Top 5 Camping Movies for Families

It’s summertime. So pitch a tent in the backyard, grab the Jiffy Pop and send the kids outside to catch a few fireflies. If it rains, there are always summer camp movies to keep them entertained. With that said, here are my picks for five of the best family camping movies available:


If you want a lot of great, whole hearted belly laughs, pick yourself up a copy of the camping movie “RV.” The flick stars Robin Williams as a hapless, first time RV camper who convinces his family to take a road trip to Colorado. Having worked in a campground years ago, I found many of the camping scenes hilarious. One of my favorite was when Williams attempts to set-up the RV for the first time. He has a heck of a hard time connecting the sewer line. During the course of the film he also runs into a full-time RV family known as the Gornickes. They are an interesting bunch to say the least. The film is rated PG.

“Ernest Goes to Camp”

The 1987 flick, “Ernest Goes to Camp”, will have your kids laughing from start to finish. It stars Jim Varney as the affable Ernest and takes place at the fictional Kamp Kikakee. As the camp’s newest counselor, Ernest gets put through the proverbial wringer. He has to handle mean-spirited kids and save the camp from destruction all at the same time. One of the funniest scenes takes place when Ernest is instructing the kids on how not to handle a family of badgers. The film has a PG rating.

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For me, “Meatballs” is the quintessential camp film. It was also one of the first camp movies that I ever watched as a child. The movie stars Bill Murray as a camp counselor known as Tripper. During the movie, Tripper takes a socially awkward camper by the name of Rudy under his wing and attempts to help him navigate the perils of summer camp. He also spends part of the movie playing gags on Morty, the camp’s director. The scenes that feature Morty waking up in odd places were some of my favorites. The film is rated PG.

“Little Darlings”

When the 1980 camp film, “Little Darlings” was first released, I remember my friends and I having rousing debates over the film’s storyline. We were pre-teens at the time. For those that don’t remember the film, it starred Matt Dillon, Tatum O’Neal and Kristy McNichol. O’Neal and McNichol are at summer camp and make a bet to see which one will lose their virginity first. The targets of their raging hormones are played by actors Matt Dillon and Armand Assante. During the film, the girls examine the emotional aspects of sex, love and relationships. Certain scenes, like the one that takes place in the boathouse between Dillon and McNichol, may be a bit too intense for some viewers. As such, I wouldn’t recommend it for the younger kids. The film is rated R.

“Troop Beverly Hills”

If you have ever spent time at a Girl Scout camp, you’ll be able to relate to the 1989 camp film, “Troop Beverly Hills.” It stars a wide array of celebrities including Shelly Long, Cheech Marin and Tori Spelling. The storyline focuses on a pampered mom played by Shelly Long. During the movie, Long trades her Louis Vuitton bag and Prada shoes in for a pair of hiking boots, a knapsack and a troop leader position with the “Wilderness Girls.” One of my favorite parts of the movie occurred when Long’s troop competes with the other troops to sell more “Wilderness Girls” cookies. It definitely reminded me of my childhood and what I like to dub “the great cookie wars.” Towards the end of the movie, Long and her troop end up camping in the wilderness as part of the annual “Wilderness Girls” jamboree. The results are both hilarious and heart-warming. The film is rated PG.

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Killeen Gonzalez enjoys summer sports and recreation. She has traveled extensively.