For some people, camping with their families or spending time with friends in summer camp are some of their most cherished childhood memories. If you want to relive those moments from time to time in the comfort of your home, check out the 17 best camping movies.
1. Wild (2014)
English 1h 55m IMDb
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann
This movie is based on real-life events. It’s about Cheryl Strayed, played by award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, whose life is falling apart. Her mother died and her marriage ended. Cheryl decided to put the pieces of her life together. She packed up her bag and went hiking. She covered about 1000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
If you love real-life stories, then this is an inspiring movie that takes you on a journey of self-acceptance, healing, and growth.
Reese Witherspoon was able to bring Cheryl triumphs and struggles throughout her hiking escapade and in life beautifully. It’s no wonder Witherspoon was nominated Best Actress at the 87th Academy Awards.
Wild is also a beautifully shot movie. The scenery is breathtaking. The film adaptation did justice to the book. Anyone who has read the book would probably attest to this.
2. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
English 1h 34m Wes AndersonIMDb
Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis
It’s the summer of 1965 and two young children from a New England island fall in love and plan to escape to the wilderness.
Wes Anderson delivers a movie that dives into human nature again and in quirky ways. The story is sweet and fun, but there’s also some glimpse of tragedy. And as with most Wes Anderson films, you can never go wrong with the film’s cinematography. It has its way of captivating the audience.
One of the most prominent elements of the film is the stellar cast. It’s a great ensemble of actors delivering great acting as usual.
3. RV (2006)
English 1h 39m IMDb
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Stars: Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Kristin Chenoweth
Meet the Munros – a dysfunctional American family. The dad, played by the late Robin Williams, rents an RV and forces his family to go on vacation. Along the way, they run into some mishaps including while camping.
Whether or not you have gone on RV camping, you would most likely find the movie fun and family-friendly. Yes, it’s a little cheesy but still entertaining. It would give you a glimpse of some things that happen when you go on holiday in an RV.
As always, Robin Williams delivers a hilarious performance. If you are looking for something fee good, then don’t miss RV!
4. Stand By Me (1986)
English 1h 29m IMDb
Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman
Stand By Me is a classic coming-of-age movie based on Stephen King’s novella called The Body. It’s about a group of friends who venture into the woods to see the body of a missing boy. It’s also about a story of friendship, growing pains, lost innocence, and a lot more.
There is honesty and authenticity to the story. It’s no wonder many people include this in their list of favorite movies. There is also a sense of nostalgia that this movie gives its viewers.
The young actors who play the lead characters in the movie did amazing. If you want to catch a glimpse of a young River Phoenix, then this is one of those movies.
5. Troop Beverly Hills (1989)
English 1h 45m IMDb
Director: Jeff Kanew
Stars: Shelley Long, Craig T. Nelson, Betty Thomas
Shelley Long stars as a soon-to-be-divorced who takes over her daughter’s Wilderness Girls troop. However, it’s not as easy and glamorous as she thinks.
Troop Beverly Hills is a funny and entertaining film that might become a family favorite. If you want a comedy and camping film in one, check out this movie.
There is more to this movie than its comedic prowess. Shelley Long’s character Phyllis might have started as the typical Beverly Hills housewife, but she transitions into something more. Her enthusiasm is also infectious. Troop Beverly Hills is a must-watch if you are looking for something fun and empowers women.
6. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
English 1h 38m IMDb
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Imogene Coca
The Griswolds are in for a wild ride! Instead of a Hawaiian vacation, Griswold patriarch Clark decides that the family will be driving to Walley World in California. If you think the family has a smooth journey, then you must not have met them before!
If there’s one word to describe this movie, it’s funny. Chevy Chase, who plays Clark, is hilarious. And so is everyone else in the film. You will even find the situations the family finds themselves in hilarious.
While the movie has some adult humor, you can still watch it with your kids. Perhaps you can warn them of the movie’s content before watching. Don’t forget this movie if you miss classic comedies from the 80s!
7. Camp Nowhere (1994)
English 1h 36m IMDb
Director: Jonathan Prince
Stars: Jonathan Jackson, Christopher Lloyd, John Putch
This is a movie about a group of teens who take matters into their own hands. Instead of going to the summer camps, their parents have chosen, the teens decide to create their own.
Camp Nowhere is a good remedy if you are nostalgic over 90s summer pre-teen films. It’s hilarious and cheesy. However, if you grew up in this decade, it’s relatable. It might bring you back to the days you were at summer camp yourself!
The movie has its funny, charming, and silly moments. But there are vulnerable instances where you realize that the main characters are just children who still need adults in their lives.
8. Scooby-Doo Camp Scare (2010)
English 1h 12m IMDb
Director: Ethan Spaulding
Stars: Frank Welker(voice), Mindy Cohn(voice), Matthew Lillard(voice)
Join Scooby and the gang in another adventure! This time around, they head to a summer camp Fred used to go to and become camp counselors. However, upon arrival, they discover the camp’s closure due to the presence of old and scary camp legends.
You can never go wrong with watching anything related to Scooby-Doo! While some might feel that the newer content is not at par with the old ones, this movie is something you can add to your Scooby collection.
Scooby-Doo Camp Scare is an all-around family movie. The story is good and still has that air of mystery that’s a signature in any Scooby-Doo film. It’s also funny and entertaining.
