Pack the Popcorn: The Top 10 Camping Movies Ever Made

If you are going on a camping trip this summer, perhaps you would like to get yourself in the mood by watching some of the all-time greatest camping movies. It seems like there are new camping movies released every summer, but there are some that are absolute can’t-miss classics. We compiled our list, based on some of the highest-rated camping movies from several internet movie guides.

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors

Perhaps the most popular camping movie is 1988’s The Great Outdoors starring comedians John Candy, Dan Akroyd and Annette Benning. This classic is a family- friendly camping movie centered around a family who decides to take everyone camping at a beautiful lakeside mountain resort for a summer vacation. But when a relative decides to tag along on the trip, hilarious fun and chaos ensue.



The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap

Another classic camping movie is 1998’s remake of The Parent Trap starring Dennis Quaid and a young Lindsay Lohan, who plays a pair of identical twins who were separated at birth by their parents. The two kids accidentally meet at a summer camp and realize they are twins. The twins switch places and want to meet the parent they have not yet met.


Heavy Weights

Heavy Weights

Heavy Weights is a 1995 hilarious classic starring Ben Stiller as a kids’ weight-loss camp counselor. His character, a fitness instructor, buys out the camp and attempts to make every child in the camp lose weight. But the campers suddenly become terrified of his strenuous workout regimens and seek to avenge his antics by plotting against him.



Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom is a newer camping classic, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best original screenplay in 2012. Set in 1965 in Rhode Island, the film features a 12-year-old orphan who is attending a “Khaki Scout” summer camp as he plots to run away with a pen pal, so he brings his camping gear and sets up shop on a secluded cove in the island.


Without a Paddle

Without a Paddle

Without a Paddle is a 2004 classic starring Seth Green and Dax Shepherd as childhood friends united for a trip to the wilderness, searching for lost treasure. This flick is one wild, adventurous and action-packed comedy full of surprises along the way, which seems to be the case for most camping trips.


Camp Nowhere

Camp Nowhere

Camp Nowhere is a 1994 camping movie starring Christopher Lloyd. In the film, children who are sent to “boring summer camp” every year concoct with a fake summer camp and trick their parents to send them there, a camp where no parents are allowed to visit!



RV (Runaway Vacation)

RV (Runaway Vacation) is a 2006 camping classic, starring Robin Williams and Cheryl Hines. A family was supposed to go on a Hawaiian getaway when the father’s boss sends him on a business trip to Colorado at the same time. The father changes the Hawaii plan and decides to make his business trip into a family vacation in an RV, except for the fact that he didn’t tell his family about his business trip.




Meatballs is a 1979 comedy flick starring Bill Murray as a camp counselor who teaches kids to be proud of who they are, even if they seem like losers on the surface. This is a comedy aimed at teens.


Blair Witch Project

Blair Witch Project

Blair Witch Project is the camping movie you are looking for if you want horror. Released in 1999, three film students go camping in search of a rumored witch. The three students never return, but their terrifying footage from the trip is found afterward.



Into the Wild

Into the Wild

Into the Wild is a 2007 flick about a college kid fed up with his parents. He seeks to “find himself” by traveling across the country. Through his misadventures, he gets stuck in the wilderness. The soundtrack by Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder is another great reason to see this movie.

As a BONUS we give to you #11 which is not only a classic camping themed movie but a classic horror movie as well.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

Another classic scary camping movie is 1980’s Friday the 13th, about camp counselors who are stalked and murdered while trying to reopen a shuttered summer camp.


Have we missed one? What is your favorite camp or camping related movie?

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  • Gixxer

    Continental Divide with John Belushi
    The Edge with Anthony Hopkins

  • Sleasys14

    Uh Ernest goes to camp

    • disqus_Rjk0Gk7SZj

      awww EARNEST!!!! miss him. Remember he only had the same outfit in his closet.. what a talent… love the Christmas one..

  • Dude

    The Eiger Sanction.

  • Tracy

    Escanaba in da Moonlight!

    • Sue

      I knew you would say that!

  • Albert Meyer-Pflug

    The Edge

  • jdayer

    Not the best camping movies, no where near the best camping movies. Some of these are about summer camp, not camping.

  • Chris McCandless

    into the wild only #10…it should top the list

  • Dave


  • Lucy Ricardo


  • Aunt2Bee

    Little Darlings, 1980’s movie with Kristy McNichol and Tatum O’Neal, plus heart throb Matt Dillon.

