Here are tons of ideas for outdoor fun for teens during the summer! When the weather is warm, there is always something for them to enjoy!
When I was really little, we had a gnarly looking tree in my backyard that had branches so long that they would bend and touch the ground. This tree would grow tons of green pods that, when punctured, produced a sticky white substance. To this day, I have no idea what kind of plant it really was. To us, it was the pirate tree.
My siblings and I would spend hours jumping around the pirate tree and go on treasure hunts collecting our loot (those green pods). We had a lot of fun.
Another memory I have is making “soup” with my sister as we gathered rocks, leaves, grass and more to stick into the holes in the sewage hole cover near our house. Odd I know haha.
But I share these stories, because experiences like these early on in my childhood became foundational to my love for the outdoors.
As I moved into my teen years, I spent time outdoors going on long runs and hiking in the mountains with friends. I knew I loved the outdoors, because I had spent time outside as a kid.
Now, I know that not everyone learns to love the outdoors as a kid, but my hope is that everyone can find activities that they enjoy in nature. And for teens who get caught up in homework and jobs, it can be really good to step away and get some fresh air.
So, here are my suggestions for outdoor fun for teens!
Why Teens Need Outdoor Fun
First, let’s talk about why it is so important for teens to have fun outdoors.
Just a few years ago, I myself fit into the teen category. Crazy to think about!! As someone who has grown up in the digital age, I can say that technology has become highly integrated into our lives. Sometimes, too integrated.
Because we constantly have a phone in our back pocket and screens galore, we’ve gotten really used to entertaining ourselves with technology.
And while technology isn’t necessarily bad, in excess it can have harmful effects. I think back to my parents grew up in a generation where kids spent hours each day exploring the outdoors. They didn’t need to be entertained, because they made their own entertainment.
Except most kids don’t do that anymore. They are less inclined to create their own entertainment and more inclined to rely on electronics and the internet for entertainment.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, we just have to remember to take time outdoors. To put down the video games, step away from social media, and to be present in nature!
And studies show that there are SOOO many benefits to spending time outdoors. An article by the American Psychological Association shares how just 2 hours each week can significantly improve our mental health, sharpen cognition, and reduce stress. Whether in green or blue (aquatic) environments, there are a lot of reasons for spending time outside.
So, if you’re wanting to encourage your teenager to cut down on screen time and have some outdoor fun, show them this list. They’ll love having the readily available options.
Note: Of course, I couldn’t possibly name every single thing you can do outdoors, but this is a good start!
Outdoor fun for Teens in Warm Weather
There are definitely a lot more options of activities you can do in warm weather. That is why summer is my favorite season! I LOVE feeling the warmth of the sun seep into my skin and when I have a glow tan. I mean, c’mon who doesn’t?
So, if it’s the warm part of the year where you live, get outside! There are so many fun things you can do in the open air.
Free/low cost Activities
As a certified cheapskate, I love all things free or low cost. For people who want to have a good time without breaking the bank, read the following section!
Activities At Home
Being outside doesn’t mean you have to go far. In fact, there are a lot of fun activities you can do just outside your home.
1.Pool party – Kids of all ages love a good pool party. If you want to throw one for your teen this summer as a birthday party or just hangout with friends, check out my recent post!
2. Water Balloon Fight – Water balloons can take a second to fill up, but they sure do make for a fun game! Just don’t be surprised when your 300 balloons are gone in literally 3 minutes.
3. Build a Fort – Grab all your blankets and pillows and come up with something amazing. It definitely helps too if you use a trampoline, chairs, tent, etc. as a base to add on to.
4. Gardening – If your kid and their friends want to soak up some vitamin D, they can always spend some time in the garden.
5. Tie Dye items – For tie dye, they can always use an old T-shirt or pick up a fresh one from Walmart.
6. Put your Sprinkler Under the Trampoline – You can do this with any and all age groups. My siblings and I would beg my mom to let us do this all the time during the summer. It’s a nice way to cool off, especially for those who don’t have a pool in their backyard.
