Camping is a great way to get back to nature and spend time with friends. But what do you do when the campfire dies down?
You might be stuck staring into the embers, and that’s not always what people want to do!
Here are the 10 popular campfire games to enjoy your time in the great outdoors and make some fun memories along the way!
It requires bringing two big pieces of equipment plus some handheld bean bags, but cornhole is one of the most popular outdoor games, especially when camping.
Cornhole is played between two teams, either made up of one or two players each. You need two regulation-size cornhole boards. The wooden boards are angled at 10 degrees from the ground and 12 inches from the ground. Six inches from the top is a circle cutout with a six-inch diameter. See the office size of a cornhole board here.
There are a few variations of the game, but the main objective is to score more points than the previous team or score up to a set number, like 21.
Each team gets to throw their colored bean bag four times during a round from behind a line that’s 27 feet away from the board. Teams alternate with each other using different colored bean bags. You score one point by landing a bag on the board. If you throw a bag into the hole, you score three points.
Points are awarded to the team that scored the most points. That team’s total is the difference between their point total and their opponent’s total points. So, if Team A scored 5 points in the round and Team B scored 2 points, Team A would be awarded 3 points. If both teams score an equal amount of points, neither team receives any points.
2. I Went to Market
Here’s a fun memory game for adults or children.
The first player starts by saying “I went to the market today and bought…” and then names a grocery item, like “a gallon of milk.”
The next player then must remember that item and say, “I went to the market today and bought a gallon of milk and…” and then name an item of their own.
The game continues with your entire group until someone forgets an item. At that point, the game starts over.
3. 20 Questions
20 Questions is a fun, time-killing game for around the campfire.
The first player thinks of an object that fits into a category, like an animal, food or person. That person then tells the person which category their object falls into.
The player to the left in the circle then asks a yes or no question in an attempt to figure out this mystery object. The first player can only answer yes or no.
The group has 20 questions to figure out the object. Whoever is asking a question can guess what the object is after their question.
Whoever guesses the object is deemed the winner of the round and then gets to pick a mystery object of their own. If no one in the group guesses the mystery object, the first player is the winner and gets to pick another object.
4. Catch Phrase
Catch Phrase requires purchasing the electronic game Catch Phrase to play.
You need an even amount of people for this game to divide the group into two teams. The teams sit in a circle, alternating spots, Team A, Team B, Team A, Team B, etc.
Use the device to pick a category and determine who goes first. Once the game starts, you’ll hear a clock ticking. A word appears on the screen and that person needs to describe it to their teammates without saying the actual word or giving a word that rhymes with it.
When a member of the team guesses the word, the player hands the Catch Phrase device to a member of the other team.
As the game progresses, the clock starts ticking faster and faster. Eventually, the clock runs out and buzzes. Whichever team is holding it is considered the losing team of the round, and the opposite team is awarded a point.
The goal of the game is to figure out the mystery word quick enough so you can hand it off to the other team, in hopes of the clock buzzing them.
5. Hat Game
Similar to Catch Phrase, the Hat Game is a bit more random, because there isn’t a set category.
Divide into three or four teams with no more than four people on each team.
Have each person write down five to 10 words or short phrases on a torn-up piece of paper and put it in a hat.
Whoever starts, picks an item and has to describe it to their team without saying the word, person, or phrase, in addition to nothing that rhymes with it. Your team has 1 minute to guess the mystery word. If they do, that team is awarded a point.
Once everyone has had one turn, total up the points to determine a winning team.
If you’re from the Midwest, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Euchre. It’s a bit complicated for beginners, but after a few games, you should be able to figure it out.
Using a limited set of playing cards made up of all face cards and aces, and then tens, nines, eights, and sevens, the goal is to win three tricks per round. Winning three or four tricks per round results in a point for that team. Winning all five tricks results in two points. The first team to 10 points is the winner.
The folks at Bicycle Cards explain the intricacies of euchre, including which cards are the highest ranking. If spades are called trump for a round, the highest card is the jack of spades and the second highest card is the jack of clubs (the other black card).
The strategy is to pick a trump card (when it’s your turn, of course) that gives you the best chance to win tricks. You also need to count on your partner holding a trump card or two to help you through it.
7. Geography Game
Test your fellow camper’s knowledge of geography with this campfire game.
Sit in a circle. The first person names a country. The second person then needs to name another country that begins with the last letter of the first country.
So, if the first player says, China, the next person needs to name a country that begins with A, like Argentina. The third player would then need to name another country that begins with A.
The first person unable to name a country is out of the game, then a new round begins. The last person standing wins.
Make it more difficult by putting a 20-second timer on the person guessing. And change up the game slightly by guessing states or cities.
Divide into two teams to play this classic party and camping game.
The first team up sends a player to act out a noun, or proper noun, like a movie or TV show. You can determine any category you want ahead of time.
That person then has 60 seconds to act out the word and have their team guess the word. Successfully guess the word and be awarded one point.
Play seven rounds. The team with more points at the end is the winner.
9. 10 Fingers
Also known as Never Have I Ever, 10 Fingers starts with someone saying “Never have I ever…” then something they’ve never done before, like “shoplifted from a convenience store.”
If someone in the group has done that, they have to put down one of their fingers. A person is eliminated when all their fingers are down.
As you can imagine, the subjects in this game can become pretty fun (and scandalous!) pretty quickly.
10. Wink Murder
While typically described as a kid’s game, Wink Murder is a fun campfire game for adults, too.
One person sits out each round to choose the detective and the murderer. That player walks around the circle of players, who have their eyes closed, tapping one person on the head to indicate they are the murderer. They then tap another player on the head twice to indicate the player is the detective. Everyone can now open their eyes.
The detective now moves to the middle of the circle to begin questioning players to help determine who the murderer is.
Meanwhile, the murderer kills people off by winking at them. When they successfully wink at someone who is looking at them, that person needs to die dramatically.
The detective has three attempts to guess who the murderer is. If they guess correctly, the murderer becomes the detective for the next round.
Andrew Dodson is an avid camper who enjoys the great outdoors with his wife and two-year-old son. He resides in Colorado, where you can often find him enjoying hikes with a toddler strapped to his back and mini goldendoodle Percy nearby.