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A balmy late-summer evening. Syrupy sweet iced tea in hand. The golden hour setting in as the kids catch the first fireflies of the night. Calling out to your friend to bring you over another cracker with pimento cheese as you wait for your turn to throw the bocce ball.

Is there anything better?

Lawn games are the quintessential warm-weather pastime, and whether you’re hosting a party or it’s simply you and a couple of family members gathered around for a casual weeknight get-together, these classics are sure to please year after year.


Calling all Anglophiles! Croquet is a storied English lawn game that claims its origins in the 1850s. It’s long been associated with proper British parties (can you say Bridgerton?), but given our love for tradition in the South, croquet has found a home on lush Southern lawns.

Croquet is played with two teams of up to three players, and each player attempts to hit their balls with a mallet through a “wick,” or metal hoops stuck into the ground. You get a point for each hoop the ball entirely passes through. The winner is the team that passes their balls through all six hoops and hits the center peg with each ball that’s completed all six hoops.

Find the game for $579 HERE.

Atticus croquet set from Frontgate
Find a Croquet set for $579 HERE. Image: Frontgate

Corn Hole

Historians believe corn hole got its start in Germany in the 15th century before slipping away into the history books for a few hundred years. It regained popularity in the 1980s, starting in Kentucky and eventually making its way across the country and becoming the game of fraternity party tailgates by the mid-aughts.

It has now made its way beyond red solo cup status and is played at kids’ parties and cookouts. To play, singles or doubles teams stand behind the pitcher’s box, with one member of each team behind each box. They take turns throwing the bags, scoring three points for each bag that goes into the hole. A bag on the board is one point. At the end of the round, if one team scores six points and the other scores four, then the winning team gets the difference — two points. The first team to get to 21 points wins.

Find the game for $199 HERE.

Three bean bag toss goals from Mark & Graham
Grab corn hole for your next gathering. Find one for $199 HERE. Image: Mark & Graham


There’s speculation that the simple and historic game of horseshoes dates back to the first century when Romans used horseshoes for a variation on the game “quoits.” By the 20th century in the United States, the game had taken off, and the first World Championships were held in 1907.

This game became so popular that a horseshoe pit has even found its way to the White House. President Harry Truman first built it, and President George H. W. Bush resurrected it during his tenure. He was even gifted a pair of silver-plated horseshoes from Queen Elizabeth.

To play, players take turns tossing or “pitching” both their shoes to get them around the stake. If there are two players on each team, one stands on each side. The winning team is the first to score 21 points.

Find the game for $129 HERE.

Horeshoe set on green lawn from L.L.Bean
Enjoy the nostalgia of horseshoes for $129 HERE. Image: L.L.Bean

Bocce Ball

It’s believed that bocce ball first originated in Egypt around 5200 B.C., though the Italians developed bocce into the lawn game we know and love today. Bocce ball is a favorite on beaches and at bars across the country. And while bocce ball courts can help contain the game, you can technically play anywhere with a flat surface.

You can play with two players or two teams, typically consisting of two, three, or four players. In a game, the small target ball, or the “pallino,” is thrown, and each team takes turns throwing the bocce balls toward the pallino. When each team has thrown all their balls, the team with the bocce closest to the pallino receives one point for that bocce and any other bocces closer than those of the other team. The first team to 12 points, or a number mutually set by the teams, wins.

Find the game for $299 HERE.

Atticus bocce ball set from Frontgate
Find a beautiful Bocce set for $299 HERE. Image: Frontgate

Ladder Toss

The newcomer to the lawn game scene, ladder toss was invented sometime in the 1990s as campground entertainment. To play, there are two ladders and three bolas, which are strings with weighted balls on each end. Teams of two are set up similar to cornhole, with one player on each side. The teams take turns tossing the bolas and receive points based on which rung of the ladder they hit. Often, it’s one point for the top, two for the middle, and three for the bottom. If an opponent’s bola hits the same rung, neither team receives points. The first to 21 points wins!

Find the game for $99 HERE.

ladder toss game
Have a little fun on the lawn with the ladder toss, which you can find for $99 HERE. Image: Mark and Graham

Here’s to making the most of your summer!


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About the Author
Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a Southern writer, Richmond native, and aspiring gardener. She loves small-town travel and homemade lattes.