I can still remember my first campfire: the smell of wood burning, the crackling flame, and the heap of guts it took to pick up my guitar and strum a song in front of all my friends.
Playing the guitar at a campfire is an exhilarating, memorable experience that every guitar player should try at least once.
Next time you find yourself in the same situation, whip out your acoustic guitar and play one of our crowd-pleasing picks below.
They all have basic chords and memorable lyrics and are sure-fire knockouts.
45 Best Campfire Songs for Guitar
1. “Wonderwall” by Oasis
You can’t go wrong with fan-favorite “Wonderwall.” Not only will everyone know the lyrics, but it’s got that poignant, nostalgic element that’s perfect for a group of friends reminiscing about 90s haircuts.
2. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Looking for a song that will perfectly embody classic summer atmosphere? Something about the 70’s southern rock anthem “Sweet Home Alabama” procures imagery of the open road, blistering sun, and all things summer.
3. “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty
The best thing about Tom Petty’s signature song “Free Fallin’”? Everyone knows it, and everyone loves to belt out that chorus. That means you’ll get the entire group to sing the song.
4. “American Pie” by Don McLean
“American Pie” is another timeless hit that epitomizes rock and roll. It also sounds great on the acoustic guitar, which is what one of your buddies will have brought instead of lugging out their expensive electric Gibson.
5. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
This hit by Creedence Clearwater is a perfect campfire song, as its fast tempo will encourage listeners to get up and dance along.
6. “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers
What better way to pay tribute to the recently passed legend Bill Withers than to play his most famous song for your friends and family? The slow, melodic tune is easy to play on the go and is a crowd-pleaser with its simple yet powerful lyrics.
7. “Wild Thing” by The Troggs
If you don’t have “Wild Thing” down on the guitar, now’s the best time to learn. This signature Troggs hit from 1966 is a standout to play as it’s easy, memorable, and fun to sing.
8. “Hey There Delilah” by The Plain White T’s
Sure, “Hey There Delilah” may have been overplayed on the radio when it came out in 2006, but it’s still a great song to revisit as the melody allows you to showcase your finger and strumming work.
9. “Layla” by Eric Clapton
There’s a reason why the acoustic version of “Layla” is so popular—all you need for this song to impress is bold vocals and to get the simple rhythm and chords down on your guitar. For this reason, “Layla” is a great song to belt out with friends and family.
10. “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young
Though Neil Youngs’ campfire hit is a mellow song, its bittersweet melody can punch you right in the gut. It’s packed with soul, emotion, and themes of love and moonlight.
To dial the mood down, consider “Harvest Moon”—just make sure to play an upbeat song after to pull the crowd out of your trance.
11. “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin
Think you can tackle one of the most extraordinary guitar solos in American music history? Sure, you can! And once you do, you will surely want to impress your friends and family with your hardcore skills.
While you may want to practice the riff a few weeks before the campfire, once you have the lick down, “Stairway to Heaven” is one of the most fun songs to play.
12. “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman
Chapman displays exquisite guitar work with this song, and you can, too! The opening riff repeats itself often throughout the song, so once you get it down, you can play an easy, recognizable hit that your audience will love to sing along to.
13. “More Than Words” by Extreme
This is a superb choice as it calls for lots of harmonization, which will bring other people around the campfire to participate in the song.
14. “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac
If Fleetwood Mac isn’t the best band to strum along to at a campfire on a late summer night, I don’t know who is. With their ethereal lyrics and dreamy sound, adventure awaits when you play Fleetwood Mac.
15. “You Are My Sunshine” by Johnny Cash
Though the true roots of the song “You Are My Sunshine” are somewhat unknown, the track itself is embedded deep into the recesses of our culture’s brains. The song also only requires that you learn three chords: D, G, and A
16. “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
This song is undoubtedly one of the more advanced on the list, but once you nail it, it can be a great way to bring in more people at the campfire. Why? The song requires lots of voices to harmonize.
17. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles
Let’s be honest: you can’t go wrong with the Beatles, especially not with a classic like “Hey Jude.” For this song, you’ll only need to learn a handful of chords and maybe a British accent.
18. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Honestly, it would be a guitar sin to leave out heavy-weight and master guitarist Bob Marley from our list—especially when his songs play so well by an open flame.
19. “California Dreaming” by The Mamas and the Papas
There’s something so lullaby-esque about this dreamy song by the Mamas and the Papas. The piece boasts a relaxed tone and a distinct melody that makes it instantly recognizable. Bust out this song to elicit a relaxed mood at camp.
20. “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond
If you want to get the crowd screaming along (er, I mean singing), play fan-favorite “Sweet Caroline.” The chorus is sure to join everyone together.
21. “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel
Even if you’re a beginner guitarist, this song is a breeze and provides excellent chord practice. The hardest part about nailing this song is to get the strumming pattern right, so make sure you practice at home first.
22. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Looking for a meditative, contemplative song to unwind the night with? Consider “Hallelujah”. But beware: the song does hinge on successful fingerpicking.
23. “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin
I firmly believe that no bonfire is complete without a little Joplin. Break out Joplin’s revamping of this classic country song and try to replicate her raw, honest voice.
24. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash
Ah, “Hurt”—the song that Nine Inch Nails wrote and Johnny Cash got all the credit for. While it’s certainly more of a somber tune, “Hurt” is a great melancholy song to bring out more emotion throughout the night.
25. “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye ft. Kimbra
This memorable breakup song is catchy—so much so that it’s easy to forget it’s a breakup song at all. It’s a great choice if you’re reeling from a recent breakup.
26. “Sitting At the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding
This soul classic by Redding sets the mood for a relaxing night in the wilderness. Not only that, but the chords are relatively easy to play and are even more easy to memorize.
