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Recreation Activities

Directory of outdoor recreation activities
Outdoor recreation has become a larger part of the location-based entertainment industry.

For the convenience of our clients involved with outdoor recreation facilities and activities, we provide this list of outdoor “dry” activities.    We provide a separate list of water-related outdoor recreation activities.   We keep building this list and directory so excuse some of the sections in progress.


Additional information about these outdoor recreation activities, including participation rates across the U.S., is available from the Outdoor Recreation Association.

Adventure Racing

There are somewhat varying definitions for so-called “adventure racing.”   Whatever the definition among the various formats, adventure racing has grown in popularity.  Typically adventure racing is about navigation over an unmarked course in a wilderness area – often quite a scenic area.  Race durations may extend anywhere from 2 hours to a week or more.   The races can be solo or as a team to allow multi-disciplinary challenges on the course.

Air Rifle Shooting Range

An air gun is any kind of gun that launches projectiles pneumatically with compressed air or other gases that are pressurized mechanically without involving any chemical reactions, in contrast to a firearm, which relies on an exothermic chemical oxidation (deflagration) of combustible propellants to generate propulsive energy.   Air guns, traditionally regarded as guns for beginners, have now made the transition to guns for everyone. Some types, such as the familiar BB gun, are excellent as a “first gun;” other types are designed and used by seasoned international competitors.  Whether they are used for recreation or sport, for field use or as an inexpensive training tool, air rifles and air pistols are an excellent way to enjoy shooting.  Smallbore rifle competitions are one type of air rifle of interest to enthusiasts.  The first air guns were developed as early as the 1500s. They have been used in hunting, sporting and warfare. Modern air guns use one of three types of power source depending on the design: spring-piston, pneumatic, and bottled compressed gas (most commonly carbon dioxide).


Archery Range

ATV Trails

ATV (OHV) Trail and Obstacle Runs

There are somewhat varying definitions for so-called “adventure racing.”   Whatever the definition among the various formats, adventure racing has grown in popularity.  Typically adventure racing is about navigation over an unmarked course in a wilderness area – often quite a scenic area.  Race durations may extend anywhere from 2 hours to a week or more.   The races can be solo or as a team to allow multi-disciplinary challenges on the course.


Backpacking (Overnight)

Backpacking is an adventure that blends hiking with overnight camping, typically in some wilderness or back-country area.  The essential aspect of backpacking is that inside that backpack is all you require to sustain you for overnight stay, including tent, cooking gear, food, sleeping bag, and the like.  For enthusiasts, it is a deeper, richer means of immersion in nature than a day hike or excursion.


Ballooning experiences can take the form of free-form flights, as well as tethered observation decks.  Tethered observations decks are an exhilarating kind of “ride,” where guests rise to an elevation affording substantial views of surrounding areas.   Typically, existing hot air ballooning companies in a region can be helpful strategic partners.   The views of a region while hovering from above can be extraordinary.  If not a tethered observation deck, a free-form ballooning experience requires great care in setting up for both the departures place as well as where touch-down will occur.

Baseball Batting Cages

Batting cages tend to be located in standalone locations such as industrial parks, whether indoors or outdoors, and in these locations are appealing primarily to youth and adult baseball and softball players.   Batting cages placed as part of family entertainment centers tend to be more appealing to guests looking for a recreational experience (such as those out on a date with a significant other, or, parent/child leisure-time outings) versus simply being appealing to players seeking a practice session.

Bird Watching

Bird Watching

Bird watching is sometimes referred to birding, and much more popular among the general public that most may reasonable.  As with most outdoor activities there are some alternative formats.   Public webcams for some special viewing opportunities are available.   Birding with binoculars and telescopes, and of course by eye without enhancement is most common.


Bocce ball, also called bocci, is a relaxed but strategic game with an ancient lineage.  Bocce is traditionally played on natural soil and asphalt courts 90 FT by 8.2 to 13.1 FT wide.  Bocce balls can be made of metal or various kinds of plastic.  A Bocce court was added to Stonehaus in Westlake Village (California) to add to the informal outdoor dining, wine bar, and vineyard experience.   Whether or not someone has played Bocce before it can become a social activity within a place of greater social gathering.

Bungee (Catapult)

Bungee experiences can be found in numerous formats, ranging from dropping a guest to an elevated position, or, propelling a guest upwards from a position somewhat above ground level. We would characterize bungee (catapult) experienes as helpful in rounding out destination’s available activities, unless the bungee experience includes vertical drops or scenc backdrops that can drive visitation.   For our purposes here, it is the vertical, or “catapult” type of bungee we have considered. In “catapult” (or reverse bungee) the ‘jumper’ starts on the ground. The jumper is secured and the cord is stretched, then released, propelling the jumper upwards vertically. This is often achieved using either a crane or a hoist attached to a semi-permanent structure. This simplifies the action of stretching the cord and later lowering the participant to the ground.  The reverse bungee (also known as catapult bungee or ejection seat) is a modern type of fairground ride that was invented by Troy Griffin in 1978. The Slingshot manufactured by Funtime uses steel cables and a patented spring propulsion device rather than elastic ropes. The current model can propel riders 150 m high at speeds of 160 km per hour.

