How to Make Camping With Teens Fun for Everyone

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Teens taking a selfie while on a camping trip

Many tell young parents to cherish the moment because it’ll be gone before they know it. This advice primarily comes from parents with empty nests that once had spilled juice boxes and crayon marks on the walls.

If you’re a parent on the brink of an empty nest, taking teens camping is an excellent way to make memories that last a lifetime. However, you’ll want to ensure that they have a good time.

Today, we’ll share tips to make the most out of camping with your teens. Let’s get started!

Do Teens Enjoy Camping?

Many teens enjoy camping. They live in an incredibly fast-paced society. Camping can be a refreshing opportunity to disconnect from TikTok and Instagram.

However, just like camping isn’t for every adult, it’s also not for every teenager. You need to know your teenager’s personality and whether camping is something they would enjoy.

Some teenagers prefer backpacking deep into the wilderness to camp under the stars, while others want a cabin or RV camping adventure. If your teenager isn’t enthusiastic about camping, start with short, overnight adventures.

Let them test the waters before they jump in for extended trips.

Why Should You Take Teens Camping?

Taking teens camping is an ideal opportunity to get away from distractions, including parents. Camping makes it easy to turn off electronic devices and focus on what’s in front of you.

Most teens are only a handful of years away from leaving the nest. You have limited time to make memories and help prepare them for the future.

A camping trip can help everyone learn self-sufficiency, an essential skill for anyone. During these trips, teens can improve their creative thinking and accomplish a task. You can teach flexibility and adaptability. 

Camping can often be unpredictable, and things don’t always go to plan. It is a lot like the real world that parents experience every day. However, you don’t end every day with s’mores around a campfire in the real world.

A family making s'mores with their teens on a camping trip

What Do Teens Do While Camping?

If your teens were little kids the last time you went camping, how they’ll spend their time may look different. You’ll likely leave the arm floaties and sidewalk chalk at home, but you’ll still want to plan a fun time.

Teenagers enjoy getting outdoors and spending time with their friends and family while camping. However, it would be best if you also considered their unique personalities.

While some teenagers may find it very enjoyable to head into the wilderness for a challenging and vigorous hike, that’s not every teenager’s cup of tea.

Some want to sit by the lake with their favorite books. It can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you’re not a reader. However, it would help if you remembered that they’re having a fun time, and that’s your goal for the trip.

One of the advantages of taking teens camping is that they’re old enough to enjoy more freedom. As long as they’re responsible, you can trust them to safely ride their bikes to the basketball court or the campground’s pool.

They can start making choices and be accountable for their actions. Use your time camping as an opportunity for them to prove how responsible they can be on their own.

Teens bike riding while on a camping trip

How to Make Camping With Teens Fun for Everyone

No matter how hard you try, your teens will likely think you’re uncool. However, years later, they’ll look back on your camping trips and cherish what you did to help them and everyone camping with you to have fun.

So here are some things you might consider putting on your camping itinerary!

Choose the Campground Wisely

You want to ensure the campground offers something for everybody in your group. If your family enjoys hiking, find a campground with epic hiking opportunities or some within driving distance.

You don’t want everyone to sit around twiddling their thumbs because there’s nothing to do at the campground. So be picky about the campground you choose.

Read reviews on Google and Campendium. Look for any consistency in positive or negative reviews.

However, even if a campground offers few amenities, you can still have a memorable trip. It’ll just require more planning and effort on your part.

Unplug from Technology (Sometimes)

One of the best things about camping is unplugging from technology. Many people use it as an opportunity to put their devices in airplane mode to avoid constant notifications from work and social media. However, technology isn’t always bad during your adventures.

Embrace technology to find unique activities and other things to do in the area. Challenge those in your group to find a notable landmark to visit or select a hike.

AllTrails is a fantastic app that any outdoors fan should have on their phone. You can open the app and find nearby trails for a great adventure with your family.

You can also use apps like Seek while you’re on trails. If you or someone in your group constantly finds intriguing plants and insects, Seek can help you identify them.

This can significantly enhance your hikes and help everyone learn something new in an exciting way.

Keep in Mind: Looking for more screen free activities? Check out our favorite Camping Activities for Kids That Don’t Involve Screens!

A teen hiking while on a camping trip

Spend One-on-One Time

While camping, spend one-on-one time with your teens doing something they enjoy. Spend a few bucks and rent kayaks or go for a bike ride. Please take the opportunity to enjoy an activity that they choose. 

This can be a decisive moment where you and your teenagers can bond over something fun. If they’re having trouble thinking of something, trying a local ice cream or burger shop is always an excellent choice.

Have Plenty of Snacks and Food

Many parents quickly realize that their grocery budget grows as fast as their teenagers. So it’s best to bring plenty of snacks and food on your trip. Buy a few special snacks you know they’ll love. 

Try hiding the snacks and pulling them out when they least expect it. You’ll score some bonus points, and you’ll also enjoy their favorite snack with them.

It might surprise you how fast you and your teenager can demolish a sleeve of Oreos!

Teach Camping/Survival Skills

There’s a good chance our teens have seen YouTube videos where people put their survival skills to the test.

Sometimes they make it look too easy to survive with only the clothes on their back. A camping trip can help teach your teen some crucial camping and survival skills. 

Start with simple, essential things like starting a fire and cooking food. You can work your way up to purifying water and more complex tasks. It can help them learn something new and make camping fun.

Hit the Trails

One of the best ways to spend time with your family is to hit the trails. Use AllTrails to find nearby hikes that fit your family. Stick to easy hikes if you’re new to hiking, and work your way up to more strenuous hiking trails.

Finding out-and-back trails with a huge payoff at the end, like a waterfall or an incredible view, gives everyone something to look forward to and keeps the complaining to a minimum.

Make sure you and your teens dress appropriately. Look at the weather to avoid over or underdressing for the conditions. Bring plenty of water, snacks, and possibly even a meal to enjoy while on the trail.

Plan accordingly if you’re hiking in bear country. You don’t want your picnic basket attracting a bear.

Keep in Mind: Camping with a baby may seem difficult, but it’s certainly possible! But What Do You Need for Camping With a Baby? Let’s find out!

Consider Activities Outside the Campground

Campgrounds can be an excellent way to spend your camping trip with your teens, but you should also consider activities and adventures outside the campground.

Concessionaires may offer local excursions or experiences in the surrounding area. Whether horseback riding, rafting, or even on Jeep tours, you can make some incredible memories with your teens.

Teens horseback riding while on a camping trip

Let Them Bring a Friend

If you want your teen to have a fun time, let them bring a friend. This could be an ideal opportunity for them to connect with another person their age.

They’ll have someone to enjoy activities with and may be more likely to get up and do something versus sitting around on their phone at your campsite.

While this may sound like a perfect idea, remember that you’ll likely need to pack twice as much food. However, it’s a small price for your teen to have a fun camping experience.

Make Memories While Camping With Teens in Your Family

Don’t miss the opportunity to go camping with the teens in your family. You can make many memories by going on a couple of camping trips each season.

Not every trip will be a bundle of fun, but you’ll look back on the experiences and cherish every second. You likely won’t regret any of the trips you take with your teens, but you will regret the ones you don’t. 

What camping destination will you visit with your teens? 

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