27. “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones
You can’t go wrong with the Stones. This song is a simple, slow, easy song to jam to on the guitar, and is always a crowd favorite.
28. “What I Got” by Sublime
The Sublime classic “What I Got” is truly sublime (sorry, had to) and with just two chords, is a perfectly simple campfire song. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to impress not only with your guitar skills but with your rapping skills, too.
29. “Every Morning” by Sugar Ray
This bright, cheery song by Sugar Ray is sure to raise spirits. Use this song by the campfire if the mood is becoming a little too low and mellow. Not only that, but it also has opportunities to showcase your skills as a vocalist.
30. “The Reason” by Hoobastank
While you may not think it, “The Reason” sounds superb on an acoustic guitar. It requires you to learn some funky chords (looking at you, G6sus4), but learning this song will elevate your skills to the next level.
31. “Love Story” by Taylor Swift
Say what you will about Taylor Swift, but she has some excellent love songs. “Love Story” is no exception. It’s very fun to play at a campfire—even if you do accidentally start a conversation about Swifties suing Ticketmaster.
32. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd
While usually trying to mimic the psychedelic, boundary-crushing songs of Pink Floyd is a formidable task (especially on an acoustic), “Wish You Were Here” is a mellow, easy-to-learn song that will surely impress. Plus, you get to employ fun techniques like hammers and bends.
33. “Dust In The Wind” by Kansas
This Kansas favorite is a superb song for beginners. It uses a relatively simple harmonic structure, forcing you to practice your picking technique. Besides, it’s got that wanderlust feel that makes this song a perfect fit on your next wilderness adventure.
34. “Yellow” by Coldplay
While “Yellow” may be a little depressing, the song does have an intriguing juxtaposition between bright and bittersweet sounds. It’s a dynamic, compelling song, and does well sandwiched between two happier, upbeat songs.
35. “Swing Life Away” by Rise Against
“Swing Life Away” is a fitting campfire song simply due to its thematic ties to enjoying a simpler life in nature and in the present. If you’re looking for a piece that helps people exist in the now, strum this song.
36. “Kumbaya” by Peter, Paul, and Mary
While some may say “Kumbaya” borderlines campfire cliche, I say it’s still a fun song to play once everyone gets into it. There’s something magical about “Kumbaya”. The song is emotional and undeniably brings people together, making it a perfect selection.
37. “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” by Harry Belafonte
While most of you will know this iconic song from Beetlejuice, “Day-O” is a great song to play at a campfire as it’s both catchy for listeners and fun for the guitarist to play.
38. “Daydream Believer” by The Monkees
You can’t go wrong with this top-rated hit by The Monkees. Bring the crowd back to the ’60s with this top-rated classic—it’s almost guaranteed to get people up and moving.
39. “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney
If you want to play a song that oozes romance and tenderness, consider this hit by McCartney. “Maybe I’m Amazed” is an ideal song to whip out if there’s someone at the campfire that you’re looking to serenade.
40. “Come Away with Me” by Nora Jones
There’s no denying that this favorite song by Jones demands an intermediate guitar player. However, once you nail it, “Come Away with Me” is a melancholy, poignant song that will surely move the people in your audience.
41. “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
Anyone with a pulse knows this famous song by Dolly Parton. Even for those who may be lukewarm to Parton’s magic, no one can resist when the crowd starts singing the chorus.
42. “Build Me Up Buttercup” by The Foundations
Though this is an older song, its jazzy hook and tune have kept audiences entertained for decades. Because of this, it will entertain campers, too.
43. “No Rain” by Blind Melon
The sing-along hit by Blind Melon is sure to wow the crowd with its cheery melody.
44. “The Joker” by The Steve Miller Band
“The Joker” is a great song to lift spirits and loosen up the crowd. Its comedic and fun melody is an upbeat song to kick the party off with.
45. “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver
Perhaps one of the most recognizable camping songs (besides Kumbaya), “Take Me Home Country Roads” pulls at the heartstrings by procuring images of nature, rural towns, and America.
5 Best Campfire Guitar Songs for Children
1. “We’re Going on A Bear Hunt” by The Kiboomers
Perhaps the most fitting song for camping out by a bonfire, this is a fun, imaginative song that will fill your children’s heads with exciting adventures and daring surprises. For music that is both entertaining and catchy, consider playing this hit.
2. “Down By the Bay” by Raffi
This kid-classic song is sure to put smiles on people’s faces as soon as you strum the first chord. “Down By the Bay” is infectiously happy and will put any homesick kid in a good mood.
3. “The Ants Go Marching One by One” by unknown
This song is great for kids as the lyrics are very repetitive and easy to remember. It also boasts a fun, stringent beat that will be fun for the kids to dance around to. Not only will it be a hit, but all that dancing will (hopefully) burn off any extra energy before it’s bedtime.
4. “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles
Who says kids can’t enjoy the classics? “Yellow Submarine” is a fun tune written by Ringo Starr. It is easy to play on the guitar and has a quirky, fun melody and lyrics that every kid can appreciate.
5. “Boom Chicka Boom” by Bob Merrill
“Boom Chicka Boom” is a trusted way to bring any kid out of their shell. The repeat-after-me-style songs are great for campfire improvisation, and the song is also catchy, too!
Come on, Baby, Light That Campfire!
Campfires are the best stage for any guitar player.
Now you can light up the party at any open fire with these 50 songs. Happy camping!
What is the easiest guitar song to play?
The easiest song to play is “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” because you only need to learn three chords.
What songs are the most fun to play on guitar?
“Up Around the Bend” by Creedence Clearwater Revival is an easy, fast, upbeat song that’s addicting to play. “We Are the Champions” by Queen is another fun song to learn as it’s great to play in a crowd.