The fun doesn’t need to end when the sun goes down, and life doesn’t need to “slow down” as the shadows begin to creep in. Nighttime can hold some of the best camping memories, especially if you choose one of these fun-filled activities (check out these fun day-time activities, too).
Watch a meteor shower. The annual Perseid meteor shower takes place August 9-13 this summer. The best viewing is usually in the middle of the night, but check local resources for advice on the best time to stargaze. Since it’s typically so late, you may need to set the alarm and drag the family out of bed, but sharing in the experience together is worth the reduction in sleep. (If you plan ahead, you can choose a premier spot for watching the meteor shower, such as on a boat.) Make a game out of it… Each member of the family gets a section of the night sky and counts the number of shooting stars they see. Choose landmarks or trees to make boundaries. Look for satellites floating across the sky, too – extra points!
Be a firefly. This is a perfect game for kids of all ages. First, find a fairly open space, such as a field. One person gets to be the firefly and moves away from the other players as they count to 20 or 30. The objective is to find the firefly. Every minute or two, the firefly flashes the flashlight to indicate his or her location. Once the firefly is caught, it’s someone else’s turn. Make sure to cover the flashlight with some colored plastic wrap; you don’t want the light to be daylight bright.
Glow-in-the-dark. Many games can be repurposed for nighttime competition with just a few glow sticks or glow-in-the-dark tape. For ring toss, use glow-in-the-dark ring bracelets. Add tape if you want to be able to see the stick, but sometimes it’s more fun to be surprised. Kickball is another schoolyard favorite; just use a glow-in-the-dark ball instead and glow-in-the-dark frisbees for bases. For additional visibility, players can wear glow sticks. If you have bowlers in the family, then find a nice open lane, such as a dirt road and drop a glow stick into clear water bottles (can be filled with water or not). Then, go for the strike!
Go on a night hike. Note that many state parks where trails systems are located don’t allow visitors at night. But if you have a trail around your campground, RV park, or RV resort, then go on a nighttime adventure. It’s best to get familiar with this trail in the daytime first. Take precautions with nocturnal wildlife such as raccoons and coyotes; most of them won’t bother you, especially if you’re in a larger group. A full moon may be enough to light your way some of the time, but still bring along headlights and flashlights – and make sure to use the night vision feature if you can to avoid “blinding” your eyes as they transition from light and dark. Go slowly along the path. Sharing this experience with others will bring you all closer together.