When it’s your turn to lead the campfire sing-along, the pressure to please everyone is high. That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best campfire songs, both kids and adults will love them! These classic summer campfire songs are guaranteed to stir fond memories of your own childhood camping trips, and now you can instill a love of them in your children too. From timeless classics like the Yellow Submarine to kid’s favorites like Wheels on the Bus, there are plenty of sing-alongs to choose from.
To really create an atmosphere around the s’mores fire, bring along your acoustic guitar. A few easy chords are all it takes to create the perfect music for creating camping memories. Don’t worry if no-one in your party can play through- all these great campfire tunes can be enjoyed with or without the accompaniment. Most people will know these famous tunes, and even if they don’t know the words, everybody likes to hum along. So let’s jump in first to the best campfire guitar songs.
8 Best Campfire Guitar Songs
First, we’re going to list the 8 best campfire guitar songs, popular classics that most people know and love. These sing-alongs are guitar optional, as they sound great both with and without the accompaniment. We’ve included an easy chord option for most songs, meaning even beginner guitarists will be able to create a fantastic campfire atmosphere. However, don’t worry if you didn’t bring the guitar along this time. Everyone knows the tune to these hit songs, so you can create the melody and clap or stomp along.
1. Yellow Submarine by The Beatles
From the most famous English rock band of all time, the Yellow Submarine is the perfect campfire song. Originally written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and performed by Ringo Starr, this iconic tune spent a month at the top of the charts in 1966. The catchy melody and fun lyrics of this campfire song mean the kids will love it even if they don’t know it. Meanwhile, grownups will love the nostalgia of this record-breaking track.
To play along on the guitar, you’ll need to know the G, D, C, E Minor, and A Minor chords. The tune and strumming patterns are simple, so it’s easy to provide a fun accompaniment to this song. However, the melody to the Yellow Submarine is well-known and beloved, so don’t worry if you have to go acapella. What’s interesting about the Yellow Submarine is that it was originally written as a children’s song, making it perfect for entertaining the kids around the campfire. However, the Beatles legendary musical prowess meant that this simple tune still became a number 1 hit.
The chorus of this sing-along song is easy to learn, and even your youngest kids can pick it up right away. They’ll love to shout “We all live in a yellow submarine, yellow submarine, yellow submarine”! The verses may take a bit longer to teach your little ones, but eventually, they’ll come to love the story. The words are funny and irreverent, without any hidden meaning or deeper connotations. This means you and your camping party can enjoy this song in innocence, simply concentrating on building fond family memories.
2. Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash
Your young girls and boys are growing up fast, but there’s still time to make connections and memories. Before they get too old to think that campfire sing-alongs are cool anymore, make sure you introduce them to this timeless classic. The Ring of Fire was one of the most major hits of Johnny Cash’s career and is a well-known song in or out of country music circles. This song was originally recorded and released by Anita Carter, however, it failed to find success. Johnny Cash then re-recorded it in his own style, adding the iconic mariachi trumpets, and revamped the record into the hit we know today.
The Ring of Fire was originally released in 1963 and has ranked on plenty of “Best Of” lists since. Although the tune is incredibly catchy, the guitar chords for this song are very straightforward. You’ll need to know G, D, and C major to play the Ring of Fire, which almost every novice guitar player can manage. This tune from Johnny Cash is one of the most popular songs you’ll hear at the campsite, and hearing the tune is bound to attract some more camping buddies.
The lyrics to this song begin; “Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring”, leading on to that globally-chanted chorus- “I fell into a burning ring of fire, I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher.” Even if your kids don’t know the words, they’ll definitely know the melody and give it a good shot! This great song is a summer camp classic, all campers should know this popular campsite tune.
3. Wonderwall by Oasis
From just a few seconds of the intro, everyone can recognize this acoustic guitar song. Wonderwall is one of the most popular English rock songs of all time, reaching the top 10 in the charts in every corner of the globe. Released in October 1995, Wonderwall remains one of the band Oasis’ most popular songs and is still considered one of the best of all time by many music fans around the world.
The guitar chords for Wonderwall are a little more complicated than the other songs we’ve listed so far. However, don’t worry if your resident camp guitarist can’t manage; such a popular song can be easily sung without music. The original chords you need to know to play this Oasis song are F#m7, A, Esus4, B7sus4, D, and F#m. However, if you really want to hear that iconic guitar accompaniment, there’s an easy version of Wonderwall.
You’ll need to put a capo on the 2nd fret, making the chords for this Oasis tune much easier. E, A, D, G, B, and A major chords are all you need to recreate the perfect musical campfire moment. As well as providing plenty of time for a sing-song, this tune includes a guitar solo so your musician gets a chance to shine. This timeless pop song will always be a number one choice for campfires, karaoke, and just about anything else.
4. Stand By Me by Ben E. King
One camp song that will stir deep memories in almost everyone present is Stand By Me, by Ben E King. Originally performed in 1961, this hit was also featured in the 1986 movie of the same name, cementing it in the hearts of another generation. This is one of our favorite songs to sing on a camping trip, with its heartfelt lyrics and rhythmic melody. Stand By Me was famously covered by John Lennon, and has been recorded by over 400 other artists.
You only need four easy chords to play Stand By Me on guitar; G, Em, C, and D. You need to put a capo on the second fret to play this popular tune around the campfire. You can also play without, as most grown-ups can carry this tune. What better song to sing to bond with your family, and create life-lasting memories.
5. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Northern Irish songwriter Van Morrison’s timeless love song makes the perfect campfire sing-along. This classic rock staple spent 16 weeks in the charts and remains a favorite of music fans to this day. Brown Eyed Girl remains the most played and downloaded song from the 1960’s decade, showing just how much the world loves the charming melody. This is one of our favorite campsite songs that everyone can enjoy, every age group can join in with this campfire classic.
