68 Outdoor team-building activities & games for work groups

Outdoor team-building activities allow your team to leave workplace stresses behind and focus on building new connections with their colleagues.

Sure, you can try engaging your group with icebreakers or quick games but the office—with its constant hum of the air conditioning and buzz of the photocopier—can make it difficult for your employees to detach from their daily tasks.

By getting your team out of the office and into the great outdoors, your employees will be more engaged with your team-building event, allowing you to fully harness the benefits of team building and reach your long-term goals and objectives.

In this article, we've compiled a list of 68 outdoor activity ideas for your next team-building event.

Outdoor team-building activities for strengthening employee relationships

Activities that strengthen employee relationships prioritise fun and socialisation. 

They’re typically unique, shared experiences that your team will enjoy and remember for years to come. The memories and anecdotes that arise from these activities will prove invaluable when it comes to team bonding.

Here are our favourite outdoor team-building activities for better employee relationships.

1. Explore the city on a guided walking tour

You don’t need to be in a foreign city to find value in a guided walking tour. Many tour facilitators market their walks to tourists and locals alike as they’re an entertaining way to learn the heritage of a city while spending time with friends.

From a team-building perspective, walking tours allow colleagues to socialise and build relationships. While exploring the city, your employees can get to know one another outside of the office environment.

2. Learn the ropes on a sailing cruise

A charter experience is a luxurious way of rewarding your team for their hard work while simultaneously giving them a unique shared experience. Shared experiences like this enable your team to bond seamlessly—it gives them something to talk about other than the photocopier running out of paper again.

There are many boat charters available depending on your location. For example, offices in Amsterdam might opt for a canal cruise, while teams in Marseille could explore the stunning coastline in a private yacht. 

3. Take a guided tour of the local vineyards

If you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity of a thriving wine region, a tour of the local vineyards is a great way to spend time outdoors with your team.

Wine tours vary depending on the facilitator, but most include a scenic walk through the vineyards, followed by a tour of the wine-making facilities and a wine tasting session with local artisan products such as cheeses, meats and olives.

4. Learn to stand-up paddle

Stand-up paddleboarding has soared in popularity in the past decade. It makes for a convenient team-building activity because it's suitable for all fitness levels and can be performed on any body of water (weather permitting).

Under the guidance of certified watersport instructors, you’ll learn fundamental techniques for propelling and steering your craft before embarking on a guided tour or free paddle session.

5. Sample the local cuisine with a guided food tour

Almost every major city has a proud gastronomic heritage for you to explore. Seafood aromas drift from paella restaurants in Valencia, freshly baked pastel de natas adorn the windows of bakeries in Lisbon and the scent of Belgium chocolate fills your nose in Brussels.

A guided food tour is the perfect way of learning more about a city while treating your tastebuds and getting to know your colleagues.

6. Host your own Grand Prix at the go-kart track

The smell of petrol, the sound of tyres screeching over asphalt, the roar of the crowds in the stands—a visit to the local outdoor go-kart centre recreates the drama of motorsport in miniature.

If your employees are fans of competition, then a go-karting experience might be an apt experience for your employees to bond over.

Most go-kart centres have experience hosting large corporate groups, often going as far as organising a full Grand-Prix-style tournament. Some even offer catering and a space for meetings before or after your event.

7. Explore the city in comfort with a guided bike tour

Just like walking tours, guided bike tours are suitable for tourists and locals alike, and provide a great opportunity for your employees to bond while exploring the city.

The benefit of a bike tour is that it enables your group to cover a larger distance compared to a walking tour, although, the nature of cycling can make socialising more difficult.

8. Get in touch with nature on a canyoning experience

The sport of canyoneering involves travelling through canyons using various techniques such as walking, climbing, jumping, abseiling and swimming. It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s lots of fun and great for team bonding.

To organise a canyoning experience for your team, reach out to your local outdoor adventure facilitator.

9. Learn to surf with professional instructors

Want to get outside, spend time in the sun and feel the sand between your toes while learning something new? Then a surfing lesson is a perfect activity for your next team-building event.

During their surf lesson, your team will learn the fundamental techniques for standing up on a surfboard as well as essential tips for staying safe in the ocean. All the while, your employees will be socialising and building stronger relationships with each other.

