25 sports to play to help you get active this summer
Get those endorphins pumping.
Depending on where you live, you may be celebrating the end of a long winter and the return of warm weather. In fact, as soon as the temps rose above 60 degrees and at least one tree started to bloom, that was enough for some of us to declare that summer is practically here. And after emerging from winter hibernation, one of the best ways to take advantage of the new season is through summer sports, whether you're actually into competition or just want an excuse to get outside and get moving.
The good news: There are plenty of fun sports to play, from calming to intense, and beginner to challenging. You certainly don't have to be an Olympic athlete to partake — and even if you don't want to play an organized sport, you can still get active, head outside, and take a walk. But if you are ready to embrace your inner athlete, here are 25 sports that are fun any season — but especially when played outside during the warmer months.
Swimming is great way to get active in the water — especially if you can't stand the idea of sweating it out on land on a scorching summer day. Whether you swim competitively, for exercise, or for fun, summer is the perfect time to do more of it. Head to the nearest pool or beach, and dive in. Just remember to prioritize safety: We’re on year two of a lifeguard shortage in the U.S. — if you’re not a strong swimmer or have any concerns about swimming without a pro on site, best to skip it until you find a pool or beach where lifeguards are working.
Tennis can be played in any season, if you have an indoor court near you. However, it's great to play outdoors, especially if you can find some friendly competition. Spend even half an hour on the court, and you'll see just how amazing a workout it is.
3. Street Hockey
Not all hockey has to involve an ice rink. Street hockey, also known as ground hockey, is an equally fun (and, if you want, intense) version of the game. Plus, when the sun is shining outside, it's far more appealing to play out in the open rather than on a cold, indoor patch of ice. Grab some sticks and pucks, find some friends, head to an empty lot or deserted street, and start playing.
Hey, breakdancing is going to be an Olympic sport soon enough, so you may as well start working on your moves now. Look for an outdoor dance class (it doesn't have to be breakdancing), or grab your phone and practice dancing with the help of online tutorials. Soon enough, you'll be ready to put on a sunset show.
5. Blind Soccer
Blind soccer can be played by people who are sighted or visually impaired. During the game, players who have some vision must wear eye shields, making it so they can't see. The game is usually played on a smaller field than traditional soccer. Brazil is recognized as having the world's best blind soccer team, though increasingly more programs have been popping up in the U.S.
Rugby is best enjoyed by those who understand it, because, well, the rules can be pretty confusing. And while it's definitely a bigger deal outside of the U.S., professional Major League Rugby is a thing here. The sport can be a bit rough, but if you're up for a challenge, it's certainly worth trying out — even if you spend a lot of time standing on the sidelines and enjoying the weather while attempting to make sense of everything.
There's a reason baseball is often referred to as "America's favorite pastime." It's fun — and not just fun to watch. In fact, some might argue it’s far more enjoyable to actually play and be part of the action. Head to an open field with friends or sign up for a recreational league, and start practicing your base-running.
In softball, the ball is larger and softer than a baseball, and the field is slightly smaller — but that definitely doesn't make it a lesser sport. And if you're looking to join an adult recreational league, it's usually a bit easier to find softball leagues than baseball ones. How many home runs can you score in one summer?
For those that know how to play this game well, it can be a great competitive sport. In fact, it is an official Olympic sport. Handball is kind of like a cross between basketball and soccer, with players using — you guessed it — their hands to pass a ball among teammates and eventually into the opposing team's goal. The goal is basically a soccer goal, so you can play it on any open soccer field you find.
Speaking of soccer (or, football if you don't live in the U.S.) — it's another high-cardio, high-energy game perfect to play outdoors with friends. If you haven't played yet, it's never too late to learn ... or at least try. This year, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will have soccer fans around the world kicking with excitement; once you know what you're doing, you'll have even more fun joining them.
Pro cycling is another pretty intense sport, but you certainly don't have to sign up for the Tour de France — or any other races — to go for a ride. Biking is one of those old-school activities that’s just fun. Summer offers plenty of opportunities to grab your bike and take a leisurely, scenic ride or use your two wheels to get where you need to go while enjoying the weather in the process. Don’t have your own bike? Check out potential bike share or rental options where you live; if you’re ready to buy, take a look at some of the best bikes for commuting (and just generally getting around town).
12. Flag Football
Flag football incorporates a lot of the fun parts of football, without the terrifying tackles. It's a team game that’s often played through official recreational leagues — but if you have the ball and some flag football flags, you and your friends can set up your own games instead.
13. Disc Golf
Disc golf, also known as Frisbee golf, combines golf and Frisbee to make a seriously fun sport. Depending on where you live, you may find parks where the course is already set for you. But if not, you can certainly try improvising to create your own fairway. Either way, as long as you're outside and active, it's bound to be fun.
14. Ultimate Frisbee
If you find ordinary Frisbee a bit boring, Ultimate Frisbee — which takes the game to the next level — is a solid choice. This is a non-stop movement sport, so be ready to move. Of course, while it's a challenging workout, it's also still a fun sport if you know how to play it right.
Maybe surfing is on your bucket list, or maybe it's not. Either way, it might be worth trying this summer. If you live near (or will travel to) a beach, look into surfing lessons. You just might have fun riding the waves.
16. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is kind of an extreme sport and definitely not for the faint of heart. However, if you live for adventure and thrill, then maybe climbing a mountain of a low or high peak is exactly what your summer calls for. Not quite ready for the tough terrain? Look into indoor or outdoor classes on a climbing wall instead.
Kayaking is another sport for those who love adventure. However, if you're a bit timid, don't let that stop you. There are plenty of places you can go kayaking where the waters are calm, and the experience can be more relaxing than challenging.
18. Beach Volleyball
Volleyball plus the beach: What's not to love? Whether you sign up for a beginner level recreational league, or opt for some serious competition, beach volleyball is a fun summer sport that requires good focus and teamwork.
This one really requires you to not lose your focus. Channel your inner Katniss Everdeen and see how close you can get to the center of the target.
Okay, unless you're a prince or something, this one may be better to watch than to play — but if you're willing to learn and have access to a polo club near you, you can start acquainting yourself with the rules on the U.S. Polo Association website.
If you love sailing, and your surfing lessons went pretty well, then you'll probably also love windsurfing — the exciting combination of both sports. Check out this beginner's guide, and head out on the open water.
22. Water Polo
Lots of water sports are largely individual, but if you want to play a team sport in the water, water polo is a great one. The sport, which is kind of like an aqua-based version of handball, requires some serious stamina, though — be prepared to tread water for a long time while you play.
You may not look quite as graceful as Olympic divers (at least not right off the bat), but hey, you can still challenge your friends and family to a diving competition. If nothing else, it's a great way to cool down and have some laughs on a hot summer day.
The golf course is waiting, and you're still here? If you want to spend a full (or nearly full) day in a beautiful setting, golf is a pretty great way to do it. Go on your own, play with friends, or check out the PGA Tournament schedule and watch the pros instead.
If you just want to be outside and get yourself moving, running is one of the easiest ways to do so. All you need is a pair of running shoes, and you're off. If you're up for it, sign up for a race near you — whether it's a 5K, a marathon, or anything in between — to really get your heart pumping.