Even the youngest guitarist in your group can play Brown Eyed Girl, you just need to know the G, C, D, and Em chords. To give the group a fantastic musical intro, play G C G D twice over. This reggae style tune is bound to get everyone in the camping spirit, no-one can resist the happy melody. Your own boys and girls are growing up fast, so sing this reminiscent song with them to hold on to the moment a little longer.
6. You Are My Sunshine by Unknown
The original recording artist to sing You Are My Sunshine is a disputed area, but regardless of knowing where the lyrics came from, every child in the west learns them growing up. The happy-go-lucky lyrics say; “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are grey.” These easy to remember words are perfect for singing on your next camping trip, whether it rains or the sun is shining!
Many huge recording artists had popular versions of this classic country tune, including Nat King Cole, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and Bing Crosby. But whether you learned this song on the radio or in kindergarten, we guarantee it will all come flooding back. Hold your little ones close as you sing “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you”, and make the most of moments such as these around the campfire. Some of the most important childhood memories are created during times like these; when families spend time together just to enjoy each other.
7. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
As one of Bob Marley’s most popular songs, Three Little Birds is a favorite around the campfire. You can strum along to this rhythmic reggae tune on a guitar or ukelele, or sing along without any music to the simple melody. The song is often miscalled “Don’t worry about a thing”, or “Every little thing is gonna be alright”, because of the corresponding chilled-out lyrics, but this global hit is named after three small birds who lived outside Marley’s home.
Originally recorded in 1977, this song has been enjoyed by hippies and campers alike for decades. Interestingly, the song wasn’t popular straight away, but over the years has had several resurgences and is now a classic across generations. If you start strumming this iconic song, you’re bound to attract people from all over the campsite. Together, you can share a wholesome sing-song around the campfire. Three Little Birds has a concrete place amongst the top campfire songs of all time, so don’t omit this sweet tune on your next camping trip.
8. Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home Alabama is a deeply patriotic American anthem and starts with one of the best-known guitar riffs in rock and roll. If your campground guitarist can pull it off, the rest of the sing-along is a guaranteed hit. This classic folk song has been a national favorite since its release in 1974 when it earned the previously unknown Lynyrd Skynyrd international acclaim. If you’re from a southern state and you’re headed out for a camping trip, brush up on the chords and impress everyone around the campfire.
Playing Sweet Home Alabama on the guitar is easy, you just need to know D, Cadd9, G, F, and C major chords. Check out these instructions for the iconic intro, and you’ll be away with this country classic. The lyrics “Sweet home Alabama where the skies are so blue” are perfect to sing on a camping trip, and the kids will love to sing (or shout) and sway along to the iconic chorus.
3 Best Classic Camp Songs for Kids
Classic rock and country songs make an excellent choice to get everyone to join in singing around the campfire, but if you really want to let the kids shine, let them lead the group in one of these traditional camp songs. With lyrics that tell funny stories of happy times, these camping sing-alongs create memories with your kids that you will cherish. You can use a guitar to guide the melody of each tune, or clap and stomp along to make your own music and have fun!
This Australian nursery rhyme was written in 1932 and has been sung by young children everywhere since. Marion Sinclair wrote the song Kookaburra and entered it in a competition by the Girl Guides Association of Victora, where it won and quickly spread across the globe. Girl Guides in the USA, UK, New Zealand, and Australia have been learning this classic song for generations, which remains popular because of its poetic and adorable lyrics.
The first verse begins; “Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree, merry merry king of the bush is he”. The song continues to talk about the Kookaburra bird and his life in delightful rhymes and can be sung to a simple guitar tune. If you’d like to play along when singing Kookaburra, you need to know the C, F, G7, and C6 chords. With or without the instrumental accompaniment, Kookaburra can’t be left off your campfire songsheet.
2. There’s A Hole In The Bucket
The classic children’s song “There’s a Hole In The Bucket” has been sung for so long that no-one really knows where it came from, but the origins are believed to be in Germany. The song describes a hilarious and infuriating problem between two characters; Henry and Liza, who cannot repair the hole in their bucket. Kids absolutely love to sing along to these lyrics and enjoy the same song that other children have for more than a hundred years.
If you want to play along on the guitar to lead campers in the chorus, the chords are easy to master. For each verse repeat the pattern; D major, G major, D major, G major, A7, D major. It may seem slightly repetitive, but that means it’s easy to sing along to. The funny lyrics of There’s a Hole In The Bucket are a sure people pleaser on your next camping trip.
3. Wheels on the Bus
The Wheels on the Bus is an American Folk song that has been popular in schools and nurseries since the 1940s. Children in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and many other countries around the world sing this nursery rhyme on bus journeys to pass the time. This traditional tune is even popular in other languages, so kids around the world can sing along to the tune.
The lyrics simply talk about the different parts of the bus and their movements; the wheels go round, the wipers go swish, etc. Although this may seem a little repetitive to grown-ups, it’s hysterical for the kids. Children campers will love it if you play this classic around the campfire, with or without a guitar. If you have the acoustic, the chord pattern is very simple, needing only D and A major chords.
Best Campfire Songs The Kids Will Love
Every campfire song on this list is popular enough that everyone will know the lyrics, so each one is a sure hit on the campground. From traditional nursery rhymes to classic rock records, each of these camping sing-alongs is likely to carry its own memory from each camper’s childhood or create them in the kids experiencing it now. Activities like fireside sing-songs are amongst the best opportunities to bond with your growing kids, as well as introduce some music to their lives! Whether you play the guitar or not, it’s worth taking the time to learn one or two of these songs off by heart, so you can pass that knowledge on to your kids.