13 best outdoor games for summertime fun with friends and family

Kelsey Chapman
Monday 03 May 2021 22:00
Wishlist
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The weather’s nice again and it’s time to get outside and soak it up while we can. Picnics and lounging are a great way to relax, but don’t neglect the excitement and sportsmanship of a fun, engaging outdoor game that can get you moving as you bond with family and friends.

Whether you’re looking for something casual and low-effort like ring toss or lawn bowling, or you prefer something more involved like tetherball or badminton, we’ve found something here sure to get you ready to play in your yard, at the park, on the beach, or anywhere you can enjoy the great outdoors with company this summer.

RELATED: Check out our favorite picnic blankets for your next park outing.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Recreational Badminton Set

Badminton is a timeless tradition for having fun outdoors, and it’s one that provides a nice cardio workout, too!

In addition to the net, shuttlecock, rackets, and stakes that make this affordable set a cinch to set up, you’ll get a bonus volleyball so you can switch it up and get even more use out of your net.

Triumph Backyard Soft Dart Set

You may have heard horror stories about the lawn dart games of olden days, specifically the horrific injuries made possible by sharp projectiles being tossed haphazardly around the yard. Fear not, however, for this modern take on the pastime is safe, soft, and more fun than ever. The “darts” are made with soft rubber tips and a weighted construction, so aiming for the rings is controlled and fool-proof for anyone age 4 and up.

Coca Cola Lawn Bowling Game

If you love bowling but don’t want to head indoors to take over a lane while the sun is shining, try carting this handy set (complete with mesh carrying bag) to the park for a fun and active picnic session while the days are long and bright. Bonus points go to this specific setup for bearing the nostalgia of the classic Coca Cola logo.

Uncommon Goods Yard Dice

At 3.5 inches each, the six dice included here are big enough to roll around in the grass with ease, and the jute carrying bag makes them ultra-portable so the fun can come with you anywhere.

LL Bean Yard Games Giant Ring Toss

Ring toss was fun when you were a kid trying to win a carnival game, but now that you’re older, incorporate even larger rings into the mix for a grown-up way to spend Sunday afternoon outside. It’s similar to horse shoes but with less chance of a wayward steel shoe landing on your toes, so get the kids involved for a great family hangout.

Terrain Backyard Horseshoe Set

While we warned of the dangers of horseshoes above, we’d be remiss to pretend they aren’t an absolutely lovely way to spend some time with friends, especially when you add in a refreshing summer cocktail like an Aperol Spritz or Mint Julep. Class it up further with this gorgeous set from Terrain, created from steel and pine so the experience is as aesthetically pleasing as it is exciting.

Wham-O World Class Freestyle Frisbee 160g

You can’t go wrong with throwing around a frisbee, so why not grab a classic version of the airbound discs in a fun, bright color so you’ll never lose it to the wind or a wayward toss.

Hopscotch Circles Set

This one’s for the active family who really want to get their blood pumping with this fast-paced activity that builds endurance, cardiovascular health, and coordination–great for kids and adults trying to stay in shape! Customizable rings make it simple to rearrange in an configuration to your liking, and the lightweight convenience makes them easy to take anywhere.

Yard Games On the Go Large Tumbling Timbers Wood Tower

If you love the indoor fun of Jenga or other similar stacking games, just wait until you get your hands on this outdoor-friendly, jumbo version. Stack on a stable surface and let the tension build as you prepare to take out your competition one nerve-racking move at a time.

Bocce Ball Set

If you’re going to go with something as timeless and everlasting as bocce ball, make sure you invest in an attractive, well-made set that you can pass down to your own kids and grandkids.

This one from Pottery Barn is a tournament-grade set featuring solid, one-piece balls crafted for precision roundness and balance. The rich mahogany storage box keeps everything safely stowed and ready for you to take to the park, on vacation, or anywhere else you want to break out a game.

Portable Tetherball Complete Outdoor Game Set

While tetherball seems like a rather old-fashioned way to pass the hours, it remains one of the most fun and sweat-inducing games you can bring home. Introduce your family to the simple but effective game (and workout!) and see how many high-energy rounds you can last.

10-Piece Bean Bag Toss Set

Cornhole is a classic bar patio game, so we’re offering two different versions to round out this list. First up is this fun, optical illusion painted set that’s great for casual players looking to spice up an evening in the backyard with buddies. For under $50, it’s a fantastic way to get started on your bean bag gaming journey.

Dale Retro Stripes Recreation Cornhole Boards

Who better to trust with your competition needs than the American Cornhole Association itself? Invest in these colorfully handsome boards and enjoy the game for years and years to come.

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