If you ask someone on the street what the best things about summer are, a lot of what they’ll say will likely pertain to outdoor activities like cycling, climbing, running – pretty much all the things that aren’t nearly as pleasant to do when there is snow on the ground and the thermometer is below 40. While they are far from wrong, we think that there is an important part of summer that gets overlooked too often – just goofing around, playing lawn games, and hanging out with friends while enjoying the good weather.
Some of the best weekend afternoons during the summer can be spent on your own front lawn with a good beer in your hand and a bocce ball or croquet stick in the other. Whether you are the hyper competitive type eager to illustrate to your buddies just how inept they are at horseshoes, or just want to pass some time while joshing around in the sun at the park or on the beach- we assembled a list of some of the best backyard games for guys.
Scoop ball, a kind of super casual lacrosse, succeeds by opting for the most simple premise for a game – just toss a ball back and fourth. That may seem a bit boring or silly to some, but when the sun is beating down on your beach or picnic and all you want to do is get in the shade and toss a ball around while working on a mint julep, this is a great option. This set in particular comes with two rattan style rackets and a two tone whiffle ball.
Ring Toss Game
Usually a game relegated to carnivals and birthday parties, this old-school ring toss game is ideal for your own back yard. The goal with this is just as simple as you’d expect – each player tries to get all of their four 5 1/4 inch plastic rings one the five pegs – each one worth either 5, 10, 15, or twenty points.
These classic lawn darts are thankfully not too classic. Made from a high quality molded plastic and fitted with weighted tips on the end instead of sharp points, this game is prefect for bringing to the beach or just playing in the park. All players have to do is set the rings included in this package thirty feet apart and being throwing. Each set includes two rings and four darts.
Ok so while the majority of these games focus on the more low-key kickback side of things that could be played more aggressively if you were so inclined, it’s hard to say with a straight face that flag football can be played casually. It can’t. It’s too fun not to play all out. Whether you want to play on the beach or in the yard, this set from SKLZ is perfect for setting up a game. It comes with flags, four goal line cones, and a rulebook for when you inevitably start arguing over the rules all in an easy to carry pack.
Is summer really summer without frisbee games? While tossing a disc around can be fun while at the beach, your own house, or in a park – it’s always nice to switch things up a bit and challenge yourself. Kind of like a combination between horseshoes and ultimate frisbee, the game is played by setting up two cans on opposing sides of a field, and then aiming to get your shot in through a slot in the can or in through the top. To make things more interesting, two man teams are split up so your teammate can help feed the disc into the trashcan if it bounces off or flies a little above.
Spikeball has gone from total obscurity to one of the more popular sports you can play while on the beach in just a few years time. Competitive, intense, and easy to bring with you everywhere, it’s an ideal summer game. Similar to how volleyball works, it’s played by teams of two and starts out when the ball is spiked off of the net. Each team has three touches before the ball has to hit the net again, and like volleyball, a player can’t touch the ball more than once in a row. To make everything a bit crazier – there is no ‘side’. Players can rotate around the net as they see fit.
St. Pierre Presidential Horse Shoe Set
A lot of people associate the coming of the spring and summer with the chirping of birds and the blooming of flowers, but for a lot of us, the sound of summer is the loud chinking noise of a horseshoe hitting a metal stakes. You can participate in that summer tradition with this set from the Massachusetts based company St. Pierre. It includes a durable wood storage case, 4 quality made horseshoes – two in silver, two in gold, and two 24 inch stakes.
Viva Sol Bean Bag Toss Set
Just because cornhole is a simple game it doesn’t mean that the gear with which you use to play it should be cheaply made. This set from Viva Sol, the Indiana based game company, is made from premium wood, features portable folding legs, nesting boards, and heavy duty ropes for hucking around the beach, park, or backyard. For all-weather use, the canvas bean bags and striking durable walnut boards are designed to stand up to moisture and handle all kinds of rough use.
Giant Tumbling Tinders
Jenga, but bigger. Yeah, that’s the main selling point on this game – but we can’t deny that it’s a pretty damn good one. It’s a perfect way to waste time at a tailgate, barbecue, or while out camping. Measuring 2.5 feet high when first set up, this thing can grow to up to twice its size while playing.
Heading out back to throw the football around shouldn’t just be relegated to when the leaves begin to turn color. Sure, you could grab up some Nerf footballs for cheap or head over to your closest Dick’s Sporting Goods, but those won’t quite compare to this handmade leather ball from LeatherHead sports. Made with an uncorrected leather shell over a Butyl rubber bladder and adorned with a Raw hide lace, this is truly an heirloom quality ball.
Bar Harbor Croquet Set
Croquet gets a bad rap. In movies and on shows, it seems that the game usually associated with rich d-bags who laugh in that really bad nasally tone and talk about their various seasonal homes. Don’t let that bad juju stop you from participating in this game, though. It’s a really fun way to hang out with friends and pass time during those hot days where you don’t feel like doing too much. This American made set from Bar harbor includes all you’d need in a game while at the park or backyard. It includes four mallets, 4 polymer balls, 9 stakes, and a cotton carry bag that makes storage easy.
Shinola Bocce Ball
There is nothing new about Bocce Ball. Since about 5,000 B.C.E people have been picking targets and throwing object at it for fun. Now, thousands of years on, we’re still doing that, but we’re just a lot classier about it. Whether you head to an official bocce court or just set up in your own back yard, this beautiful set from Shinola and the American based St. Pierre will be the envy of the of the court.