If there’s one thing that sucks about summer, it’s the fact that it flies by so fast. Like, seriously, how can three months just vanish? As soon as June 1 hits, you idealistically start planning your summer bucket list. Then you blink, it’s August 1, and you’re thinking, How can I possibly squeeze every last drop of goodness out of the season before it’s gone? Maybe you put one more road trip on the calendar. Or you use your last bit of summer break to binge-watch all the Netflix shows (who else is watching Outer Banks with mad abandon right now?!). But one failproof way to make your final summer weeks count is putting your toes in the sand and surf as much as possible — and toting as many beach games as you can carry with you to make your days on the coast feel that much more fun.
Sure, you could spend your time in the sun tearing through that stack of beach reads collecting sand in your beach bag. Or you could walk up and down the surf in search of shark teeth. And you know what? Those are both excellent options. Still, you can’t go wrong with even more options to maximize beach trips, and beach games are one of the most entertaining ways to pass the time.
Here are a few favorites to add to your beach-going arsenal.
Best Beach Games
When a game is described as what you’d get if “volleyball and foursquare had a baby,” well, you know it’s gotta be hella fun. This Spikeball kit comes with a rulebook, but TL;DR, teams alternate possessions and try to spike the ball away from each other.
Since we’re on the hybrid metaphor train, TidalBall is basically the lovechild of cornhole and bocce ball. First, you scoop out two holes 10 paces apart, with a semi-circular “trench” four inches behind each hole. Teams on opposing sides alternate tosses (like cornhole). Get it in the hole? Three points. The trench? One point.
3. Bocce Ball
When it comes to beach games, you can’t get much more classic than bocce! This bocce set’s great because you can choose either hard resin balls or soft rubber balls.
I know what you’re thinking — There’s no way I’m lugging my cornhole set to the beach. Either that or you’re questioning the quality of a cornhole set designed for portability. But this GoSports cornhole set comes with nearly 5,000 positive reviews on Amazon, so it must be doing something right.
5. Activ Flyer
Ditch that old inflexible frisbee for a set of Activ flying rings. IMHO, the holes in the center make these easier for little hands to catch. Plus, they float, so no worries about losing them if an errant toss lands them in the water.
6. Hoyle Waterproof Playing Cards
The first time I saw these, I wished I’d thought of waterproof playing cards. They make so much sense for beach trips! Last summer, our entire family piled into a house together at Edisto Beach, and we spent our days walking to and from the beach access to swim. In between swimming sessions, everyone wanted to do something fun — but we also didn’t want wet, sandy hands to ruin any of the board games or puzzles we brought. These waterproof playing cards would have been a no-brainer.
7. Kan Jam
Making this list makes me wonder if I need better friends in my life, because how has no one told me about this game before?! For the glow-in-the-dark set, you get two Kan Jam cans, a glow-flying disc, and remote control. Much like cornhole, you play to 21, with two teams of two alternating. Each team consists of a “thrower” and a “deflector,” with different point values assigned for different kinds of scores. The ultimate goal? Get the frisbee in the can! Reviewer tip: Don’t use the adhesive on the can lights — just place the lights at the bottom of each can.
8. Bottle Bash
You know those endlessly frustrating games at the fair where you’re supposed to knock the bottles off of a platform but never seem to be able to? Well, maybe you’ll have more luck with this version. To play Bottle Bash, two poles are set up 20, 30, or 40 feet apart (depending on the skill level of those playing) with a non-breakable bottle placed atop each. Two teams alternate throwing a flying disc at the bottle opposite them, which belongs to their opponent. The defending team tries to catch the disc and bottle before they hit the sand.
Think of BucketBall as a combination of cornhole and beer pong but family-friendly. That probably tells you just about everything you need to know, right? The beach set is especially fun because (a) everything is waterproof and floats, and (b) you can even purchase an inflatable rack set for your buckets to keep them together if you want to play in the water.
It’s badminton’s flashier cousin, Jazzminton! Tennis-lovers in the group will excel at this one, so maybe recruit them for your team early.
11. Toss and Catch Ball
Just looking at the picture of this toss and catch ball set gives me flashbacks to beach trips during our childhood. And you know, classics are classics for a reason. The only annoying part of this game back in the day was dealing with pads that weren’t sticky enough, but this set’s nearly 5-star rating suggests that’s a non-issue here.
Yes, this is exactly what it looks like — a foursquare volleyball net. The court is divided into four squares. Square 4 serves from out of bounds diagonally to square 2. Whoever misplays is eliminated and returns to square 1. When a player in squares 1 – 3 misplays, square 4 gets a point. Games go to 11 points, and you have to win by 2. Honestly, playing Crossnet sounds like a blast and a busted lip waiting to happen in equal measure… but the latter is a chance I’d be willing to take for something this much fun.