9. Without A Paddle (2004)
English 1h 35m IMDb
Director: Steven Brill
Stars: Matthew Lillard, Seth Green, Dax Shepard
Without A Paddle is about a group of friends who decide to go camping to honor their dead friend. One of them believes that plane hijacker D.B. Cooper hid some money around the camping area. Don’t expect this adventure to go without a hitch!
You are guaranteed laugh-out-loud moments when you put three funny men – Dax Shepard, Matthew Lillard, and Seth Green – in one movie. It’s goofy and funny at the same time.
Consider watching this movie if you want something hilarious and mindless. It’s also a movie about friendship and realizing the importance of spending time with people you love.
10. Friday The 13th (1980)
English 1h 35m IMDb
Director: Sean S. Cunningham
Stars: Betsy Palmer, Adrienne King, Jeannine Taylor
There might have been a reboot of this movie over the years but nothing beats the original from 1980. Friday The 13th is about camp counselors who attempt to open Camp Crystal Lake and are hunted one by one by a bizarre killer.
Friday The 13th should be on top of your life if you aren’t afraid of watching gory or slasher movies. There’s a reason why this is considered to be one of the films that started the genre.
It’s like a summer camp movie but from hell. While the movie did not have some sort of groundbreaking story, it made up for it through execution. It’s scary and grisly and not for the faint of heart!
11. Ernest Goes To Camp (1987)
English 1h 32m IMDb
Director: John R. Cherry III
Stars: Jim Varney, Victoria Racimo, John Vernon
Ernest P. Worrell’s dream of becoming a camp counselor at Kamp Kikakee is about to come true. The only problem is, he will be taking charge of juvenile delinquents.
If you aren’t familiar with Ernest, he is a character played by Jim Varney. He appeared in a series of commercials and series. Ernest Goes To Camp is the second movie about Ernest.
Ernest Goes To Camp showcases Ernest’s character well. The movie is funny, to the point it can get corny. However, it’s light and hilarious and you’ll have a lovely time watching it. It has that 80s movie vibe you might be missing.
12. Into The Wild (2007)
English 2h 28m IMDb
Director: Sean Penn
Stars: Emile HirschVince VaughnCatherine Keener
Into The Wild is a movie of self-discovery based on Christopher’s McCandless life. Christopher McCandless made a life-altering decision of giving up a life of prestige and privilege. He decided to embark on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.
It is a thought-provoking film that will move you. Don’t be surprised if the movie makes you think about your existence in the world at the end. Emile Hirsch, who played Christopher, gave a very stellar performance.
Sean Penn directed and co-produced this movie and did a good job bringing the story to life. Overall it’s a compelling movie with great cinematography that you should watch at least once in your life.
13. Wildlike (2014)
English 1h 44m IMDb
Director: Frank Hall Green
Stars: Ella Purnell, Brian Geraghty, Diane Farr
An unlikely travel friendship develops between a middle-aged backpacker and a teenager in Wildlike. He helps her find her way home through the Alaskan wilderness.
You might not have heard of this movie before. However, it’s worth watching. It’s a movie with a touching story dealing with abuse. It’s like a window to the predicament of young women in their lives.
Wildlike starts slow and uncomfortable, but as it goes along, it gets better and better. You get to see how the relationship between the two leads develops. The beautiful scenery that you see does not take away from the story.
14. White Water Summer (1987)
English 1h 30m IMDb
Director: Jeff Bleckner
Stars: Kevin Bacon, Sean Astin, Jonathan Ward
Kevin Bacon stars as a wilderness guide in charge of a group of boys including a shy and reluctant boy in 1987’s White Water Summer.
The plot of the movie is nothing new. However, it’s the dynamic between Kevin Bacon’s Vic and Sean Astin’s Alan that make the film. It feels like a combination of an adventure and coming-of-age movie.
In the movie, the story’s setting was supposed to be the Sierra Madre. So it’s no surprise that you can see the beautiful natural scenery throughout the film. It adds more flavor to the things happening between Vic and Alan.
15. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
English 1h 21m IMDb
Director: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez
Stars: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard
One of the most iconic things to come out in 1999 is The Blair Witch Project. It was the talk of the town!
The movie is about a group of three filmmaker friends who disappeared in October 1994 in Burkittsville, Maryland. A year after their disappearance, footage from their cameras is found.
One of the most remarkable things about this movie is how it was marketed. The people behind the movie made people believe that it was a real thing. And back in 1999, the Internet was not as progressive as it was so it was believable.
As for the movie, it strays away from the usual treatment of a horror movie. Yes, it’s scary and exciting and all that. With the way this movie was made, it’s as if you were almost there yourself and experiencing the same horrors as the actors.
16. Sightseers (2012)
English 1h 28m IMDb
Director: Ben Wheatley
Stars: Alice Lowe, Kenneth Hadley, Steve Oram
Sightseers is a comedy movie about a couple who go on a romantic trip that goes awry. If you like British comedy, dark humor, or both, then this movie might be your cup of tea! It’s also a bonus if you love caravans and camping!
The movie has a lot of twists and turns. And it depends on you, the viewer, how you’ll take them. You would either find yourself laughing to your heart’s content or with your jaw-dropping on the floor.
There is a bit of oddness to Sightseers. But at the end of the day, it’s a funny black comedy film that you should try watching.
Camp Out With Some Of The Finest Camping Movies
Camping-themed movies are probably some of the most diverse films out there. And the evidence is in the 17 best camping movies that you have just read.
Whether it’s about people singing Kumbaya in front of a campfire, trudging the off-beaten path, or running away from the safety of the camp, there’s something for everyone.