You’ve set aside the time, done the prep, and been greeted at your camping destination by beautiful weather and wide open spaces. It seems the planets are aligning perfectly, right? Of course! But here’s the thing: all this freedom to do what we want, when we want can leave us a little spoiled by choice. Camping activities abound, but they can flee our heads when we’re intoxicated by fresh air and sunshine. Conversely, you may have a solid handle on your many options, but are also being lulled into inertia by the prospect of so much unrestricted freedom and tranquility.
Hiking, swimming, canoeing, portaging, sleeping under the stars – these are all some of the most common and universally enjoyed camping activities. However, their popularity does not make them the only camping activities. When it comes to camping activities, the only real qualification is that you do it while you’re camping. (Yes, this makes taking a 3 hour mid-day cat nap or eating too many s’mores and being sick in the underbrush a camping activity!)
The only real limit on camping activities is your interests and imagination – and since we want you to save most of your imagination for daydreaming, we’ve come up with a day’s worth of some of our favourite, less conventional and highly enjoyable pastimes. From morning to night, these camping activities are sure to infuse your trip with even more memories.
Morning: Outdoor Cuisine Overhaul
Give the can of beans a rest and try something new next time you stoke the campfire. You don’t have to glaze Cornish hen in a white wine reduction, but why not think outside the box of Kraft dinner and dazzle your taste buds a little. They deserve a break from the mundane, too!
Here is one of our favourite breakfast meal ideas:
Trail Mix Quinoa Porridge (Makes 4 servings)
Stock up on energy and nutrients for the day ahead with this amazing kid-approved, campfire friendly breakfast.
Tip: You can cook a big batch of quinoa before you leave home to save some prep time.
- 2 cups uncooked, rinsed quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups milk (or almond or soy milk)
- 1 large apple, chopped
- ¾ cup raw nuts (almonds, cashews, pine nuts, etc…)
- 1 cup dried fruit (e.g. raisins, cranberries, chopped apricot, chopped figs)
- 4 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- ½ tsp salt (optional
- Combine quinoa, water, cinnamon and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, the remove the pot from direct heat and cover the pot, allowing it to simmer for 10-15 minutes – or until the majority of the water has disappeared.
- Pour in the milk and let the porridge simmer uncovered for another 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in the apple, nuts, dried fruit and maple syrup. Let it sit covered to thicken for 5 minutes.
Other great outdoor cooking ideas…
Stuffed bell peppers: Simply stuff your peppers with ingredients of your choice, wrap in tinfoil, and toss them into the campfire. Bake time is 20-30 minutes, depending on what you put in the pepper. You can check it if you are unsure.
Grilled Zucchini Boats: Cut your zucchini in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush your boat with olive oil and sprinkle it with goat cheese, salt and pepper. Grill it over your campfire. Makes a perfect side dish for steak, chicken or fish!
Campfire Nachos: Tear open a bag of nacho chips, grab a few handfuls and place them on a large piece of tinfoil. Garnish with shredded cheese, olives, green onions – whatever you’d like! Wrap ‘em up, toss ‘em the fire, wait 8-10 minutes and enjoy!
Afternoon: The Mini-Tri
Got some active outdoor enthusiasts on your hands? Then you’ll love this! The ‘mini-tri’ is by far one of our most loved camping activities. Simply plot out a trail for running or hiking (we recommend about 1km), a reasonable and safe distance for swimming (e.g. to that rock!) and a moderate distance for cycling (e.g. 2km). If you don’t want to bring your bikes, you can always swap for another activity, like canoeing or paddle boating. This is a great way to stay active, enjoy the outdoors and engage in a little friendly competition.
Night: Round Robin Story Telling
There’s nothing wrong with telling traditionally terrifying ghost-stories around the campfire, but for some people, being plain silly is more desirable than being scared silly. Next time the gift of gab grabs you, why not make it a group activity and do a round robin? It’s perfect for kids and kids at heart!
Here’s how it works: One person starts a story and has 20 seconds before the next person takes the tale from there. When done with an enthusiastic gaggle, this game has hilarious outcomes, so go for as many rounds as your stomach muscles can take.
Remember, the only real limit on your camping activities is your imagination and inclination. No matter what you decide to do, try to take the time to relax in the lap of nature. Most of us don’t get to enjoy it nearly enough!