Over the summer, while trying to remain COVID-safe by isolating, I moochdocked with family in Wyoming. The entire summer I parked across the street from a park that offered fishing for kids and playground equipment. However, most of the park served as a disc golf course. Day after day, I watched people play. A couple of holes were along the edge of the park, meaning there was only the width of the street between us. Meaning, my RV was hit by more than one wildly off course disc during my time there. It got me thinking about what a good activity disc golf is for RVers. In turn, that made me ask the question, what other fun outdoor activities and games for RVers are out there? And wouldn’t that make a good post topic?
A side note for those who haven’t heard the term moochdock. The word is a derivative of the two words moocher and boondocking. So, you can probably figure out the meaning. It is parking for free, generally without hookups, on someone’s property. Sometimes the act of moochdocking is also called driveway surfing.
Here are six fun outdoor activities and games for RVers that I came up with. Would love to hear your thoughts or ideas about others I might have missed. My biggest criteria for inclusion on this list was the space the activity’s equipment took up. Obviously, there are tons more recreation ideas. However, I wanted to account for the limited storage space as well as ease with which an RVer could play the game.
Wikipedia has a good source for each activity including an overview of how to play, the history as well as terminology of the activity.
Of course, this has to be the first one on the list since it was the inspiration for the entire post. Disc golf, as you can gather from its name, is golf with a disc (think frisbee) instead of the traditional golf ball. And, instead of getting a ball into a hole, you are getting the disc into a target that is a standing cage with chains (the chains are loose so the disc will go between them).
At the 2019 RV Entrepreneur Summit, two of the speakers actually made a living as professional disc golf players. In addition to speaking, they gave a little clinic on the game.
From what I have seen, most people carry a little backpack or bag with them when they play. The reason for the bag, just like you have different clubs in regular golf depending on how far you want to the ball to go, is to carry a variety of discs. Presumably the disc size and shape help you better get the disc exactly where you want it. Of course, this can’t always be true considering how many hit my trailer.
Two bonus notes when it comes to disc golf. First, I’ve never once seen where people must pay to play on a course. It may be that some do, but they are likely few and far between. Second, even if you don’t play disc golf, a disc golf course is a fantastic place to go for a walk either alone or with your dog.
The two free standing “ladders” that come with the game are able to be broken down so while, on first glance, it might look like ladderball might take up more room than you have, give it a chance. It’s pretty compact. In addition to the ladder, you have the thing you throw which is two balls connected by a rope, called bolo balls.
With the three steps of the ladder, representing one, two and three points, you take turns tossing the ball-rope-ball to the ladder. It gets exciting as you try to knock the other person’s off the ladder while getting your own on. The team who reaches exactly 21 wins.
Since I got such a kick out of being a new player and winning second place in a tournament (which came with a gift card to Starbucks), I might be a little prejudice about this game.
Popular Games for RVers: Cornhole
Can I just say cornhole has to be the weirdest named game? The first times I heard the term, I thought it was a curse word. Not kidding. Even now, I have a momentary pause when I hear it. I learned the name came because the tossing bags used to be filled with corn. Today, most bags are filled with a plastic resin which holds the shape and weight most consistently.
Cornhole is where you toss bags (four per team) into a four-inch round hole on a slanted board. It’s a scoring game based on number of bags that go in the hole as well as number of bags on the board. Regionally, you might also hear it called bags or sack toss. Although some version of the game has been around for about 150 years, it didn’t become really popular until the 1970s. Some attribute the rise in popularity to a 1974 article on the game in Popular Mechanics.
Of all the games for RVers on today’s list, by far, this is the one I see the most at campgrounds. It is popular with kids, for sure. I also see tons of parents and kids playing together. I suspect there is an adult version of this as a drinking game. Another fun aspect is that the board can be painted anything. In Alabama, I see lots of the big red As that is so popular in that area, representing the Alabama Crimson Tide athletics. USA flags are popular as well. Recently I saw the board and hole surrounded in LED lights. That would be a fun way to play in the dark.
You can find them in a wide range of prices from $30 up to $150. Most boards are made of wood though I found ones made from plastic, aluminum and, even, fabric ones. Regulation board size is 4 feet by 2 feet but I saw many a foot shorter which would take up less space. The legs fold down making the board flat for easy storage.
Cornhole is a great game for RVers for several reasons. First, anyone can play it. Second, despite the official rules that says 2 or 4 or 8 players (singles and doubles and teams, respectively), you could really play with any number of players you wanted. It’s the kind of game that lends itself to making up your own rules.
