This summer, we’re on a quest to spend as many hours outdoors as we can. Most of us are happiest when we’re outside, whether that’s climbing a mountain or running along a trail or heading to the beach to surf and swim. Sometimes it’s as simple as kicking our feet up in the backyard and enjoying a beer. To further aid in that conquest, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorite summer games. Whether you have a backyard or just dream of having one, these nine outdoor games will help you make the most out of your time outside this season.
“When it comes to backyard games, Cornhole is the GOAT. It’s fun, competitive and is easy to setup. Plus, it has simple rules and anyone can pick up and play regardless of athletic ability. It’s a frequent go-to, especially during backyard barbecues, poolside or down the shore. Sink a hole-in-one after a few beers and you’ll be feeling like Tiger!” Alyx Effron, Account Executive
“Croquet suggests a certain level of aristocratic snobbery — it’s hard to avoid when the tools of play are mallets and wickets — but the actual execution of the game can get delightfully vindictive. I learned the official rules from the husband of a British expat who, despite his politeness and buttoned-up nature, taught me the technique of using one’s own ball to launch another player’s as far out of the area of play as possible. After discovering this competitive element, I’m not surprised that the game’s origins involve a discrepancy between two men with the last names Spratt and Jaques. Personally, I don’t give a hoop who did, so bully to both of them!” Tanner Bowden, Associate Staff Writer
Over the Line
“While Over the Line (or OTL) hasn’t made it big on the east coast, my West Coast parents grew up playing and passed it on to my sister and I growing up. It’s a simple game, and can be played with just about any ball and bat, but there are official rules that can be found here. Everyone puts their own spin on it, but it’s essentially baseball without bases and gloves, and your own teammate pitches to you. A hit is a ball hit in fair territory that isn’t fielded on the fly by the other team. Three hits is a run. Three outs per inning. Growing up games got somewhat competitive.” AJ Powell, Assistant Editor
“Mock it. Ignore it. It’s still the best backyard game for quite literally any circumstance.
Having converted countless lost souls to the church of badminton, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that badminton is alone in its ability to be absurdly fun for seasoned vets (they exist) and the uninitiated alike. Through my years as a badminton evangelist, I’ve encountered many who doubted its joy-producing capabilities prior to picking up the racquet and none who continued to do so after.” Will Price, Home & Design Writer
DIY Climbing Wall
“As a parent, I can’t pass up something that provides endless hours of fun for littles who are itching to move. It gives me the time and space to make dinner, relax on the back patio or clean the house. I love that there isn’t only one way up the wall, so kids have to experiment and problem solve while building strength and burning energy. It’s easy to make, inexpensive and is Insta-worthy. We attached ours to a wooden platform in a tree and found a used slide from a neighbor to attach for the descent.” Ali Carr Troxell, Managing Editor
“I’m all about the Disc Bash, and not about KanJam. These are both backyard riffs on disc golf, but the Disc Bash design makes it 200% more portable and quick to set up and take down. Each can-style target pops up and/or condenses using a spring-style mechanism. And when collapsed, the whole kit is storable in a bag that can easily slip into a large backpack or beach bag. Not so with other can-style disc games that are typically unwieldy and not at all collapsible.” Kyle Snarr, Head of Marketing
“The truth is, I love bocce. I’m not bad at it either. But recently, I was talking to a friend who casually mentioned picking up a game of croquet, like it was the most common summer activity in the world! I have never played and now I am obsessed with learning. I’m imagining myself doing so while sipping on a chilled Pimm’s Cup. I think it will be very leisurely and refined. He planted a seed and now this has become my ultimate goal of summer ’18. Until then, I’ll keep practicing bocce.” Megan Billings, Deputy Editor, Gear Patrol Studios
“Let me clarify — this isn’t my go-to backyard game. I was brought up on Cornhole and then later Spikeball, but I discovered Chippo last year when a friend brought it on our family vacation to the Outer Banks. As somebody who used to play a lot more golf than I do now, it’s a frustratingly addicting game. Think a hybrid between cornhole and golf; it’s wicked hard and fun. And the best golfer in the group doesn’t always win, which makes the banter between friends top notch, especially when a few beers are thrown into the mix.” Tucker Bowe, Assistant Editor
“While some might argue this game can only be played on the beach, I beg to differ. Paddle tennis is a go-anywhere game — front or backyards, the street, or an actual court. And since you only need two people, it’s an easy game to play whether you’re in a group of 25 or four.” Meg Lappe, Staff Writer