Campfire experiences are never the same without a little music. If you, or one of your fellow campers can play an instrument (or even better – more than one of you!), nothing beats a singalong and a jam session around the campfire. The most popular instruments to bring along camping are guitars or ukuleles, harmonicas and small percussion instruments. If you don’t have a drum or similar, try using a bucket, or even a salt shaker to get some wicked rhythms happening! if no one is blessed with any musical talent (ahem, like me), you can still create a great vibe by having some awesome tunes playing from a small, portable speaker.
Having camped many times over the past ten years and in my youth, I have put together a list of my favorite camping songs that get people joining in and singing along.
Choosing Music for Camping
Your choice of camping songs depends on your crowd. With kids, I find a good old Disney karaoke session usually goes down a treat, whereas with a close bunch of friends, I have a good idea of what their taste in music and favorite songs are. If there are a mixed group of adults, don’t fear – there are still a bunch of classic songs that almost everyone knows and have proven reliable over the years when it comes to getting people to join in. As well as songs to sing along to, I also recommend a playlist that is great to simply chill out to. There’s something really beautiful about sitting around the fire with an acoustic or folk genre playlist going softly in the background.
I would suggest putting just a little time in to planning your camping music before you leave. When off-road, many areas have limited signal , and you wont want to waste your phone battery searching for tunes. Curate a playlist or two for your camping trip and download it on to your phone, so you have a great selection of music for sitting around the campfire.
Awesome Campfire Guitar Music
There’s no feeling like sitting with your friends or loved ones around a campfire listening to one of you playing the guitar. If you are the one bringing the guitar and you own more than one, consider bringing your least expensive instrument along with you. The unpredictable nature of camping with weather and a lack of security can sometimes mean that belongings are more susceptible to getting damaged, dirty or even stolen than when at home. I wouldn’t advise bringing a highly valuable or expensive instrument away with you, if you’re going to be stressed out about something happening to it.
Let me share with you some of the camping guitar songs that have been the most nostalgic for me:
- Van Morrison – “Brown Eyed Girl”.
- Extreme – “More Than Words.”
- Red Hot Chilli Peppers – “Californication”.
- Don McLean – “American Pie”.
- Neil Diamond – “Sweet Caroline”.
- Oasis – “Wonderwall”.
- Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”.
- Lynard Skynard – “Sweet Home Alabama”.
- Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”.
- The Lemonheads – “Outdoor Type”.
- Poison – “Every Rose Has It Thorn”.
- The Proclaimers – “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)”.
- Barenaked Ladies – “If I Had $1,000,000”
- Jack Johnson – “Better Together”.
- Tom Petty – “Free Fallin'”.
- Harry Chapin – “Cat’s in the Cradle”.
- James Blunt – “You’re Beautiful”
- Bruno Mars – “Lazy Song”
- Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
- Radiohead – “Creep”.
- Simon and Garfunkel – “The Sound of Silence”
- Nancy Sinatra – “These Boots Are Made For Walking”
- The Angels – “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again?”
As a rule, pick something that is easy for others to sing along to, with a catchy chorus and no challenging high notes! (Those of us who aren’t great singers will be more inclined to join in if we aren’t going to embarrass ourselves too much)
Funny Campfire Songs for Kids
If you have access to Spotify or a similar streaming service, you can put together and download a great kids playlist before going camping. Some of these suggestions are better with a backing track to sing along with, but some are simply brilliant kids songs for around the campfire and need no music.
- “Baby Shark” – At the time of publishing this article (Nov 2020), Baby Shark by Pinkfong is the video with the most views on YouTube with over 7 billion views! I guess kids really like repetition!
- “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” – If you’re clever enough to be able to orchestrate a group singing the “Wimoweh” baseline while others take on the harmony, you’ll have everyone laughing and smiling with this one.
- “Boom Chicka Boom” – “Boom Chicka Boom” is also one of many funny campfire songs that seems to get everyone motivated and laughing. This song never gets old because the silly voice used in the song changes with each verse and everyone can have a go at making up a voice.
- “Ten Green Bottles” – Again with the repetition…I don’t know why, but kids love it!
