Camping with Teens

Camping with teenagers needn't be difficult. It just needs a different approach.

5 Tips for Camping with Teenagers

Posted by Scott Woodruff.
First Published Jun 2019; updated Jun 2023.

Camping with kids is pretty simple. They find insect hunting, tents, and ghost stories with mom and dad oh-so-exciting! But, camping with teens can sometimes be more difficult. These 5 tips will make camping with teenagers much easier and more enjoyable.

If you have a teenager in your family, mentioning the word camping probably won't get the same reaction as to when they were younger. However, all is not lost. Scott has five tips that will help with that camping trip, even if you do have teens.

Camping with kids is pretty simple. They find insect hunting, tents, and ghost stories with mum and dad oh-so-exciting! But, camping with teenagers can sometimes be more difficult. In fact, many parents find that even planning a family camping trip with teens is downright excruciating, so how is it ever possible to enjoy an outdoor camping adventure if you cannot plan the event without drama and headache?

Teenagers are often more interested in their friends, social media, celebrities and show less interest in spending time trapped in a tent with their family, without access to their electronics and social life.

Luckily, it’s not hard to persuade your teen to put on a happy face when preparing for a camping adventure or to ensure a great time once you arrive.

You’ll need to spend some time thinking like your teen to make this a reality, although the five tips below provide much-needed insight that will certainly ease your hassles. Use this information to help plan a phenomenal family camping trip when you have teens who might be a little less enthusiastic about camping.

1- Plan Age Appropriate Activities

Teens aren’t quite as fascinated with the same type of outdoor activities as younger children, so if your agenda includes activities designed for a younger crowd, you've already lost their interests from the start. Luckily, it's pretty easy to avoid such a hassle by planning properly ahead of trip departure.

Appease them by including plenty of teen-appropriate and adult activities on the agenda for the camping trip. Bonfires, geocaching, roasting marshmallows, and stargazing are camping related activities most teens still enjoy. Other popular teen activities that work wonderfully during a camping trip include board games, hiking, cycling, and kayaking.

Teenagers on sit-on-top kayak

Included other activities that will engage teenagers.

2- Don’t Forget the Photo Opportunities

Perhaps Wi-Fi and mobile reception aren't great at many campsites, which is devastating news to many teens who can't go an hour without checking in on their favourite social media platforms or sending that all-important text to a friend. But, that doesn't mean that your teen is out of luck when camping.

Taking pics is a second-favourite hobby for many teens, and a camping trip offers tons of great photo ops that your teen will love. Inspire your teen to pack their bags by filling them in on the many artefacts and landmarks that make great photo ops to share to the envy of their friends.

Glowing Campfire

Get them to see camping through a new lens: they will be able to share some great photos with their friends

3- Don’t Force Participation in Every Activity

Some activities that you want to enjoy during the camping trip won’t exactly be your teen’s cup of tea or their idea of fun. Forcing participation will only cause a big fight and ruin the fun for everyone. Why force them to participate in an activity they absolutely hate? It’s okay to give them a pass when certain activities simply don't appeal to them.

Put yourself in your teen’s shoes, and you quickly understand how horrendous it’d be to be forced to have fun doing something that you hate. Forcing your teen to participate will only make the camping trip sour for everyone and may even drag over when you return home.

4- Bring a Friend

Teens are much happier when a friend is beside them for everything, so why not invite along someone that will put your teen at ease and help them enjoy this outdoor adventure with the family a little bit more? You'll just need an extra tent to invite a friend along for the camping adventure. When teens bring their friend along for the camping trip, they don’t feel so far away from their very important social scene.

Although we as parents may not quite grasp the importance of being social, it is very much an important aspect of teen' lives that we simply must adapt. Plus, all of those photos opportunities we talked about earlier seem so much more exciting when a friend is pictured in the shot with them.

Two teenagers camping

Let them bring a friend

5- Let Your Teen Help Plan the Trip

Let teens help plan the camping trip and even make some of the decisions regarding the campsite, meals, or some of the activities you’ll enjoy during the outdoor adventure. Teens are stuck between feeling all grown up, wanting to make decisions, and still being kids, but they always love the chance to partake in adult activities.

This is an adult activity that your teen can get involved with without any serious repercussions but instead, a plethora of benefits. You always have the final say in the matter, but compromising always works better for everyone - especially whenever teens are involved.

Camping with teenagers may seem like a scary thought to parents who can't remember the last time they saw their teen's face without the glow of a phone screen going across it, but with the tips listed here, this trip is much easier to achieve. Camping with teenagers can be a lot of fun, and there's plenty of opportunities to make special memories if you've played your cards right and properly planned a camping adventure with teens!

5 Tips for Camping with Teenagers

5 Tips for Camping with Teenagers