There’s something deeply primal about sitting around a campfire. It’s always been where humans have come to share food, stories, and camaraderie, making it a great place to play music. Whether you’re strumming a guitar or humming away on a harmonica, there’s beauty in playing or singing around a campfire.
In this article, we’ll go over forty-one of the best campfire songs of all time, running the gamut of great acoustic songs to popular singles and some fun songs for the kids to sing along with.
1. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
This one definitely saw a surge in popularity in the 2020s, primarily thanks to TikTok, but Take Me Home, Country Roads is precisely the type of song you want to sing around a campfire.
All you need to sound great is an acoustic guitar and your voice. For those unhappy with camping in the great outdoors, the yearning in the song can take on extra meaning for how badly you want to go home.
2. House Of The Rising Sun – The Animals
House of the Rising Sun has that southwestern cowboy vibe, making it a fantastic song to sing around the campfire. It may be a little more complex in terms of instrumentals and lyrics than Take Me Home, Country Roads, but its slow build is almost made for a night around a campfire.
3. American Pie – Don McLean
“Byeee, Byeee, miss American pie” is one of the most iconic lines in American music history. This is an easy-listening song with a faster tempo that works great around a campfire. Any song that has been constantly referenced for decades is one you should be considering for your campfire music session.
4. Good Riddance – Green Day
Acoustic guitar songs are almost always good campfire songs, and Good Riddance has one of the best introductions of them all. It’s also one of the most played songs on acoustic guitar and easy to learn, making it a good one to start out with if you’re new to playing around a campfire.
5. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
This song works just as well as a karaoke tune as it does around a campfire. You have a popular, well-known song for everyone to sing along to that still sounds pretty good on acoustic instruments you’d probably have with you.
6. Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Almost everyone has heard this song, and rightly so. It’s one of the prettiest songs ever recorded. The artist actually showed up and did it in a single take in the middle of the night.
A good reason to make it a campfire song is that it sounds best on the ukulele, which is much smaller and easier to hike with than an acoustic guitar, so it’s easier to bring along to your campfire retreat.
7. Let It Be – The Beatles
One of The Beatle’s final songs before their breakup and one you can find several different versions of, Let It Be is a peaceful commentary on leaving well enough alone and finding your inner peace in a way.
8. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty
Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty is just one of those songs that sounds good whether you sing it with an acoustic guitar or with full instrumental backing. It’s got that yearning and emotion in it you would want in a campfire song too, and anything uber-Americana is a good choice for the fire.
9. Wonderwall – Oasis
Wonderwall is much maligned for being the song just about every acoustic guitarist can play best when they’re starting out. Many people may have gotten tired of it, but in all honesty, that doesn’t change what a good campfire song it makes.
10. Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
Many people are probably tired of this song (at least in the South where it got played on loop 24/7) but it’s still an excellent option for sitting around the campfire. It’s a communal song, one that lets everyone around join in and have a good time, making it perfect for large groups instead of just solo campers.
11. A Horse With No Name – America
A Horse With No Name isn’t just the butt of a western joke; it’s a cowboy song that has transcended the ages. Anything country/western and focused on the cowboy lifestyle or the old west typically makes for a good campfire song, and this one is hard to beat.
Recommended: Songs about horses
12. Island In The Sun – Weezer
Another thing that makes a song suitable for sitting around the campfire is having an easy acoustic guitar section. Island In The Sun can almost entirely rely on a single repeated guitar chord. It’s also a song with multiple parts, so you can divide it up nicely for everyone you’re with.
13. Lean On Me – Bill Withers
I remember singing this one over and over around campfires with my church youth group way back in the day. It’s an uplifting song that reminds us to lean on each other when we’re having a rough time or need help. It’s pretty simple, and you can add or remove verses at your leisure.
14. Hey Jude – The Beatles
Hey Jude is a quiet, almost muted Beatles song that works in almost any scenario. It hits the communal part of campfire singing so well, reminding us not to be afraid and quit letting things get under our skin. And that’s the whole point of being out in nature, disconnecting from everything, and giving yourself a break.
15. Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Here’s another song that works so well as a karaoke song and a campfire song. A bit of a love story, Stand By Me has some beautiful wailing sections to work your vocal cords around the fire, and it’s one of the best choices for grooving while enjoying yourselves out in nature.
16. Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan
An anthem of the counterculture movement and one that works great for sitting around a campfire. All the answers to life’s biggest questions are blowing in the wind. You just have to take the time out of your day to actually listen to them and accept the wisdom.
17. Hotel California – The Eagles
Hotel California is the Eagle’s best-known song and is a bit spooky when you focus on the lyrics. It’s a good one to follow up on some western ghost stories and works just as well as a highway song as it does when you’re sitting around a fire.
18. Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s driving music and deep voice have the western feeling you want when sitting around a campfire. You can play Ring of Fire on an acoustic guitar or a harmonica, and its western bluesy sound just makes you feel like a cowboy. This one is one of his more straightforward songs lyrically, making it a good one for everyone to sing along with.
19. Come As You Are – Nirvana
A cowboy feel is something I’ve mentioned wanting in a campfire song, and Nirvana definitely doesn’t have that. However, they have an amazing acoustic guitar sound, with Come As You Are slotting in as a good campfire song for its instrumentals and communal lyrics.
20. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
You can’t really go wrong with Sweet Home Alabama. In any scenario. Seriously. It works everywhere. In this case, the song is a good one on a guitar or harmonica, with a pretty simple instrumental to learn to play.
