In planning a poker night for several friends at my house last week, I started thinking about other things that I’ve done with guy friends in the past or things that are on my to-do list with “The Guys” (that group of guys that includes your best friend(s), some other friends and acquaintances, and some of those friends’ friends). The guys that come along for any of these activities may change depending on the activity, the level of interaction expected during the event, the duration of the event, etc.
I’ve listed below several activities I’ve done with The Guys in the past, as well as a few that are still on my bucket list. Some examples from my stomping grounds are embedded, but a quick Google search will lead you to venues close to your home turf. I’m always looking for other things to do, and this list is surely meager at best. If there’s something not listed that you (or your boyfriend, husband, brother, etc.) do with The Guys, please share it below in a comment! I’d love to borrow your ideas! I may re-blog this at a later date with any other suggestions that are shared below or that I come across in my day-to-day with The Guys. Enjoy!
1. Since I’m on the subject: Poker Night. Best to get at least 4 other guys and no more than 9 other guys together. Any more than 10 guys and it gets too crowded and you can’t really interact with everyone. Have some beverages and food available and agree on a format for the game(s) you plan on playing before starting. Make the buy-in reasonable and enough that it’s fun to play for something and not so steep that people get upset if they lose. It should be about fun, not making some cash off of your buddies. (Our poker nights end like this: 3rd get his money back, 2nd doubles up, and 1st gets the rest, thus we always have to have at least 7 guys playing. If you have fewer guys, just don’t give 3rd his money back.). You might also consider heading to a real casino, but this becomes less about hanging out together and more about the gaming itself. Many casinos will, however, have additional entertainment options available for the less gaming-inclined.
2. Guy Flick night. We’ve all heard of “chick flicks.” This outing is for guys to go see a movie that the girls may not be as interested in (James Bond, American Sniper, any stupid/immature comedy with “guy humor,” etc.). Consider having dinner/drinks before the show. Find a pub near the theater so you can walk over in case anyone “overindulges” before the movie. Everyone should be fine to drive home afterward.
3. Camping. This one takes more planning and coordinating time away from work. If you can swing this for a few guys, you might consider camping in an area that has good hiking trails. Click here for a VERY thorough list of gear needed for camping, as well as several things that are less than necessary, but would likely be useful during the trip. Make sure to plan ahead for what you will do while there. With poor cell reception and few activities at your fingertips you may need to get creative. Does someone bring a guitar? Outdoor sports equipment? Fishing gear? Hiking gear, maps, backpacks, etc.?
4. Hunting. I have no experience with this one personally. But really, is there anything more “manly” than walking around in bright orange vests in the forest and shooting stuff? Optional: arrange for a taxidermist to preserve your kill (anything from fish to bears) and stick it on the wall of your Mancave.
5. Hiking. This can be an activity contained within #3, but can be accomplished without the hassle of a weekend camping trip as well. All you need is a backpack, a couple liters of water, sunscreen, good hiking shoes (preferably waterproof), and some sunscreen. Head into your local hills/mountains for the day and make sure to follow the marked trails. You don’t want to end up like James Franco in 127 Hours).
6. Rock climbing: While some of you out there may be adventurous (nuts?) enough to go out and do actual climbing up the face of El Capitan, for a less-extreme and less-expensive alternative, consider indoor climbing venues. Some Orange County, CA examples are embedded here. You can often purchase either a one day pass or a membership for multiple days, months, or a full year. These indoor venues provide multiple difficulty levels such that any guy in your group can find something to challenge himself. On belay!
7. Fishing: This probably doesn’t need much explanation at first, but consider that there are multiple ways to fish in endless places. Two of my personal favorites are pier fishing and deep sea fishing. I’m not much for standing in a stream foolishly convincing myself that my clumsy whips of a fishing lure in the stream at all resemble a mosquito landing and taking off. Fly fishing is not for me. If you like camping and have the time and money to commit to learning the art, by all means go for it! If, on the other hand, you’re more like me, you’re looking for something a bit less involved. Something you can try out once in a while without a big time or money commitment. For you I’d recommend getting some basic fishing equipment and heading to your local lake or coastline in search of a pier. Once you’ve confirmed that there are indeed fish in the waters beneath (check with your local fish and wildlife department), your basic gear should suffice to at least have a nice quite day relaxing, drinking your cold beverage of choice, and maybe landing a fish or two. Make sure to purchase a fishing license for the day (about $15 in CA, prices vary for annual licenses depending on income, veteran status, etc.). Another option I’ve enjoyed in years past is deep sea fishing from a chartered boat. An example in Newport Beach, CA is linked here. Supplies are included in the packages for those that have not invested in the required equipment. A bit pricey for a regular excursion, but fun for an occasional trip. As teenagers, a friend and I used to fish at night for a reduced fee because we agreed to help the cook clean the kitchen after the boat docked for the night.