Here’s are our favourite surf destinations around the world:

10. Explore the waterways with a kayak tour

Kayaking is a therapeutic outdoor activity for all ages and fitness levels. It’s easy to learn and can be performed in a variety of locations including the ocean, rivers, lakes and canals.

Because kayaks are propelled using a paddle, your employees can easily socialise without having to raise their voices over the sound of an engine. 

11. Harness the power of the wind with a windsurfing lesson

Want to give your team an experience they won’t forget? Take them to the nearest beach or lake for a windsurfing lesson.

Of course, it will be difficult for your employees to converse while out on the water, but once they return to land, they’ll have no end of stories and anecdotes to share.

12. Attend a live sporting event with your team

Leave the stress of the office behind and focus on team bonding with a live sporting event!

Before purchasing tickets, you may wish to offer your team a few options and ask them to vote for their favourite. On the day of the event, consider booking a meeting room to capitalise on the positive energy.

13. Cruise around the city on a BeerBike

Alcohol, despite its many faults, greases the gears of socialisation. 

If your employees appear tentative towards one another, an afternoon peddling around the sitting while consuming a few beers might be just what the doctor (unlikely) ordered.

A typical BeerBike tour takes employees through the city on a communal bike. Here, your team can play music and consume beverages while getting to know one another. Some facilitators will pass by popular watering holes along the way too.

14. Aim for the bullseye at the archery range

Is your team regularly failing to meet their targets? Perhaps a day at the archery range will help to refine their aim.

Archery is a fun outdoor activity suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Under the guidance of professional instructors, your employees will learn the fundamental techniques for successfully firing arrows at a target.

15. Zip around town on a Segway

If walking and cycling tours don’t take your fancy, consider exploring the city on Segways. The Segway is a modern transport method that has become particularly popular in the tourism sector. 

The motorised wheels enable the rider to navigate narrow and steep city streets effortlessly, making them perfect for guided tours. While the prospect of driving through the city on a Segway can feel daunting at first, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll get the hang of it. 

16. Visit the local adventure golf course

You don’t need to be a raving golf fan to find joy in an adventure golf course. Adventure golf, or mini-golf, is a relaxing group activity that's found in most major cities.

While your employees work through a series of challenging holes, they can laugh, joke and share stories.

17. Embark on a guided pub crawl

Might your team be interested in learning more about the different beers available in their local region? A guided pub crawl exposes your employees to various flavours and brewing methods as they make their way to several pubs throughout the city.

As your team progresses along the tour, they become closer as they learn about one another's lives outside the office.

European cities such as Prague, Dusseldorf and Antwerp are famous hotspots for beer production.

18. Head to the local waterpark

A day out at the local waterpark guarantees bucket loads of fun—a vital component for effective team bonding.

While slipping on slides, drifting along lazy rivers and bobbing about in the wave machine, your employees will make lasting memories and build stronger relationships with their colleagues.

19. Face your fears on a ghost tour

This one might not be for everyone, but for the paranormal enthusiasts among you, a creepy ghost tour is a unique idea for an outdoor team-building activity.

Not all cities will have a ghost tour on offer, but many cities in the U.S. like Baltimore, Charlotte and Columbus offer tours that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end! 

20. Blow off some steam on a rented party boat

A party boat is a perfect venue to let your hair down. Sail onto the open ocean, blast your favourite tunes and dance like nobody is watching—what could be better for strengthening relationships within your team?

If you fancy something a little more civilised, why not embark on a boat charter and prepare a luxurious sit-down dinner for your employees?

21. Head to the slopes and learn to ski or snowboard

If you're lucky enough to live near a snow-covered mountain range, a ski or snowboard experience is a must-try. Combining the learning of a new skill with socialising is a fantastic way to encourage interpersonal bonding.

If you don’t live near a mountain range, no worries. Many cities now offer a dry slope where you can learn the basics of skiing and snowboarding without relying on real snow.

22. Cast your bait on a private fishing charter

Get in touch with your inner hunter-gatherer with a fishing charter experience. Under the guidance of an experienced fisherman, your team will learn everything they need to know to catch their first fish, from rigging the bait to reeling in the catch.

Between casts, your employees can enjoy their beautiful surroundings and start building lasting relationships with their coworkers.

