Camping movies have always been some of the most beloved among children, due to their educational message, a lot of fun while watching and the sense of connection with nature and the outdoors. They are often family comedies, dealing with relationships between family members and friendships. They awaken the feeling of community and remind us of the importance of the people around us. This is the list of 20 best kids camping movies.
1. Camp Nowhere (1994)
This family classic shows how children can be resourceful when it comes to new ideas. It is a story of a group of friends who decide to go to an invented summer camp since they don’t like the one their parents chose for them.
Morris “Mud” Himmel hates the summer camp their parents want him to attend so he makes a plan with his friends to convince their parents to send them to another camp, designed by Morris. They blackmail their former drama teacher Dennis Van Welker to help them and are facing a summer full of adventure, parents, and chores free.
2. The Parent Trap (1961)
One of the most famous and beloved camping movies is definitely this comedy about two girls who meet at summer camp and realize they are twins. Hayley Mills plays the twins who decide to switch places and travel back to their parents.
Unaware of their meeting and the switch, their parents don’t see anything weird with their daughters after their return but when the girls begin to plot and hatch a plan to reunite them, they are slowly starting to figure out that something has happened at the camp.
3. The Parent Trap (1998)
This successful remake of the famous The Parent Trip from 1961 is one of the children’s favorites. It is the story of Annie and Hallie who were separated at birth after their parents got divorced. One went to England with her mother and the other stayed in the United States with her father.
Lindsay Lohan plays both girls who meet at a summer camp and soon realize they are twins. Two complete opposites, one wild and rebellious and the other elegant and well-mannered, decide to switch places and travel back to their parents, convinced they will be able to reunite them.
4. The Great Outdoors (1988)
Another brilliant camping movie is this comedy with Dan Aykroyd and John Candy as leading roles which at the time was a recipe for a good evening in front of the tv. Chet and his wife reminiscence about the good old days in their honeymoon cabin so they decide to spend their summer vacation in Wisconsin woods.
Everything seems perfect until their boring and irritating relative Roman decides to spend his weekend at the cabin, as well, together with his family. It is immediately obvious that it is going to be a long weekend, full of misfortunes and hilarious situations they are going to have to get out of.
5. The Long, Long Trailer (1954)
Another classic among camping movies is this comedy about Nicky and Tacy who are just about to get married. Their idea of an ideal home differs and while Nicky wants to save for a house, Tacy dreams of a trailer.
After getting married, they rent a trailer and take off on their honeymoon. Of course, nothing will go as planned and the newlyweds will soon learn a lot about each other and their sense of dealing with trouble and misadventures since they will get themselves into numerous hilarious situations.
6. Heavyweights (1995)
This comedy tells the story of Gerry Garner, the 11-year-old overweight boy from Long Island who is sent to Camp Hope, a camp for overweight boys. It is a beautiful place run by a kind and nice couple Harvey and Alice Bushin but after they are forced to sell it, it gets in the hands of a lunatic named Tony Perkins.
His idea is to make the campers lose as much weight as they can while filming everything and using it later for a commercial for his slenderizing program. The campers can’t stand him and while preparing for a very important race, they are also plotting to overthrow him.
7. RV (2006)
Bob Munro decides to take his dysfunctional family for a road trip to Colorado Rockies, after having to postpone their promised trip to Hawaii due to an assignment he has to do for his boos. After renting an RV and arriving at the camp, they will meet and have to deal with a community of bizarre campers.
While escaping a bizarre family who tried to help them with all their rookie camping misfortunes, the family is going to go through other numerous situations which will teach them the importance of communication and make them solve some of their problems.
8. Ernest Goes To Camp (1987)
Ernest is a lovable loser whose misfortunes are shown through various movies and this is the one where he becomes a camp counselor. As usual, he will get into numerous hilarious misadventures, such as getting bit by fire ants at a picnic with Nurse St. Cloud.
He will also get attacked and injured so the nurse will have to patch him up. But he will also end up a hero when he saves Kamp Kikike which will start hosting children throughout the whole year.
9. Camp Rock (2008)
Demi Lovato plays the leading role in this music tv-movie about a teen girl who desperately wants to spend her summer at a rock camp. But the only way to attend it is she works as a cook in one of its kitchens.
Talented and with a beautiful voice, Mitchie is always singing, even when she’s working. When overheard singing (but is not seen) by a teen pop star at the camp, Mitchie will have to face her fears and get ready to stand in front of the crowd and show her talent. The pop star is determined to find a face behind this wonderful voice.
10. The Muppet Movie (1979)
Even though not a camping movie like the others, this Muppet movie is one of the best and most beloved and it always goes into this category. It is the story of Kermit the Frog who is living a quiet life somewhere in the swamp.
