17 Best Campfire Guitar Songs

Camping is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors when the weather is pleasant. 

It’s total immersion if you do it right and a great way to take a break from email, cell phones, social media, and all of the other distractions that we get caught up in. 

You can rediscover the joys of yesteryear like cooking over an open flame, actually being able to see the stars with no light pollution from cities, and spending quality time with family and friends.

And it’s a great opportunity to bust out an acoustic guitar (not an expensive guitar, just a cheap or mid-priced one that sounds decent).

And don’t worry about embarrassing yourself! What happens at the campsite, stays at the campsite… Hopefully. 

As for what songs you should practice or maybe print out if you don’t have cellular service or just want to chill without a phone on your trip, it’s really up to you. 

But I have some great songs that will help get you started!

As far as what guidelines were used to choose these, I think that campfire songs should be rather simple and obviously they need to sound good on an acoustic guitar.

Second, you want songs that use mostly cowboy chords instead of power chords or single-string riffs… easy songs, especially if you plan on enjoying some “adult beverages” to loosen up. 

And as far as singing goes, they should be songs that you and your friends already know most of the lyrics to, and don’t require any crazy vocal abilities. 

So older classic songs that everyone is likely to know are a solid choice. You can save the newer stuff for karaoke night or something where the lyrics are provided. 

So here are my picks to get the party started…

1. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond

Speaking of classics, this is a killer song to have in your arsenal for a camping trip.

It’s got a great “feel good” vibe to it and the build-up of the pre-chorus with the “touching you, touching me” part, has got a great energy to it that is perfect for singalongs. 

Some versions of the tabs say that you should put a capo on the 2nd fret. Or not… it really depends on your (and your friends) vocal register. 

If you really want to play it in key and don’t have a capo, just adjust the chords up a full step!

It goes like this.

Intro: E

Verse: A D A E (two times)

Pre Chorus: A A6 E D E (A6 is like A but you fret the 4th string at the 4th fret)

Chorus: A D (optional D C# F# single note fill) D E (two times)

then D C#m Bm

It’s a pretty simple song that nearly everyone loves so learn it and let the good times roll.

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

2. Light My Fire – The Doors

I swear there was no pun intended with this one but I guess you could sing it while someone is building the campfire. 

Anyway, this is a song that most people should know or at least they should!

There is an album version and a radio version of this song but with just an acoustic guitar you will probably be doing something like the radio edit. 

It won’t sound exactly the same without the organ melody, but hey, camping is all about giving up some amenities. 

And it’s pretty easy to sing and play.

Here’s how it goes.

Intro: G D F Bb Eb Ab A

Verse: Am F#m (four times)

Chorus: G A D Dsus D


G D E E7

Break: Am Bm (several times)

Then repeat the intro chords of G D F Bb Eb Ab A

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

3. What’s Up – 4 Non Blondes

For this one, you need to put a capo on the second fret if you want to play in the same key as the recording.

You may want to play it without a capo anyway (without adjusting the chords up a full step) if you or someone else has trouble hitting some notes that are a bit high.

The chords are really simple but the song gets its groove from the strumming pattern, which alternates with downstrokes first, then upstrokes, before some more standard strumming. 

The Marty Music video below is a great video to help you commit the strumming pattern to memory

Here are the chords for the whole song.

G Am C G

Seriously, that’s all you need!

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

4. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door – Guns N’ Roses

Jimi Hendrix gave new life to Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower and Axl Rose, Slash and friends did much the same thing for this song decades later.

I realize you’re not going to be ripping an amazing solo on an acoustic guitar but this one can be as simple or complex as you want to make it

The chords for the song are like this.

G D Am 

G D C 

Other than that, you basically just end the song on a G chord and even the lyrics are pretty easy too.

Of course, you can fingerpick or arpeggiate the intro and verse chords if you want or just strum the full chords. 

Personally, I prefer to arpeggiate and use some hammer-ons and pull-offs on the Am and C chords to spruce it up a bit, but it’s your party so do whatever you want! 

Link to tab (Bob Dylan version)

And here’s a lesson:

5. Take It On the Run – REO Speedwagon

Okay, this song may elicit a few groans at first, but I swear by this song and it’s an easy one to pull off with an acoustic guitar. 

The vocals may be a bit high for some people in places like “run / want it” in the chorus if they’re singing at full volume but hopefully, you have a few songbirds in your family or group of friends. 

I realize that this song may look complicated for a campfire song but it’s really not if you practice it a couple of times. A lot of the chords just work as fills.

Here’s how the song goes.

Intro: G C D Cadd9 G Dsus4 D (Cadd9 is like C but the 2nd string is fretted at the 3rd fret)

Verse 1: G C D G

Verse 2: G C D G Gadd9 G (Gadd9 has first string fretted at 5th fret) 

Verse 3: G C D G – then walk down the low E string at frets 3 then 2 (G F#) to…

Chorus: Em C D G (walk down the low E string like verse 3)

Em C Am D (then Dsus4 D on some choruses)

Bridge / Solo: Em C Am C Bm D

Outro: G C D Cadd9 G

Link to tab

And here’s a lesson:

6. Kum Ba Yah – Peter Paul and Mary

Obviously, the “Freebird” of campfire songs is Kumbaya. 

At this point, it has become a huge joke but you never know if someone may request it. 

Here are the chords just in case…

C F C 




Link to tab

And here’s a lesson (in the key of D):

7. You Were Meant for Me – Jewel

Link to tab

8. Amazing Grace – traditional hymn

Link to tab

9. Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan

Link to tab

10. Going to California – Led Zeppelin

Link to tab

11. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift

Link to tab

12. Thank God I’m a Country Boy – John Denver

Link to tab

13. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Green Day

Link to tab

14. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

Link to tab

15. I Took a Pill in Ibiza – Mike Posner

Link to tab

16. Champagne Supernova – Oasis

Link to tab

17. Shape of You – Ed Sheeran

Link to tab