Sometimes you need a break from hiking, swimming, fishing and exploring!
Card games for camping are the perfect option when you don’t have a lot of extra space for camping board games.
Especially when there is so much you can do with a regular deck of cards!
Classic Family Card Games For Camping
These classic game ideas are some of the best card games you can play using a simple pack of cards. These are just a few of the many games you can create with a deck.
1. Go Fish
Go Fish is one of the best family card games for kids because it’s so easy to learn. The goal of the game is to collect the most pairs or sets of the same rank.
To start, each player receives 7 cards (or 5 if there are 3 or more players). Take turns asking another player for a specific card, like a 2 or a king, in order to make a match with a card you already have in your hand.
If they have that card in their hand, they give it to you. If not, they say “Go fish” and it’s the next player’s turn to ask.
If you’re playing with younger kids, you can focus your strategy on collecting pairs of the same number.
For older kids and teens, make it more challenging by requiring them to collect all 4 of each card to complete a set. This makes it far more competitive since more than one person may be working for that set!
2. Crazy Eights
Crazy Eights is a classic game where the goal is to be the first to get rid of all the cards in your hand.
Each player will receive five cards at the beginning of the game from the dealer. The rest of the cards are placed face-down in a pile in the centre.
The dealer flips the top card on a separate pile and goes around the circle taking turns to place a matching card – by matching it must either be the same suit, such as a heart or spade card, or it must be the same number.
If you can’t play a round, you need to draw from the stockpile until you get a card you can place down or until the stockpile is empty.
Players will try to eliminate their cards by stacking them on top of the card that has been flipped. Eights are considered wild cards that can be played at any time.
Crazy 8s is essentially like playing UNO without a UNO deck!
Snap is an exciting card game that is lightning-fast to play and easy to learn for younger family members.
The goal of Snap is to win the entire deck of cards.
You start by shuffling and distributing the entire deck equally to all the players (don’t worry if some players have one extra card than others). Each player puts their card pile face down in front of them.
The first player left of the dealer puts their first card face down in the centre and then you all take turns doing the same.
If two cards with a matching number or rank i.e. 2 Kings are played in a row, the first player to say snap gets the pile. This person adds the centre pile to the bottom of their own pile.
This continues until one person ends up with the entire pile of cards.
As kids, this game always got a little rowdy (in a fun way) as we always played it so you had to snap your hand down onto the pile first too. The hand at the bottom was the quickest and got the cards. This can result in a lot of hilarious hand-slapping if you’re playing with bigger kids and teens.
Spoons is a fast-paced card game for camping. You will also need actual spoons for this one – one less spoon than the number of players.
The goal of this game is to collect four-of-a-kind card sets. When someone does, each player needs to try and grab a spoon. If you don’t get a spoon that round, you get a letter. Once you end up with all the letters of “S-P-O-O-N”, you’re out, until there’s one person standing.
This game is a little bit like the game of HORSE played on the basketball court.
Each player is dealt 4 cards. The dealer flips the top card off the deck to add to their own hand and then passes an unwanted card face down to the person on their left. This person then does the same, passing on a card to their left.
The last player in the round places their discarded card into a trash pile.
Players will secretly make matching sets when they swap cards until they get 4 of a kind. They will then grab a spoon from the centre without others noticing.
Once a spoon is taken, a funny race will follow as other players try to get the other spoons. The person left without a spoon gets their first letter and is one step closer to being out.
5. Old Maid
This classic game is one of the best card games for families to play during camping trips.
There are 2 ways you can play this game. Either remove a single card from the pack without anyone looking at it, so you don’t know which card will be the ‘old maid card’, left without a pair. Or you can play it by leaving a single joker in the pack.
Shuffle the remaining deck and distribute them to the players as evenly as possible. It’s okay if a couple of players have an extra card.
Each person removes all the pairs in their hand, face up in front of them. If you have 3 of a card, only remove 2 of them in a pair and leave the other in your hand.
To start playing, the players will take turns to offer their hand of cards face down to the next player who will pick one. Then the player will put down any pair that they get from picking a card.
The goal is to get as many pairs as possible and not be left holding the ‘old maid’ card at the end.
Tip: Make this game harder by having pairs of matching colours, such as a 6 of hearts and a 6 of diamonds, since they are both usually red.
War is a thrilling and fun game that is perfect for rainy days at the campsite using a flat surface!
