Fun Family Beach Games

fun family beach games

When you visit the shore with your family, you know you’re in for a fun time. Playing in the water and relaxing on the sand are perfect ways to spend your day — but your beach trip can get even more exciting. Get the most out of your visit with beach games for families that involve everything from creativity to competition.

In this guide, we’ll give you plenty of suggestions for packable beach games, DIY beach activities and other ways to have fun in the sun and sand. Put on your beach playlist and spend your day along the seashore with these fun family beach games.

Packable Beach Games

As you pack for your beach visit, don’t forget to bring amusing games and activities. Perfect for families with children or groups of friends headed to the beach, there are so many entertaining games with the equipment you can bring to the beach. Here are some ideas for packable beach games you can play:

  • Fly a kite
  • Play ladder toss
  • Throw a frisbee around
  • Play beach volleyball
  • Blow bubbles
  • Set up a beach bowling game
  • Play a game of limbo

You can also get creative with other equipment you brought to the shore, like pails, shovels, sandcastle molds and more for some DIY beach activities, like:

  • Water relay: For this game, you need a couple of large buckets and a smaller one for everyone who’s playing or for each team. Set the large buckets away from the water, and have players split into teams. A player from each team then takes a small bucket to the water, fills it up, runs it back, and adds the water to the large bucket. The next player in line does the same until one team fills their bucket. This game could be amusing for kids or adults, depending on how far you put the larger buckets away from the water.
  • Water race: The goal of this game is to be the first one to cross a finish line. Sounds easy, right? But this game gets a bit more challenging when you have racers balance cups of water on their heads as they race. Let younger kids hold onto their cups, but make older players balance the cups as they walk. Fill the cups almost to the top to guarantee spills and splashing. If you have a tie, pick the winner based on who has the most water left in their cup. This game is perfect for the beach since you’re getting wet in the ocean anyway and don’t have to worry about any spills.
  • Sandcastle contest: Gather your supplies and split into teams or work alone to create stunning sandcastles. Let kids be the judges for an adult sandcastle contest, then switch the roles for even more fun. If you don’t have sandcastle molds or similar supplies, get even more creative with a sand sculpture contest, where you can create sea creatures or other ocean-themed shapes.
  • River race: Dig a couple of small trenches in the sand that lead to the water and gather some lightweight shells or other items to act as boats. Fill the trenches with water and set sail for a race. Short and more shallow trenches won’t need as much water, which will be easier to fill for more races. Make sure when you’re done playing, you fill in the trenches and clean up, so no one trips on the dug-out areas.
  • Musical beach blankets: This sandy spin on musical chairs will be tons of fun. Set up enough beach towels on the sand, so you have one less than the number of players. Someone will control the music as the players walk around the beach towels, then stop it and watch everyone scramble for a spot. Whoever doesn’t get a towel is out. Take one towel away after each round. Keep going until you get down to two players and someone wins the final round. If you only have one beach blanket to spread on the sand, designate spots that players can claim around the edge.

sandcastle contest

Beach Games Without Equipment

If you don’t want to bring too many supplies to the shore but still want to have entertainment on hand, some beach games without equipment will give you, even more, to do in the sand. These are great DIY beach activities that only need a bit of creativity to set up and play:

1. Shell Search

One of the most exciting parts of being at the beach is discovering beautiful shells in the sand, so turn it into a game. There are so many possibilities for beach games involving searching for shells, so try different tasks and:

  • See who can find the biggest or most colorful shell.
  • Describe a shell then send your family off to see who can find it first.
  • Have a set amount of time that everyone has to find the most shells.
  • Challenge everyone to collect enough shells to spell out their name or the name of the beach.

A few useful supplies, like a pail and shovel, will make it easier to hunt, but you don’t need them for this beach game. No matter how you play, you can then go through everyone’s collections and keep a handful of your favorites or return them to the sand and water. Turn the shells you keep into beach crafts that you can use to remember your trip and bring the beach fun home as you create.

2. Treasure Hunt

Similar to searching for shells, a treasure hunt incorporates other items you’d commonly spot on the beach. This game can either be simple or more competitive, depending on how much you include on the hunting list. Add a time limit to make the game more exciting or have everyone find a certain number of these items:

  • A bird feather
  • Sea glass
  • Seaweed
  • Particular shells

If you have lots of items on your scavenger list, buckets or cups may be helpful, but you don’t need them to play. Follow younger kids around as they search and let older family members hunt on their own. Whoever finds or collects everything first is the winner!

3. Hopscotch

Put the rocks or shells you found to good use and play hopscotch in the sand. Hopscotch is a great game for younger kids who get a bit antsy on the beach and need to get their energy out. Set up this quick and easy family beach game with these steps:

  • Draw 10 boxes in the sand in whatever hopscotch arrangement you prefer.
  • Number the boxes one to 10 by writing in the sand.
  • Use a shell or rock as a marker to toss.
  • If the sand is too hot to hop on, make your grid a bit closer to the water for a cooler, firmer surface.