23. Take to the skies in a hot air balloon

Perhaps best for smaller teams, a hot air balloon ride sends your employees high above the ground and grants them incredible views over the city or surrounding countryside.

As they drift among the clouds, your employees have the chance to get to know each other on a deeper level.

Outdoor team-building activities for employee well-being

Are you making enough time for your employees to exercise, unwind and recharge?

Because it can be easy—with the ever-looming deadlines and increasing pressure for stakeholders—to sideline employee well-being for the short-term success of your business.

But overworked employees will eventually burn out, causing them to take more time off work or seek employment elsewhere. Issues such as these can significantly increase your bottom line.

Here are a few outdoor well-being activities that will help you retain your top-performing employees for longer.

24. Unwind with a relaxing outdoor yoga class

It’s common for stress levels to rise in the office. With deadlines looming and feedback from managers ever sobering, the daily grind can take its toll.

An outdoor yoga session led by experienced practitioners can help your employees unwind and reset. Furthermore, your employees will be more open to building relationships when not consumed by their work.

25. Raise your heart rate on a guided running tour

That’s right, another tour variation! 

This time, your employees will embark on a sweaty jog through the city, upon which they’ll learn intriguing stories and historical facts while burning off a few calories.

This is a great way to prioritise employee health while giving them a chance to bond.

Of course, a running tour might not be for everyone (particularly the elderly and disabled) so make sure to not exclude anybody by organising this.

26. Spend a day relaxing on the beach

Hours spent in the office can leave your team pale and in much need of a vitamin D top-up. Spending the day relaxing and playing games on the beach is a great way to improve employee happiness and strengthen interpersonal bonds.

Here are some of our favourite beach activities for workgroups:

27. Get some fresh air on a team hiking trip

According to research performed by Stanford University, spending time in nature can reduce stress, calm anxiety and lead to a lower risk of depression.

If you’re committed to improving employee well-being, try organising a group hike in nature. Not only is this great for individual mental health, but combining socialising with exercising is also a great way to boost workplace camaraderie.

28. Set your well-being goals with a “Healthy Together” challenge

A “Healthy Together” challenge rallies your team towards a well-being goal. Some examples of “Healthy Together” challenges include:

Organising a “Healthy Together” challenge is easy. Simply decide on a challenge and ask each participant to keep track of the days they completed the challenge. To make the progress public, you could hang a calendar in the employee breakroom with which you can track who completed the challenge on which days.

The employee who completed the challenge on the most days during the established period is the winner and is awarded a prize.

29. Organise an after-work running club

Organising recurring events such as an after-work running club enables your employees to build a rapport over an extended period. Getting together on regular occasions helps your employees form deeper connections.

Furthermore, regular exercise improves employee well-being, while healthy mindsets and deeper interpersonal connections improve job satisfaction.

30. Design a DIY outdoor obstacle course

When you're having fun exercising, it's easy to forget that you’re exercising at all! Organising an outdoor obstacle course is a fun way to get your team competing outdoors against one another.

You’ll need plenty of space, so the best place to set up your obstacle course is at the local park or beach. When creating your obstacle course, let your creativity run wild. You can use all manner of objects to create a DIY course. Think pool noodles, buckets, tunnels, bean bags, skipping ropes, hula hoops and much more.

31. Explore the great outdoors with a horse riding experience

A horse riding experience is a great way to interact with nature. While your team trek through the rural landscape, your employees will have plenty of time to get to know each other better.

Simply reach out to your local horse riding centre to organise your corporate event.

32. Download the geocaching app and hunt for treasure

Geocaching is an interactive adventure that can take you and your team to beautiful places or even a place in your town or city they haven't yet visited. 

Geocaches can be found in millions of locations worldwide. To find them, simply download the geocaching app and create a free account. Then, select the geocache you want to locate and navigate to it using your phone.

To make this a fun group experience, separate your group into small teams and challenge them to see who can locate the most geocaches within the time limit. This gives your employees a chance to work with colleagues they may not often spend time with.

33. Host your own corporate sports day

Relive the joy and competitiveness of your school sports days with your own corporate event. Corporate sports days are nostalgic and get your employees in touch with their inner child while spending time outdoors.

