How long do kids like camping?


Expedition Leader
The most important thing is to enjoy the moments you get to spend with them outdoors. It seems to be getting more difficult with all this newfangled internet and what not.

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When my kids hit high school they backed off a little. But more and more of their friends starting coming with us. before long we would have 10 to 15 high school aged kids with us and some of their parents. We started having paintball wars on Saturday nights and it was a blast. My kids now are in their late twenties and are bringing their kids. The friends of my kids still come to the house and ask if they can come out and bring their kids. Now my fishing buddy is a 4 year old again.


My kids have been camping since they were toddlers. Then my son joined the scouts. At one point we went camping every month for two years. We wore out a lot of tents. My son is almost 30 now and he and I still go camping 7 or 8 times a year some years. It did help a lot that all his friend were in scouts also, he still hangs out with some of those guys.


New member
My son is going to be 9 in May and we've been camping since he was 6. No slowing down for this kid, he loves it. Fortunately I've got wheeling/camping buddies that either have kids around his age or they've had kids of their own so they help me out with keeping him busy and that keeps him interested.


What age did your kids stop liking camping (if ever)? My son is five and loves it, but I'm assuming that by the time he's 11 or 12, his enthusiasm will wane. If anyone has successfully persuaded their teenagers to continue camping, what are your secrets?
It may depend on his interests. If he discovers something new then he might forget camping for a while. Try introducing him to sports and some indoor activities...billiard or even trying out some musical instruments.
My kids are getting to the age where they are harder to entertain. But, we leave the electronics home and try to use the time camping to play games, throw rocks, etc. I have to learn to to back off and let them do things rather than do things for them. Half the fun of camping is setting up the camp, getting everything right, starting and managing the fire, etc. I have to give them more and more responsibilities and they seem to thrive on that. Its hard to resist going back and redoing a few things though!!! :)


When I was a kid I loved camping. I am now 49 and still love camping.
When my wife was a kid she hated camping, she is 47 and still hates camping. She hates bugs and it is rubbing off on my kids.
I do not live in a city and we live on the edge of a forest where deer, fox, raccoons, opossum, etc (even a couple of bears are said to live in there somewhere) are common and often found in our yard.

I think it is really depending on the kids and how they are.
My kids are 8 and 10, this is the first year we will be going on a camping trip together. No electronics, no TV nothing just us and some fishing. They are all excited in theory, but I have my doubts. The first trip will be 1 night just to test.
The issue I find is kids are so electronic dependent these days (my wife and I have strict rules in place to make this less). It is almost as if it is a drug to them.

The only thing I can offer based on my childhood, it limit the day to day electronics and take them out often when they are young, maybe, just maybe (and I do hope) it will stick. It did for me.


I'm 29 now. Spent my first night in a tent at just over a year old. My parents are very active outdoors people and as a family we went on many adventures and camping trips. The love of the backcountry never left me and led to passions like fly fishing, hunting and shooting. When I was 17, I did my first multi-day solo trip to a remote lake. I never stopped loving to be outdoors and camping, and even enjoyed it with my parents as a teenager. I still like the rare time we get to camp with my parents.

My younger brother always enjoyed camping and still comes along occasionally when our family gets together for a trip. For him however, the true passion isn't there. While he likes being out in the woods, he's more comfortable in a cabin, RV or hotel room than a tent. He's also much more social than I am, and as such either needs to bring a friend along or immediately hang out with a bunch of friends when he gets home. He's more of a city socialite than a bushman. LOL

As for keeping kids interested, from my experience it's all about learning and adventure. Building skill sets, trying new things, being allowed to just be wild. That's what camping as a kid is all about.
Ours are still pretty young, 8 and 10, but find that mixing things in with trips is the key. My daughter loves horses. So a trip with a good trail rides gives her, and her mother, a real high point in the trip. My son, fishing or meeting a new friend are his hooks. I make sure to find places he has a real shot at catching something and/or seeing fish. And we balance time in the boondoggles and at campgrounds where there are almost always a decent change he will make a friend.

So find something your kids love and mix it into camping and have the kids help do the planning.

Anyway, thats my strategy and I hope it works long past the age I want to camp.


We used to do 2 to 3 days camping then 1 to 2 nights in a condo with pool, laundry, etc. The kids would go to the pool, mom and I would go to ? Your imagination. This seemed to work for our family. The guys got their outdoors, the girls got a little city and showers. We could do 10 days on the road this way.
Let him play with the fire! My Dad was a fireman and he was always building fires and messing with them constantly. He let me start poking the campfire really young and he always said if you let kids play with campfires they'll have no interest in starting fires or playing with matches back home. I had a bb gun as a kid and I'd mess with that during the day and then we'd start a fire at night and that was it.
Also Dad would let me drive when the roads permitted. I think the first time I drove the wrangler was age 10? I could barely reach the pedals... He let me drive on some dirt road en route to our campsite. I can remember driving on a very lonely highway in western New Mexico when I was in middle school. Looking back I don't think anything was dangerous but it definitely could have been. That responsibility was very important and you can't really teach it to adults. We still camp together when my schedule allows, we've done lots of motorcycle camping trips since I left home. That's our thing to this day.


Viking with a Hammer
All their lives. But if they show interest, keep them engaged.

My father, and grandfather never let me take part in camping enough. Leveling the trailer, building the fire, etc. etc. Always something lame and heavy like fill the fra$%ing 5 gallon water jug, that I could barely carry. I'm still pissed about it to this day. I could understand if I was incompetent, or uninterested. But I was better at all of that, then they ever were. If your kids are interested, give them something important to do that they can be proud of. Not the stupid full water jug.

And don't waste time dicking around with your trailers and RTT's. When you get to a good interesting campsite, enjoy it first. You can open the awning, unhitch, and obsess over stupid stuff later. Have some fun as soon as possible after being cramped in the back of a truck for hours.