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How to Make Friends While Camping (14 Icebreakers)

| Updated Feb 29, 2024

Don’t make the mistake of getting out there in the camping world, only to hide away in your RV. Here’s how to make friends while camping with some practical icebreakers…

Going to a new campground can feel like going to summer camp as a kid. You’re excited about all of the things to do, but might be really nervous about the social aspect. 

Are the other kids going to like you? Are you going to make friends? Or are you going to write home to mama to pick you up asap?!

Hopefully, your summer camp experience is a happy memory, but no matter what, your next camping experience can be!

In a recent post in our RV Lifestyle Facebook group, members shared their advice on making friends while camping with over 550 comments. Here are some of those great tips on how to make friends while camping.

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Why You Need to Put Yourself Out There

One of the main reasons people join the RV lifestyle is to see the world. They want to visit all kinds of places and see new things. But don’t forget that people can truly take your experience to the next level.

What’s so great about RVing is you get to visit one place but can learn about so many places through the people you meet. Best of all, you can see how people from all over the country and even the world share a lot in common with you. 

Getting to know some locals will give you more insight than any travel guide could give you, too. A quick chat with your waitress or grocery bagger can teach you things about the area you’d never know otherwise. Just gaining a glimpse into local life is interesting in its own right.  

And that’s the mindset you need to adopt. A “friendship” when camping is probably fleeting. In most cases, you’ll never see or hear from them again. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. You may, in fact, meet lifelong friends but even small friendly interactions can make a huge difference! Getting to share stories, relate to strangers, and lowering your guard can teach you a lot about the world and even yourself.

Not to mention, many studies have shown that social interaction improves your mental and physical health.

It’s Easier to Make Friends While Camping

Making new friends can be nerve-wracking, but you actually have two big advantages when camping. Embracing these two advantages can make the whole idea of meeting new people easier for you.

Make Friends While Camping Photo credit: Karen Vinchkoski.
Photo credit: Karen Vinchkoski. See Tip #9 below.

Advantage #1

The first advantage is you never have to see these people again. Ha! I bet you didn’t expect that! But that thought is actually very freeing.

You don’t have to worry so much about whether they like you or you like them because, if not, well, you move on. 

A friend shared with me once that she used to be very nervous about meeting her neighbors at her brick-and-mortar house because she’d be stuck with them if she didn’t like them. But, she said, she doesn’t have that fear with her campground neighbors. The worst that could happen is an awkward conversation. 

The opposite is true, too. You may be more nervous that they won’t like you. Guess what?! Even if they don’t, they’re not stuck with you either! So, embrace the short-term stakes.

Advantage #2

The second advantage is you’re among your people! There’s a very good chance they like doing the same thing as you because they are doing the same thing as you. 

Plus, campers tend to be friendly people. They know how to sit back and relax and enjoy the moment. They’re curious about new places and things, and that usually includes you!

Many will even take the first step and strike up a conversation with you. So, you just need to be prepared to not shy away from it. Return their greeting or question, and see where it goes from there.

Make Friends While Camping Photo credit: James Massey.
Photo credit: James Massey. Mike taking Bo for a walk- tip #3.

How to Make Friends While Camping: 14 Tips & Icebreakers

Saying you want to make friends and knowing how to make friends are two very different things. So, here are some tips and icebreakers to help you along your way.

  1. Look for long-term campers that have been there or are staying more than a few days. Weekenders and bigger groups tend to just want to focus on their fun and their families since they’re limited on time.
  2. Smile and wave at everyone. Some will take it from there for you! They’ll strike up a conversation and you just have to participate.
  3. Let your dog be your wingman. Take your dog for a walk around the campground or park him beside you in your outdoor area. People will come to your dog, and then to you. 
  4. Let your kids be your wingman. Kids usually don’t have the same reserves we do about meeting new people so let them loose! Let them play with other kids and then you can meet their parents.
  5. Let your travel companion be your wingman. Chances are, one of you is more sociable than the other. Don’t hold them back! Don’t go, “you shouldn’t bother them or maybe they don’t want you to…” Let them do their thing and if it works out, great! If it doesn’t, that’s on them!
  6. Limit your first conversation to 5-10 minutes. Campers are very friendly people and often over-polite. They may be in the middle of something or on the way somewhere but they don’t want to interrupt you. So, try to keep the first conversation short and then swing back by or invite them over another time.
  7. Set up extra chairs around your fire pit. You can invite people over, offer s’mores to passers-by, or even put a sign up that says “free campfire stories” or “campfire songs“.
  8. Participate in campground activities. A lot of campgrounds host group activities, like card games, sports matches, or meet-and-greets. Join in!
  9. Place your chairs at the front of your campsite facing passers-by. Smile and say hi to everyone and see where that goes.
  10. Set up a snack station. Have a portable table for coffee or snacks and invite people to stop by. 
  11. Ask them about their RV. RVers love to talk about their rigs! 
  12. Offer help. If you see them lugging gear or setting up, offer to help. Some may decline but others will appreciate it.
  13. Ask for help. Whether you need to borrow a tool or need help backing up, asking for help is a great way to break the ice.
  14. Host a game night. Walk around the campground and let people know you’re having a game night and anyone’s welcome to join. Camping games and the best board games for camping are a great way to interact without having to rely on conversation.

Share Your Tips

We’d love to hear your tips and advice on how to make friends while camping. Please share your advice and experiences in the comments below.

Mike and Jennifer's Southern Utah RV Adventure Guide

How to Make Friends While Camping (14 Icebreakers) 1

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Mike Wendland

Published on 2024-02-29

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

4 Responses to “How to Make Friends While Camping (14 Icebreakers)”

July 28, 2023at6:32 pm, Mike Gildea said:

I live in Florida, but have an Alaska license plate tag on the front. When someone asks about being from Alaska, I turn it into a joke and start off with “I`m a dual citizenship!” Then I tell them I`m just joking, but its a good conversation starter. I have been to Alaska, so i can talk about places to go and what to see. In Florida, we only have a rear tag, so I use that advantage.

Reply

July 29, 2023at8:53 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thank would be a good conversation starter – Thanks for sharing! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

April 17, 2022at8:14 am, Gordon Bell said:

We have a sign with our name on it and where we are from, to break the ice.

Reply

April 18, 2022at11:27 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Nice touch! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

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