Summer is underway, and it is the best time of the year for many in western North Carolina. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country and one of the best areas to explore during the warmer months.
When the heat and humidity crank up down east during the summer, the Great Smoky Mountains are often surprisingly cool. Our elevation and surrounding mountains at least take the edge off the hottest days, and aside from some afternoon showers, you can count on some quality outdoor time throughout the summer into the fall.
Summer is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy all that makes WNC special. People travel from all over the world to Jackson and Swain counties to experience the abundance of outdoor activities, such as:
- Fishing: Jackson County is the trout fishing capital of North Carolina.
- Whitewater Rafting: The Nantahala River Valley is home to some of the best whitewater in the South.
- Kayaking and Tubing: You can go down the river fast in a Kayak or float slowly down the river on the Nantahala or Tuckaseegee.
- Mountain Biking: Fire Mountain and Tsali are some of the most popular and iconic mountain biking systems in western North Carolina.
- Hiking: The historic Appalachian Trail crosses our area at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in addition to the AT.
- Wildlife Viewing: Our area is home to the only elk herd on the East Coast, as well as black bears, deer, chipmunks, salamanders, and a whole host of interesting wildlife.
If you are fortunate enough to live here, there is hardly a day during the summer that you can’t get out and see the sights people drive for hours to see. However, sometimes, you want to be outside without having to deal with the crowds. You just want to hang out in the backyard.
The key to making the most out of your backyard time is having the best backyard games. You can keep your crew coming back time and time again if they know they’re going to have a great time. Of course, you want to strike a balance between kid-friendly and fun for adults. As experts in backyard gaming, we’re providing a breakdown of some of the best, balanced lawn activities to keep your cookouts fresh all summer.
Here are some of our favorite backyard games:
- Beanbag Toss
- Target Kickball
- Giant Jenga
- Kan Jam
- Battle Cage
- Tactical Laser Tag
- Kickball Croquet
Nine Interesting Backyard Games
1) Beanbag Toss
Known also as corn hole, this is a backyard staple for good reason; it is among the most competitive activities at any cookout. You can buy beanbag toss boards or build your own. Per HGTV:
“The American Cornhole Association requires platforms to be a 48″ x 24″ rectangle made from 1/2-inch plywood. The front of the platform stands 2-1/2 to 4 inches tall, and the back of the platform sits 12 inches off the ground.”
You can find additional plans for your own boards on their website.
The game is played with teams of two individuals. The goal of corn hole is for you and your teammate to score twenty-one points. Each person stands beside the board with a member of the opposing team. You alternate tosses, with each bag on the board counting as a single point, while bags that make it into the whole count as three points. The team with the most points wins the round, keeping their points, minus whatever the other team scored.
You will almost always find a beanbag toss expert at every part, so beware; you may need to have a few other types of games to make sure they stay humble.
Badminton is a racquet sport in which players hit a shuttlecock through a net with racquets. The most prevalent varieties of the game are “singles” and “doubles,” though it can be played with larger teams. The shuttlecock is also known as a birdie. This game can be quite competitive as well, so beware, there may be a few experts in your backyard. To balance things out, you’ll want to challenge them to a game they’ve never heard of.
3) Target Kickball
Have you ever gotten into a squabble over who is the most accurate kickball player? Perhaps not, but you can finally decide who is the best at directing a rubber ball precisely where you want it to go. H2OGO mixes two classic games that you might have believed were unconnected into one fantastic backyard pastime.
It’s a game in which you kick kickballs toward a large dartboard target. Try it at your next picnic for a dish that will keep your guests coming back for more. This game is more fun for kids than Badminton and corn hole.
4) Giant Jenga
What is more fun than Jenga (the game where you slowly pull blocks out of a tower in hopes it will not fall)? Giant Jenga. This game is fun for adults and kids. Well, the playing is fun, but re-stacking the tower can get old quickly.
5) Kan Jam
Kan jam is a frisbee throwing game that is quickly addictive. Teams take turns throwing the frisbee at the cans, earning points if it lands in or is knocked into one.
The cans are open on top and have a slot in the front. The goal is to earn a perfect score of twenty-one, but if you toss the frisbee through the slot or through the top of a can without the assistance of a teammate, you win right away.
This game can be tricky for smaller children, but if you can throw a frisbee, you will love Kan Jam!
6) Battle Cage
At any backyard gathering, kids are likely going to turn anything into swords. From paper towel rolls to large sticks, children will inevitably channel their inner pirate and start challenging their friends to duels.
Battle Cage brings sword fighting to life for kids and adults alike. From our website:
“Challenge your friends to a duel they’ll never forget. You’ll be blown away by this sword fight experience, from sound effects to live scoring, thanks to the smart belt and blade combination. Plus, your spectators can cheer on their favorite competitor from the sidelines while they wait their turn. The Battle Cage will be available for fairs and festivals as well as private events so you can host your own tournament!”
Reach out to us if you want to experience Battle Cage at a birthday party or backyard gathering of any kind.
7) Tactical Laser Tag
Laser tag has evolved in the best of ways. Have you ever wished to experience the action from your favorite video game firsthand? Embark in combat with a variety of weapon modes and character roles. You’ll never want to be stuck behind a screen again after you’ve added team and individual objectives, as well as scenarios like Battle Royale with shifting storm damage.
While we welcome players aged ten and above, the more complicated scenarios and features are best suited to teenagers and adults. Private parties and festivals are also excellent venues for memorable battles.
Elite Action Games can bring Tactical Laser Tag to your western North Carolina backyard.
8) Kickball Croquet
Croquet may be more fun for adults than kids. Kickball may be more fun for kids than adults. But what if you could combine both into a single activity?
“This is a great game, especially for younger kids. It takes the fun elements of croquet, the scoring, and competition and combines them with something anyone can do, kick a ball. Younger kids and adults alike enjoy this soccer/croquet mashup game.”
This might become a fixture in your backyard!
GellyBall is one of the most exciting new games, and it’s quickly gaining popularity. GellyBall started in Texas and has now expanded across the United States and around the world. In fact, over 800 GellyBall vendors may be found in twenty-two nations. GellyBall’s quick growth suggests that this game has something unique to offer.
What makes GellyBall different than other shooting games is the ammo. It’s 90% water and biodegradable, so it’s much lower impact than paintball and airsoft, doesn’t leave a mess, and is fun for kids as young as five.
But does it hold up for older kids and adults? Absolutely! The innovative blasters fire accurately up to sixty feet and are light enough for kids to use effectively. We find that teenagers and adults are having just as much fun as younger kids!
Bringing Backyard Games to You – Elite Action Games
You can turn your western North Carolina backyard into a laser tag/GellyBall arena for your next birthday party, cookout, or backyard hangout. Elite Action Games is based in Sylva, serving cities and towns like Asheville, Waynesville, Bryson City, Whittier, Lake Junaluska, Cherokee, and more. Contact us for more information about how you can have the best backyard games for your next function!