Campfire cinema: Cozy up with these family camping movies

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Get ready to stoke the campfire and cuddle up with your loved ones for a night of outdoor cinema magic. Here is a list of heartwarming and adventurous family camping movies that are sure to bring joy and laughter to your movie nights under the stars.

Parents and son sitting on blanket with pillows and watching family camping movies on a big cloth outdoors.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Camping with family is an experience that brings us closer to nature and one another. It allows us to disconnect from the daily life busyness and immerse ourselves in the great outdoors.

Even if you decide to camp in the comfort of your own backyard, add the excitement of movie-watching to the camping mix. The simple act of setting up a tent and having a backyard movie night brings an element of adventure that makes backyard camping unforgettable. There is nothing like snuggling with your kids to roast marshmallows and watch family camping movies.

So, whether you’re embarking on a grand wilderness adventure or opting for a cozy backyard escape, don’t forget to include the joy of campfire cinema — because nothing adds more excitement to family camping than watching movies under the open sky.

Family camping movies to watch with your kids

After a day full of hiking adventures and camping games, it’s time to gather around the campfire for the long-awaited movie time. Grab your popcorn and comfort snacks, get under the blankets and pick one of these heartwarming summer camp movies to watch.

“The Parent Trap” (1998)

“The Parent Trap” (1998) is a remake of the original version released in 1961. While both films share the central premise of twin sisters separated at birth, accidentally meeting at summer camp and scheming to reunite their parents, the 1998 version adds a fresh twist and humor to the classic original. Lindsay Lohan’s standout dual performance and the film’s charm make it a timeless kid favorite. Rated PG.

“The original ‘Parent Trap’ from 1961 is a classic movie that our family has enjoyed while camping. It’s a wholesome, fun and entertaining film that has aged remarkably well. The movie opens with identical twins Susan and Sharon unknowingly attending the same summer camp. These scenes and others throughout the film involve a lot of outdoor activities, like swimming, canoeing and hiking, that we also do while camping. The kids have found this fun to watch and relate to while on a camping trip themselves.”

— Dan Morris, Fire And Saw
Mother with two girls watching family camping movies on a tablet in a tent.
Photo credit: YayImages.

“Moonrise Kingdom” (2012)

This is a charming tale of young love in which two 12-year-olds decide to run away together after they meet at a summer camp and fall in love. With an outstanding cast of Bill Murray, Bruce Willis and Edward Norton, this visually stunning movie and its captivating storyline will leave a lasting impression on your kids. Rated PG-13.

“Camp Cool Kids” (2017)

This movie teaches how to overcome shyness, make friends and stand up to bullies. A timid boy named Spence faces his fears and discovers his inner strength and courage while attending a faith-based summer camp after his dad’s passing. While competing against the team of his own much cooler brother, Spence gains valuable life lessons and learns how to embrace his unique talents. Rated PG.

“Camp Nowhere” (1994)

In this comedy, a group of kids, tired of their summer camps, decide to create their own fictional camp with no rules and a fake counselor. What starts as a rebellious plan soon turns into an unforgettable summer, filled with fun and friendships. Starring Jessica Alba, this movie offers a perfect opportunity for family bonding time with older kids. It does contain some nudity, smoking and alcohol so use your discretion. Rated PG.

“Ernest Goes To Camp” (1987)

Laughter is one of the best medicines when it comes to releasing stress  and strengthening immune system. Get ready to burst into laughter with this hilarious comedy that follows a lovable goofball Ernest who takes the role of a camp counselor. Amidst his clumsy misadventures, Ernest’s heart of gold shines as he inspires the campers to embrace teamwork and friendship proving that even in the wildest of situations, sense of humor and a positive attitude can turn every day into a memorable adventure. Rated PG.

“‘Ernest Goes to Camp’ is a nostalgic reminder of the joyful camping days of my childhood, where laughter, togetherness and simple moments shaped lasting memories. Ernest’s exaggerated and clumsy antics, along with his quirky personality and relentless optimism, provide a constant stream of humorous situations and mishaps. It made for a great family movie when camping.”

— Cindy Gordon, Visit Ohio Today
Outdoor cinema setting with pillows and blankets and small tables.
Photo credit: YayImages.

“Space Camp” (1986)

In this thrilling sci-fi adventure, a group of enthusiastic teenagers attending a summer space camp accidentally finds themselves launched into space aboard the space shuttle. With their lives hanging in the balance, they must work together and use their newfound skills to navigate the cosmos, turning their dream camp experience into a daring journey of survival and heroism. This timeless classic among the best family camping movies teaches a great deal about the challenges of space travel, determination and the boundless possibilities of exploration. Rated PG.

“Troop Zero” (2019)

A motivational movie for kids which portraits a determined girl from rural Georgia. She aspires to join an elite group of girl scouts and win a chance to be included on NASA’s Golden Record. Along with her misfit friends, she embarks on an inspiring journey, discovering individuality, the true meaning of friendship and the power of dreaming big.  Rated PG.

“Camp Rock” (2008)

If your child is into music, you’ll enjoy watching this family musical about a summer camp for aspiring musicians starring Demi Lovato and the Jonas brothers. While the storyline is not as campitavating as others on this list, the movie is loved for its heartfelt performances. It’s an aspiring tale of pursuing dreams, embracing one’s true self and about the magic of music. Rated TVG.

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One last thing

Being outdoors and spending quality time with your kids is a great way to instill healthy habits in your child’s life. As you cozy up under the stars, watching family camping movies nicely complements the camping experience, evoking the spirit of cinematic wonder and captivating storylines. So let the campfire flicker, the laughter echo and the movie magic unfold as you create unforgettable memories with your family.

Tamara is a blogger at Thriving In Parenting, where she shares simple tips for busy parents – easy and healthy recipes, home decor ideas, self-care for moms and all things parenting.

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