You have three seasons to sit inside staring at screens. Summer isn’t one of them. When the heat isn’t too intense, you should be outside playing. It’s easier to find the motivation when you have something to play with.
From bocce to cornhole (or baggo, or bags, or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods), here are our favorite game sets for summer—including a “Viking game” you’ve probably never heard of. You could buy cheaper made-in-China sets, but these look better and last longer.
MADE Handmade Bocce Ball Set
Handmade in the U.S.A. and sold by a small Jackson Hole-based shop, this handsome bocce set from MADE will last you many BBQ-fueled summers.
Fredericks & Mae Beach Tennis
Designed by the New York-based duo of Fredericks and Mae, this birch-and-cork set is built to withstand salty air (and occasional splashes of beer).
Billy Boards Custom Cornhole Board
$105 and up, billy-boards.com
Cheap is cheap. Quality costs more, but you’re paying for durability and craftsmanship with a custom board from this Minneapolis-based company. Have yours laser engraved with whatever logo (or taunt) you want you want to rub in your buddies’ faces.
North Meadow Bar Harbor Croquet Set
Made in Maine from “northern hardwoods”, this classy set is a nice touch if you’re hosting an outdoor cocktail party, a wedding reception, or your girlfriend’s parents.
Ladder Golf Tournament Edition
Apparently there are ladder toss tournaments out there. And if you were to take part in one of these tournaments, this solid hardwood set would qualify for competition. So it’s a good one. For those who appreciate handmade goods (and are willing to wait a few weeks for them), here is another option from Etsy.
St. Pierre American Presidential Horseshoe Set
Made in the U.S. and forged from solid steel, this horseshoe set features a baked-on, chip- and corrosion-resistant finish. New England-based St. Pierre has been making horseshoes for more than 60 years.
Baden Championship Badminton Set
This independent, family-owned company makes a weatherproof badminton set that won’t fall apart on you after a summer or two. Nothing’s more fun than watching your friends whiff on the birdie while trying not to spill their beers.
Kubb Game Premium Set
Looking for something new? Try this Swedish lawn game that (allegedly) has been around since the Vikings invented it. Your goal is to hurl small dowels in an effort to knock down your opponents’ blocks. Like a carnival game, minus the toothless hawker intent on swindling you.