Photography by Camille Lizama

It’s a fact: Game time is just way more fun in the summer. Daylight stretches into the evening hours, making it perfect for gathering with family and friends for some affable, even lively competition. Much like cards, darts or pool, these outdoor games are social ones, requiring players to take turns. This is ideal for drinks and conversations between turns without slowing the pace or having to restart altogether. And there is nothing like putting your own spin on the classics to take your party up a notch.

Try pairing your favorite game with a signature cocktail. Bocce ball, also known as Italian lawn bowling, is one of the world’s oldest games and can be played just about anywhere. So it is fitting that it pairs perfectly with a classic negroni or a light white Frascati, considered the wine of Rome. Or arrange your croquet set on a freshly mowed lawn and host a day of wine and wickets. Croquet and rosé Saturdays are fast becoming a country-club favorite, as are competitive bean bag toss leagues. And with games as beautiful as these, we recommend getting a leg up on the competition and having a set of your own (designed by Minneapolis’s West Emory and available at Target and crateandbarrel.com).

Throughout the country, homes with bocce courts, manicured croquet lawns or designated outdoor game areas are on the rise. Similarly, neighborhood amenities like residential clubs and courts are becoming increasingly popular among families and retirees alike. So go out and grab some handsome, regulation-ready games that scream, “Play on!” It doesn’t matter if you are a player or a spectator — just prepare to have some fun. 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.