What’s a day at the beach without fun beach games?
It’s a boring one, if you ask my kids. While beach balls, sand castles and water pistols are great for little ones (and myself), older kids and adults often need a little more to do when they hit the beach in summer.
We spend a lot of time at the beach, so we decided to put together a list of the best beach games for adults and kids alike.
If you enjoy beach activities, there are so many beach games to play if you’re bored of working on your tan or swimming in the water. Whether you enjoy classic beach games like throwing a Frisbee around, or prefer some of the newer beach fads like pickle ball or roundnet, there are plenty of things to do at the beach for everyone of all ages and skills.
So without further ado, here’s our list of some of the best beach games you can play while spending the day by the water. We know which ones are our favorites, which ones are yours?
Best Beach Games List
Looking for some fun games to play at the beach? Here are our favorites, with picks for beach games for couples, adults, and kids. Some of these involve fun beach toys you can buy, but keep reading for free games to play at the beach as well.
Whether you’re booking some time away with your loved ones, a solo trip, or a couples retreat, beach games are always a great way to make the most of your time in the sand.
Best throwing games for the beach
Throwing sports make great beach activities. You can often play them in the water, on the beach or on the nearby grass and, if the beach is a little crowded, lobbing something in the air gives you more room to maneuver. Just be mindful of other people’s space, and try to keep everyone, including yourself, safe.
Frisbee or flying discs
No beach day is complete without someone getting hit by at least one Frisbee. To make sure you’re not the one getting hit, be the one throwing it.
If you have a few beach items as targets, you can even start a beach version of disc golf.
If you’re playing Frisbee in the water, consider getting a soft flying disc so it doesn’t sink or hurt when you accidentally toss it at someone.
Whether it’s shaped like a football or some weird hybrid, Nerf balls make a great way to kill time while on the beach. The best part, if you accidentally hit someone, a Nerf ball won’t typically do a lot of damage. Some even absorb enough water that if you’re playing catch in the surf, it’s just like having a water balloon fight, minus the messy balloons..
Yeah, the ol’ pigskin is better suited to throwing around on the grass and not the sand however football is still a very popular beach pastime in North America. Just don’t be the guy trying to kick it because you know that never turns out well.
This is probably the pinnacle of beach style class. Technically, it’s more of a bowling game than a throwing game, however it’s great fun and a good game to play in teams. The best part is that lots of wind just makes the game more enjoyable and you can play on sand, grass or even gravel. If you enjoy playing bocce ball but haven’t bought your own set yet, similarly played petanque might also be something worth checking out.
A quintessential beach sport, there’s no better reason to dive into the sand than while playing a quick pick up game of v-ball. Considering there are volleyball courts at nearly every beach these days, it makes it an easy game to get started and, if you show up at any beach with a volleyball, guaranteed friends.
Tip! Even if there’s no net, getting a few people together in a rough circle is a great way to enjoy playing a little volleyball. The bonus, you won’t be letting the team down if you suck at it.
You know I had to add this in here. Why? Because everyone takes a basketball to the beach silly! Actually, there are basketball courts in so many parks, especially in North America, that adjoin the beach that taking one actually makes sense if you enjoy shooting hoops outside. Just make sure to grab a street ball vs a regular ball since most courts close to sand can be hard on an indoor ball.
Yes, this is that game where you toss two golf balls tied together on a string at some stick like ladders. No, you aren’t a dork for playing it. Yes, it’s more fun than it looks, and yes, it’s actually harder than it looks. Who knew that golfballs had so much bounce?
What’s in a name? Since ladderball is still relatively new, it’s also known in some circles as ladder toss, ladder golf, ball rope and hillbilly golf. There’s even an area down south where they call it horse nuts. If you have to ask, you don’t want to know.
Speaking of horses, classics never go out of style and though lobbing a 5 pound metal U at a steel spike in the ground isn’t as common as it once was, you can still find horseshoe pits along many beaches, especially ones with parks attached to them. If you enjoy the game but hate being forced to use a sand pit, grab a set of lighter plastic ones and play wherever you want.
Nope, not talking about that 70’s beanbag you spent a decade lying on while ruining your posture as a kid. This is the one where you toss some square beanbags at a board with a hole in it. Yeah, it’s kind of dorky, but that’s what you get when you ask for lawn darts to be banned. For the unaware, it’s also known in many circles as cornhole, and competition can oftentimes be fierce.
Personal brag: My brother in law and I once won 17 straight matches against the extended family. The result? Accolades, trophies, money? Nope, just forever banned from ever playing together again.
Ever wanted to slap a ball on a mini trampoline with your friends? Now’s your chance with roundnet. Also known as SpikeBall, BounceBall or Slammo, roundnet is a great new game to play at the beach. Comprising two teams of two, you need to smack the small ball onto the net and hope the other team can’t return the ball. This game is fast and furious and is a ton of fun to both play and watch.
A cross between beanbag and horseshoes, washer toss involves throwing metal washers into a small hole. Obviously created by some bored mechanics, the smaller boards and large metal washers means this game can be played at the beach or in your backyard. The best part about it, with more variants than any other beach game on here means you can make up your rules as you go along and it’s doubtful anyone will know the difference or call you out about it.
If you have room to run, kicking a ball around the sand might be the best beach game for you and your friends. If you don’t have so much room, there’s also a few beach games you can play that don’t require a lot of running. No matter which beach kick sport you choose, you’re going to work up a sweat. Especially if it’s a hot day out.
If you’re from Canada or the US, then having a soccer ball with you at the beach might seem a little strange however, trust me, pretty much anywhere else in the world the number one beach sport is soccer by a large degree. We’ve seen soccer (football to almost everyone else in the world) played on some of the most remote beaches we’ve been to and it’s not uncommon for dozens of players to join in on an impromptu match.
