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7 Best Family Camping Movies To Get the Kids Excited for Summer

Do chilly temperatures and rainy days leave you daydreaming about summer adventures? While you probably won’t have to try too hard, you’ll want your kids to be excited too. One of the best ways to prepare your crew for summer is by watching the best family camping movies.

Clear your schedule, grab the popcorn, and prepare to get excited about summer. We’ve found some of the best family camping movies for all ages.

Let’s get started!

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Why Camping Is Great for Families and Kids

Camping is an excellent family activity because it allows everyone to make priceless memories. You don’t have to tell most parents that their kids are only young once or how fast time goes. Sitting around a campfire or traveling on a hiking trail is an ideal way to strengthen your family’s bond and work together. 

Another reason camping is excellent for families and kids is because it forces you to learn new skills. Learning to build a fire, cook over an open flame, or read a paper map are all crucial life skills. Learning new skills helps build confidence and self-reliance for everyone in your family.

Families and kids that camp also tend to develop an appreciation for nature. Regular interaction with nature can help communicate the importance of protecting the environment. Kids are more likely to grow up to make positive choices to be good stewards of the planet.

Family movie night
Get your little ones excited to try camping by popping on a camping film on your next family movie night.

When Do Schools Get Out for Summer?

Summer break varies regionally across the country. Some areas start their summer vacation early in the middle of May, and others don’t begin until early June. On the other hand, summer ends between late mid-August and early September.

Various factors contribute to a school’s calendar. Some districts have more holidays, teacher workdays, or built-in time off for inclement weather like snow, ice, and hurricanes. While the start and end of summer vary, most academic calendars in the United States require 180 days of school. 

Pro Tip: If you don’t want to spend a lot of time in front of the television, try out these 13 Best Camper Games for Hosting Game Night In Your RV instead.

How Do You Get Your Kids Excited for Summer Trips?

Thankfully, most kids love summer. Sleeping in, summer camp, and pool parties; what’s not to love?  Building excitement won’t be too hard, but there are a few things you can do to heighten the anticipation. 

For example, put something exciting on the calendar. Maybe it’s a family vacation or a trip to a local theme park that they enjoy. Let them be a part of the planning process to create a summer they’ll never forget.

Once you have a calendar full of family trips, summer camps, and other thrilling events, start counting the days. Use a dry-erase board on your refrigerator that they can update every day. You can watch the days quickly fade; summer will be here before you know it.

Interior of RV with television
Camping movies make for the perfect way to wind down after a long day on the road.

7 Family Camping Movies to Prepare Kids for Summer

Want to prepare your kids for an exciting summer? Here are some of the best family camping movies your family will enjoy. Let’s take a look!

1. RV

RV” is a Robin Williams comedy where he plays the part of Bob Munro, a workaholic dad with a dysfunctional family. Bob cancels the family summer trip to Hawaii to attend a work meeting. He attempts to make it up to his family by renting an RV for a cross-country road trip to Colorado. Unfortunately, the Munro family faces many mishaps and obstacles during their journey.

This is a fantastic family camping movie as it teaches the importance of teamwork and appreciating each other. Ultimately, the family makes unforgettable memories and commits to making the adventure an annual tradition.

RV (2006) Official Trailer

2. Ernest Goes to Camp

Ernest Goes to Camp” was released in 1987 and started the Ernest series. The protagonist Ernest P. Worrell (played by Jim Varney) is an accident-prone maintenance worker for Camp Kikakee. He dreams of getting a promotion to camp counselor someday, but his clumsiness often disqualifies him from consideration.

When the future of Camp Kikakee is at risk, Ernest does all he can to save his beloved camp. “Ernest Goes to Camp” teaches viewers the importance of respecting all cultures, values, and the environment. Viewers also learn the significance of working together as a team to stand up for what’s right.

Ernest Goes To Camp (2020 Trailer)

3. The Parent Trap (1998)

The Parent Trap” was a hit during the early 1960s and was re-released in 1998. The newest version features Lindsay Lohan playing the roles of Annie James and Hallie Parker, girls who meet at summer camp and discover they’re twins that were separated at birth. The girls scheme to reunite their parents but must eliminate their dad’s fiancée, who stands in the way of their plan.

