Rainy Day Beach Activities

rainy day beach activities

As soon as warm weather rolls around, everyone starts dreaming about sunny beach vacations and long days spent on the sand. But what do you do if you finally get to the shore and the sun is nowhere in sight? Even with the best planning, unpredictable weather along the coast may leave your family caught in the rain during your beach vacation. But don’t despair, there are plenty of fun ways to enjoy a rainy day and make the most of your beach vacation despite the weather.

These rainy day beach activities will keep your family entertained for hours and remind you there can be so much more to your vacation than sand and waves. Here are 18 of our favorite rainy day activities to try if Mother Nature rains out your beach day.

1. Head to the Arcade

Arcades are a classic favorite of any boardwalk and make for a perfect destination if unexpected rain causes you to pack up your beach day early. With old-school skeeball games and pinball machines, beach arcades are almost as iconic as boardwalk french fries and ice cream.

Enjoy games for every age and skill level, from traditional air hockey to new electronic racing games. Your family will be entertained for hours — and you may even earn enough tickets to snag a cool prize. Another bonus to waiting out the rain in a boardwalk arcade is that you can be the first ones back on the beach when the weather clears up.

play indoor mini golf

2. Play Indoor Mini Golf

While you may think of mini golf as an activity for a sunny day, many mini golf courses now offer indoor options. These courses can be just as exciting as outdoor courses full of challenging holes and fun themes like pirates, dinosaurs and jungles. Enjoy comfortable air conditioning and stay dry on rainy beach days, while discovering who has the best putting game in the family.

3. Climb a Lighthouse

Lighthouses are another classic beach attraction you can appreciate in rainy or cloudy weather. Unless there is a thunderstorm or the weather is dangerous, local lighthouses will still be open to climb and enjoy the view at the top. Watch summer storms roll across the ocean from atop the tower and then head to the gift shop for souvenirs. Even better, you won’t have to fight the crowds for the best view from the observation deck.

4. Experience Culture at a Museum

Rainy days are the perfect time to head into town and explore a local museum. Historical museums can be a fun opportunity to learn more about the culture of the area, so you will appreciate the shore even more. You may also learn something new — like that Ocean City, New Jersey, was first named Peck’s Beach and used for whaling, hunting, fishing and raising cattle.

If you have young children and want to make sure they stay engaged in an art or history museum, consider creating a scavenger hunt for them to complete as you explore. Create a list of things they can find in pieces of artwork, sculptures or exhibits, such as a painting with a dog in it or a sculpture that is taller than them. This will keep your kids entertained while you appreciate the area’s art and culture.

head to the aquarium

5. Head to the Aquarium

If you want to enjoy ocean wildlife but are stuck indoors on a rainy day, visiting the aquarium is the perfect solution. Learn about local and exotic sea life while staying cool and dry inside. Your children will marvel at sharks and colorful fish, as well as enjoying interactive activities that are available at many aquariums. When the sun comes back out, you will be even more excited to explore the seashore and look for ocean creatures.

6. Explore the Town

Even if the beach itself was your primary destination, the local towns and cities are still sure to have interesting shops and attractions to enjoy. If you are staying at a more remote beach, you can head to a nearby big city to take in museums, shops, aquariums, restaurants, ice cream parlors and more — and check another city off your travel list!

7. Make a Beachy Craft

Rainy days are the perfect time to relax indoors and tap into your inner artist. Head to the craft store to pick up some supplies, then settle in with markers, glue, seashells and snacks. There are tons of awesome and creative beachy crafts you and your family can try. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Souvenir Jar: This classic beach craft is a great way to remember your vacation for years to come. Simply select a jar and fill it with sand and your favorite shells, rocks or coral you have collected. You can paint your jar or label it with the location and date of your trip. You can even tie ribbons around it or glue shells to the outside to make it your own.
  • Seashell Keychain: This beach craft requires some extra hardware, but with smart shell collecting, you can make a seashell keychain with just shells and string. Simply collect shells that already have a small hole in them, or drill a small hole in each shell you want to use. Thread your shells together with strings and beads to create a unique and memorable keychain. Attach it to your beach tote or your kid’s book bag to take a little bit of summer vacation with you.
  • Paper Sea Creatures: You can make two simple sea creature crafts out of things you already have lying around your hotel room, and they’re perfect for young children. To make a paper bag jellyfish, simply paint or color a paper bag and then cut the bottom to create tentacles. Then, draw eyes or glue on googly eyes. To make a paper plate crab, cut a paper plate in half and add claws cut out of construction paper. Use red pipe cleaners to create eyes or cut them out of paper. Now, your kids have a jellyfish puppet and paper crab to play with to keep them entertained even longer.

If you aren’t feeling so creative, you can also head to a local pottery shop to paint objects of your choice. Paint ceramic seashells, dolphins or other pottery to remember your vacation.