What? Hacky sack isn’t a sport! Well, I’m not going to argue but there are several world champion hacky sack players that might disagree. In any case, hacky sacks are perfectly suited to the beach. They’re small, easy to carry in your beach bag and since you generally don’t keep score, it allows experts and novices alike to enjoy kicking the old dirtbag among the circle.
Volleyball not your style but still enjoy hitting something over a net? Sepak takraw is a Southeast Asian specialty where you have to kick a rattan ball over a net using only your feet, head, chest or knees. It requires crazy skill and is essentially a combination of hacky sack and volleyball. Matches are 3 vs 3 and the court is similar in size to a badminton court.
Footvolley is closer to beach volleyball than sepak takraw where they use an actual ball and the teams are 2 vs 2. You can also use a beach volleyball court so in some aspects it’s also easier to set up. Skilled soccer players without a lot of room to run love playing footvolley or kickball at the beach and you’ll often see it being played in Brasil and Paraguay.
Ha, bet you didn’t realize there’s a whole division of paddle sports you can play at the beach. Well, there is and here is what makes them some of the best beach games you can play anywhere.
The newest fad to hit the world, (actually originally conceived back in 1965), pickle ball is remarkably like ping pong but with bigger paddles and big plastic balls with holes in them. A lot of beaches have tennis courts nearby so pickleball is a great way to get some exercise without all the running involved in tennis.
I can remember playing this when I was a kid. There really was no game, it’s pretty much just trying to hit a hard little ball back and forth to each other with a really big wooden paddle. The funny part about it is that it’s ridiculously fun and is a great game to play in the surf since you really can’t hit it that far to begin with and the ball floats quite well.
Ah, badminton. I didn’t really want to add this here since badminton can get frustrating outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still one of my favorite gym sports, however outside the wind plays havoc with the shuttlecock. That said, I’ve seen more than one group at the beach frolicking about with badminton rackets in their hands and happiness in their eyes. That alone tells me it’s a real beach game to someone, somewhere.
If you can play Pickleball, you can surely play tennis, right? Yup. Tennis has been around since the 13th century and will likely long outlive most of the other games on this list. Though there’s lots of tennis courts next to beaches around the world, when you can play Pickleball in a court half the size, why would you want to get all sweaty like that?
Like to think out of the box? Hate organised sports or want to buck the trend of the best beach games above? Don’t want to invest in some of the best beach toys?
Here are some alternative games you and your kiddos can play at the beach. The only limit here is your imagination.
Hole digging contest
Yup, you want alternatives, dig a hole. This is great if you have sand castle blasé but still want to play in the sand. The goal is simple, get everyone in a line and see who can dig a predetermined depth before the others. Have a bunch of different ages playing? Make it something like the depth of the persons knee. Little ones with stubby legs might win it every time, but it’s not winning or losing here that counts. They get to dig!
Water filling contest
Well, what’s the next best thing to digging sand? Filling it with water, obviously. Get everyone to fill their holes in as fast as they can. Want to make it even funnier? Tell them they can only use their bodies to hold the water and no buckets allowed.
How do you make something a little more fun for bored kids? Make it into a competition. Instead of everyone creating one giant sandcastle, have everyone create their own then let everyone vote on their favorite or pick a non competitor to be the judge. Points should be awarded for creativity as well as execution to give everyone a fair chance. Bonus points to those incorporating objects they find along the shore into their design.
What’s easier than sand sculpting? Sand drawing of course. Grab your finger or a stick and see who’s imagination is equal to their skill at drawing. Want to make it even funner. Tell them it has to be a self portrait or their favorite animal. Winner gets their choice of snack and bragging rights!
Beach treasure hunt
Well, if it’s a beach, there’s likely sand and water. What else is there depends on what kind of beach it is. Kinds love finding things so give them a mission. They can either do it alone or as a group and it can range from rocks of a certain size to shells, pieces of wood, crabs, feathers or even things of a certain color. Your imagination (and forethought) can make it easy or hard depending on your children’s ages.
Beach item must haves
Love the beach as much as we do? If so, you probably realized a long time ago that having a few beach specific items is a must for a happy day by the water. Besides for classics like sun tan lotion and sunglasses, here’s a few extra things that you might want to consider.
Love the beach but hate the feeling of sand beneath your toes? We know a few people like that and they swear by lycra beach socks. Unlike typical water shoes, these feel more like socks and are great if you’re playing beach volleyball or beach soccer and your feet get sore quickly from the sand under them. They also make great fin inserts if you enjoy wearing flippers.
Water socks not going to cut it? Need just a little more protection and a harder soled bottom so you can tackle the rougher water terrain? Water shoes are a great investment if you enjoy more natural beaches that aren’t all fine sand and comfy grass. We just picked up new sets of water shoes for the whole family and they’re great when we’re out paddle boarding or enjoying our new camper and enjoying the more rustic beaches.
Do you have any of those beach balls we mentioned at the top like a soccer or volleyball? If so, you’re going to need to fill them up with something. We picked up one of these a while back and it’s a great way to fill or top up those balls after a long winter of storage. The best part, with the included pressure gauge, you know exactly how hard or soft it needs to be.
Every kid (and sand loving adult) needs a sand bucket for a day at the beach. Sure, a true sand sculptor can get by with his hands and a stick but why limit yourself to traditional means when you can have various sized pails for every situation. The best part about this 4 piece nesting set is you can share it with your friends! Feel free to invest in some dollar store shovels and molds but a quality set of pails that generally take the biggest beating will last you forever.