15 Great Examples of Recreational Activities That Anybody Can Do

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You no longer have an excuse if you have been searching for examples of recreational activities that you can do. Don’t be part of the people that ignore or overlook recreational activities without understanding that these activities are essential for your well being and maintaining a healthy lifestyle

One of the reasons for this list of recreational activities is to provide options for activities that can be done for recreation.  The list is also meant to help people like you who may be confused about what to do for recreation and to show them where they can get more information about their desired activity.

The list includes information about different recreational activities and some description to help you understand what these activities entail.  However, before you dive into the list, it is important that you understand the difference between recreational activities and leisure activities since some people use them interchangeably. 

What is Recreation?

Recreational activities are experiences or organized activities that you actively participate in with others, to have fun and enjoy life during your free time. This includes experiences that require physical activity and interactions and playing with other people. They are not things that you do all by yourself (although you can attempt to do some by yourself but you will miss the fun of doing it with others). 

What is Leisure? 

Leisure activities are the things that you do primarily for relaxation and pleasure, and which don’t involve much work. These activities could be very passive requiring little or no physical activity, and you can do them by yourself if you don’t want to do it with others. 

Differences Between Leisure and Recreation 

One of the basic differences between leisure activities and recreational activities is that leisure activities can be very passive with little or no physical activity and you can do them by yourself whereas recreational activities require physical activity and interactions with other people

Types of Recreational Activities

There are several types of recreational activities and different criteria can be used to categorize these activities. Activities can be categorized based on the level of activity and interaction with others etc. Some of the different types of recreational activities include:

Physical Activities: E.g. Sports and games like volleyball, tennis, etc.

Social Activities: This includes things like parties, picnics, carnivals etc.

Outdoor Activities: This involves activities like camping, backpacking etc.

Arts and Crafts: Examples includes activities like painting, woodwork, sculpting etc. 

Musical Activities: Includes musical bands, singing, dance groups etc.

Drama and Theater: This includes acting, plays, puppetry etc.

Service Activities: awareness for causes (e.g.running for cancer), fundraising, volunteering etc. 

This is just a sample and easy classification of recreational activities, it is by no means exhaustive and you can add different criteria to it or choose a different method of classification that is most suitable for you. 

Examples of Recreational Activities 

Most recreational activities are known to be very beneficial to your total well being and most of them will help you relax and help you manage stress better. Some of the top examples of recreational activities that you can do include:

Backpacking

examples of recreational activities

Backpacking refers to an outdoor recreational activity where equipment and supplies are packed and carried in a bag (backpack). Some of the common equipment or gear include shelter (tents, sleeping bags etc.), cooking equipment (stove, pans and pots etc.). These items are packed carefully such that only the very important items are carried because of weight concerns and limited space. 

Backpacking trips can last for only a few days to several months sometimes. Most backpacking trips involve travelling with public transportation or hiking for long distances mostly in the country and often unfamiliar terrain.  

Bowling

bowling

This is an indoor recreational game or activity where a player rolls or throws a bowling ball on a lane to hit target pins at the end of the lane. The game is normally played between two to eight players per lane. The lanes have wooden or synthetic surfaces which makes it easy for the ball to roll on it.

There are two types of bowling: pin bowling and lawn bowling. In pin bowling, players throw or roll the ball to knock off target pins and it is mostly played indoors whereas in lawn bowling players try to hit their target pins on the other end of the lawn.    

Camping

recreational activities - camping

Camping can be described as a recreational activity that entails spending time outdoors overnight in a temporary makeshift shelter. People who go camping usually tend to pick serene, undeveloped and natural locations. The camp can be for one night or several nights depending on how long you want to spend time outdoors. 

It is different from other similar outdoor activities like hiking because you sleep outdoors in a makeshift shelter overnight. Camping is very common nowadays and it can be done throughout the year. The availability of commercial campgrounds and recreational vehicles (RVs) has made camping a delightful experience for many people.

Canoeing

recreational activities - canoeing

Canoeing is another interesting and exciting outdoor activity which involves paddling (the act of propelling a canoe forward using a paddle) a canoe with a single-bladed paddle. It can be combined with other outdoor recreational activities like camping where canoes are used as a means of transportation to the campsite.

It can also be done as a sport where people can compete to be the first to reach a certain point. It can also be used as just a means of transport around a water body to see the scenic beauty of the environment. 

Fishing

recreational activities

This is an activity that entails using different tactics to catch fish using a fishing rod and fish baits. This is done mainly in different water bodies in the wild or in community ponds around your neighborhood. Different tactics are usually employed to catch fish and there are a number of fishing competitions where people can compete as individuals or in teams.

Usually, the person or team that catches the biggest fish (by weight) within the given time wins the competition. Fish caught during most fishing events are usually released back into the water body after celebrating the catch, except in a few cases (like when you are camping) where the fish caught are cooked for meals.   

Golfing

recreational activities - golfing

Golf is a game that is played with clubs (Golf Clubs) where players hit the ball and try to get the ball into several holes on the golf course (field or specially designed lawn for playing golf) with a few strokes as possible. The golf course has different terrains and players have to play the ball across the different landscapes to get to a hole. 