8. Battle Your Family in Laser Tag

Laser tag is a great way to get your heart pumping and body moving when you aren’t able to throw a frisbee or take a walk on the beach. Plus, this competitive game is fun for all ages. You can even raise the stakes and let the winner decide where you go for dinner that night or choose the music for the drive home.

bounce around

9. Bounce Around

Perfect for young kids, teenagers and adults alike, trampoline parks are a popular attraction that you can now find in most cities. Your kids will be able to release some energy by bouncing on trampolines and playing in foam pits rather than sitting around in your hotel room.

10. Escape From the Rain in an Escape Room

If your family enjoys mystery and puzzles, an escape room may be a perfect choice for a rainy day beach activity. Your family will be challenged to solve mind teasers and problems to escape before the time runs out. You and your kids will be so engaged in solving the mystery you will not even remember the rainy weather outside.

11. Go Bowling or Roller Skating

Bowling and roller skating are fun for all ages, but people often overlook these retro pastimes at home. Give these classic activities a shot when it rains on your beach vacation.

12. Try a New Restaurant

While grilling outside and picnicking on the beach are vacation favorites, a rainy day can be the perfect opportunity to enjoy some delicious grub. Find a popular restaurant in the area to try the local cuisine or step outside of your comfort zone with something unique like alligator or crayfish. Do a little bit of research online to find a good spot, or ask the staff at the front desk to discover a restaurant all the locals love. Beach restaurants may even have a fun theme your kids will enjoy, too.

13. Eat Ice Cream

What better way to cheer up on a cloudy day than with a big bowl of your favorite ice cream. While many people only think of ice cream on sunny days, we believe you can eat ice cream any day at the beach! Even better, you don’t have to worry about your ice cream cone melting in the sun.

14. Go Shopping

No matter where you go for your beach vacation, there are sure to be some cool local shops nearby. Explore a classic surf shop or buy souvenirs at a beach gift shop for some retail therapy. Give your kids a few dollars to spend, then shop-hop your way through downtown.

15. Head to the Movies

Movies are a classic way to pass time on a rainy day. Head to a movie theater to catch a new film you’ve been wanting to see or find a theater that shows indie classics. You may even be able to find a historical or unique local theater for an added cultural experience. If you prefer not to venture out in the storm, pop in a movie in your hotel room and sit around with your family, some popcorn and delivery pizza.

play games

16. Play Games

Board games and card games are another perfect way to spend time together on a rainy day. Whether you’re driving or flying to your beach destination, you can always toss a pack of cards into your luggage. When the rain starts coming down, you can dive into a game of Go Fish, Old Maid or another classic card game.

If you are lucky, your resort or hotel may also have a collection of board games for you to borrow. Old favorites like Monopoly, Risk and Sorry can keep your family occupied for hours.

If you don’t have any cards or board games handy, here are a few games for a rainy day you can play with just a pencil and paper:

  • Pictionary: You can play this drawing game without the game board and cards, too. Just pick a category and think of a word. Set a timer on your phone and draw, while your friends and family try to guess the word. Keep track of who guesses first, and whoever earns the most points wins.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe: Draw a few three-by-three grids and start playing. To keep the fun rolling, you can even set up a tournament with your family members, so you can crown an ultimate tic tac toe winner at the end of the trip.
  • Hangman: Challenge your brain with this classic word game. Keep the summer vibes flowing by choosing words that relate to the beach or vacation.
  • Charades: You can enjoy this energetic game even without a pencil and paper. Simply think of a word or phrase and act it out silently while the other players try to guess what it is. Charades can entertain your family and friends for hours — and it almost always ends in laughter.

17. Watch the Storm

On a particularly stormy beach day, you can even let the rain itself be your entertainment by watching the weather from your beach house’s porch or hotel room’s balcony. Thunderstorms rolling over the ocean can be picturesque and beautiful — as long as you’re viewing them from a safe location. You can even make storm-watching into a game by challenging your family to try to snap the best photo of a lightning bolt over the ocean.

18. Embrace the Rain

As long as the weather is not dangerous, you can still brave the outdoors to enjoy the beach. Head outside anyways and splash in the ocean or hotel pool. When other people are huddling indoors, you can enjoy wide open beaches with no crowds. The wet sand is perfect for making dribble castles, and you will already get wet from the ocean, anyway! With the right attitude, playing by the seashore in the rain can be just as fun as a sunny beach day.

Experience Ocean City New Jersey — Rain or Shine!

Designed to be fun for the whole family, Ocean City, New Jersey, is an ideal beach vacation destination, no matter the weather.

Escape the hustle and bustle of daily life and relax in this quaint, family-friendly city. If it rains during your visit, head to Ocean City’s iconic boardwalk to play classic arcade games or a round of miniature golf indoors. Snack on salt water taffy or sit down for a meal with a view of the ocean at one of the many delicious restaurants in the area. Head to the shopping district in downtown Ocean City to discover unique finds and great souvenirs.

When the sun does come back you, you will have almost eight miles of pristine beach just waiting for you to enjoy in beautiful Ocean City, New Jersey.

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