Rock Climbing

Climbing (Rappelling)

Climbing can be included at many locations whether at a standalone climbing structure either indoors or outdoors, or, at a selected outdoor natural point in close proximity to other operated facilities. Possibly both alternatives can be part of a program.  A standalone structure primarily intended for practicing holds and maneuvers does not need to be staffing intensive, but climbing at natural rock locations requires relatively high staff-to-climber oversight if inexperienced climbers are allowed.

Cornhole Toss

Some outdoor recreation activities are more interstitial than major activities, such as Cornhole.   Cornhole or bean bag toss is a lawn game in which players take turns throwing bags of corn at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point. The game can be played either as a singles or doubles competition. Cornhole toss is known by many different name variations throughout the U.S. and Europe, including bean bag toss, bags, dummy boards, dadhole, doghouse, sack toss, and bean sack toss.  The modern game of cornhole was likely spread after an article on how to make the boards was published in Popular Mechanics magazine in September 1974. The game spread in Chicago and the Northwest region of Indiana in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The west side of Cincinnati has been one of the main areas of modern resurgence and renewed popularity of the game. It is popular at tailgate events throughout the Midwest and has recently become a nationwide favorite, with national championships covered on ESPN.



Disc Golf

Disc Golf

Disc golf is a flying disc (Frisbee) sport in which players throw a disc at a target, and is played using rules similar to golf. Players complete a hole by throwing a disc from a tee area toward a target, throwing again from the landing position of the disc until the target is reached.   Players seek to complete a course in the lowest number of total throws. It is often played on a course of 9 or 18 holes, but other formats are common.   The game is played in about 40 countries and according to a 2017 study there are about 44,000 active members of the Professional Disc Golf Association (“PGDA”).

Downhill “Dry” Luge

These rides are also referred to as “alpine slides.” Downhill “dry” luge rides typically use stainless steel or concrete tracks. The luge “sleds” rely upon gravity for propulsion from top to bottom of the ride, with onboard brakes for the rider to control speed. These rides are for all ages, and it is quite common for parents to place young children in their laps.  Downhill luge facilities most often have track lengths at or about a half-mile in length. Track design, the straight-aways and turns, is always customized to the particular site.  A fun feature is providing dual (side by side) slides so that friends and family can “race” next to each other.  One of the larger luge design-build and operating firms is Skyline Luge (New Zealand) that now has six international locations, two of the venues in operation in Canada.



Hiking and Walking


Horseback Trail Riding

Horseback Trail Riding

Horse shoes


Horseshoes is another example outdoor recreation activities that are more interstitial than major draws.  Horseshoes is an outdoor game played by two people using four horseshoes and two throwing targets (stakes) set in a lawn or sandbox area. The game is played by the players alternating turns tossing horseshoes at stakes in the ground, which are traditionally placed 40 FT apart.  The availability of simple games can enhance the appeal of out-of-home outings, placed for easy play near gardens, picnic, or suitable activity area.

Inline Skating

Inline skates are a type of roller skate used for inline skating. Unlike quad skates, which have two front and two rear wheels, inline skates typically have two to five wheels arranged in a single line. Some, especially those for recreation, have a rubber “stop” or “brake” block attached to the rear of one or occasionally both of the skates so that the skater can slow down or stop by leaning back on the foot with the braking skate.  In 1980, Scott and Brennan Olsen, two Minnesota brothers, discovered an older in-line skate in a sporting goods store and thought the design would be perfect for off-season hockey training. They improved the skate on their own and soon were manufacturing the first Rollerblade in-line skates.  We have no recommendation for facilities that would include 2×2 wheel skating (roller skates). Indoor roller skating has less of the cool factor than inline skating and is typically an indoor activity whereas inline skating is known as an outdoor recreation activity

Miniature Golf

The World Minigolf Sports Federation (WMF) is the association representing the miniature golf course industry.  Miniature golf courses first appeared in the early 1900’s both in the UK and the U.S.   The U.S. ProMiniGolf Association is an affiliate of the WMF.    The Professional Putters Association is another national organization dedicated to this recreation sport.

Obstacle course racing

Obstacle Course Racing

Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) is an event requiring an athlete to run through a variety of different obstacles. Obstacle course racing has become one of the most widely-popular special events in the U.S. drawing a wide range of participants from first-timers to expert course runners.  As a special event, the activity has become quite popular throughout the U.S. due to an array of arduous special events (drawing thousands of participants), and U.S. television shows offering compressed versions with extreme obstacles to conquer. ‘American Ninja Warrior’ is a current show on NBC television placing competitors on such extreme obstacle challenges, now in its 9th season. This American show was itself based upon a Japanese series, ‘Sasuke.’ Many years ago the television show American Gladiators offered a similar viewing experience; however, that show featured a more muscle-bound competitor versus the wiry strength and endurance of ‘American Ninja Warrior.’  Separate from offering a permanent, semi-permanent, even “pop-up” obstacle course, we also suggest seeking to participate as a host facility for one of the major Obstacle Course Race special events (such as the ‘Tough Mudder’). This is described in a subsequent section of this report.

Big Wheel Pedal Track

Pedal Track (Big Wheel)

This is a simple idea that is quite popular with toddlers (and older kids) and their parents – a paved track for pedal-operated tricycles (including Big Wheels) and bikes with training wheels.   Such tracks have been placed at children’s daycare facilities, as a community park amenity within master-planned communities, and as a ride at amusements parks (such as Legoland’s Junior Driving School and Driving School rides).    A kid’s pedal track requires site grading, storm drainage provisions, paving, striping, attractive landscaping, and comfortable seating for parents and caregivers.

Pump Track

A pump track is a type of off-road terrain (track) for cycle and skate sports consisting of a circuit of banked turns and features designed to be ridden completely by riders “pumping” – creating momentum by up and down body movements.  The origins of the pump track are rooted in the hardpack BMX trails of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and recently, in the backyards of Australian downhill racers who created some of the first pump tracks around 2002. The first new era pump track on American soil was built in 2004 at The Fix Bike Shop in Boulder (Colorado) by pro downhiller Steve Wentz.

Ropes Course

Ropes courses are among the anchor outdoor recreation activities for the emerging trend with “adventure park” venues. Participatory experiences for guests involving ropes have become popular, relatively low-cost attractions. A more challenging version of an overhead ropes trail is a “ropes course”. Ropes courses are frequently the focus of a particular kind of team building, a challenging outdoor personal development and team building activity which usually consists of high and/or low elements. Low elements take place on the ground or only a few feet above the ground. High elements are usually constructed within tree canopies or made of utility poles and require a belay for safety.  An “overhead ropes trail” and a “ropes course” could be installed side-by-side for a wide-ranging guest experience, and for the major visual impact.

RV Camping

RV Camping

Sand Volleyball

Artificial Snow Slope

Snow Slope (Artificial)

Year-round artificial snow slopes are viable “anchor” activities around the world, but significantly less so in the U.S.  Downhill snow sports include traditional downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowtubing. Facilities now include those depending upon seasonal (cold) weather conditions, as well as year-round artificial surfaces.  Year-round snow-like surfaces have become quite good, allowing the various downhill snow sports. Snowflex is one such snow sports surfacing product, manufactured by Briton Engineering Developments Ltd (UK). Essentially, Snowflex is artificial snow. The surface system is made of a polymer composite, comprising a monofilament fiber and impregnated carrier layer. This sits on top of a shock absorption layer that provides an authentic responsive and reactive feel.

Trail Running

Trail Running

Trail running may combine running, hiking, perhaps even some light climbing.   There may be steep gradients.  In general, trail running involves any unpaved natural surface.

Tactical Force Training Facility

Tactical Force Training

A sport shooting range could include a tactical force training facility, with an indoor computer-assisted “force option” simulator” and/or a version of the “Hogan’s Alley” outdoor tactical training facility at the FBI Training Academy that provide a realistic urban setting for training agents of the FBI, DEA, and other local, state, federal and international law enforcement agents.   Given the nature of urban combat in some world regions, these tactical force training facilities now also focus on “close quarters” combat tactics.  Although a tactical force training facility is designed for professional law enforcement and military quality, there is an activity civilian interest – which these facilities typically describe as “responsible citizens.” And in many locales throughout the U.S., individual municipal law enforcement agencies must take training at common facilities given the limitation in their respective municipal budgets.

Zip Lines

A “zip line course” would provide an additional attraction of interest to customers on a regular basis since it is a distinct trip purpose and a destination activity for many.  Zip lines would likely be installed on a series of raised platforms, providing several “stations” or stops along a course. A shorter zip line could be installed among other children’s activities. Certainly, stainless steel cables, with pulleys, inclined and gravity-propelled, would be fairly typical to such installations.  At least one station might involve a seemingly daunting above-ground height, while other parts of the course would be acceptable closer to the ground if combined with other visual cues (than height) to make the experience interesting.



Zorbing is a bit exotic as among the array of outdoor recreation activities, but maybe that’s not a bad thing.  Zorbing is the recreation or sport of rolling downhill inside an orb, generally made of transparent plastic. Zorbing is generally performed on a gentle slope, but can also be done on a level surface, permitting more rider control.  The zorbing ball is approximately three (3) meters in diameter and is double-sectioned, with one sphere inside the other with an air layer between. The smaller sphere is suspended inside by approximately a thousand nylon strands connecting it to the outer sphere. This acts as a shock absorber for the person riding inside it, damping the bumps as it rolls down the hill. The balls are lightweight and made of flexible plastic about 0.8cm thick rather than rigid plastic like a hamster ball. They usually have 1 or 2 tunnel like entrances.  Andrew Ackers invented the Zorb in Auckland in 1993 and with the help of his brother they launched the firm Zorb Limited.  Zorbing requires special preparation of the rolling surface. At Lawson Adventure Park in Colorado, the Zorbing track is lined and curbed with straw and straw bales since the underlying terrain is rough and rocky.

List of Outdoor Recreation Activities

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