To prepare for your event, create a list of events and compile the necessary equipment. Some classic events include:

Don’t forget to prepare a medal ceremony for the winners! Oh, and you might need first-aid personnel on standby, too.

34. Go camping and spend a night under the stars

Roasting marshmallows and telling stories around the fire: what better way to strengthen interpersonal connections than a camping trip? 

Camping brings your team closer together and serves as a fantastic team-building activity. Tasks like putting up tents, building a fire, cooking meals and collecting water require your employees to pull together and delegate responsibilities.

35. Gaze up at the stars with a group astronomy night

Stargazing is a relaxing group activity that your team can enjoy together. While your employees huddle together beneath the stars, the stresses of the office will dissolve seamlessly into the night.

When preparing to go stargazing with your team, we have a few suggestions:

36. Host a Spikeball tournament

Spikeball is an up-and-coming game that can be transported and played almost anywhere. All you need is enough space to move around and a soft surface to land on should you fall, such as sand or grass.

For an overview of the Spikeball rules, head to the Spikeball website.

Outdoor team-building activities for improving teamwork

Here’s an interesting idea: effective teams with mediocre talent will outperform disjointed teams with highly-talented individuals.

Why?

Because when your employees are collaborating well, they’ll communicate more efficiently, be more creative, trust each other more, and feel more engaged and motivated in their roles. And these benefits seriously outweigh what a single talented employee can bring to the table.

To start reaping these benefits, you need to improve teamwork skills with team-building activities that build trust, encourage leadership and inspire collaboration. 

Here are some of our favourites…

37. Execute military tactics with a paintball event

Paintball is a classic group event ideal for birthdays, bachelor parties and corporate outings. During the event, your employees must work as a team to defeat their opponents in a series of high-octane game modes such as team deathmatch and capture the flag.

In this high-pressure game, your employees will learn to communicate and formulate strategies while under enemy fire.

38. Reach new heights at the climbing gym

Placing your team in a unique and challenging environment is an effective way of bringing them closer together. While climbers face their fears on technical climbing routes, their colleagues must rally behind them and offer moral support. This supportive dynamic catalyses new connections between your employees and builds trust.

39. Swing through the trees at a forest high-rope course

High-rope courses take place outdoors in wooded areas. Courses typically consist of several obstacles stung high in the tree canopy. Employees will encounter zip lines, climbing nets, rope bridges, ladders and much more.

This activity improves teamwork skills because your employees need to support one another as they face daunting obstacles that might put them out of their comfort zone. Doing so builds trust between colleagues.

40. Take to the water on a Super SUP

A Super SUP is a large inflatable vessel capable of supporting groups of approximately eight people. Once on board, your employees must communicate and work together to propel the craft using their paddles.

Teamwork is the name of the game, for one off-balance employee can cause the entire group to topple into the water!

41. Complete exciting challenges on a scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is a group activity where teams must explore the city to complete a series of fun challenges. It’s a great way of exploring new corners of your city while improving essential skills such as problem solving and communication.

You can organise your own scavenger hunt or download a scavenger hunt app with pre-prepared challenges.

42. Navigate the waterways with a rafting experience

Rafting, as in life, presents your team with turbulent waters that can only be overcome by good teamwork. To propel and steer the inflatable craft, your employees must delegate a leader and maintain clear communication throughout the journey.

Once your employees come to the end of the route, they’ll have made unforgettable memories and formed stronger bonds with their teammates.

43. Paddle in unison with a dragon boat workshop

Dragon boats are human-powered water crafts from the Pearl River Delta region of China's southern Guangdong Province. With limited space between crew members, your employees must paddle in perfect unison to avoid clashing paddles.

This experience teaches your team why clear communication and leadership are essential for harmonious teamwork.

44. Assemble a giant puzzle with your team

This is a collaborative game that teaches your team the power of teamwork.

To start, hand each player one (or a handful of) puzzle pieces. Players must then head out in search of somebody with pieces that connect with their own. Gradually, groups will form, and these groups will then come together to complete the puzzle.

45. Play hide-and-seek with a twist with Ringolevio

In this team-orientated version of the classic schoolyard game “hide and seek”, one team attempts to evade the clutches of the other. Both teams will need to pull together if they wish to succeed!

