Best Outdoor Games for 2023 – CNET
CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our wellness advice is expert-vetted. Our top picks are based on our editors’ independent research, analysis, and hands-on testing. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

With summer right around the corner, you’re probably thinking of all the different outdoor activities you’ll want to do. This includes things like outdoor games you could put to good use while entertaining guests during your barbecues. Just because you’re an adult doesn’t mean you can’t get in touch with your inner child and play some games in your yard. It’s a good way to get some exercise in and challenge your friends and family to some friendly competition. 

There are games that have recently become popular, including pickleball. Or maybe you prefer more nostalgic games that remind you of college like hacky sack. No matter what your preference, there are various options to play outdoors. In fact, there are many outdoor games that are easily available to fit your needs. Below are some of our top picks.

Read more: The Best Sunscreen to Buy in 2022 

<span class="g-color-text-meta u-inline-block g-text-xxxsmall">Amazon</span>

Pickleball started to gain attention over the COVID-19 pandemic when people discovered it was a sport that could be played outdoors. Pickleball is a mix of tennis, ping-pong and badminton and is played using a tennis net, wooden paddles and a small ball. It can be played with two people (similar to tennis) or four people with two players making up one team. It’s the ideal game to play if you have enough people at your get together and the best part is it often comes in portable kits. 

The Franklin Sports Pickleball Net comes with its own travel bag that fits up to 12 balls and has a net that’s 22 inches long. You can prop it up in your yard, the park, driveway, tennis court or any other space that has plenty of room to serve and strike the ball. If you’re looking to learn how to play pickleball or are already a pro, this is a solid set to have on hand.

<span class="g-color-text-meta u-inline-block g-text-xxxsmall">Amazon</span>

Nothing screams summer quite like a good water balloon fight. However, the standard water balloons you grew up with aren’t great for the environment since they leave remnants behind. That’s where reusable water balloons come in. This eco-friendly option allows you to enjoy the same perks of a water balloon, the exception being it won’t leave rubbish and you can use them over and over again. 

These water balloons come in a multi-colored set. They are made up of a high-quality silicone and seal up using magnets. These water balloons can be enjoyed by adults and children alike — especially during the hot summer months when you’re looking for a fun and refreshing way to cool down.

<span class="g-color-text-meta u-inline-block g-text-xxxsmall">Amazon</span>

If you like playing basketball and also enjoy a good game of beer pong, then BasketPong may be up your alley. This game is a larger than life version of basketball and beer pong (minus the beer). It comes with six large 19-ounce buckets and two basketballs for dunking. This is a family-friendly game that’s portable and can be played in the park, backyard or the beach. The buckets can be filled with water and set up in the diamond shape — typically used during beer pong — on each opposing side for the two teams playing.

Unlike the drinking game which uses Solo cups, the bigger buckets make for easier targets. You can turn this game as family or adult-friendly as you’d like, but most importantly it’s about having fun.

<span class="g-color-text-meta u-inline-block g-text-xxxsmall">Bass Pro Shops</span>

Practice your aim with a fun game of ax throwing with this set. Ax throwing is a popular pastime with studios across the country, but you can also do it in the comfort of your own home. It’s ideal for the whole family and can be set up outside during get-togethers in your yard or the park. The target stand is 5 feet tall and comes with eight red and blue axes so you can play with a friend. The props are made up of plastic, so you don’t have to worry about using discretion around young children.

Users highly rate this set and say it’s sturdy, safe and fun enough that adults and kids alike can enjoy it. This is a good way to practice hand-eye coordination if you enjoy playing sports where good aim is required. 

<span class="g-color-text-meta u-inline-block g-text-xxxsmall">Amazon</span>

If you’ve ever played hacky sack, then you’re familiar with bean bags. This upgraded backyard game is a good way to socialize with loved ones and challenge yourself. The kit comes with 16 bean bags and a tower with seven buckets. It’s portable and not too big so you can play indoors, take it to the park, outdoor family get togethers or even if you’re tailgating before a game. Each plastic bucket represents different points ranging from one through four and can be played with two or more players. 

Once you’re done using it, you can store it in the carrying case. It’s a nice alternative to cornhole if that isn’t your thing and more challenging since the buckets on the tower are spread out. 

<span class="g-color-text-meta u-inline-block g-text-xxxsmall">Amazon</span>

If you are a fan of corn hole then you’ll want this corn hole outdoor game set. It consists of waterproof plastic cornhole boards, so you don’t have to worry about the rain ruining them. It folds flat and packs away easily so you can keep it in the trunk of your car and break it out at get-togethers or when you’re at the local park. It’s appropriate for kids of all ages and adults to play with so you can get in on some friendly competition with everyone in the family. 

Some reviews say the bean bags are not the most durable so if you plan on using this set regularly it may be a good idea to purchase extra bean bags. 

Factors to consider

  • If you want a portable or permanent outdoor game
  • If the game is waterproof or has some protections against inclement weather
  • How many players you’ll want as part of the game
  • Age restrictions or if it’s appropriate for all ages


What are the benefits of playing outdoor games?

Outdoor games are a good way to socialize, get some exercise in, practice teamwork and strategizing and also get a break from screen time. 

How do outdoor games improve our mental health?

Because you’re exposed to nature when playing an outdoor game, you’re reducing your chances of stress. Forest bathing or the Japanese practice of nature therapy has been found to help stress levels, cardiovascular health, fatigue, depression and more.  

Read more: Get Ready for Summer With These 7 Above-Ground Pools 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.


By Jimmy Rivera