7. Painting – I don’t know as many guys that enjoy this, but gather all the teenage girls and send them to water color together. They’ll love mixing colors and creating a piece of art.
8. Outdoor Movie Night – When I was younger my family got a projector. We had tons of fun hanging a sheet on our backyard fence and then inviting all the neighbor kids to come watch a movie.
9. Side Walk Chalk Art – No matter what your skill level is with art, chalk art can be a fun, inexpensive activity. One year my friends and I did it right after we got out of school for the summer. It was simple, chill, and full of color haha.
10. Food Eating Contest – Food is always a good idea when teens are involved. Just make sure they don’t go too overboard with this one. You don’t want anyone getting sick!
11. Have a Yard Sale – Get a group of your kid’s friends together and set up a little stand with old clothing and trinkets. You might be surprised what things people are willing to buy. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
12. Go on a Scenic Walk – Maybe you’re kids would enjoy a leisurely walk along a nearby trail. My suggestion is to go for sunrise or sunset. Not only will this make the walk beautiful, but it means avoiding the heat too!
13. Make a backyard Slip ‘n slide – All you really need is a plastic tarp and a hose. Super fun and super easy!
Activities Away from Home
Here are suggestions for if you have a car available and the time to travel somewhere beyond the backyard.
14. Photo Scavenger Hunt – You can find lists online. If you want to take it up a notch, grab some paint swatches from Home Depot and have everyone try to find those shades out in nature! I did this one time for a date, and it was so fun!
15. Geocaching – So I’ve actually never tried geocaching myself, but I have some friends that really love it. I like to think of it as hide and seek out in nature.
16. Go on a Roadtrip – Road trips are great because, you don’t really have to have much of a plan. Just hop in the car and see what you find. Great for an adventurous teen!
17. Go to the Beach – I know that not every area has beaches, but if you do, go enjoy the crashing waves and warm sand.
18. Picnic at the Park – This is the perfect activity for a beautiful afternoon. You can bring food, toss a football, or even look for shapes in the clouds. Just head to your local park, and remember to bring a blanket to sit on!
19. Flashlight Tag – If you’re into night games, try this one! It’s definitely a lot better when the sun is going down or in the dark. Basically each person hides and the object of the game is for the person who is “it’ to shine a flashlight on someone hiding and call out their name. Click here for more instructions.
20. Do a Photoshoot – A fun way to utilize the outdoors is to take pictures! My sister and I love recruiting our friends to go find a sunflower field or big mural to take pictures by.
21. Go Camping – You might want at least one adult supervisor or to go as a family, but lots of teens enjoy the thrill of sleeping in a tent and making food around a fire.
22. Go Hammocking – If you don’t have a hammock, they are like $30 on Amazon. Definitely a worthwhile investment for those who plan to spend time outdoors having fun.
23. Enjoy Stargazing – Not all areas are great for seeing stars, but your best chance is late at night when the sky is really dark. A great app for helping you spot constellations is SkyView Lite. In my experience, stargazing is always a good time.
24. Make s’mores around a bonfire/fire pit – Ok this is seriously one of the best outdoor activities for a group of teenage friends. As long as they understand fire safety, this is a great way to get them outside.
Most of these sports are played with a team or group, so they are great for large gatherings. Perfect thing for active kids.
25. Fishing – For those that like sending time doing more leisurely, relaxed activities, fishing is a great time.
26. Volleyball – I’m a sucker for a god volleyball game. The nice thing is that you can simplify it by using a beach ball for younger kids or make it more challenging for older kids with a real volleyball.
27. Ultimate Frisbee – Ultimate Frisbee is a great game for larger groups. It’s especially handy if people will be coming and going, since it is a team sport that can include just about any range of participants.
28. Disc Golf – I recently started playing this, but had no idea it even existed before that. Apparently it is popular with teenage boys. If you’re interested in getting started, check out UDisc to find a course near you.
