I’ll admit, I’ve only gone to actual paintball arenas twice in my life. I was never a big paintball guy. Which is all the more reason you should take me seriously when I tell you that paintball arenas and paintball in general are rad. Paintball gets you out of the video game world and into some actual heart-pumping action. And unlike laser tag, getting shot by a paintball hurts just enough to make you really not want to get shot.

The sport has evolved at an insane rate since its inception in 1981, and going to an official paintball arena instead of a friend’s backyard brings the entire experience to a whole new level. Here are five paintball locations worth travelling to.

Real Life Movie Props | Hollywood Sports, California
Like a lot of great paintball arenas, Hollywood Sports offers a variety of themed fields on which to play. But being just outside Los Angeles, this location is able to pull from the wealth of set designers and experienced Hollywood professionals to create some of the most accurate, immersive playing fields. There’s a “Mad Max” themed park straight out of “The Road Warrior”, a field called Lunar Wars which looks like a broken down Tatooine, the Forbidden City which looks like gorgeously preserved Roman ruins, and Cajun Terror which appears to be some sort of semi-haunted New Orleans—plus a whole bunch more. If you’re looking to lose yourself in worldbuilding fit for a videogame or movie, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Camp Pendleton, The Paintball Park | San Diego, California
It can be fun to play at military life, but how about playing paintball on an actual military base? You can sneak your way around military tanks and airplanes, make a run for a bunker, or post up high and snipe at your opponents. This location also offers over 30 acres of playing fields in addition to their military themed ones (they have a big ol’ castle on one of them), but this is the most authentic in town since it’s literally a military base.

Real Life Nuketown | Paintball Field, Illinois
In 2013, Paintball Explosion partnered with a leading paintball manufacturer to create one of the eeriest paintball fields around: Nuketown. Based on the popular map from Call of Duty, Nuketown recreates the weird, perfectly new but abandoned towns created in the 50s to test the effects of nuclear bombs (think the awful scene from Indiana Jones 4 where Indy survives a nuclear attack by hiding in a refrigerator). This field has since become increasingly popular since its inception and includes test dummies and authentic vehicles throughout.

CPX Paintball | Chicago, Illinois
CPX Paintball is in a league of its own in the world of immersive paintball arenas. If you’re looking for a quiet day in a quaint, small town, the playing field of Bedlam would seem to be your ticket. Until someone cries out, “SNIPER!” and all hell breaks loose that is. Play around cars, alleys, mailboxes, and the general city streets of this lovely 1950s town, or try your luck in the Indiana Jones themed Jungle of Doom arena. Located just outside Chicago in Joliet, CPX Paintball boasts four more totally immersive paintball fields you’ll definitely want to check out at some point soon.

Blitz Paintball | Colorado
Blitz Paintball is a beloved tournament destination and that’s no surprise given the gigantic medieval castle situated in the middle of the park. This two-story 70ft by 100ft castle boasts an inner courtyard and a throne room, all walled off from a surrounding 150ft by 200ft playing area. If you’ve ever wanted to storm a castle in your life, this is a good place to start. Not to mention, the castle lies right between a military themed playing field and an urban layout field, making this arena approachable from both sides.

Achievements in this Article