How To Spend Rainy Days at Camp

By Alexis Chateau \

How To Spend Rainy Days at Camp

When you envisioned your camping trip, storm clouds and thunderstorms were not part of the equation. You pictured sunny skies, a nice breeze, and birds chirping. Instead, you’re listening to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof. But who says this has to be a bad thing? There are dozens of things you can do to enjoy your time indoors and keep the kids entertained. Here are some of my favorite ways to spend rainy days at camp.

Some of these do require some pre-planning for the weather, but you should be doing that anyway―right? Now, let’s get started!

Enjoy Your Adventures in the Rain

Have you ever hiked or biked in the rain? I have. It’s a beautiful experience, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, and certainly not in all situations. Always check the weather carefully and look for warnings before proceeding as planned. Here are some examples of why this is important:

  • In New Mexico, what started as rain quickly evolved into a haboob. We then had 75 mph winds throwing sand and mud against the RV. It was the worst windstorm I have ever experienced in the travel trailer, and I couldn’t imagine spending a single second of that trapped on a hiking trail.
  • In Georgia, the lightning strikes whomever it pleases. The state ranks eighth for lightning strike density. Consequently, most Georgians know it’s time to head inside at the first roll of thunder. People who don’t can suffer death or injuries. These incidents frequently make the news.

That said, if weather forecasts are on your side, you could have a wonderful experience by proceeding as planned. I have gone hiking in the rain in Georgia (there was no thunder!), Iowa, and Wyoming. Hiking in the autumn rain in Dubois is still one of my favorite memories of life on the road.

Photo Credit: Alexis Chateau

Discover a New Book

When was the last time you read a good book while listening to the rain? Today could be your lucky day! Some people prefer hard copies. Bringing one or two isn’t a bad idea. I like eBooks and have dozens downloaded on my Kindle and phone.

Are you already stuck at camp without a book? Well, you’re reading this, so you have an internet connection. That means we can remedy this quickly. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, it provides a decent selection of books for free. Regretfully, this is not the same as the Kindle Unlimited plan.

Looking for other free options? I’ve used these three websites since 2008. They have changed over the years, and I have not used them recently. Still, they should provide excellent options for old-school classics and modern-day books published independently:

Are you one of those spectacular people who have a library card? Your membership likely also gives you access to an extensive electronic library that includes eBooks and audiobooks.

Stretch Your Art Muscles

Do you know what else you can do with books? You can color! I took up coloring in my 20s out of nostalgia for a simpler life. It took me back to a time when my idea of a great day was a coloring book and Crayola crayons. I’m not alone. Coloring has become such a wonderful hobby for adults that there are now adult coloring books.

Not sold on the coloring idea? According to WebMD, these are some of the many benefits you can get from coloring:

  • Puts the mind in a meditative state
  • Improves brain function
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Improves motor skills
  • Provides relaxation
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Improves focus
  • Relieves stress

I loved coloring while listening to audiobooks. It was the perfect combination. STILL not sold on the coloring books? That’s fine. Coloring is not for everyone. Pass the coloring books on to the kids and try painting instead. Acrylic paint is my favorite, but if you’re conscious about weight and space, try watercolors. Here are two of mine!

Acrylic Paintings

Harvest Rainwater for Camping

When people ask me how to spend rainy days at camp, this is my go-to answer. After all, unless you have full hookups, you can never have too much water. You need water for cooking, washing, and drinking. Even if you have full hookups, teaching children how to harvest rainwater could be a fantastic experience.

Watch out for any flash flood warnings and the potential for lightning strikes. But, popping in and out of the trailer and splashing in the puddles is always good fun for me. The icing on the cake is having an extra five gallons or so of water once the rain ends.

Be sure to filter and disinfect your water before drinking it or using it for cooking. If you have a Cricket or Mantis, you might wonder how to get the water into your tank. Sheridan (@outsidevibes) shared his genius solution here:

Play Games Solo or With Your Travel Buddies

I know, I know. You didn’t head out into the great outdoors to stare at a screen. But, you didn’t go to sit in the rain either. Right? The great thing about Wii consoles is that developers design many of the games to keep you moving.

If you have an awning and the wind is in your favor, you could have a world of adventures in that tiny outdoor space. You can explore the ocean, play tennis, or become the new bowling champion in your family.

Even if you have to play indoors, there are games with more limited motion ranges that won’t have you bumping into each other. Some require no movement at all, such as Animal Crossing.

Don’t have a Wii console? No problem! Smartphones and tablets have games in the app stores. Chances are you already knew the rain would dampen your travel plans ahead of time. So, head to the store to grab a pack of cards and a few board games.

Make Music in the Rain

Do you play an instrument? Take it with you. It’s one of the best ways to spend rainy days at camp. I’ve heard many people playing the guitar and singing inside their rigs. One guy told me he kept a violin with him, but I never heard him play.

The great thing about instruments is that they’re just as useful when the rain stops. I’ve seen perfect strangers gather around campfires beating drums, strumming guitars, and shaking tambourines together. Why not join them?

Now you know how to spend rainy days at camp!

Some people will cancel camping trips if it rains or shows signs of anything less than ideal weather. As a full-time RVer, I don’t have that option. I’m at camp whether it’s rainy, hot, or windy outside.

I can tell you that the adventure continues. The rain rarely lasts all day, especially in the Desert Southwest. Within a few hours―or minutes!―you can grab your mountain bike or paddle board and resume your adventures like nothing ever happened.

Happy travels!