Some parts of the golf course can be hilly with different elevations, some are just plain and there are often water bodies (like lakes and ponds) in the golf course. Golf is played as a recreational activity (game) and it is common to find golf courses in most cities and neighborhoods. It is also played as a professional competitive sport. 

Ice Skating

recreational activities - ice skating

Ice skating is the ability to propel yourself and glide across a sheet of ice using special shoes with metal blades known as ice skates. It is done as a recreational activity as well as a competitive sport. It can be done both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor areas known as skating rinks are typically designed and built especially for ice skating and outdoor locations could be areas with naturally occurring frozen water bodies or areas with natural ice sheets like mountain slopes, lakes etc. It can be practised for exercise, recreational activity as well as a professional sport. 

Kayaking

recreational activities - kayaking

This is the use of a special kind of canoe-like boat to move across the water. The kayak is different from the canoe by the sitting position of the paddler and the type of paddle used. The paddler sits facing forward with legs in front and straight.

Kayaks typically do not have much space and are often designed with closed decks. The paddle for a kayak also has two blades and the paddler has to paddle front to back on one side and then the other side to propel the kayak forward. Kayaking is an individual activity but it can be done in a group as a recreational activity and in combination with other recreational activities like camping, fishing etc. 

Sailing/Boating

recreational activities - sailing

This involves leveraging the power of winds against sails to propel a sailboat on the surface of the water and in some cases ice and even land (land yacht). The sailor needs to maneuver the boat and adjust the sails with respect to the wind direction to propel the boat forward. 

Sailing has become a recreational sport for many people who love it and there are often competitive sailing events around the world. It can be an interesting recreational activity to engage in and you will find sailing clubs with sailing enthusiasts in many cities (especially coastal cities or cities with large water bodies). 

Skiing

recreational activities - skiing

Skiing is a good example of recreational activity that is done mostly outdoors where participants use skis to glide on snow while moving or travelling from one location to another. Skiers use specially designed shoes with long blades for skiing and special rods known as ski poles for support and propulsion especially when ascending a slope.

The basic types of skiing include Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing, and Telemark skiing. Besides recreational activity, skiing is also done as a competitive winter sport where skiers compete in a race or gliding (jumping) competition. 

Rowing

recreational activities - rowing

Rowing involves propelling a boat forward with the use of oars. It is different from canoeing or kayaking because it uses oars while canoeing and kayaking use paddles. Oars are different from paddles because they are fixed to the edge of the boat with the boat edge serving as a fulcrum.

The person rowing only needs to pull the oars backwards to propel the boat forward. Rowing can be done with different types of boats from a boat that can take only one person to a boat that has a capacity for up to 8 people (with all of them rowing). 

You can find rowing clubs in most cities especially those close to the coast or cities with large water bodies like rivers or lakes. Most people do rowing for recreation but there are professional rowing teams as well and it is a professional sport in most international athletic meets. 

Scuba Diving

recreational activities - scuba diving

This refers to underwater diving (often deep water diving) where the diver utilizes their self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) that provides the oxygen they need to breathe underwater which is independent of surface supply. Scuba divers tend to have more independence in diving before they don’t depend on surface oxygen supply.

This enables them to dive to greater depths and stay longer underwater than divers who don’t have their own breathing gas or are dependent on surface supply. Most people do this for recreational purposes, especially people who are interested in marine life and coral beds. However, there are quite a number of professional divers who do this for a living too. 

Skydiving

recreational activities - skydiving

This is an exhilarating activity that involves diving from high altitudes into a free fall under the force of gravity and then controlling your descent speed and landing with the use of a parachute. This is also referred to as parachuting. Skydivers are usually flown to a drop zone in an aircraft and then dropped from there where they jump out of the plane and descend under the force of gravity before using a parachute to control their speed of descent and landing. Skydiving is a fast-growing recreational activity in most urban areas and large cities, and competitive games are also emanating from this activity.   

Surfboarding

recreational activities - surfboarding

Surfing is a water surface sport where the surfer essentially rides on the forward side or face of a moving wave which propels the surfer forward towards the shore. Surfing is commonly done in large water bodies like the ocean where wave tides are strong. However, there are artificial wave pools nowadays where giant waves are created artificially for surfing.

There are different types and styles of surfing some of which include using your belly, knee, etc. for surfing. Surfing clubs are found in most coastal cities and areas and it is now common to find surfing clubs even in cities that are not located on the coast because of the ability to create artificial surfing pools. 

Swimming

recreational activities - swimming

Swimming is one of the most common examples of recreational activities that you can find anywhere (especially during the summer!). It basically involves self-propulsion through water using coordinated movements of the limbs and body. There are different swimming styles and techniques that you can use. 

Swimming is a common recreational activity and it is a popular competitive sport as well. You can find swimming pools in most public recreational facilities and you can even have one in your home. There are innovative solutions that have made swimming pools for home use very affordable for most people. You can also find swimming lessons both online and in your area or hire a swimming coach to help you swim better or learn how to swim.