There’s nothing that says “summer” as much as a long, leisurely day at the beach. (Okay, maybe hot dogs, ice cream cones, and fireworks… but the beach is pretty classic!)
That said, it takes a certain kind of disposition to laze about in the sun all day with literally nothing to do — or even with their nose in a mystery novel. Especially if you’ve got the kids along for the ride, you’re likely going to need some beach games to help bide your time by the tide.
Fortunately, there are tons of fun beach games to choose from, including super-simple ones that require almost no equipment at all as well as slightly more gear-intensive classics. In this post, we’ll walk you through the very best beach games for the whole family.
Ready to get a little competitive while you get your tan on? Keep reading!
1. Beach Bocce Ball
When it comes to classic beach party games, bocce ball pretty much tops the list — and we can see why. It’s super simple but it stays fun no matter how many times you play it, thanks to the unpredictability of the luck-based outcome.
Here’s how it works. Up to four individual players or two group teams can play, and all you need to get started is a set of beach bocce balls, which you can come by pretty cheaply or order once for just under $100. That way, you’ll know you always have a pristine, durable set to get busy with.
Either way, once you’ve got the balls, grab your group and draw a “shooting circle” in the sand, approximately 5-8 feet in diameter. It can be helpful to mark out this circle using sticks, rocks, or some other more tangible object than the sand itself, which can easily shift. Then, a player stands inside and tosses the jack, or smallest ball, outside of the circle. The object of the game thereafter is to be the person or team who can throw their bocce ball closest to the jack from within the circle. Super simple — in fact, it almost sounds boring, right? But the thing that keeps people coming back is the fact that you could be winning the whole time and suddenly have your ball misplaced or be one-upped by an opponent with no warning.
2. Beach Frisbee
Here’s a classic you likely already have the gear for: beach frisbee. In fact, one of the coolest parts about this option is that it can be as low-key or as competitive as you want; just toss a frisbee back and forth between friends or make it into a serious competition. It’s up to you!
It may not be a game, per se, but there’s something to the simple magic of watching your kite float on air. And as long as your kids have a patient adult to help them steer clear of any string tangles, flying a kite could easily keep them occupied for a whole beachy afternoon, particularly if it’s a kite as visually interesting as adorable octopuses.
Along with being a classic outdoor activity for the beach and beyond, kite-flying is affordable, simple, and super reusable — if you take care of them, your kites will last you for years of fun flying. All you have to do is get out there and catch the wind!
Whether you’re traveling with a group of friends, a family, or even just as a couple, ring toss is a perfect game for literally any beach party — and it couldn’t be any more affordable or cheaper. The set complete with a base and pegs made of durable wood, the rings themselves, and a water-resistant bag to carry it all in. You can set it up and get tossin’ literally anywhere you go camping, whether it’s on the beach, in the woods, or even just in your own backyard.
5. Water Gun Fights
Who doesn’t have a fond summer memory involving getting soaked by someone who purportedly loves them? The water guns make it easy to recreate those memories with your own kids — and it’s the perfect way to cool down on a hot beach day under the sun. Foregoing the fancy and unnecessary add-ons in favor of perfecting the real purpose of such a toy: to soak others!
Looking for Even More Games to Play at the Beach?
While we hope this list of our favorite beach games has given you some serious help on the brainstorming front, don’t get us wrong: there are plenty of other amazing, sand-safe games out there. You can find more on our website, for instance, not to mention taking other classic road trip games, like I Spy, onto the beach.