8. Golf: Whether just heading to the range to get out some of that good ol’ fashion manly aggression or to work on fine tuning your short game, this is a relatively inexpensive outing for an hour or two. Depending on the club/course, playing 9/18 holes can range from about $15-$200/round. Definitely look into the costs (green fees, mandatory cart rental at some clubs) prior to calling the clubhouse for a start time. Be prepared for a long time (2-4 hours), but a good time. In the midst of hacking our way around the course, a friend who was new to golf had a revelation. The woman driving the snack/beverage cart rolled up to us and my friend exclaimed, “Wait a minute, you mean I can drink a beer in public while we play!?” Needless to say, he found the round relaxing. Have fun, be safe, and check into the club dress code before you go. Golf is fun and relaxing, but some clubs are all about rules and won’t let you play if you’re not up to their standards.
9. Batting cages: See “Golf” and driving range. Similar prices to driving ranges, bats and helmets provided free of charge. If you bring your own bat, be prepared to possibly leave with a couple dings from the dense balls used at most cages. Expect to pay a couple dollars for around 15-18 pitches at a low-key outdoor facility. More sophisticated options are also available for those really looking to improve their game, but at significantly higher costs.
10. Basketball: Find a local park, high school, college, YMCA, or church and see who has a hoop available. If you’re not skilled it would be best to find a park with multiple courts so you don’t feel pressured to compete right away with the slam dunking behemoths found on some public courts. Your private gym may have a court and there are likely to be some less busy times your buddies can take over for a while. The only cost for this (outside of any membership fees for private gyms) is the $15-$100 you spend on a ball. I recommend The Wave indoor or outdoor ball for beginners or those playing friendly pickup games.
11. Bowling: For those unafraid of germs and smelly old carpet, check out your local bowling alley! Granted, some are much cleaner and may even be updated for the 21st century. But still, who doesn’t look back on high school “Rock n Bowl” nights with fondness? There may even be karaoke at the bar in the alley. Get ready for some nachos, beer, and bringing back the old school.
12. Dance clubs: This is definitely NOT my style, but for those of you who somehow managed to pick up some moves other than the slow dance (my personal favorite) in junior high and high school, think about hitting up some local night clubs. Be prepared for way overpriced drinks and remember that everyone looks different when the light of day returns in the morning. If the club is popular and you don’t have a reservation for a table, be prepared for a bit of a wait. If you’re bringing several ladies with you, your chances of getting in may improve dramatically. Don’t finish your drink if you leave it alone, and stay hydrated. You don’t want to end up the story everyone laughs about 5 years from now for passing out while talking to that chick that wasn’t that interested to begin with.
13. Geocaching: This fun, inexpensive hobby is something you can do literally just about anywhere in the world. I have found and hid caches in multiple states and just about any environment you can think of. There are some ground rules for the community of geocachers that can be found on the site linked above. The gist is that people hide caches in disguised containers, with magnets, in holes, in bushes, in hollowed out posts, and just about anywhere else you can think of. A typical find will take only a few minutes of looking and by creating a username on the site above, you can track your finds, place caches of your own, and link with others in the community.
14. Build something: This is another that is not my particular area of expertise (I’m about as handy as a jar of almonds), but can potentially create hours of time with your buddies. If you are all handy in a similar way, consider creating something together. You might rebuild a car, work together to repair a fence for one of your yards, build a gazebo at one of your homes, whatever. The point is to hang out together doing something you all can enjoy. Possibilities are endless! (As are the costs, depending on what you decide, but chances are good that you were going to build the thing anyway. This way you’re doing it together!).
15. Football: (or any other sport that requires a team) The idea here is that, similar to basketball above, there is minimal overhead for the activity. You just need a football (NERF, NFL, or otherwise) and some open space to run around. You might consider this as an adjunct to having a BBQ at a local park on the weekend. Invite your families, girlfriends, etc. but make sure that you get some guy time built into the afternoon.
16. Video/Computer games: Possibilities abound. Whether playing in the same room or linking up online, if you’re into video games, take advantage of the available opportunities to spend time with your buddies. You’re probably going to play anyway, so why not get together for a mission/quest? Make sure that you’ve all purchased the appropriate software and hardware required for communicating in addition to the game itself. If you’re really dedicated you might consider entering a competitive tournament together.
17. Dave & Busters: For a low key, low prep evening, consider having dinner and/or drinks at an adult arcade. Compete against each other in racing games, hoops, etc. while also watching live sports/fights and meeting new people around the bar. Designate a driver, put some points on your gaming card, and have fun!
18. Men’s Retreat: For the religious or spiritually minded, many outdoor education and wilderness camps offer men’s retreats (often for the duration of a weekend or more, cost can range from around $100-$300) during which men get together and do outdoor activities, listen to motivational/inspirational speakers, enjoy group bonding time/team-building, and take time out for personal relaxation/reflection time. Depending on the nature of the camp, speakers may deliver sermons or motivational talks. Activities can include paintball, rock wall climbing, group running outings, off road cycling, fishing, poker tournaments, billiards, and other outdoor adventures. A SoCal example can be found here.
Alright, that’s all I’ve got for now. If there are any other activities you do with “the guys” please share in a comment below so we can all jump on your bandwagon! If your boyfriend/husband/dad/brother/boss/neighbor does something that’s not quite your style but you think someone else might be interested, share it! I’m always looking for more ideas and I can’t wait to try out whatever it is you do with your group of guys. Have fun, be safe out there, and blessings on your male bonding time!
Photo retrieved from www.pexels.com on 4/13/2015