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You’re preparing for a trip to the beach and need activities to stay busy. Thankfully there are some fun beach games for kids and adults. It can be as simple as building a sandcastle or as fun as flying a kite.
In this article I’ll share the best beach games for kids and adults. Most of these games are active and associated with sports. Some of the best beach games for kids are simple (like tag) or something kids invent – we like creativity.
I’ll share some of my favorite games and memories for the beach, then we’ll get into beach games – some are classics and others are new games that are incredibly fun.
Enjoying Games At The Beach
Growing up at the beach had its perks. I spent countless hours on the sand and in the water. I could walk, run, swim, sleep, or read.
Being outside is liberating for kids because there are so many things to see and do but being outside as an adult can be just as liberating if you’re usually stuck in an office or cubicle for work.
When most of us go to the beach we think of laying down and relaxing. Maybe we imagine reading a book or people watching. But envisioning “laying down and sleeping” is rarely the reality.
We arrive at the beach, lay on our towel, then we look at other people walking, running, swimming, and laughing. Even though the atmosphere is relaxing, we end up getting a lot of activity and we wind up tired at the end of the day (the good kind of tired).
Even though you might intend to relax and sleep at the beach, be prepared to have fun, especially if you’re with family. Games, whether in the ocean or on the sand, are great for friendly competition and it’s a great way to get exercise and to meet new friends.
A few of my favorite games for the beach are:
- Spike Ball
- Paddle Ball
- Frisbee (in the ocean)
I’ve included these in our list. Some are all to familiar, but others – like Spike Ball – might be new to you. In our list we’ll share the game and educate you on the best way to play the game at the beach. Let’s get started.
12 Fun Beach Games For Kids (and adults)
No. 1 Volleyball
Most people have seen beach volleyball players on television during the Olympics (yes, it’s a real Olympic sport). Competitive beach volleyball only requires 4 players but if you’re playing for fun you can add as many as you like if you’re in a big group.
Most large tourist beaches have nets that remain up for professionals, semi-professionals, and regular people like you and I. During the weekend they can be busy and in some instances, you need to reserve the court.
If you’re wanting to play beach volleyball on your vacation, research the beach to see if they have courts. If the beach has courts you’ll still need:
- A ball
- Lines (court markings if needed)
- Visor and sand socks (if it’s a hot day)
if the beach doesn’t have you can still bring your own beach volleyball set-up, however, it won’t be great quality and will take some time to set up. You’ll need the above items plus:
- Your own net
- Poles and support to secure in the sand
Sometimes relying on a court is too much work – in that case, you can bring a ball and make marks in the sand and play a game without the net (be creative).
A beach volleyball game is a real workout and it’s a great way to lose weight and gain core and lower body strength. Trust me, after playing beach volleyball your legs will be sore for a few days. It’s a fun game, great working, and can get the whole family involved.
Related: Beach Items You Need
No. 2 Spike Ball
Unlike volleyball, spike ball is a new beach game that has taken off in recent years. The game was created in Southern California and developed specifically for the beach.
For a few years, I saw Spike Ball games occurring on beaches in the U.S. and even in Australia and I wondered “what are they doing”. At first look, I thought the game had something to do with jumping because the playing surface resembles a mini-trampoline.
Spike Ball uses a single small ball and a mini trampoline-like playing surface (it’s actually a springy netting that is used to bounce the ball. There are 2 players on each team and the goal is to hit the ball off the net without the other team returning the ball.
Spike Ball has become so popular there are now beach tournaments held all over the U.S. Although it can be competitive, it’s mostly played as a fun game with friends and family.
You’ll find yourself diving in the sand to hit the ball then jumping in the ocean to cool off after a game. I really enjoy this game and I’m sure you will too.
No. 3 Paddle Ball
Paddle Ball is another classic beach game. Traditionally it uses wooden paddles and a small rubber ball. The ball isn’t “bouncy”, rather, it has a dull effect when hitting with the paddles.
The game is played fairly close together between 2 people or in teams of 4.
What I like about this game is the equipment needed. All you need are paddles and a ball, the boundaries, and lines can be drawn in the sand.
The goal of the game is the keep the ball in the air and hit it back and forth – long rallies! Of course, you can also keep track of points if a player makes a mistake or is unable to return the ball.
Paddle Ball has been around for decades and is a simple beach game for both kids and adults
Check out beach Paddle Ball rules here.
No. 4 Beach Bocce Ball
There are a few different versions of Bocce Ball depending if you’re talking to Italians, French, or Americans.
In the U.S., beach Bocce has become a popular game to play while getting a suntan on the beach. Beach Bocce includes colored balls (to differential teams) and a jack (marker you’re trying to get close to).
Teams can consist of 2-4 individuals or 2 teams of 2 people each. The jack will be thrown away from the group and the round will commence.
Individuals or teams will toss their colored ball near the jack – the closer the better. Each player should have 2 balls to toss. Balls can bump their competitor’s balls out of the way.
Once all balls have been tossed towards the jack, walk to the balls and measure who is closest. The individual or team closest gets a point and the next round begins. First to 13 points wins the match.
Beach Bocce simple to learn and easy to play. Kids and adults can play – that makes it one of our best beach games!
No. 5 Frisbee
One of the easiest games on the list. Frisbee is a game we learn when we’re young.
We practice keeping our arm level while we release it so it doesn’t curve. We practice throwing into and with the wind. Throwing a Frisbee is the easy part – throwing it straight is the hard part.