One day he is approached by a Hollywood agent and offered to attend an audition that might change his life. Kermit decides to give it a chance and while traveling to Hollywood, he encounters numerous quirky individuals who become his friends, such as comedic Fozzie Bear and beautiful Miss Piggy. But he will also have to watch out for a villain who wants to use him as a spokesman for his frog legs food chain.
11. SpaceCamp (1986)
An 80s classic with some of the hottest stars of their time playing a group of teenagers who go to a space camp during their summer holidays and learn how to operate the Space Shuttle.
Inside the shuttle is a team consisting of a guy who’s in only to meet girls, a wanna-be astronaut, and an instructor who doesn’t want to be a teacher anymore but to go on a mission. And then they are accidentally launched.
12. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson’s movies are always something special and so is this interesting and unusual camping movie set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s. It is the story of a boy and a girl who fall in love and run away together.
Sam is a 12-year-old orphan who attends a summer camp and Suzy lives on the island with her family. They meet at church, fall in love, and run away. While enjoying their time together camping, hiking, and fishing in the wilderness, a big search party is organized.
13. Meatballs (1979)
This is a hilarious comedy about a summer camp full of noisy teenagers and a boy named Rudy who has to find his place among all of them. Their head counselor is Tripper Harrison who enjoys doing pranks and teasing his boss and the counselors at the nearby rich kids camp.
He and everyone around him are sick of losing the Camp Olympics every year and this time it is his job to encourage all the campers to give their best and convince Rudy that this is his chance to have a better opinion of himself.
14. Magic Camp (2020)
This is a fantasy comedy about Theo Moses, a young magician who is dealing with his father’s death and soon finds out that he was accepted to the Institute of Magic. At camp, he is put in a group of students who will compete with him against the other three groups in the Top-Hat competition awaiting at the end of the year.
They are led by Andy Druckerman, a talented former magician who is promised the possibility to reignite his career if accepts to take these kids under his wing and help them win.
15. Indian Summer (1993)
This is a wonderful romantic comedy-drama about true friendship and the best time of a lifetime. It is a heartwarming story of seven childhood friends who are now in their thirties and reunite at Camp Tamakwa where they used to spend their summers.
Only a few of the campers show up but they are still having enough interesting things to reminiscence. They share their experience, and think of the old days but are faced with unwelcoming news that the camp might be closing down.
16. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog days (2012)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid family comedy-drama tells the story of Greg Heffley who genuinely hates high school. It is based on the third and fourth books belonging to the beloved series about Greg and adventures. Greg is happy to be out of school and ready for a summertime full of video games and hanging with friends.
He will be unpleasantly surprised when he finds out about his father’s plans. He planned everything for a father and son bonding but Greg decided to get out of it and invented a job at a country club which, of course, backfired and ended up in numerous funny situations.
17. Go! Go! Cory Carson: Summer Camp (2020)
This is a 20-minute TV special of a beloved little children’s cartoon Go! Go! Cory Carson. In this short cartoon, Cory spends his summer vacation at Camp Friendship with his best friend, Freddie.
Convinced that he and Freddie are going to have the time of their life, full of mischiefs and adventures, Cory isn’t at all happy when Freddie brings his cousin Rosie along for the ride, slowly showing signs of jealousy and unhappiness.
18. It Takes Two (1995)
The most famous Hollywood twins, Mary-kate and Ashley Olsen play two identical strangers in this funny romantic comedy-drama about a rich girl named Alyssa and an orphan named Amanda who accidentally meet one day, completely unaware of each other’s existence.
They form an interesting plan which includes preventing Alyssa’s father Roger from marrying the most horrible woman in the whole world. This story was loosely based on the movie The Parent Trap where two sisters also accidentally meet and hatch a similar plan.
19. Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare (2010)
Scooby-Doo is a must when it comes to the camping topic. A beloved dog and his crew travel to Camp Little Moose which is Fred’s old summer camp. They are going to work as camp counselors but upon their arrival, they realize the summer is empty.
They discover that one of the camp’s old legends has come to life and scared the kids away. It is a legend about The Woodsman, a cruel counselor who went insane after a prank some campers did on him. It is now the crew’s task to solve the Woodsman’s mystery, together with a few more.
20. Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)
This Charlie Brown’s adventure is one of the most beloved and reseen. It is the time for summer camp and the Peanuts gang has gone off to it, including Snoopy and Woodstock. They are enjoying the usual summer camp activities and after a few days, they decide to take part in a rafting race.
The adventure is about to start and the team will have to make all their efforts to battle the bewildered rapids and fight wild animals and bullies from another camo in order to successfully arrive at the finish line.