Many families have flocked to radio-control hobbies as a safe, fun way to get outdoors. And the hobby never needs to feel stale. Keep reading to learn about outside-the-box activities to help keep the RC spark alive for people of all ages.
Fun Family-Friendly RC Activities
Looking for activities you can do alone or with your friends and family? Try one of these.
- Take RC vehicles to a skatepark
RC cars can be loads of fun on various terrain, and thinking outside of the box leads to exciting results. Pack up your gear and head to a local skatepark to grab the most air possible. Launch your vehicle off of quarter pipes, steps, and other random ramps. Bring along an on-road drifter and take advantage of the smooth paved surfaces at the skatepark. You can have a great drifting session by using the skate props as a course. Be sure to bring friends and extra vehicles!
- Bring off-road RC cars to a hiking trail or beach
While you can get trail-specific RC cars, you don’t need one to enjoy trails. Make the most out of whichever off-road vehicle you have by bringing it to trails, beaches, or other rugged areas. Enjoy the adventure of taking an RC car down a bumpy, rocky trail and successfully navigating hazards. It can be relaxing and therapeutic to enjoy the outdoors with an RC if you don’t worry about speed and just enjoy the scenery and experience. Many modern RC cars are waterproof, and traversing small streams is a fun challenge. Navigating beaches and dunes is a blast, too. You can even get specialized tires for sand. Beware, though, that sand can cause increased wear and tear on bearings and gears; be sure to do preventative maintenance to avoid any issues.
- Visit an RC crawler course
RC rock crawling is similar to bringing your RC vehicle to trails. Sanctioned competitive rock crawling events invite hobbyists to compete in various classes on predetermined courses that are similar to real-world terrain. Participants often deck out their vehicles with realistic body shells, accessories, and wheels. The models are interesting to look at and may inspire you to improve your off-road RC vehicle. Don’t be surprised if a visit to the local rock crawler club makes you want to buy your own and participate in the fun.
- Explore RC Racing
Racing is what first hooked me on RC cars. I bought an inexpensive off-road nitro racer, went racing every weekend, and loved every minute. I quickly met helpful people who gave me advice about tuning my car, tires to use, and driving consistently. I looked forward to every weekend so I could head out on the track. Don’t feel like you have to drop a lot of money to start racing. Many clubs have spec racing classes, which teach people how to race an RC car and prohibit expensive modifications to stock, affordable cars. These races are perfect for beginners due to their manageable speeds and bumper-to-bumper racing. If you’re into RC planes, try RC airplane racing, where aircraft race around pylons in a timed event. Some local clubs may have a division for beginners where you can bring your airplane and practice racing against the clock. Even if you don’t want to race, head to a racecourse with your family to watch and cheer for local RC talent.
- Try Mudding
It’s a hoot to take an off-road RC car in the mud and kick up rooster tails. Four-wheel-drive monster trucks are the best fit for this activity, but you can make do with whichever off-road vehicle you have. Design a makeshift sled and have contests on how far you can pull it in the mud. Short-course trucks are popular in the RC car world mainly because they look realistic plowing through puddles, mud, or streams, and most of them have the bonus of being waterproof. Thus, you can cake your truck in the mud, rinse it off with the hose, dry it thoroughly, and it will look as good as new.
- Make an RC car bowling alley
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to RC. What other sports and activities does your family enjoy? You may be able to incorporate RC vehicles. For example, if you love bowling, you can set up 10 bowling pins, line up your car, close your eyes, go full throttle, and see who knocks the most down. Or you can do an airborne variant where only midair collisions with pins count. You can achieve this feat by placing a ramp somewhere down the lane. Your imagination is the only factor limiting you from creating any RC sports-themed game.
- Play RC car soccer
Keeping with the sports theme, don’t miss RC soccer. Don’t worry about car types, just get as many RC drivers and cars as you can, make some goals, find a soccer ball, and you’re ready to play. Inventing rules is part of the game. Include penalties, plays, and lots of carnage. The game is as fun for spectators as drivers because there are bound to be crashes, tumbles, and flips. Just don’t use an RC you’re afraid to crash!
- Make your own obstacle course
Can’t get to the racing track? Create a track or obstacle course in the backyard. Not all courses are for racing. I’ve had some of the most fun in my backyard by piling up rocks, ramps, and anything else I could scavenge. Make your own challenge and time yourself while you complete it or see if you can do it without toppling over. Fun, family-friendly competitions are great. And if you have a rock crawler, you can make an indoor course out of books and other office supplies for some rainy-day fun.
- Paint your vehicles
Painting may not be something you think of right away when you think of RC cars, but it’s a fun way to customize your rig. After all, the first thing you notice when you look at an RC car is the body shell, so what better way to stand out from the crowd than with a DIY livery theme? RC car painting can be as simple (or complex) as you want. Purchase a clear plastic shell and gather a few rattle cans of polycarbonate spray paint and some painter’s tape. Often, simple two-color paint schemes look fantastic, and your friends will notice the upgrade in your car’s appearance. If you enjoy painting, go all out with an airbrush to paint flames, fades, or flags. You can also get special glues that allow you to paste magazine pictures on the inside of the shell for a more customized look. And you don’t need to reserve painting for RC cars. You can customize RC airplanes too.
- Experiment with a different type of RC vehicle
The radio-control hobby spans beyond cars or planes. Try branching into other options. For instance, if you are an avid RC airplane pilot, why not try an RC car for a fun diversion? Much of your knowledge will transfer between airplanes and cars, as they both can use electronic speed controls, servos, and similar battery technology. RC boats are a blast as well if you have a body of water nearby. And don’t forget about RC helicopters! They bring a unique set of challenges due to their more complex control style, which is part of the fun. Whether you try planes, cars, helicopters, or boats, all have various scale sizes and limitless variety. Don’t be surprised if the RC bug bites you again when you try a new type!
- Visit an RC aeronautics club.
It’s a bit more difficult to get into RC airplane flying, but don’t let it stop you from partaking in the hobby. Check out local listings for sanctioned flying fields and take your family on a weekend trip to one. Nothing beats the sound of a huge ¼ scale gas plane screaming by. It’s just as fun to watch other people’s planes as to fly your own, and you can meet people and learn about the hobby. Most hobbyists get excited to talk about their planes and are willing to share tips for getting into RC planes. If the field has a website, check to see if they have special events planned such as jet shows, plane racing, or combat days.
RC never needs to get boring. Try a few of these outside-the-box activities to keep it interesting for years to come.