Unless it’s really windy Frisbees are perfect for the beach. They are lightweight and it’s easy to carry to and from the car.
Some of my best beach memories are from running and diving in the ocean chasing a Frisbee. Going airborne, catching a Frisbee, and falling into the water is a fun experience!
No. 6 Football
Beach football anyone? Throwing the football doesn’t require a whole team. It can be with father and son or a group of friends.
If you have a large group (think school or youth group) it’s even better. A game of two-hand touch might be in order.
Beach football near the water is more fun for diving and getting wet, but if it’s a popular beach with walkers and runners near the shore it’s better to play higher on the beach. You don’t want to run over passers-by.
No. 7 Over-the-Line
OTL or over-the-line is a fun activity for the beach. If you live in baseball hotspots of the country like California, Arizona, Texas, and Florida you’ve likely played (or heard of) OTL.
One of the most popular events of San Diego summers is the OTL tournament at Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. OTL enthusiasts come from all over the country for a weekend of matchups.
The games are fun to play (and watch) and the team names are a highlight.
OTL makes for the perfect beach game because it can be played in a smaller area than a typical baseball field. It can be played with real bats but a whiffle ball bat a few whiffle balls are perfect.
Here’s the website for the biggest OTL tournament in San Diego (it’s a lot of fun).
- 2 teams of 3 people
- Hit the ball over the line and between the lines
- No gloves and must catch the ball to get an out or one of below scenarios
- Hit the ball short (not past minimum line) – it’s an out. Swing and miss – it’s an out. Caught in the air – it’s an out. Bat out of turn – it’s an out.
- Hit outside the lines (markers) and you get a second chance (2nd time is an out)
- 3 outs
- Straight and narrow lines mark the field and a few zones are marked where the ball can land.
- 3 hits equal the first run and all hits afterward result in 1 run (until 3 outs)
- Home run (over the last defender without him/her touching it) clears the bases
No. 8 Soccer
Soccer is another easy sport to play with a few people or a large group. The reason soccer is so popular worldwide is that the rules are easy to learn and you don’t need much equipment. You can also use beach towels, flip flops, shirts to mark the lines.
If you’re really prepared you might bring cones. Cones can come in helpful for other beach games too (volleyball, over the line, and relays).
A smaller, softer soccer ball works best because you’ll likely be playing without shoes. A softer ball can be kicked harder without worrying about hitting other people.
Remember: for sports that use a ball, play away from other beach visitors so there are no accidents.
No. 9 Stunt Kites
Everyone is familiar with regular kites but few people have tried a stunt kite. Kites can be a fun activity (game) at the beach for kids and adults. There’s usually a breeze at the beach so flying a kite is usually easy.
The difference between regular kites and stunt kites is that regular kites usually have one line (single line) while stunt kites are dual-line.
Using a dual line kite gives the operator much more control and allows for dipping, diving, twists, and turns. Don’t be intimidated by a stunt kite, it will take a little time to get used to but after a few minutes, you’ll understand the technique.
Stunt kites require a little more user skill but kids tend to learn more quickly than adults. Some stunt kites are frameless and stuff into a small bag, making it easy to travel with or keep in the car.
Related: Best Beach Chairs Under $50
No. 10 Corn Hole
Corn hole is a funny name and a fun game. Corn hole is a popular game to play on college campuses. The basic rules are to toss a small beanbag through a hole of a wooden frame.
Getting the bean bag on the wooden frame earns a point, but getting the bag through the hole earns significantly more (3 points).
Players range from 2 to 4 (2 person teams) and each team gets four bags. The game has “innings” which begin with one team tossing and the second team tossing. The innings go on until one team reaches 21 points.
It’s an easy game but it does require equipment. If you’ll be playing on the beach, consider the transportation of the surface and the small bean bags.
There are no lines or markers that need to be made – just set out the landing area at the desired space and stand behind your landing area to toss.
No. 11 Tick Tack Toe
I included Tick Tack Toe because it’s one game that can be played without having to bring equipment. You literally just need a foot, arm, or stick to drag in the sand.
I’m not sure how long Tick Tack Toe has been around but it’s a good challenge game for kids and adults.
If kids are complaining about being bored at the beach (which I doubt will happen) challenge them to a game of Tick Tack Toe and raise the stakes with a bet (maybe the loser has to jump in the water or roll in the sand).
No. 12 Track Ball
Track Ball was popular in the 1990’s, however, kids still play it today. The game resembles the top of a lacrosse stick (basket) and uses a lightweight whiffle-type ball. For using such a lightweight ball, it can travel a long way even in the wind.
The “carry” on the whiffle ball is due to the backspin generated from swinging the basket. Backspin, similar to any sport, will cause the ball to carry and sometimes elevate.
The equipment is inexpensive, lightweight and fun for the whole family. It’s also good that a stray throw won’t injure other guests at the beach. You can even play a game of catch in the ocean because the ball will float.
In this article we explored some of the best games for the beach. Many of our ideas are traditional games that are easily adaptable (usually simplified) for the beach. Other games, like Spike Ball, are new games that are easy to learn, fast-paced, and fun for the whole family.
You might not be familiar with games like OTL and stunt kites, but they are easy to learn and perfect for a holiday vacation – especially if your family likes baseball or flying.
Give these beach games a try and let us know how you do. The best beach games can be learned quickly, provide lots of laughs, and end with a refreshing dip in the ocean.