  • Roadnomad

    Anyone seen Mile Mile and a Half?

  • HooNoz

    The River Wild!

  • Lou Stoole

    What? No Deliverance? Who can forget lines like, “You sure got a pretty mouth?” and “Squeal like a pig!”?

    • Dale Lacina

      From Deliverance comes the classic phrase,”Paddle faster, I hear banjos”

  • Wendy Fox

    I worked at YMCA Camp Lakewood (Potosi, MO) during the late 70’s and early 80’s. Between sessions a bunch of us counselors went to see Friday the 13th ON Fri the 13th at the drive-in theater in town, then returned to a dark camp….with a couple of the boys hiding in our cabin to scare us.

  • cathy chatis

    What about JAWS!!

  • James David Grandfield

    Our family favorites are RV and Twister.

  • Andy

    UP Russell, the Wilderness Scout when asked if he had ever been camping replied, “Well not outdoors.” is epic.

  • Robert

    The Way

  • Tomohawk

    Can’t forget Earnest Goes To Camp
    Thoroughly twisted: Deliverance
    Challenging to even think about: 127 Hours
    In another realm: Lord of the Rings; “tomatoes & crispy bacon”, and “what about second breakfast?”, “it’s the best salt in all the Shire”

  • domino

    What about the long long trailer with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

  • Artie

    Going back a few years, one of my favorites was “Mans Favorite Sport”.

  • springer

    no deliverance????

  • SeminoleBob

    Forgot Deliverance, the greatest camping movie of all

  • CarOakMuse

    Can’t believe you chose the remake of The Parent Trap over the original!

    • Jim E.

      The scene where they set the girlfriend afloat in the remake beat the scene where they covered her with honey in the original.

  • Jarrod

    I’m offended white water summer isn’t on here and the parent trap is.

  • DocSarvis

    Up The Creek with Tim Matheson

  • ash1753

    Indian Summer with Alan Arkin is one to consider on the list of great camp movie.

    But I would like to put into the list of movies to be seen for the summer is a Japanese movie, Departures. It is film to remember. Thanks for listening. jha

  • Linda

    How about the classic “The Long, Long Trailer”?

  • rbrband

    Many of these on the list are far too dumb. Jarrod is right, too. “White Water Summer”–New Zealand looks pretty insane!

  • ash1753

    Here’s another unknown camping flick….. Disney’s Follow me boys!

    • Kent

      One of my All-Time Favorites!
      I love this movie!

  • Val

    Good list, you forgot White Water Summer with Sean Aston and Kevin Bacon. Classic

  • scott

    my favorite camping area is anywhere on the coast. so JAWS is it

  • Cary

    The best movie I ever got to watch on a campout as a Boy Scout was Jeramiah Johnson projected on a great big sheet strung up between a couple of trees in the mountains…

    • Tom O’Donnell

      I love Jeremiah Johnson and have a VHS copy – Grandpa Walton asks Robert Redford ” Can you skin a grizzly , Pilgrim?”
      When Robert Redford says yes he leads a Grizzly chasing him back to the log cabin and jumps out the back window laughing ! ! ! Epic

  • Chip

    “Black Robe”! A Jesuit priest sent from France to the New World to convert the savages…fabulous! Incredible scenery; tells of fur traders, & small pox epidemics; etc. My favorite line is when the young brave points to the woods & wants to hunt moose for winter sustenance…Moosgee!

    • Agreed -Black Robe is a great, historical movie, with beautiful scenery.

  • MudDobber

    Man’s Favorite Sport – Rock Hudson, Paula Prentiss (1964)
    Mostly fishing, but has Roger Willoughby trying out a variety of camping gear.

  • Kate R.

    You forgot DELIVERANCE and STAND BY ME

  • Jim E

    Bushwacked With Daniel Stern
    Man of the House with Chevy Chase

  • Victoria Smith

    Blair Witch? puleez! that one wasn’t really about camping

  • Tzuri

    Southbounders – nice movie based around backpacking on the AT.

  • craig

    Jeremiah Johnson.

    • skane1

      Race With The Devil (1975) is a family favorite of ours.It’s a classic horror flic and a RV/camping show all in one.

      • skane1

        Our families favorite movies to take on camping trips are: RV,Race With The Devil,The Hills Have Eyes 1&2,Wrong Turn (all),Jeepers Creepers 1&2,Natioal Lampoons Vacation(all)Friday The 13th(newest one)

  • farrusgallop

    White Water Summer