I actually want to do an entire post on geocaching to include the history because it is fascinating and fun. But here I will mention what an awesome outdoor activity for RVers it is. Unlike all the others on this list, it isn’t a game with a traditional winner. That said, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel like a winner. It’s a thrill to find the geocache you’ve set your sights on. It also holds the distinction of being the only activity on this list that doesn’t cost a dime.
Geocaching is, in a sentence, treasure hunting using GPS coordinates. You download the free app onto your phone and begin geocaching. It’s that simple. And with thousands upon thousands of caches hidden through the world (yes, the world), at any given moment, you are never far from a new adventure.
Some caches are as easy as driving to a location and finding it nearby. Other are much more remote and require hiking to find. But you can research all of this ahead of time and figure out your target based on the amount of time you have and the distance and terrain you’re willing to travel.
This game is popular enough that some RV resorts will have bocce courts and, even, organized bocce ball games and tournaments. But the good news is that the game can just as easily be played in a grassy area. Or on a sandy beach. Now if an RV campground has RVers packed in tight and there is no grassy community area, bocce ball may not be played everywhere RVers travel.
Once, about 15 years ago I played the game at a company picnic. I don’t remember much about it except that I had more fun than I expected to. I quite enjoyed the game. The game is pretty simple. Someone tosses a small white target ball, called a jack. Then teams take turns throwing their softball-sized balls (bigger than the jack which is about the size of a golf ball) as close to the jack as possible. You acquire points by ending up closest to jack.
It is so easy and easy-going that it is a game accessible to all ages and abilities. I admit I wouldn’t have guessed this, but according to Wikipedia, the tactics of the game can get quite complex once you have good control on your ball throwing skills.
As for equipment. It literally is just a bunch of balls that come in a carrying bag. An ideal outdoor activity for an RVer or anyone tight on space.
I said that cornhole is the game I see campers most often play. However, a lot of those are weekend campers, tent campers. But I would guess that it is pickleball that is most popular among full-time RVers, especially those who stay in RV resorts. Why? Because the one part of pickleball that is unlike every other activity on this list, is that it is played on a court. So, while the individual equipment is compact, light and easy for an RVer (that is, pickleball paddle and pickleballs), you cannot play unless a court is available.
Courts look like tennis courts. They are, however, smaller at 20 feet by 44 feet and this is regardless of whether you are playing singles or doubles. Tennis, in case you are curious, is 27 feet by 78 feet for singles and extends to 36 feet wide when you are playing doubles.
Like disc golf but unlike the other activities on this list, pickleball is a good form of exercise. (Though geocaching can be good exercise if you choose for it to be.) It’s described as a racket game that is a combination of badminton, tennis and table tennis. And it has a great story of how it started which you can read either on Wikipedia or on the history page of the official Pickle-Ball, Inc. site.
But, in a nutshell, one summer day in 1965 in Bainbridge, Washington, adults sent their bored kids outdoors to play. They sent them to a badminton net with ping pong paddles and a wiffle ball (plastic ball with holes) because they couldn’t find the shuttlecock for badminton or the badminton rackets.
When the kids didn’t return, the adults went out to discover the kids were enthralled by the game they were playing. That night, one of the men carved bigger paddles from wood. They lowered the badminton net, experimenting until they got it right. As they created the rules, their mission was to create a fun game free of arguments where bigger stronger people didn’t have an advantage. In 1972, one of the men incorporated Pickle-Ball Inc. Today, one of the kids who played that first day now runs the company is run by one of the kids who was playing that day.
And, the unusual name? The myth is that it was named after one of the families’ dogs, Pickle, because he would steal the balls. The family said he was playing Pickle Ball. While an awesome story, Pickle, it turns out, wasn’t with that family until two years after they invented the game. One of the men’s wives said their invented game “reminded her of a Pickle Boat in crew where oarsmen were chosen from the leftovers of the other boats.”
At the places where I’ve stayed that had pickleball courts, the game is quite popular. Larger resorts organize games and tournaments. It certainly looks fun and is on my list of things to try. When I stayed in Desert Hot Springs, the games drew tons of people waiting their turn on the court. They offered lessons for newbies but that was when my dog wasn’t doing well so I didn’t have the heart to attend one of the sessions.
Games for RVers Conclusion
If this post were just about games for RVers, the list would be mighty long. That is why I honed in on just outdoor activities for RVers. But, even so, I know the list could be a lot longer. How easy it would be to keep a volleyball in the RV for the random campgrounds that have a net set up? Or, to keep a badminton set including the net with you?
Not only did I try to focus on outdoor activities for RVers but I balanced that with activities I regularly see people participating in as I travel. And, while badminton is a great idea, I haven’t seen campers playing it. Not even once.
What games do you allow to take up space in your RV?
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