40 Best Night Camping Activities + Safety Tips for Camping at Night

Looking for the best night camping activities and fun things you can do while camping at night?

You’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of 40 ideas to help keep your camping evenings entertaining.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure you stay safe when you’re night camping, so we’ve got that covered, too.

Find out more, below.

night camping activities safety

CONTENTS: Camping is a fun experience, and this list will help increase safety and enjoyment while camping in the wilderness. Here’s how:

  • 40 Night Camping Activities & Ideas
  • The Importance of Camping Safely At Night
  • Camping Gear & Accessories
  • Safely Setting Up A Tent at Night
  • Staying Visible
  • Safety in Numbers
  • Site Hazards
  • The Importance of Securing Food
  • Lightweight Clothing
  • Final Thoughts on Night Camping Activities & Safety
  • Next Steps

40 Night Camping Activities & Things to Do

Some of the best memories are made eating s’mores around the campfire, telling ghost stories. You can enjoy a whole range of fun activities while night camping.

Here are 35 of the best night activities for camping to inspire you:

  1. Sit around the Campfire
  2. Tell ghost stories
  3. Make S’mores (try different recipes!)
  4. Catch the sunset
  5. Take a walk around the campground
  6. Observe the stars and find constellations
  7. Play guitar or other musical instruments
  8. Sing campfire songs
  9. Play Flashlight Tag
  10. Tell stories of family history and life events
  11. Play Flashlight Hide and Seek
  12. Catch fireflies in a jar
  13. Play Truth or Dare
  14. Practice your nighttime photography skills
  15. Take a night swim in the lake (not the ocean, though)
  16. Make shadow puppets in the tent
  17. Play cards by lantern
  18. Make snacks for the next day
  19. Read with a book light
  20. Take a night hike
  21. Play boardgames by flashlight
  22. Enjoy an evening cocktail
  23. Make “Jiffy-Pop” popcorn over the campfire
  24. Use night-vision goggles to see what you can see!
  25. Take fun campfire selfies for social media
  26. Wear glow stick “jewelry”
  27. “Write” with glow-sticks in long-exposure photos
  28. Go for a midnight stroll with someone special
  29. Listen and identify animal sounds, like crickets, owls, and others
  30. Play a game of corn hole in the dark
  31. Make craft projects, like beading, gimp bracelets, knitting, and drawing
  32. Snuggle up and get cozy
  33. Watch movies on your portable device(s)
  34. Make colored fire with colorized crystals, available at camping supply stores
  35. Journal about your experiences night-camping
  36. Catch a frog (and then release it)
  37. Look for salamanders under rotting logs
  38. Practice orienteering with a compass
  39. Go night fishing!
  40. Wish upon a star
catch firefly jar

Now that you have a good idea about great night camping activities, you want to be sure to stay safe.

So, learn more about that, below.

Camping Safely At Night

As fun as night camping is, it has its fair share of dangers.

First, there’s always tripping hazards at night.

Worse, bears, snakes, spiders, and even some large insects make camping feel dangerous for many people.

But it doesn’t have to be.

While you’re going to have a great time camping at night, you can do some simple things to stay safe.

1. Camping Gear & Accessories

If you’re spending time outdoors at night, you must have the right equipment.

For example, flashlights are essential if your campsite is far away from a light source like a street lamp or house.

Headlamps are great for hands-free use when hiking or setting up camp. They also give you light right where you need it — on your face — so you won’t blind yourself when looking around at night.

And they’re lightweight enough to carry in your pack just in case the sun goes down unexpectedly early.

Bring lighter or waterproof matches. If there’s no electricity available, use them when you want to make a fire for warmth or cooking purposes.

More delicate works better than matches when trying to get something started quickly without having too much time.

If camping alone, it’s best to bring some animal repellent (like bear spray).

If there are other people with you, then it’s probably not necessary unless you’re going into bear territory.

Always keep a first aid kit in your luggage when traveling or camping.

Your kit should include:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Thermometer
  • Pain reliever
  • Anti-inflammatory medication (like Advil)

You should also pack personal medical supplies if you or anyone in your party has special needs or allergies.

To enjoy and fully embrace the essence of camping, download various valuable apps on your cell phone.

They can help you navigate your way around the campsite or find a place where there is no cell service so that you can connect with people back home.

These apps also have maps that show lakes, rivers, and other landmarks, which can help guide you at night if needed.

You and your camping partners can also cover their cell phones with robust wood phone cases to help protect them from getting wet or damaged.

Also, if you drop your phone at night, the cover will protect it from dings and scratches, thus making it less likely to get affected by the elements of nature.

2. How To Set Up A Tent Safely While Camping At Night?

pitch tent night

One of the most dangerous parts of camping is setting up your tent at night.

You may be in a hurry to get settled in, especially if it’s dark outside.

However, it’s important not to rush things as this could lead to an accident or injury.

If you’re using a flashlight or lantern, use one that has an adjustable beam so that you can see what you’re doing without shining it into your eyes or anyone else’s eyes.

It will allow everyone in camp to see what they’re doing without blinding them or creating a distraction from the task at hand.

Set up your tent in an open area away from trees or brush that could hide animals or snakes during the day.

If there are no open areas, pitch your tent where you have a clear view of all sides of it. That’s so you can see if anything is approaching before it gets too close.

Check for any holes or tears in the roof of your tent before setting up camp for the first time during trips, even if it’s only been used once before.

Also, avoid flames when setting up your tent at night. Campfires or lanterns attract insects that can get inside through tiny openings.

3. Stay Visible

If you’re camping in an area with no streetlights or other sources of light pollution, look for a spot where you can see the stars.

The darker the sky, the better your stargazing experience will be.

You want to be able to see as much of the Milky Way and constellations as possible!

Wear bright or reflective clothing like a vest. Then, others can see you quickly in case they have to walk through your campsite during the night for any reason (such as checking on their campsite).

You can also try to put safety lights on your backpack or tent to enhance your campsite’s visibility.

4. Don’t Wander Off Alone.

You should never go wandering off alone at night.

Take someone with you!

It’s not worth the risk of getting lost or hurt if you’re alone out in the dark.

5. Check Your Site for Hazards

Before setting up camp, take a few minutes to check out your site for any potential hazards.

That includes things like poison ivy, snakes, or insects.

Please ensure no holes are in the ground that could cause someone to fall into them or get stuck underfoot.

Also, look for any dead branches that could fall onto your tent.

Another reason is that campfire embers could set off sparks or start a fire during the night if you’re too close to dead branches.

poison ivy hazard

6. Secure Your Food

Food attracts animals while they’re out looking for a meal.

They have no problem coming into your campground to get what they want!

A simple solution is to keep all food out of sight by storing it in your car or RV until you’re ready to cook it.

That will prevent unwanted visitors from entering your tent or camper during the night and stealing your food or damaging your property.

7. Lightweight Clothing

During the day, wear shorts and t-shirts while walking around the campsite and hiking through the woods.

However, at night you must dress warmly enough.

Then, you won’t get cold while sleeping in your tent or cabin at nightfall.

You’ll need extra blankets or sleeping bags just in case it gets chilly inside your tent or cabin (especially if there’s a draft).

Final Thoughts 

If you were to take a few moments to think about things, you would realize that camping at night is much safer than camping during the day. And there are so many fun night camping activities!

Yet, society has conditioned us to fear the night because of our fear of what lurks within the shadows.

Are there dangers around?

Of course.

But this is part of an untouched wilderness.

Should you follow a few guidelines and precautions before going out for your adventure, it can be as safe as any activity during the day. Not to mention, it’s a whole lot of fun.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.