- “Miss Polly Had a Dolly” – Emma from The Wiggles does a great version of this. To be honest, if you have young children, you can probably find a heap of songs from The Wiggles that your little ones will enjoy.
- “Hi, My Name is Joe” – “Hi, My Name is Joe” is a very active song that will have you moving your body while singing the song. This song will have the younger crowd exhausted in no time. It’s to the same beat as “Boom Chicka Boom”, so if you have something to use as a percussion instrument, you can get the rhythm going.
- “Wishy Washy Washer Woman” – “Wishy Washy Washer Woman” is one of many funny campfire songs that will have everyone actively moving through the varying song movements while singing the lyrics.
- “The Hippo Song” – “The Hippo Song” is a funny song for younger children. The lyrics in the song are easy for children to memorize.
- “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” – “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” is an easily learned song that is one of many funny campfire songs. While singing the song, let the children pretend to be bears around the campfire.
- “If You’re Happy and You Know It” – “If You’re Happy and You Know It” is a well known campfire song that can put a smile on your face at the end of the day.
- “The Hokey Pokey” – “The Hokey Poke” is a funny camp fire song that will have the everyone actively moving and dancing around, while singing the song lyrics.
- “The Ants Go Marching” – “The Ants Go Marching” is a campfire song that many children love to sing. This song will have the participants actively moving while singing the song. This song is also useful for teaching children to follow directions.
- “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is another title on the list of funny campfire songs. This is a short tune that’s easy for all ages to memorize.
Christian Camping Songs
Christian songs are always uplifting to the soul and are usually good in ensuring the camp goers are in touch with their inner self. Kids in summer camps are always given time to learn these songs to have a spiritual outlook of life from a younger age. Most of these songs are categorized into serious ones and the funny ones, the serious ones are set to proclaim the love for God or deep connection between God and our inner beings. The funny ones are just meant to teach people to be thankful to God and the art of friendship so forth.
Some of the christian songs that I have loved over the years include;
- This Little Light of Mine
This song can be sang either fast or slow depending on the lead singer. The song really uplifts the kids spirits and everyone would love it. Below is part of the song;
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, oh shine.
- Little Red Dragon
This is mostly a kid’s song with the simple lyrics and a fun way of singing it. In most cases the song starts with a lower voice or even whispers but by the time it reaches the climax, people will be singing to the top of their voices. That is the reason kids love it because they can adjust the voice making it more fun.
Part of it’s lyrics is as below;” You can’t ride in my little red dragon. A wheel is broken and the axle’s sagging chug….chug…..chug…..chug” The next line is the same but this time louder than the last time. By the time you finish to the last point you will be screaming to the top of your voice. It is fun for kids and other people of different age groups.
- Awesome God
This song is the easiest of all the camping christian songs and has different versions. The one I like the most is the slow and fulfilling. This song is loved by both kids and grown ups. It generally proclaims our love for God and how He is good to us. The lyrics are super easy too according as below;
“Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from heaven above with wisdom, power and love. Our God is an awesome God.”
- Pharaoh Pharaoh
This is a song sang by the Israelites while in captivity by the Egyptians. The song is good for kids based on it’s simplicity. The lyrics of the song go; “Well me and my people going to red sea with the best of Pharaoh’s army going after me. I took my staff, stuck it in the stand and all of God’s people walked on dry land. singing…….Pharaoh, Pharaoh whoa baby, let my people go.” (Those of us who have read the story knows what happened next to the Pharaoh army.) The song therefore teaches us to listen to the voice of God.
- Peace Like a River
This is an action song so it gets the kids up and moving, which they love. The lyrics go; “I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got love like an ocean. I’ve got joy like fountain in my soul. I’ve got peace like a river. I’ve got love like an ocean. I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.” This camping song goes hand in hand with the actions:
- river-make a wavy motion with your hand
- ocean-spread your hands to show a tidal wave
- fountain-put your hands on your head then make a wave like motion towards the ground
- soul-touch the sole of your shoe
- love-cross your arms across the chest
The song originally is read as, “Come by, oh my Lord”. It is one of the all time campfire classics and generally leave everyone feeling good. it is probably the Christian camping sing I love the most!
If you’re after more ideas on some great music for your camping experience, check out my other articles such as: