The Best Family Camping Meals You Need For Your Next Trip

The best family camping meals that take the guess work and stress out of your family camping trip, so you can enjoy the great outdoors with your loved ones.

Friday night! The hubby is rushing around packing up for a long weekend of family-friendly camping. The kids are screaming excitedly to one another, and you are in the kitchen, rummaging in the freezer for the best family camping meals you prepared earlier in the week just for this trip. 

There is a four-hour trip ahead of you to get to the camping spot where you have arranged to meet other friends with their kids for the weekend. How did a weekend away, get to such a crazy pace, you thought you had this organized well in advance.

Best Family Camping Meals

Being the prepper that you are, you decide giving dinner to the kids before you go will keep them occupied and out from underfoot for half an hour, at least. Throwing together a healthy meal of a burger bun, with a homemade, frozen weeks ago, meat pattie, with lettuce, carrot and cheese and the kids favorite tomato sauce, the kids settle in to eat their meal in a healthier wholewheat bun. A burger with fillings is an ideal family camping meal to eat before leaving on that long drive. It beats takeaways on the road where nutritious choices are scarce. 

This buys you some time to locate the make ahead camping meals you had prepared throughout the week. Into the cooler goes the frozen meals, which can be frozen flat in zip lock bags to utilize space, kept cool with bags of ice.

This method works well with meals that freeze and travel well. Meals include pasta in a bolognese sauce, macaroni cheese, chilli con carne or a shredded chicken casserole in mushroom gravy which can be served alongside instant potato and canned peas.

For a weekend trip, you will need two family-sized snap lock bags of two options if other food is not available for quick and easy camping meals. These reheat quickly and provide family-friendly camping meals on the go. These are among the best family camping meals to have for nutrition, ease and 5 plus veggies a day while camping.

best camping meals for families

Easy Camping Meal Equipment

When you are planning a camping recipe to cook quickly you will need to consider what cooking equipment will be available and what you will need to take. Due to fire restrictions, strong wind or rain, you may not be able to rely on cooking over a campfire. A gas BBQ with a lid is a permitted source of cooking. If you have the all-clear to light a campfire you can bring a camp stove or a two-burner gas stove, a campfire grate and a kettle.

Make room for all the other camp kitchen necessities too. Reusable plastic plates, cups, and bowls. Foldable cutlery, a gaslighter, or waterproof matches. Tinfoil, paper towels and rubbish bags. Biodegradable dish wash and a plastic bowl for washing up with a dish scrubber and don’t forget the tea towels.

Ideas For The Best Family Camping Meals

Plan to have some camp meal basics. For example:


A simple and easy to prepare breakfast is baked beans with some cheese on toast or porridge, cooked with water, honey and oats. Enjoy with a swirl of long-life milk. Heat the beans or porridge over the campfire or the gas BBQ. Skewer the bread on long forks over the campfire and turn as it browns over the fire.


As for lunch, keep it simple with sandwiches and fruit or toasted sandwiches cooked in the campfire. Sandwich fillings can be cheese, or cheese and ham. The cheese and ham can be kept cool in the cooler. Simple meals like this keep little tummies full.


Always have plenty of snacks. Camping takes a lot of energy for kids, and they graze all day between meals. Good snacks to have on hand are fruit, muesli bars, cheese sticks, popcorn, rice cakes, boiled eggs for that protein punch, crackers, or veggie chips and trail mix.

Camping Food Ideas For Families

After a day of exploring, fishing, or hiking it can be great to return to camp and heat up a prepared meal. Other times getting the kids involved with cooking their own dinner can be the basis of teaching them to cook. Let’s look at the best family camping meals kids can be involved in cooking.

family camping recipe

Camping Food Idea #1 – Fish The Family Dish

Teach a kid to fish and you teach them survival skills and ways to provide food and what better to get everyone involved than to catch your own dinner. Kids will learn to sit quietly as they wait for the fish to bite. Once caught the adults can clean and fillet the fish and debone it.

Fresh fish dinners provide cheap and simple meal ideas that the kids love seeing and being a part of the process from the water to the plate. Easy camping meal recipes with fish include wrapping in tin foil with a little garlic, parsley, olive oil and a touch of butter. Cook over the fire or in your camp oven for 10 minutes (more time may be required if you catch a really big fish) and you have flakey fish to serve with salad and sweet potato cooked in the pan or directly over the campfire.

Alternatively, pop it into the pan to cook overheat or a fire, then use a tortilla wrap to encase the fish with cheese, sour cream and salad to make fish tacos. Keep the leftovers in the cooler and they make a delicious meal the next morning as breakfast burritos. You are away camping so the last thing you want to be doing is washing up plates, this is where the tortillas come in handy, no plates required 🙂

As a backup, bring some tinned spaghetti, baked beans, tuna or corned beef just in case the fish aren’t biting. We don’t want anyone going hungry!

easy camping recipe

Camping Food Idea #2 – Hotdogs

The staple camping dinner for families is the classic hotdog. This is a family camping trip favorite, it has simple ingredients (hotdog sausages, buns, ketchup or BBQ sauce, cheese), and is super easy to cook over the fire. Each person cooks their sausage over the fire with a skewer and it is a great way to teach younger kids about fire safety in the process. Win-win!

best family camping ideas

Camping Food Idea #3 – Burgers

For those who would prefer meat patties with onions, cheese and sauce, these take minutes to cook on the BBQ hot plate or again using a campfire grate over the open fire. The best part, no washing up! Super easy to cook and prepare and it feeds every man and his dog especially if you are camping with another family.

Camping Food Idea #4 – Damper

A regular on camping menus everywhere, the damper is easy to make, combining 2 cups of self-raising flour, with a couple of pinches of salt and enough water to combine. When it is shaped and wrapped in tin foil, pop it into the camp oven for 30-40 minutes and then spread thickly with butter, peanut butter, jam, maple syrup or any other condiment that suits your taste. Some thickly spread Nutella over a freshly cooked warm damper is the best 

The damper is another winner that the whole family can be a part of. You can have a little competition to see who can make the best-shaped damper or who can have the most creative or tasty toppings.

best family camping recipes

Camping Food Idea #5 – Tortilla Pizza

Pizza is another easy camping meal idea that involves the whole family. All you need is tortilla wraps, a campfire grate, and your toppings like cheese, tomato sauce, bell pepper, pepperoni, etc. You will need something to serve these on, whether it be some paper plates or a chopping board. Check out the full Tortilla Pizza recipe here.

Another easy camping recipe for pizza is to use a baked potato. Yep, that’s right, a baked potato. Wrap the potato in tin foil and cook in the coals of the fire for 20 to 30 minutes. Let it cool for a bit and then unwrap the baked potato, cut open or squash it and fill/top it with your favorite pizza toppings. Place it back over the fire to cook the toppings and melt the cheese and there you have a baked potato pizza. This is one of my camping favorites as it isn’t a typical cook at home recipe, which makes it a special treat when we are out on the road.

best family camping dinners

Camping Food Idea #6 – French Toast

Normally a breakfast meal, but when camping this can be enjoyed at any time, breakfast, lunch or dinner! Come prepared with a large container to put the wholewheat bread in, crack in a couple of eggs, some long-life milk, some maple syrup and these are ready to be cooked on the campfire grate over the open fire. 

Same as the damper, enjoy with your favorite condiment. My kids love peanut butter on their french toast. This is an easy meal that the kids can help whip up and cook. Family camping is about disconnecting from screens and one of the best ways to connect as a family is by cooking and sharing a meal together.

Another great thing about french toast is, if the prep doesn’t go to plan, you still have eggs and bread which you can use to easily fry up some scrambled eggs in a pan, toast the bread over the fire and voila an easy meal is ready to go.

These easy camping food ideas are only a few recipes that will get the families taste buds dancing and give you maximum family bonding time over the fire or camp stove.

best camping meals for kids

The Top 10 Family Camping Cookings Essentials List

Don’t get caught out and end up trying to find the closest fast food drive thru. Here is a simple list of essentials to help you pack for your family camping trip

  1. Precooked meals – make ahead camping meals are essential if cooking space or time is limited
  2. Cooking equipment – bring a gas stove and pan even if you are planning on having a fire. The last thing you want is there to be fire restrictions or rain which prevents you from having an open fire to cook on. Remember your skewers for cooking and smores, cutlery, tongs and containers
  3. Cooler and ice or a mini fridge that can be plugged into your car
  4. Tinfoil – great to use for cooking, covering and storing food
  5. Paper towels, napkins, sponges and scourers, along with dishwashing liquid and hand soap
  6. Sealable containers or bags. The ice in a cooler will melt which mean your food will be swimming in cold water. By having everything sealed up, you ensure that everything stays fresh and dry ready to be eaten
  7. Snacks like trail mix, crackers, crisps and fruit are handy while on the go but also serve a purpose if dinner is taking a little longer to cook up than expected
  8. Back up plan food. Things don’t always go to plan when camping so we recommend packing easy backups like frozen pizzas, frozen garlic bread, tortilla chips and salsa to whip up a quick nachos or even just some potato which you can wrap in foil and cook over the fire
  9. Ingredients to cook for your family plus some extra. There is a high chance that when you are on the road, that some ingredients will be squashed, dropped, or left out making them unusable. In this instance, it is also important to have a bit extra stored in a sealed bag or container
  10. Don’t forget the bottled water for cooking and boiling for coffee and tea for the grownups and for the kids to drink.

Other important camping food to bring includes chops and steak for the BBQ, butter, hot chocolate, condiments and of course coffee! Don’t forget the salt and pepper, it’s amazing how bland all food is without salt and pepper. 

Premade coleslaw and salad ingredients, lettuce, cucumber, and tomatoes packed in a plastic container are handy dinner hacks and will increase the chances of actually eating something healthy if they are ready to go. Long-life milk or milk powder are acceptable substitutes for a few days. Canned vegetables, peas, corn, or beans or great additions if you are keen to give a campfire stew a crack.

Last but definitely not least, always have a first aid kit on hand. Cooking with an open fire or even just being set up on uneven ground can easily lead to a little (or big) accident.

best camping recipes for families

The Best Family Camping Meals

There we have it, quick, easy, and family-friendly food for a camping holiday. You don’t have to be a health freak when out in the wilderness, but the benefit of cooking everything yourself is that you know that your family is getting the opportunity to spend some quality time together. In my opinion, there is nothing more healthy than quality family time.

best camping meal ideas