The Best Card and Board Games to Play While Camping

Family playing cards at campsite


I love playing card and board games with my friends and family. When I was a kid, we had family game nights and played The Game of Life, Risk and Clue, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned about the wide range of creative board games available. You can play out everything from romantic comedies (Fog of Love) to scary situations (Betrayal at House on the Hill) and even outdoor adventures (Skull Canyon Ski Fest).

I’ve compiled some of my favourite classic games and a few you might not have heard of to play while camping. You can also sometimes find portable, scaled-down versions of popular board games, loosely based on the original.


Love Letter


This fun, simple card game consists of a deck of character cards and small tokens. The small number of pieces make it perfect to play at a picnic table; plus, it’s easy to learn. The objective of the game is to gain the favour of the princess by delivering her love letters through different members of the court. However, you might be forced to play a card that causes you to lose the game. There is strategy involved, but also luck—and risks must be taken in the name of love.

Buy it here: There are many versions of this game, but I prefer the classic.

Number of Players: 2-6

Age range: 10+




This is the game that never stops changing. A round of Fluxx could last one minute or 30. You start with basic rules—draw one card, play one card—and continue adding on rules and different goals to try to win. But as the rules keep changing, your plans must, too—or you could inadvertently make someone else win! It’s a versatile, dynamic game. Most campers will catch on quick and have fun playing Fluxx.

Buy it here: There are many versions of this game, and I prefer Around the World Fluxx.

Number of Players: 1-6

Age range: 8+


Sushi Go 

This pick-and-pass card game will have you craving fresh sashimi dipped in wasabi while at the campsite. The game plays super fast and is relatively easy for most people to pick up. Each card has a different sushi roll, tempura, dumpling or other food item on it with a different number of possible points. Once you’ve placed your card, you must pass on your hand. The cards keep passing around until every dish is taken. The goal is to score the most points over the course of three rounds. Yum!

Buy it here:

Number of Players: 2-5

Age range: 8+



For lovers of word games like Scrabble and Wordle, this simple, interactive word-building game can bring out your goofy and competitive sides at the campsite. To play, grab the correct number of tiles from the facedown ‘bunch’ and yell, “Split!” Players race to create a word grid with their tiles. When all your letters are gone, shout, “Peel!” It’s time to pick another letter from the bunch. When there are less tiles than players left, the first person to use all their letters screams, “Bananas!” and wins the game. Yes, it’s as fun and silly as it sounds.

Buy it here: There are different versions of BANANAGRAMS, but campers might prefer the classic.

Number of Players: 2-8

Age range: 7+


Mad Libs

Mad Libs is the perfect game for instant giggles on road trips and camping weekends. Stave off boredom and share thundering laughs with this humorous fill-in-the-blank game. The premise is simple: one player asks the others for a word (verb, noun, adjective, etc.) and adds it to pre-written text in a small book. Since the given words will be completely out of context, the resulting story ends up being ridiculous. This phrasal template word game has different themes, from child-focused to adults only.

Buy it here: There are many versions of this game, and you might like Camp Daze Mad Libs.

Number of Players: 2-8

Age range: 8+ 



For fans of Where’s Waldo and murder mysteries, MicroMacro is an adventure in a box. In this cooperative tabletop game, you’ll work with your fellow campers to solve crimes and rewind mysteries. The included giant map features a sprawling city complete with crime scenes waiting to be solved. There are 16 cases distilled into small sets of cards that will guide you, the detective(s). Using the magnifying glass, comb the city for specific cartoon characters representing your victim, suspects and perps. It’s a great game to play at the campsite as it doesn’t contain small pieces that are likely to get lost.

Buy it here: There are different versions of this game, but I’d suggest starting with the original, Crime City.

Number of Players: 1-4

Age range: 12+



This classic game is played outdoors all over the world, often spotted in parks and on coffee shop patios between two grey-haired players. But chess is a game for all ages (although it’s best for kids above seven or eight years old). Bring a chess board to the campsite for an abstract strategy game with no elements of chance. Did you know chess has been around for 1,500 years? For multi-generational groups, it can be fun to teach younger campers how to play—if they have the patience to learn. Chess lovers might want to try Hnefatafl, Viking Chess.

Buy it here: For camping, pick up a Magnetic Travel Chess Set.

Number of Players: 2

Age range: 7+



Invented in 1971, this popular game was a staple of my childhood. All you need is the deck of cards and a playing surface—even a sleeping bag inside a cozy tent while it’s pouring rain will do. Get ready for a competitive game that can turn the most angelic siblings against each other—and their parents. Made up of wild, reserve, skip, draw and number cards, Uno is all about getting rid of all your cards the fastest and scoring 500 points. Just don’t forget to say “uno” when you have only one card left, or you’ll have to draw two extra cards.

Buy it here:

Number of Players: 2-10

Age range: 7+



This tile-laying game allows you to fly like a dragon—just do your best to stay on the board! It’s similar to an old computer game in which you rotate pipes to map before the water runs through. In this simplistic, stylish game, you take turns laying a tile before continuing along its path. If you bump into another player or fly off the board, you lose.

Buy it here:

Number of Players: 2-8

Age range: 8+


Mysterium Park

This smaller version of Mysterium is based inside a spooky amusement park. One player is the ghost, and the rest are psychics working to discover the secret truth behind the park director’s disappearance. Large, beautiful, colourful, artistic vision cards allow you to see into the past and interpret what the ghost (who cannot speak) is trying to tell you. This image-association game takes around 20-30 minutes to play.

Buy it here:

Number of Players: 2-7 (though it’s best with 3+)

Age range: 10+


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