29. Spike ball Tournament – Spike ball is generally played with 4 players, but I have also played with 2 and even 6 players. It definitely helps if people have good reflexes and motor skills, but regardless, it is a fun sporty activity.
30. Hike – Get some fresh air by going and exploring the great outdoors! Who knows, maybe you’ll even find some cool rocks or a waterfall along the way.
31. Bike Ride – My family members love to go on bike rides together. It’s a nice way to get your body moving, but can also be as chill or intense as you want.
32. Pickle Ball – Pickle ball is such a fun activity! One thing to keep in mind, you are limited by the number of paddles you have. So, this is better for small groups or people who are willing to take turns playing. My advice for the number of people you invite, don’t bring more than twice the number of paddles you have.
33. Capture the Flag – If you have active teens, send them outside to run around and use all that energy. Capture the flag is one of those fun outdoor activities that pretty much anyone can learn to play and quickly participate in.
34. Ride horses on a Trail – This might be a bit harder if you live in an urban area, but is great for more rural areas or ones with riding trails.
35. River Rafting – Though I don’t get to do it often, river rafting might be my favorite outdoor activity. For adventurous teens, this can provide the ultimate outdoor fun
36. Outdoor Climbing – This can be a little dangerous without proper gear or climbing skills. If your kids and their friends want to go outdoor climbing, just ensure that they have what they need for a fun, safe time.
37. Kickball – This is a fun outdoor game that really just requires a big open field and a bouncy ball. You can add as many team members as you’d like, so I’d recommend it for big groups.
Costs Money/Ticket Required
Outdoor fun for teens doesn’t have to cost money, but here are some activities that do.
38. Go to a Sporting Event (Baseball, Volleyball, etc.) – Grab the whole family and go support your local sports teams! Depending on what time of year you go, you’ll find different sporting events that are available.
39. Go to an Amusement Park – Calling all the adrenaline junkies! Amusement parks are the perfect place for people who love thrills, rides, and roller coasters.
40. Attend an outdoor Concert – During the summer, lots of cities will have outdoor concerts, especially for smaller, more local bands. Attending one of these can result in inexpensive tickets, discovering new music, and making a super fun memory.
41. Visit a National Park – There are so many beautiful national parks throughout the United States. Probably my favorite one that I have visited so far is Zions National Park in Utah, but I’m going to keep exploring and maybe find an even better one. You should do the same!
42. Try a local Food Truck – I’ve never had food truck food that I didn’t like. So either I’m lucky or they know what they are doing. Either way, I think food trucks can be so much fun for teens.
43. Go to the Rodeo – Sadly, not all areas have one of these. However, if there’s a rodeo in your town, you best get yourself to it! Yeehaw!!
44. Zip Line/Ropes Course – Fair warning, this is not for the people with a fear of heights. But fun everyone else
45. Visit the Zoo – Zoos are great, because they have tons to see and do. Your teen will be entertained for hours spotting their favorite animals and walking around the park.
46. Do an Outdoor Obstacle Course – There are places you can go where they already have courses set up, but you could also just make your own.
47. Go Boating – If you don’t have a boat, I suggest you become friends with someone who has a boat. Why? They are a ton of fun!
48. Do a few rounds of Miniature Golf – You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy some miniature putt putt.
49. Drive Go Karts – If you were nervous before about your teen driving, just wait until you see them in a Go Kart. Just kidding haha. Go Karts are exciting, safe, and simple to use.
50. Throw a BBQ – Summer time is grilling time. So have your teen pick out some fun recipes to make and share with their friends.
Outdoor Fun for Teens is Easy!
All in all, outdoor fun for teens doesn’t have to be hard. What I love is that there are activities that can work for all kinds of budgets, time windows, and personalities.
If your teen likes sports, there are all kinds of sports they can do. If you’re tight on a budget, there are plenty of ways to spend quality time outside without breaking the bank. And if y’all prefer a more chill afternoon or a high energy adventure, those are both possible.
So, get out the door and have some outdoor fun for the Summer!