10 Ways to Entertain Yourself Around the Campfire

By Shelby Kisgen

Picture this: It is the fourth and final night of your camping trip. You have already gossiped about everyone at work, you have used your best jokes, and you are tired and a bit grumpy from not showering. Your group is around the campfire, wondering how to while away the hours until bedtime, because you have exhausted your discussion topics on the other three nights. Then you pull out this list of campfire entertainment ideas and suddenly you have hours of entertainment.

  1. Honesty Time: Without the presence of technology to distract you, the campfire can be a fantastic way to converse on a deeper level. With the flames to capture your gaze and prevent awkward eye contact, the stars twinkling, and hushed whispers, the secrets come pouring out. When someone opens up, accept what they say and accept them. You do not have to agree, but you can listen.
  2. Discussion Topics: If secrets are too much but shallow conversation is too little, try discussing your personal faith or dreams for the future. Both topics provide wide diversity in thought and help you know your ladies better.
  3. Lighten Up: Challenge each other to recall their most personal embarrassing story. If no one volunteers, tell their story if you know it. Then the challenge has truly begun. Laughter ringing off the campfire is one of the best sounds on earth.
  4. Scare Tactics: It is a universal fear to wonder about the crazy ax murderer in the woods. Harness this element of adrenaline, look eerily into the dark night, and start your best ghost story. Points are awarded for grabbing the leg of the woman next to you and making her scream.
  5. Chubby Bunny: This tactic is immature. It is mildly disgusting. It is also classic campfire entertainment. Have all participating players take one (uncooked) marshmallow in their mouth and say the words “Chubby Bunny”. Then two marshmallows and repeat. Then three, four, and so on. Stuff your cheeks with the marshmallows and whoever is easiest to understand with the most mallows in their mouth wins. They only win bragging rights for winning the dumbest game ever, but it always makes for a laugh. Warning: it is probably only best to play this game if one non-playing party in the group feels confident administering the Heimlich maneuver in an emergency. Nothing is more embarrassing than death by “Chubby Bunny”.

    Marshmallow, Chocolate And Graham Crackers At Fireplace Ready For Smores
    Marshmallow, Chocolate And Graham Crackers At Fireplace Ready For Smores
  6. Five Truths and a Lie: This is a game of shocking hilarity. Each person secretly thinks up five true things about themselves, and one lie. Then they announce it to the group, and each member of the group votes on which one they think is the lie. This is especially fun when played with women you think you know well, like family or old school friends.
  7. Ask this: “What would you do tomorrow, if it was your last day to live?” The answers might make you laugh, they might make you cry. Both are good.
  8. Get Planning: Your friends are gathered with nothing but time on their hands. That is a rare thing. Now is the perfect time to start planning your next trip. Nothing makes the spirits rise on the last night of a great trip than to plan the next one. It does not fully prevent the “return to work” blues, but it does provide something to look forward to. Pick a new spot to explore, consider other people to invite, and remind each other not to forget the extra roll of toilet paper next time.
  9. Get Sentimental: Maybe it is the booze, maybe you are about to start your period, maybe it is the starry skies, maybe it is dirt in your eyes, but camping is a bonding experience. Tell your girlfriends how much you love them. Let them know how much it means to you that they joined you in nature for quality friendship time.
  10. Silence: The noise of the campfire crackling is hypnotic. Do not feel the need to break the silence. Enjoy the peace and stillness. Camping is the best time for companionable silence, to sit and breathe in the night while surrounded by those you love. These feelings of solitude without loneliness, silence without awkwardness, enjoy them.


Close up of an campfire at night glowing flames
Close up of an campfire at night glowing flames

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Top 10 Trail Etiquette Tips


By Shelby Kisgen

  1. Pick a Side: Whichever side the country drives the cars is typically a good rule of thumb that you should also walk on that side of the trail. It creates less confusion and keeps groups in an orderly, single-file line.
  2. The Beauty of Passing: If you are a slow-moving party with toddlers, and a fast-moving trail running group comes barreling down the trail behind you, move aside. Do not damage the flora and fauna surrounding the trail in your effort to do this. Just snatch of the kids, contain the dogs, and scoot over so that the faster people may pass. Attention faster people: communicate your thanks and do not be in such a hurry that you knock into someone. Respect for all speeds on the trail is key to possessing good etiquette.
  3. Leave No Trace: This is a common saying and it refers to reducing your mark upon nature. Littering is unacceptable. Nothing is more infuriating for a nature enthusiast than spotting litter. If a napkin blows out of your hand, hustle and retrieve it. If you see another person’s litter, pick it up. Not for them, but for the fellow hikers who also hate it, for the animals, and for the environment itself.
  4. Keep It Clean, Folks: I actually mean your language. Freedom of speech and all that, yes I know. If you are in an isolated stretch of trail and you twist your ankle and let loose a sailor-approved word, or you decide it is time for a raunchy joke, fine. But keep in mind that little ears are in the woods, especially around tents and camp sites. Tell your jokes, use your freedom of speech, but do not insult the parents of the children camping right beside you.
  5. Greet People: One of the best things about hiking is making friends on the trail. Do not be so absorbed in stranger danger that you refuse to call out a friendly greeting. Use common sense and do not engage a threatening person, but the vast majority of people on the trail are just looking for a relaxing time in nature. Be polite and look for the best in others.

    Nature trail sign with stick figure hiker
    Nature trail sign with stick figure hiker
  6. Equine Interaction: If you find yourself smelling the beautiful scent of horse in the air, prepare yourself. Contain your dogs and children and move in a more organized manner. Horses are flight animals and the last thing you want to do is cause an accident by spooking them. Address the riders and give them the adequate space to pass. Since horses are the faster moving group, they have the right of way
  7. Motorized Vehicles: These folks are controversial for their fumes and noise, but they are also very handy to have around in an emergency due to their quick access for help, so play nice. No matter your personal views on the matter, if the trail says it is legal for them to be there, it is legal. So smile and make a friend. Maybe you will have your opinion changed, maybe not, but either way you will be using good trail etiquette and making your mom proud of your manners.
  8. Dogs: Believe it or not, some person on the trail might be absolutely terrified of your sweet Fido. Follow any leash laws of the trail, as the fines can be hefty. If the trail allows for loose dogs, call your companion back to your side when strangers approach on the trail. It makes for a more calm passing in general, and then if the stranger wants to pat your dog, it is by their choice and not by his jumping, not that sweet Fido would do that of course.
  9. Know What Voice to Use: By all means sing and holler as you hike if that is your stress outlet. That is your “outside” voice and since you are outside, it makes sense to use it. However, as you see people in the distance, lower to your “inside” voice when conversing with your trail partners. The approaching people might be in nature for the sheer stillness and silence. Your rendition of Mary Poppins would certainly ruin that, and make you the topic of all their jokes for the remainder of the hike.
  10. Group Size: Hiking in huge groups creates more challenges with passing others, preventing litter, and keeping noise at moderate levels. It also puts more strain on the trail, especially if conditions are already favorable to erosion. Two to six is a lovely trail size and more polite for other hikers who need to navigate the trail around you.
Teenage girl on departure to outdoors with hiking camping backpack
Teenage girl on departure to outdoors with hiking camping backpack


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