For an overview of the rules, check out this breakdown.

46. Outplay your opponents at bubble football

Want an afternoon filled with hilarity? Then bubble football is the game for you.

This unique variation of The Beautiful Game makes the game, well, somewhat less beautiful. In attempts to score goals against the opposition, your employees will bounce, roll and collide their way through the opposition's defences.

This is one team-building game that’s just as much fun to watch as it is to play!

47. Improve communication skills with Blind Retriever

Blind retriever is a hilarious party game designed to refine listening and communication skills. The rules are simple:

During this game, your employees will learn the importance of clear and concise communication.

48. Solve puzzles and challenges with a Corporate Castaway

Since the television show Survivor became a hit in the United States, businesses have been running their own version of the show in the form of Corporate Castaways.

During the event, your team will work its way through a series of physical and mental puzzles, collecting points along the way.

Position a judge at each puzzle whose role will be to take note of the scores of each team. Once the teams have completed all the challenges, tally the scores and announce a winner!

49. Complete outdoor challenges during Wild Goose Chase

Wild Goose Chase is an alternative to traditional scavenger hunts. In this version, your teams will be racing through the city, taking photos and videos as they attempt to complete a list of challenges. This is a great way to explore the city while building team skills and interacting with the local community. 

Once the time is up, the team with the most completed challenges wins!

50. Soak your colleagues with water balloon dodgeball

Water balloon dodgeball works just like regular dodgeball, only this time you get wet!

To play water balloon dodgeball, establish a field of play, divided in two, using ropes or cones. At either end, place a bucket full of water balloons for each team. At the sound of the whistle, teams can start hurling their balloons at the opposition.

If a player is struck, they must exit the field of play. A team wins once all members of the opposition have been eliminated.

51. Bolster teamwork skills with Incoming Tide Survival

Want an engaging team-building game that gets your employees interacting with nature? Incoming Tide Survival is an adrenaline-pumping beach game where teams work together to engineer a robust defence against rising water levels. Please note, you don’t actually need to time this game with a rising tide—that’s more for dramatic effect.

The rules of the game are simple:

This game tests leadership, problem-solving, time management and teamwork skills.

52. All hands on deck for the cardboard boat building challenge

In this fun outdoor group activity, teams must be creative and work together to formulate a boat design that will carry one team member safely to the other end of the pool.

To play the cardboard boat building challenge, prepare the materials for your employees to use to build their vessels. You’ll need cardboard and sticky tape. You can add additional materials such as decorative pieces and string, etc.

Hand a matching set of materials to each team and set a time limit for construction. Once the time has elapsed, teams can showcase their builds to the other teams before going head to head in a boat race. To make paddling easier, hand each team a paddle or set of table tennis rackets.

53. Sign up for your local soapbox derby

A soapbox derby is a community event where teams race downhill through various obstacles in unpowered, handmade vehicles. Simply sign up for the event, register a team name and start building your soapbox!

As well as being immense fun, the construction of a soapbox demands creativity, commitment, leadership and collaborative input from the whole team.

54. Outmanoeuvre your opponent in outdoor chess

Do your employees have what it takes to become chess grandmasters? Outdoor chess maintains the strategic thinking and logic of the traditional game and turns it into a collaborative group activity. With outdoor chess, your employees must agree on each move—much easier said than done!

As opposing ideas are vetted against one another, your employees will refine their communication and debate skills.

55. Steal the bacon before your opposition does

Steal The Bacon is a fun team game where players attempt to retrieve an object from the middle of the field and return it to their team without being tagged by the opposing player.

Here’s how to play Steal The Bacon:

Your employees will need to be listening keenly to the number you call, for any lapses in concentration could cost teams valuable points!

56. Head to the nearest park for a Nerf war

If paintball is not your thing, a Nerf battle in the park can be just as fun—minus the pain!

All you need for a dramatic Nerf war is an armoury of weapons and bullets and an open space with plenty of cover for your players to run around.

To start planning your corporate Nerf battle, consult this rulebook

57. See which team can throw their eagle glider the farthest

An eagle glider throwing competition challenges your group to build the sturdiest, most aerodynamic glider. 