One of the primary lessons of this family camping movie is family and how it’s worth fighting to protect. Viewers watch as the characters deal with forgiveness, communication, and maintaining healthy relationships with each other. “The Parent Trap” also shows that families face obstacles, and the most vital thing is that the family loves and supports each other.

The Parent Trap (1998) | Sisters

Pro Tip: Watch The Parent Trap and other fun camping movies outside with this guide on How to Set Up Your Own Backyard Outdoor Movie Theater.

4. Camp Nowhere

Camp Nowhere” hit movie theaters in 1994. When a group of kids is tired of attending random summer camps, they create their own. With no rules or adult supervision for the summer, the campers feel like they’re in heaven. However, as the summer progresses, the parents question the camp’s validity and further investigate it.

“Camp Nowhere” is a relatable film for many teenagers who struggle to find independence and personal identity. The film can encourage creativity, honesty, and risk-taking in your family members. This lighthearted and fun movie will have your entire family experience various emotions.

Camp Nowhere (1994) - Theatrical Trailer

5. A Goofy Movie

The 1995 animated Disney classic, “A Goofy Movie,” stars the beloved Disney character, Goofy, and his teenage son, Max. The father-son duo set out on a cross-country road trip to make memories together. However, unbeknownst to Goofy, Max changes the route in an attempt to attend a famous concert.

Along the way, they encounter Bigfoot and a series of mishaps. One of the movie’s significant themes is the father-son relationship and the parents’ struggles with their kids growing up. The film will inspire you to spend time with your family and learn to be honest and respectful of each other. Learning to forgive and offer grace are also significant lessons.

A Goofy Movie Trailer (1995)

6. Camp Cool Kids

The 2017 family camping movie “Camp Cool Kids” is about a young boy, Spence, whose mom sends him to summer camp. She wants him to go outdoors and stay away from video games. However, Spence struggles to click with other campers and feels like an outsider.

Throughout the film, Spence learns valuable lessons from the counselors and fellow campers. During the camp, the campers realize the importance of teamwork, friendship, and perseverance. Spence and the rest of the campers must work together to save the camp from facing closure. Viewers will feel inspired to engage in physical activities while spending time outdoors. There are valuable lessons for all ages throughout the film.


7. The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors” stars two legendary comedians, John Candy (Chet Ripley) and Dan Aykroyd (Roman Craig). While Chet Ripley looks forward to spending time with his wife and kids at a lakeside resort in Wisconsin, his brother-in-law, Roman, surprisingly joins them.

As with many family-friendly movies, there are a series of misadventures and comedic accidents. However, they all lead toward the two main characters facing off against each other in a 96-ounce steak-eating challenge. Viewers will learn about the challenges of outdoor life and the joys and pains of maintaining family and personal relationships.

The Great Outdoors (1988) Official Trailer - Dan Akroyd, John Candy Movie HD

How to Watch Movies When You’re Camping

Whether nature doesn’t cooperate or you’re looking for a way to relax as a family at the end of the day, there are several ways to watch movies when camping. If you’re in an RV, most manufacturers install TVs and DVD players in the entertainment system. Before your trip, head to the local library to see what classics you can find.

Many campers utilize hotspots or other internet connections to stream movies and shows. Whether you prefer Disney+, Netflix, or another streaming service, finding some excellent family-friendly films is easy. However, we recommend searching in advance and creating a list of possible movies. This helps to avoid potential conflicts when deciding what to watch.

Finally, you can watch movies the old-fashioned way using a satellite dish or TV antenna. While you may have limited options regarding movies about camping, you can likely find something to watch that everyone will enjoy. If you have a satellite dish, you may utilize a DVR and record movies in advance so they’re ready to watch during your trip.

Pro Tip: Make setting up for movie night easy with these tips on How to Stream TV and Movies in Your RV.

Family enjoying movie night
Pop your popcorn and dim the lights, it is time to enjoy a camping movie.

Get Your Kids Pumped with These Family Camping Movies

Summer can be an exciting time for everyone in your family. There’s something special about summer and the change of pace it provides. Whether you head to the library to look for these movies or find them on a streaming service is up to you. However, the most crucial thing is that you and your family create plenty of space in your schedule to make memories. You only get so many summers together as a family; don’t waste one!

Have you seen any of the movies on our list before? Tell us your favorite in the comments!

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About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

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Oh Yea, Good one!