A game of beach hopscotch is perfect for your kids to play as you pack up other supplies to leave. It’ll entertain them long enough for you to clean up your spot and let them get some more minutes of fun in on the sand.

4. Sand Art

For a more relaxing beach game that doesn’t require equipment, make amazing sand art. Whoever wants to get creative can draw or write anything in the sand, like:

  • Their name
  • The name of the beach
  • The date you’re visiting
  • Their favorite beach activity
  • A sandy self-portrait or family drawing

Your creations will last a little longer in sand that’s a bit wet instead of dry, so either draw near the ocean or use a cup or a bucket to gather water and make the sand easier to work with. Make your two-dimensional sand art three-dimensional with added rocks, shells and other beach finds.

For a twist on this game that’s entertaining for younger kids, challenge them to create their sand art using only footprints to test their coordination and creativity.

pictionary at the beach

5. Pictionary at the Beach

Turn sand art into a competition and play Pictionary on the shore. Split players into two teams, then whisper a beach-themed word to the team member who’s going to draw while others guess. Time them as they draw the image in the sand while their team tries to guess what the picture is. Some ideas for beach-themed drawings include:

  • Palm tree
  • Beach umbrella
  • Folding chair
  • Flippers
  • Sunglasses
  • Lifeguard
  • Swimsuit
  • Surfing
  • Swimming goggles
  • Life jacket

Depending on the ages of who’s playing, you can give simpler drawings or a longer time limit for an easier game, but don’t be afraid to make it a bit more challenging for older kids and family members.

6. Beach Tic-Tac-Toe

Beach tic-tac-toe is perfect for a more relaxing beach game that you don’t even need to leave your beach blanket to play. Relax after playing in the ocean or unwind as you take in the sights and sounds of the shore. While this fun activity doesn’t require any equipment, you could bring bean bags for another entertaining way to play tic-tac-toe.

7. Digging in the Sand

Kids love digging in the sand, so why not turn it into a game? See who can dig the deepest hole in the sand in a certain amount of time using their hands. You can also turn clean-up time into a game when you’re ready to leave the beach. Have a race to fill in the holes everyone dug, but make sure everything is filled in once the race is over.

If your kids love playing in the sand and racing against each other, add a bit of a twist to this game. Instead of digging holes in the sand, have kids bury the adults’ legs in the sand. Split into teams and see who can dig up the most sand and bury someone’s legs.

other tips for playing family beach games

Other Tips for Playing Family Beach Games

Even if you go to the beach fully prepared to entertain, a few tips can help you organize a beach trip full of recreation that everyone will enjoy. Keep these ideas in mind as you plan, pack and play at the shore:

  1. Pack smart: You don’t want to haul too much through the sand as you search for a spot to set up at and enjoy the day. Talk to your family to see what games they’d want to play and opt for items that don’t take up much space in your beach bag. As a bonus, you’ll have less to clean up at the end of the day.
  2. Be mindful of others: If you’re playing beach games with your family that involve spreading out or playing catch, be sure to respect the space of fellow beach-goers. Play in open areas, play your music at a respectful volume and clean up everything you bring with you. Remember to fill in any moats or trenches kids dug in the sand to prevent tripping hazards, as well.
  3. Get creative: Because you want to limit what you bring on a beach vacation, you can use a bit of creativity to get the most out of the supplies you brought or the items around you.
  4. Stay safe: It can be easy to get caught up in all the amusement, but remember to stay safe at the shore. Reapply sunblock, stay hydrated and keep an eye on younger kids.
  5. Don’t force the fun: The sun, the sand and the sea are all about freedom for many visitors. Don’t pull your family away from their fun to play a game if that’s not what’s on everyone’s agenda at the moment. Let everyone do their own thing, then play your beach games after they’ve had their own time for activities and exploration.
  6. Have games for everyone: What’s fun for younger kids may not be as entertaining for older ones. Adapt games for older audiences or have alternatives for them to play while younger children play. Other games, like musical beach blankets, are entertaining for players regardless of age, so choose options like that to get everyone in on the excitement.
  7. Use equipment meant for the beach: You’ll find that some things are better suited as lawn games. At the beach, you have the sand, the water and the wind to contend with. You don’t want to bring lightweight equipment that could blow away or won’t stand upright in the sand. Plenty of games are made with the conditions at the shore in mind, so choose those for your seashore entertainment.

Play Fun Family Beach Games in Ocean City, New Jersey

Ready for fun on the sand and in the sea? Take a family trip to Ocean City, New Jersey! The shore has something for everyone, whether you explore the Boardwalk or play these beach games for families along the water. When you’re done along the seashore, grab a bite to eat or check out all the places to shop and get a few souvenirs to remember your awesome family trip.

Plan your family beach trip to Ocean City, New Jersey, today, and experience what makes the shore so great. Pack some games and get ready for a day full of family fun!

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