game.  

You can purchase the game, but my kids just download a free app to their cell phone and then all they need to play is some scrap paper.  Playing this at night adds an extra level of suspense and the eerie music and voice of the game.     

Some fun camping games that the whole family loves to play when camping.

All these games have minimal pieces and can be played in low light.

  • A Classic game like Jenga and Yahtzee
  • A Strategic Card Game like Exploding Kittens, Sushi Go, or Crib
  • Party Games like Cards against humanity (choose the family version for kids and teens)

Lawn Games at Night

Depending on where you’re camping, the day time might be just too hot to play physical games out under the hot sun. If this is the case, once the sun sets might be the perfect time for a family bean bag toss tournament or to pull out the giant Yahtzee set!   Wouldn’t it be fun if you all had on head lamps for a game?  Or, set up some lanterns or string lights to make sure everyone can see well enough?

Badminton in the dark?

I don’t know if this would really work, the idea just occurred to me… but my kids enjoy setting up badminton at the campground. I wonder if it would be possible to attach a little glow stick or tiny led light to the birdy without making it off-balance too much?

READ MORE: This post has a great list of giant backyard board games… and I bet some work well after dark at the campground too!

Flashlight Fun

Flashlights provide tons of opportunities for fun camping activities at night. 

Depending on the age of your kids, just having a flashlight might be enough excitement in itself!  

My young kids absolutely loved their headlamps.  If it is really dark around the campground I’d suggest getting them headlamps with the red light as the white light can be quite blinding for others having to interact with the kids wearing the headlamps.  

Important Note: Remember to make sure your kids learn flashlight etiquette (not to be shining their flashlights into your fellow campers’ campsites, tents, and campers).   

kids playing outside huddled around a lantern in the dark

Shadow puppets

A quick google search should bring up a whole bunch of shadow puppet how-tos. But, sometimes it’s more fun to make them up yourself!

​Flashlight Tag and Flashlight Hide and Seek

Your kids will be able to make up the specific rules, but the main idea is that the ‘finder’ or ‘tagger’ will have the flashlight and use it to find / catch the other players.

Glowstick Capture the Flag

If you’re camping in a large area with a larger group of older kids and adventuresome adults, a big game of capture the flag could be a lot of fun!  

Glow In The Dark Activities & Fun

Who doesn’t love glow sticks? Grab a bunch of them before heading out to the campground and enjoy an evening or two of glow stick fun!

Glow Stick Dance Party 

Don’t forget to make a killer playlist and download it before you go, just in case your campground doesn’t offer WiFi.

Glow Stick Ring Toss

Bring bottles of your own or hammer pegs into the ground and create your own fun game with glow sticks.  Set out your targets (tent pegs, empty bottles, etc.).  Then, turn your glowsticks into bracelets and challenge each other to land them on the targets you’ve set down on the ground.  

Purchase a glow-in-the-dark game like Kan-Jam, Bocce Ball, or Lawn Darts for some night time fun. Or, these giant glow beach balls look like a lot of fun!

Campfire Games

Cozy campfire chats are a great way to encourage some family quality time. 

If your family needs a bit of encouragement to get talking and having fun, here are some suggestions:

Would You Rather

One person at a time comes up with a question for everyone to answer. A few examples are: 

  • Would you rather fly or be invisible? 
  • Would you rather live on the beach or in the mountains? 
  • Would you rather eat a worm or let a spider crawl up your arm?

Or, if you have a hard time coming up with questions, you can pick up a book, like this Would you Rather one, or you’ll probably find a printable list with a Pinterest search.

Alphabet Game

Choose a category like geographical locations, book titles, or movies. One person starts by naming a place and the letter the place’s name ends with becomes the letter the next place named must start with.  So, for example, Yellowknife – Edmonton – New Zealand – Dublin …and so on.


You probably know how to play charades, so I’m going to go ahead and mention fire safety with this one. If you really do play around the fire, be sure to keep a wide berth from the flames and the pit. An idea might be to have the actor move a little ways away and everyone shine flashlights toward them to see better instead of using the fire’s light.

One Line Stories

Take turns adding individual sentences out loud to create a wacky family story that will likely keep you giggling well into the evening.

Campfire Sing-a-long

I worked as a counsellor  at summer camp for a few year and every night we had a campfire and sang songs.  I have so many great memories from those campfires, and learned a lot of great music too!  

If you’re lucky to have a family who loves to sing, this might be a great idea.  Campfire songs can be a lot of fun with a large group with lots of younger kids or for families that enjoy camping with their musical instruments.  

Cozy up with a Good Book

Outside or inside, this is one of my favourite nighttime activities.    

While I do like to encourage outdoor activities when we’re camping if it’s a rainy or cool night, sometimes hanging out outside just isn’t a good idea.  

When camping with younger kids I would often crawl into the tent (or camper) with them for some quiet time before bed.  I’d read aloud and help them relax after such a busy and exciting day.  

Now that we have older kids, they’ll read to themselves or might choose an audiobook to listen to together.  

Ghost stories

I’ll admit that sharing ghost stories isn’t something that my family does much around the campfire.  But, for some families, they really enjoy this.  You could also pick up a book with local ghost stories and read from that.

​But, I do still remember well the night we shared a campfire with some new friends who were eager to share some spooky stories… I couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself all weekend after that! 

Go for a late night swim

If it’s been a hot day, taking a little swim is the perfect opportunity to rinse off the day’s sweat and dust.  

Do make sure your swimming spot is a safe one as it will be harder to watch for risks or danger.  

Moonlight Hike

Even the most familiar walk will seem new and unfamiliar when lit only from the moon and stars!  I’d suggest allowing your eyes to adjust to the dark and keep the flashlights off, only using them if you really need to.  If you happen to choose a night when the moon is full, you’ll likely find you have more than enough light to see your surroundings clearly.

​For safety, do make sure you are somewhat familiar with the area and choose a wide, clear trail.   

​What will you do after dark on your next camping trip?

No matter how you spend your evenings while camping, there is fun to be had.  Your kids will likely entertain themselves with fun things like games and random adventure in the dark.  Adults may enjoy a leisurely chat around the campfire, a group game, or cozying up with a good book. 

Remember, simply being outside all the time and away from everyday life is sometimes all you and your family need to spark a little imagination. But if you find your family is stuck in a boredom rut, hopefully, this list helps you out of it!

Happy Camping!

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