To play, simply purchase one eagle glider (these can be found at various online stores) per team, set a time limit for building and then have a member from each team throw their glider from behind a line. The team whose glider travels the furthest wins.

58. Test teamwork skills with a picnic basket relay

Which team can unpack, set up and repack their picnic hampers the fastest in this picnic basket relay race?

To play, prepare matching picnic hampers and hand one to each team. At the sound of the whistle, teams must race to unpack their hampers, lay the contents on a blanket and then repack as quickly as possible in a relay race fashion.

The team that completes the relay race first, wins.

59. Challenge your team to break a world record

World records exist for almost anything. Most eggs crushed on the head, longest ear hair, hardest kick to the groin—you name it, there’s a world record for it. And because there are so many, many world records aren’t all that difficult to break.

Take a vote with your team to decide which world record to break and then get to work! You can try just for fun or ask a Guinness World Record official to observe your attempt if you want to go down in the history books.

60. Test employee resourcefulness with Egg Drop

In Egg Drop, your employees must work together in teams to save their egg from breaking using nothing but a piece of cardboard, one metre of duct tape and 40 bendy plastic straws.

This team-building game puts your employees’ teamwork skills, resourcefulness and creative thinking to the test.

61. Learn the importance of teamwork with the Lego Challenge

In this game, your employees will learn the repercussions of poor communication and how it can lead to poor results in the workplace.

One member of each team gives instructions to their teammates to recreate the figure shown in the picture. But there's a catch: only the player giving instructions has seen what the rest of the team needs to build.

You can find an overview of the rules here

62. Work together to find the fugitive in ManHunt

ManHunt is essentially hide-and-seek in reverse, in that just one person hides while the rest of the group works together to find the fugitive.

Before you start playing, spend some time scouting out a good location. Choose an area with plenty of space to move around but isn't so big that the person in hiding will never be found. Also, ensure it is free of hazardous objects and has plenty of hiding places.

Outdoor team-building activities for better company culture

Strong company culture has many benefits. 

By creating a theme that permeates every aspect of your company your customers are given consistent expectations of your service and your employees a navigable roadmap to follow.

Establishing a company culture won't happen overnight, but include the following games at your next team-building event and you’ll be taking a giant leap in the right direction.

63. Earn good karma with a random act of kindness

Random acts of kindness involve carrying out good deeds for your community. This gives your team time to make positive changes outside the office while bettering your reputation in the eyes of the public.

Some examples of random acts of kindness include:

64. Give back to the community with community service

Like random acts of kindness, community service gets your team interacting with residents and offering general help in the community.

Doing so rallies your employees towards a common goal and allows them to bond over a good deed. Here are some examples of community service events:

65. Capture your team in silly poses with Freeze Dance

Freeze dance works as a standalone game or a way of capturing funny large group photos.

It’s easy to play. Just grab your camera, start the music, and ask your employees to stop when the music is paused. You’ll get some hilarious photos of your team to display in the office!

66. Make time for bonding with lunchtime picnics

By making team bonding a recurring part of your weekly schedule, you’ll notice big improvements in your company culture. One easy way to squeeze team bonding into your busy agenda is with lunchtime picnics.

Simply make small groups, and have them spend their lunch breaks together. They can head to the park for a picnic if the weather is fair, or eat together in the breakroom.

67. Test your team’s knowledge with a dunk tank

Want to test how much your employees really know about the business? Then suspend a bucket of cold water over a chair, ask an employee to sit down and start firing office-related trivia at them!

Whenever your employees answer incorrectly, douse them with cold water from the bucket.

68. Organise breaktime buddy strolls

Similarly to lunchtime picnics, buddy strolls can be easily incorporated into your employees’ schedules. Divide your team into pairs of small groups and then ask them to take a relaxing stroll together during their lunch breaks.

Still not sure which activities to choose? Let Surf Office organise your team-building event for you.

Picking the appropriate activities and venues is an essential part of planning a team-building event, but doing it yourself consumes valuable time.

We believe the hours you spend researching activities, contacting vendors and booking venues could be better spent serving your customers.

But that doesn't mean you need to abandon your team-building goals entirely.

At Surf Office, we guide you through the process, allowing you to craft your perfect team-building event without the stress of going it alone.

Stop wasting time researching activities and venues and reach out to a member of our team today.

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