Camping Activities Bucket List

Camping is one of those nostalgic activities that brings back childhood memories of fun and adventure! So pack up the family and prepare to brave the outdoors this year with a family camping bucket list.

10 Camping Activities To Experience As A Family

Whether you’re taking your kids out for the first time, you’re looking forward to a cozy glamping experience, or you’re a seasoned camper, check out this list for some ideas to enhance your outdoor experience at Lake Hartwell!

Cook over a Campfire

Hot dogs and s’mores…the quintessential campfire meal! But those aren’t the only options when you’re cooking over an open fire. One of our favorite campfire snacks is corn on the cob. It’s simple and the best way to eat corn! A good meal starts with quality ingredients, so swing by the Farmer’s Market on Tuesday or Saturday for the best produce in town!

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young girl showing smores treat made over campfire

All you need is corn on the cob, salt, pepper, butter or oil, and aluminum foil. Husk the corn, then place each ear on a generous piece of foil (enough to fully wrap the entire cob). Season with a pat of butter or drizzle of oil plus a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then, carefully wrap each ear in foil, sealing it closed as much as possible. Place the corn in the coals at the edge of the fire, turning after 2-3 minutes. After 4-5 minutes, your corn is done! 

Want more ideas for campfire cookery? Check out these recipes!

Identify Constellations

The night sky has amazed us for millennia, but how much time do you usually have for stargazing? Camping activities don’t have to end at nightfall. In fact, it’s just getting started! As the sun goes down and the stars begin sparkling in the sky, get out a picnic blanket and binoculars (if you have them!), lie down, and take a look at the sky. Give your eyes some time to adjust to the darkness, and slowly more stars will appear.

But what exactly are you looking at? 

The Big Dipper is one of the easiest constellations to find. It’s part of another constellation (Ursa Major) and also directs you to the Little Dipper constellation and the North Star. If you’re new to stargazing, you may benefit from an app that can direct you to various constellations and planets. Try Night Sky or Sky View to get you started. With just the naked eye, you can find constellations, planets, and even the Andromeda galaxy!


Play a Game

Whether you’re RV or tent camping, games are a great way to pass the time and bond with family and friends! Try your hand at UNO, use a deck of cards, or pull out that Monopoly set!

If outdoor games are more your style, a game of Sardines or Hide and Seek will entertain the whole family. Gather a group of friends and play Capture the Flag! Even without equipment, there are tons of outdoor games your family can enjoy.

Do/Learn the Cups Song

Clap – clap – tap – tap – tap….start the sequence and most people will immediately recognize the beat! If you learned it at camp as a kid, this is your chance to teach others and see if you can get a group passing the cup around as you sing. 

Need a refresher? Check out this tutorial on YouTube!

deer in woods at lake hartwell

Animal Tracks Scavenger Hunt

We share the great outdoors with so many animals, but often they stay hidden from sight! If you know what to look for, you can identify the tracks of much local wildlife. Check out this guide to animal tracks, then head out onto the trails and see what you can find!

Tracks are the easiest to find in wet soil, so take a close look along the edges of creeks, ponds, or in muddy areas after a rainy day. Stay quiet while on the hunt for tracks, and you just might get to see who made them! There’s something truly magical about watching a deer graze, or a fox hunting his dinner.

Catch Fireflies

Fireflies are a beautiful highlight of a summer night! Try finding them at the edge of the woods, or in a lightly forested area shortly after the sun has set. Fireflies communicate with their flight and flashing patterns, and it’s possible to learn their patterns and imitate them!

If you want to catch some, just be sure to treat them well. You’ll need a breathable container, like a jar with holes poked in the lid or a dedicated bug container. They’ll continue flashing their lights in the jar, and you can watch their patterns! 

Remember to be gentle and don’t allow kids to shake the jar. Don’t forget to release them before you go to bed for the night!

small bream fish caught on lake hartwell

Catch Bream in Lake Hartwell

Bream, also known as Bluegills or Sunfish, is a common type of fish here at Lake Hartwell! They’re often found at the edges of the lake, in warm shady spots. They’re fairly small, which makes them perfect for youngsters!

Be sure that you’re following state and local guidelines when you fish! Want help identifying what you’ve caught? Check out this guide!

Find the State Symbols of Georgia

Every state has its own state flower, mammal, bird, fruit, and more! Check out the Georgia list and try to find as many as you can. Search for the Cherokee Rose or Native Azalea on your hikes, and keep an eye out for the White-Tailed Deer!


Look for the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly as it flits from flower to flower. Find a Honeybee, one of our most important pollinators! In the evenings, listen for the chorus of the Green Tree Frog. If you’re paying attention, you just might spot a tiny Bobwhite Quail hiding in the brush!

Go on a Hike

There are many beautiful trails nearby that are just waiting for you to discover them! You’ll find great hiking or biking trails at all of the following locations:

If you want a taste of what Hartwell has to offer, check out the Hart County Botanical Gardens and take a stroll through the entire area! If you’re interested in what Georgia has to offer, be sure to visit the Native Plants area of the Gardens.

Stream along hike at victoria bryant stat

Glamp it up

Want the experience of staying in a beautiful outdoor location, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up your own tent or renting an RV? Glamping is calling your name! Rent a luxury site at the Hartwell Lakeside KOA, or rent a yurt at Cloudland Canyon, Red Top Mountain, High Falls, Fort Yargo, Tugaloo, and Sweetwater Creek state parks

With glamping, you’ve got a home away from home right in the forest. Enjoy the peace of the outdoors, the conveniences of home, and the privacy of your own indoor space.

Will you be joining us at Lake Hartwell this year? What are your favorite camping activities!

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