A guide to making your own campsite games

The sun was still high in the sky by the time we set up camp on Saturday afternoon. “Did anyone end up bringing cards?” someone asked as we loafed around the campsite, cracking our first beers.

Everyone shook their head. “Wasn’t someone talking about badminton?” another person asked hopefully. Nada. We’d sailed out to an island in the Puget Sound, with a hold full of snacks and gear, and had all mistakenly relied on the rest of the crew for entertainment.

Make your own fun. Photo: Courtesy of Kimson Doan

Luckily we had a rocky beach to ourselves, and plenty of sunlight left, so we decided to find some creative ways to pass the time (like a hyper-competitive game of rock bocce).

RELATED: Tips for planning your first girlfriends' backpacking trip

If you’re in need of some similar entertainment, you’ve got options. Leave your phone in the car and get creative.

Rock Bocce

You know the rules to bocce, right? Throw the pallino, then everyone takes a turn trying to throw their ball closest to it. Turns out you don’t need a pallino, or even bocce balls. Pinecones make great throwable targets, and rocks are basically the same as balls. Make it extreme by going off into the woods.

Cops and Robbers

Find your friend. Photo: Courtesy of John Towner

Haven’t played this since grade school? You’re overdue, especially if you’re in new spots with lots of places to explore.

Break up into teams: Cops try to defend a prize and send robbers to jail. Robbers try to steal that prize and bring it back to their hideout. Frequently played at dusk with headlamps.

Hit That Thing

Is this the oldest game in the book? Make a target — a stump a bunch of yards away, for instance. Then, throw stuff at it. Whoever gets closest wins. Endless hours of entertainments. Extra point for rounds where you throw with your non-dominant hand.

Pass-Along Story

Stories to tell in the dark. Photo: Courtesy of Joris Voeten

This is a good one for when you’re winding down around the campfire, or after a few of those aforementioned beers. Someone starts a story by telling a single line.

RELATED: 6 of the best brews to cheers on your next camping trip

Then the person to their left tells the next line, and so forth. See what kind of weirdness comes out of your friends’ brains.


Who says it has to be paper and pencil? Find four sticks of about the same size, set them up in a grid and you’ve got yourself a board. Instead of Xs and Os, be rocks and shells.

Perfect for two people, or set up a tournament to keep a crew busy.