13. Jumbo Checkers
Although you certainly could tote this out on the beach if you wanted to, these jumbo checkers make the list more as a “beach house game.” It’s the type of activity that a breezy screened-in back porch overlooking the ocean just begs for.
14. Ladder Toss
We first discovered the joy of Ladder Toss when we lived at Folly Beach, and I’m not exaggerating when I say we played it every single weekend. I honestly don’t know why it doesn’t get as much fanfare as cornhole.
15. Tug of War
Want a quick and easy way to entertain kids at the beach? Introduce them to good ol’ fashioned tug of war. Draw a line in the sand and let little cousins duke it out. Or, even better, let them play in a large, shallow tide pool (as long as everyone is old enough to be a good swimmer!) so the water cushions their fall.
16. Beach Volleyball
If you’re not about that toting-12-bags-and-pulling-an-ark-full-of-shit-to-the-beach life, let me suggest one simple but highly entertaining beach game item: a volleyball. This Wilson Graffiti Volleyball is beautiful, so it’s got that going for it right off the bat. But also, you don’t need a net or anything else to play with it. Just get a volley going!
17. Waboba Ball
Same idea with Waboba Splash Balls — these fun balls bounce across the water, making them an ideal option when you’re just hanging out in the shallows.
Have I ever played cricket? No. Will that stop me from trying this Sportaxis beach set? Also no. Ever since I first laid eyes on cricket-bat-carrying Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I’ve had a thing about cricket (#DontJudgeMe).
19. Ring Toss
Ring toss might not be the flashiest game on this list, but it still has a lot going for it. It’s super-easy to set up, pretty much everyone knows the rules, and it appeals to players of all ages.
Another take on Spikeball, Slammo sees two teams with three hits each try to bounce or spike the ball into the net for points. Why not get your competitive sweat on before jumping in the water, right?
21. Toss Games
This toss games set is the same idea as Bottle Bash, but it’s more of a BYOB version — as in, bring your own bottles. Or toy soldiers, or rubber duckies. You can use anything that’ll stay atop the small platform.
You could say that RampShot is like cornhole with a twist. Teammates position themselves on opposite sides of the playing area and work together to score points by tossing and/or catching the ball. You get three points for a shot directly in the net, one point if your teammate catches the ball after bouncing off the top of the ramp. If a “shooter” lobs the ball short and it bounces off the front of the ramp, the other team can run in and catch the ball to gain an extra shot. The first team to 15 achieves RampShot glory.
23. Beat That!
This fun and frenzied family-friendly game features 160 challenges, from bouncing a ball into a cup to stacking dice on a table using only chopsticks. Get ready for tons of giggles from the kids while they try to make their way through the missions.
24. UNO Splash
You can never, never go wrong with Uno! This version of the game features a two-sided deck, with the dark side having super-tough penalties. And, of course, the whole thing is waterproof, AKA beach and pool-safe.
25. Wave Runner Grip It Waterproof Football
If you toss this Wave Runner waterproof football into your beach bag, someone will inevitably grab it and start an impromptu game of toss. It’s, like, science.
If you like cornhole, hacky sack, skeeball, or any of the above, you’re probably going to love BulziBucket. It’s essentially played the same as cornhole, except teammates can “hack it” to help get it in the hole.
27. Hydro Lacrosse
I’m just going to level with you — I tried lacrosse once and truly sucked at it. But I do love a good challenge, and these little Hydro Lacrosse paddles (sticks? catchers??) are cute.
28. Beach Find and Seek Scavenger Hunt Card Game
First of all, this find-and-seek game comes in a nice portable drawstring pouch. Second, and most importantly, it’s a great way to get everyone up and adventuring as they turn the entire beach into a scavenger hunt zone.
29. Portable Badminton Set
If you like playing badminton but don’t want to fuss with a big traditional set, this portable set could be your jam. Not only is the design practical and compact, but it’s also bound to catch the attention of other beachgoers.
30. LED Beach Ball
Maybe spending more time in the pool than the surf is more your speed during a beach trip. Or maybe you enjoy hitting the beach at dusk or in the evening when it’s less people-y. Either way, your crew will get a serious kick out of these LED beach balls. With 16 color lights, four light modes, and 100-foot distance control, it’d be Mission: Impossible not to have some serious nighttime fun.
**This post contains affiliate links. Although I only recommend picks I’m really pumped about, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through clicking on one of my links.**