Throw a Family-Friendly Beach Party

I’m always looking for an excuse to have a party. Gathering family and friends for some laughter is definitely high on my list of summer fun to-dos. Here are some ideas to throw a family-friendly beach party that kids and adults will love, as idea #17 in our 51 Easy Summer Family Fun Activities series. Even if you dread entertaining, these ideas are simple and easy for you to plan. You’ll definitely want to host this party for your friends, neighbors, or family to enjoy some sun-filled fun. It’s a perfect theme for a summer family reunion, too.


  • Call a local travel agent and see if they have any old travel posters that you could borrow or have. Place these around the rooms to create a sense of adventure. If you have photos from an old beach vacation tape them up around the party area to show off your travels.
  • Party stores have tons of beach, luau, and tiki party gear. Flowers, sand, seashells, netting, and colorful beach chairs all create a festive mood.
  • Hang old bathing suits on the walls or tack them to the backyard fence for some colorful, unique decorations. It’s funny too! You can even have all of the guests bring an old bathing suit to hang or have guests bring the ugliest bathing suit and give a prize to the “ugliest” winner.

Table Decorations:

  • Sand, plastic beach toys, and starfish or plastic fish out on the table make easy and eye-catching decorations.
  • Use a kid-sized inflatable flotation ring as the centerpiece with a beach ball in the middle or a pretty floral bouquet.
  • You can also take a galvanized bucket, fill it with blue tissue paper and place plastic or small wooden boats inside to look like they are floating.
  • The has some super cute fish placemats, paper plates and other table top decorations for a beach theme.

Beach Theme Games and Activities:

We put together a list of fun games that would get both kids and adults laughing.

  • Musical Towels – Instead of musical chairs, why not musical towels? Put some colorful beach towels on the ground and have the kids walk from towel to towel while your favorite beach music is playing. However ends up without a towel is out. To ease the pain of getting “out” for younger kids, let them run the music. They might like that better than playing the game anyway.
  • Sand box Treasure Hunt – Take a plastic storage tub or plastic wading pool and fill it with sand. Hide shells, gold coins, old mardi gras necklaces, fake jewels, and even an old bikini bottom in the sand. See what you have around the house already or head to the local dollar store for some inexpensive trinkets. Give the kids a shovel and pail and give them 1 minute to find all the treasure they can. (Depending on how many kids play the game, you may need to refill the sand with prizes after 3 or 4 kids take a turn.) This could get messy so you might want to play this outside or in the garage. If you need to play indoors, put an inexpensive plastic tablecloth or sheeting down to capture the loose sand for easier clean up.
  • “Under” water relay – Have the players line up into two teams. Each side gets a pair of flippers, swim goggles and a glass of water. The first player in each line puts on the flippers, goggles, and then holds the glass of water over their head so they are “under” water. They waddle to the end of the room and back without spilling and hand everything to the next person in line. Whichever team finishes first, And still has water in their cup, wins. (If you don’t have flippers, ask around and see if any of your neighbors have some, otherwise use snorkel equipment or other beach gear for the “dress-up part of the game.
  • Wet Toe Marble Pick-Up – Place about 20 marbles in a bucket full of water. Each child gets one minute to pick up as many marbles as she can with her toes and place them in another empty bucket. The child with the most marbles wins a prize (maybe the marbles). For large groups, set up multiple buckets with marbles.
  • Hula Hoop Contest – Have kids split in 2 teams. Form 2 lines with a hula hoop at the far end of your party area. First kid in line runs to hula hoop, hulas 20 times around, and runs back for the next person to go. Whichever team is done first, wins. Or, give all girls a hula hoop and let them see who can hula the longest.
  • Limbo – An old classic! Have some beach music playing and see who is the most flexible in a limbo competition. You can use a broom, stick, twisted beach towel, or ribbon to shimmy under.

Beach Themed Food Ideas

There are so many ideas for beach-themed party food that we just selected some of the ones that we thought were easy and tasty. However, we did throw in a few ideas that just caught our eye.

Drinks and snacks:

  • Tropical flavored fruit smoothies with an umbrella or plastic bird in the cup are super fun.
  • Ocean Punch - Dissolve a packet of blue Jell-o in two cups of hot water. Mix in two cups each of sugar, cold water and pineapple juice. (I like to only use 1 cup of sugar because I like less calories and a less sweet taste.) Freeze until just before use, then mix with Sprite for a bubbly blue treat. You can float some toy boats in the punch as long as you clean them thoroughly before and after using.
  • Fruit Kabobs are great to add color to the festive beach table.
  • Fishy Snacks – little baggies of goldfish tied with a nautical ribbon placed around the room in buckets is a cute snack idea.

Main Meal:
These ideas are easy and more importantly can be made a head of time so you can enjoy your own party instead of cooking.

  • A sliced, baked ham with grilled pineapple rings is the perfect party entrée. Want to make it a sandwich? Put out some Hawaiian dinner rolls.
  • Shrimp tray. Adults will definitely love snacking on a shrimp tray.
  • Fishy sandwiches. Make PB&J sandwiches but then use a fish shaped cookie cutter to cut them into fish shapes. Use mustard or ketchup to “draw” eyes or fins on the sandwich bread.


Have fun at your party!

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Tags: Kids Parties · Summer Family Activities

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