This is a 2 player game with each player receiving half a deck of cards – 26 cards in total, placed face down in front of them. No looking.
Count down backwards from 3 then both flip the top card at the exact same time. Whoever has the higher card wins the round and gets both cards, returning them to the bottom of their personal pile.
If you both flip the same card, war begins.
During a war, each player places 3 more cards face down on the table and they flip a forth so it’s face up. The highest wins and they get all 10 cards. If they flip the same card again, it goes until one person has a higher card.
You can play with 3 or 4 people, but deal each person 17 or 13 cards instead.
The goal of this game is to get all the playing cards.
Hearts is usually a 4 player card game that is perfect for your next camping trip.
The goal is to be the one with the lowest score at the end of play. The game can either be played until a person hits 100 points or 50 points.
Deal the cards one by one, face down, with each receiving 13 cards. Unless playing with 3 or 5 people, where it does change slightly.
A player with the 2 of clubs will start the game and you need to follow suit if you can or play any. If a player does not have the suit, a card of any other suit may be discarded.
However, if a player has no clubs when the first play starts, a heart or the queen of spades cannot be discarded.
The highest card of the suit led wins a trick and the winner of that trick leads next. The highest card wins and will lead the next trick.
After a round, tally up points with each heart worth 1 point and the queen of hearts for 13 points.
The goal is to have the fewest points once the first person hits either 50 or 100 total for their score.
8. 500 Rummy
500 Rummy is a popular game that is good for 2 to 8 players, with a second deck of cards for 5 or more. It’s also a version that requires scoring so you might need a notepad and pen to keep track. You will also need your jokers for this one.
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 are all scored at their actual value. Jack, queen and king are 10 points each and ace and joker are 15 points each.
The player on the dealer’s left starts play, going in a clockwise direction. Each play is in 3 steps.
They first draw a card from the stock and put it in their hand or draw a card from the discard pile. Only the top card though, unless you’re taking the whole stack of cards above the discarded card also.
You can then ‘meld’ with different combinations of cards that are in sequence. Then you must also discard a card at the end of your turn, unless you’ve managed to meld all of them.
This one is a little tricker to explain briefly, so check out these thorough 500 Rummy rules.
The objective is to get rid of the cards to reach more points.
Canasta can be played with 2 standard card decks or with a specialty Canasta pack.
Your goal is to have more points than the other players or teams.
Players receive 11 cards each. You take turns picking up a card and making melds, not too dissimilar to playing 500 Rummy.
The winning team is the first to reach 5000 points.
Players take turns flipping over two cards to find a match. If they do not match both are placed face down again, and it is the next player’s turn. But if they match, they keep the pair and take another turn.
This is exactly as the name suggests – a test of your memory. No giving clues. You need to remember where the matches were after they’ve been flipped back over.
The game ends when all the matches are found and the winner is the one with the most pairs.
Specialty Campfire Card Games For Families
If you want to bring a few camping board games and camping card games with you, here are some of the best speciality fun game ideas to pack on your camping essentials list:
Monopoly Deal is a quick-playing strategy game that turns your favourite classic board games into a quick and easy alternative.
Players need to collect property sets. The first player to complete 3 property sets wins. An entire round takes around 15 minutes, making this a great quick option while you’re waiting for dinner to cook.
Exploding Kittens is another popular family game where you need to avoid picking up an exploding kitten card or it could mean game-over! You use different action cards and hope you don’t explode, or if you do, here’s hoping you’re holding a bomb-defusing card.
This is essentially a family-friendly version of Russian roulette for plenty of quick laughs.
Players take turns drawing and as they flip them, they say Taco, Goat, Cheese, and Pizza in order. When the spoken word matches with the card, the players will have to slap the pile. The last player to slap takes the stack.
This is a fun twist on snap and you will be laughing at how often people slap when it’s not a match. Your mind will trick you!
It is a multiplayer card game in which your goal is to win the most description cards.
The game has 2 different sets of decks – Red and Green Apple. The Red Apple has the name of a person, place, thing, or event while the Green Apple includes the characteristics of the place, person, things, and event.
Players take turns being the judge choosing what they think is the best description match played.
This one will have you laughing hard! We were sent this game back when it launched many many years ago and love it.
Conclusion: Best Card Games For Camping
These card games for camping are super fun for two or more players, with plenty of options to pass the time, either when you need a break from all the outdoor adventures or if you’re waiting for bad weather to pass.