3 Teenager-Friendly Camping Activities

Not all teenagers love the great outdoors. In fact, many don't and will grumble and complain the moment you or your spouse mentions the word "camping" to them. Camping is a great way to experience family time away from hectic city living, however, and it teaches kids and teenagers a great deal about the natural world that can't be experienced elsewhere. If you're looking to encourage your teenagers to feel excited about an upcoming family camping trip by adding teenager-friendly activities to your to-do list, here are three suggestions:

Nighttime Hikes

Hiking can be pretty boring during the day, especially if you're camping in an area where there isn't a lot of wildlife. To add new flavor to the same old hiking trails, suggest a nighttime hike. Hiking during the night hours can let teenagers see the wilderness in a whole new light. Forests are full of life during the hours of darkness, and your teenagers will likely see critters that would have never surfaced during the day. Have your teenagers plan out the trails and be in charge of holding the flashlight and guiding your family along. They'll likely grumble at first, but adding a new challenge to an ordinary activity can often make it interesting again.

ATV/Boat Rentals

If the campsite has boat rentals or ATV rentals, you can easily excite your teenager about the prospects of camping by suggesting either activity. Make sure to supervise either activity, especially if you choose to rent a larger boat, but teach them the basics of operating either vehicle while you're out enjoying the open waters or dusty trails. Remember to prioritize safety. They'll likely develop a new hobby and eagerly await a return trip. 

Duo Activities

If you can, suggest that your teenager bring a friend along on the camping trip. You'll have another mouth to feed, but this lets them have some fun when you're relaxing. Brings sports equipment or board games to keep them occupied. Have them help prepare meals and keep the campsite clean. Send them off on hikes, but make sure they always stick together and stay safe. Having a buddy is always safer while exploring.

Family camping trips may not be inherently exciting to most teenagers, but with a little preparation and planning, you can encourage your teenagers to learn to love the outdoors and even feel excited to spend a little time away from their cell phones and video games. When in doubt, ask them what they'd like to do. Most teenagers are happy to provide input and suggest a few new activities. Remember to keep an open mind. You never know what you and your teenager will enjoy together.