21. Campfire Song Song – Spongebob Squarepants
If you thought I wasn’t going to put this song on the list, you’re insane. My millennial heart simply couldn’t leave it out. If you’re in my age range and happen to be sitting around a campfire with people in the same age group, this song is sure to be a hit.
You might want to save it for tougher days of a camping trip as if people know the song; it will be an instant mood shifter in the positive direction.
22. Can’t Help Falling In Love – Elvis
Elvis’s deep moaning voice on this one probably isn’t something you’ll be able to match, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. It’s a soft and slow song that’s perfect for singing to your love interest around the fire.
23. Cat’s in the Cradle – Harry Chapin
This is one of those classic songs that just fit when you’re sitting under the stars. You could use it as a kid’s song if you want to.
24. Ghost Riders In The Sky – Johnny Cash
Another Johnny Cash song that sounds like it’s made to be sung around campfires, Ghost Riders In The Sky actually might have been meant for that. Looking up into the sky and imagining the Devil’s riders streaking overhead is creepy, yes, but it fits into that western and cowboy niche that lends itself to making it a good campfire song.
25. The Banana Boat Song – Harry Belafonte
This song has such a vibe to it. Pick whoever you want to lead it and let everyone else back them up. It’s a great group song; you can just beat on a log instead of needing a drum.
26. Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
If you want something a bit faster and more upbeat, give Bad Moon Rising a shot. Thematically, it works. You’ll be sitting out under the moon and stars or down by the river and having a great time.
27. The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
While I prefer the Disturbed version of this song better (blasphemy, I’m sure), Simon and Garfunkel’s version of The Sound of Silence makes a much better campfire song. It’s a beautiful commentary on the world today and sounds great played only on an acoustic guitar.
28. Rocky Mountain High – John Denver
Rocky Mountain High hits on about everything you want in a campfire song. It’s a pretty acoustic song with some effortless vocals, details the beauty of nature, and is an instant classic—bonus points for pulling this one out if you’re camping in Colorado in the actual Rocky Mountains.
Recommended: Playlist of songs about mountains
29. (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
Not every campfire happens in the woods. Sometimes you need a good beach vibe instead of a western one. (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay has all of the Delta bluesy vibes you could ask for, and sitting around watching the waves roll in is just as mesmerizing as staring into a fire with friends.
30. Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson
Our entry from Willie Nelson has to be the mellow Always On My Mind. A bit depressing, maybe, but the song sounds good just about anywhere you go; sing it.
31. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas
The old west and the freedom that came with it are synonymous with sitting around a campfire and heading out camping. The Mamas and the Papas delve into that kind of feeling with this song, yearning for California and the free lifestyle it’ll bring them once they get there.
32. You’ve Got A Friend – James Taylor
You’ve Got A Friend has helped many people through personal traumas and is honestly a great song to relax and sleep to. It has a calming effect that lends itself to a final campfire song of the night.
33. I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
Here’s your final Johnny Cash entry from me on this one. Walk The Line was one of his most famous songs and dips its toes into the love-song side of Johnny Cash’s repertoire. It’s also a timeless song that sounds great around a fire if you’ve got a deeper voice to pull it off.
34. Walkin’ After Midnight – Patsy Cline
We’re going very old-school with Walkin’ After Midnight. Patsy Cline sang it best with her crooning vocal style, but you can probably pull it off around a fire. One good way to play it is on a harmonica, and without singing at all, it really lends itself to a bluesy harmonica take.
35. Home On The Range – Gene Autry
Home On The Range is a Western classic you can pick up from several different places, but my favorite was Gene Autry’s. It has all the cowboy vibes you could ask for sitting around a fire, and it’s fun imagining living under the stars and being around wildlife day in and day out.
36. We’re Going On A Bear Hunt
So this is the part of the list where I’ll start giving you great kid’s songs to sing sitting around the campfire. The rest of this list will be aimed in that direction, so be forewarned if you hate these. Sorry, but they’ll probably bring back memories.
Anyways, this song is perfect for kids around a fire. They get to roar, sneak around in the brush, and talk about one of the biggest animals in the woods without it being way too scary for little ones.
37. On Top of Old Smokey – Gene Autry
This song has options. And when I say options, I mean there are plenty of kid-centric lyrics that are hilarious. One version is all about noodles, “on top of spaghettiiiiii… all covered in cheeseeee.” The original is great as a campfire song on its own, but there are so many variations out there. You can cater to any age group and sense of humor.
38. The Ants Go Marching Song
This one is based on a song called When Johnny Comes Marching Home and dates all the way back to the Civil War. It’s got a military marching rhythm to it, so it’s an excellent choice for kids on a hike, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to sit and sing it around a campfire in the middle of the night.
39. My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
I’m not sure this is a kid song in the first place, but it does work super well in that role. It’s very simple but has an old-timey sailor feel to it. Plus, as a campfire song, when you’re out there isolated, you’ll probably be thinking of a special someone or a friend back home that didn’t come when you sing it.
I remember this one from when I was a kid. Singing about the kookaburra in the old gum tree was one of my favorite things to sing along with, even though I’m 99% sure I had no idea what a kookaburra was at the time (it’s a bird; by the way, a really loud one).
41. She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain When She comes
A classic kid’s song about traveling and one that works around the campfire a bit better than Over the River and Through The Woods. She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain is a great kid’s song for campfire circles and an excellent way to start off your music session for the night before sending the kids to bed.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.