The Best Beach Games for Families

WhatToGetMy Instructional Article

Lying on the beach all day can get a bit boring for some people. If you don’t want to spend the entire day reading magazines or tanning, check out our list of the best beach games for families. Shake things up by trying out new activities. We collected various games for all ages, so you can definitely find something fun for you and your loved ones.

You don’t need to pack a lot of stuff for an amazing day at the beach. Basic beach toys, towels, and blankets can be used for many great beach games. We tried to give you ideas of imaginative games that require little preparation beforehand. Even if you forget a few things from your beach checklist, you can have lots of fun. Don’t worry, we’ve got everything covered.

Before you scroll to see our list of fun games to play at the beach, we’d like to note a few small things.

  • You don’t have to get expensive and cool accessories to enjoy family beach games. Most dollar stores have amazing beach toys that are very convenient and serve the same purpose as the pricey ones.
  • Take into account the weight and portability of the accessories you choose to bring. You should probably pick something lightweight but not small enough to lose in the sand.
  • Don’t be afraid to bring your dog to the beach! Most beaches are pet-friendly and you’ll have so much fun playing fetch with your dog or swimming together.
  • Popular beach games can be very fun too, so don’t hesitate to include the classics in your beach activities. For example, frisbee should always be an open option for the beach. 

Games for the kids

Use sand and water to play fun games with your kids. Think about something unusual that your kids don’t experience often. Here’s something the children can do besides building castles and digging holes.

Beach treasure hunt

Give your kids a bucket and a list of treasures they need to “find”. They can hunt for shells, rocks, stones, driftwood, etc. You should be a coordinator from a safe distance. Keep an eye on your kids, so they don’t disturb other visitors on the beach.

You can play all sorts of variations of this game. Make a scoreboard and decide what objects are worth 5 or 10 points and which ones are worthless. Set a timer to collect the things and the kid with the most points wins. Play a few rounds and the player with the most victories can choose the most expensive ice cream.

A classic treasure hunt game can be played on the beach too. Distract your kids with other activities or send them with the other parent for swimming. Use that time to scatter clues around the beach. When they come back, send them on a quest to find the buried treasure by giving them the first clue. Make sure your kids work as a team to solve the riddles. Also, keep the clues simple and solvable, so the kids don’t get stuck.

Little explorers

Bring old plastic toys to the beach and bury them in the sand. If you choose something like dinosaurs, children can pretend they are paleontologists that are discovering new species. They can hold “lectures” about their discoveries. Instruct them to describe the found toy (shape, color, condition) and to explain how they found it.

This game will boost their imagination. Kids all ages can play it, even toddlers! You just need to adapt it accordingly. For smaller kids, don’t dig the toys too deep in the sand and ask for simple explanations and descriptions. As for older kids, let them be a little creative. They can talk about what they’ve learned in school about dinosaurs or other animals too.

Beach construction site

Kids love to play in the sand, but it gets repetitive to just fill the buckets and make castles out of wet sand. That’s why you need to create a game with a purpose. Imagine you’re “making” a new building on a construction site!

Of course, you need machines and equipment for the site. Bring all those bulldozers, steamrollers and truck toys to the beach. That’s better than having them lying around the house collecting dust, right? You need construction workers too, so don’t hesitate to bring some action figures. Who cares if they get a little dirty! It’s just sand and the toys can be easily cleaned. Just don’t bring legos, or something of a similar size, because they’ll get lost.

Family competitions

Fun beach games for families are more exciting when there are prizes involved. Light competition is always welcomed if everyone is behaving well. You can be the judge to keep sibling rivalry under control. If you’re playing with another family, make sure there’s one more parent available to observe the games with you, so you can avoid being biased.

Musical towels

It’s like the game of musical chairs but better. You will use towels to make a line. There should, of course, be enough towels for each player, minus one. One person should play the music while others dance around the beach towels until the music stops. Each player must find a towel to stand on (or sit if you want to make the game even more interesting) and the player without a towel is out. The “winner” is the player left at the end of the last round.

Beach ball activities

To have a great time at the beach, all you need is a beach ball. A deflated ball takes almost no room in your bag but it can provide lots of fun games for the whole family.

You can play the game of “hot potato”. Pass the ball as fast as you can without dropping it. You can play it in the water too although it will be much more difficult (and probably more fun). The players who drop the ball are disqualified and the game continues until there’s a winner.

You can also organize races with the ball. Draw the lines in the sand to make the start and the finish lines. Have the players race each other with the beach ball between their knees. If you have just one ball, players can take turns while you time them and compare results. Note that little kids could just run while carrying the ball. That would be a big enough challenge on its own.

Before you inflate the ball, you can write silly actions on it with a marker. When you toss the ball back and forth, choose one of the written actions to perform. Don’t put something too difficult, so all children can play. Something, like hopping on one foot or spinning in a circle for 5 seconds, should be just fine. If a player fails to do the action properly, he/she is disqualified.

Fill the water bucket

Give each kid a spoon (or a cup) and have them race to the water and back to fill his/her bucket. The trick is to be as fast as you can without spilling the water when you run. You can time them or play until one bucket is full.

Beach obstacle course

Make a beach obstacle course with anything you can find around you. Use beach chairs, towels, even wet sand, to make a difficult terrain for running. Throw in some exercise in the middle of the route too (for example, jumping jacks). Then take turns to see who can finish the course with the best time.


When you’re spending an entire day at the beach, it can be fun to do something other than swimming, diving, etc. Bring a quality ball and play volleyball or even football. You don’t need a net or other fancy equipment. Just find the space big enough, so you don’t bother other visitors at the beach.

You can even play something a bit more unusual like mini-golf. If you get a plastic set of golf clubs and balls, you don’t have to worry about the damage or the clean up after. You can use the set just for the beach. Make a golf field by digging holes in the sand and decorating with sticks and stones.

There’s a ton of sports to choose from. All regular sports can be adapted to fit the sand field. The most important thing to consider is the preference of your family. If they are very active, pick something harder. Let them sweat a bit! However, if they are the people who want to chill and relax for the entire day, you might want to skip sports activities.

Simple games

You don’t have to go all out and think of something complicated to play. Choose some easy and fun games for the beach.

Magnetic chess or checkers

Playing chess (or checkers) is a great way to relax at the beach without worrying you’ll disturb someone near you. You can’t race or play something active if the beach is crowded, right? Be sure to pack a magnetic set that includes quick and simple games and you won’t be bored at the beach anytime. The magnets will keep everything secured and the pieces won’t get lost, so you don’t have to worry about anything at all.

Card games

Traditional card games are great for relaxing at the beach. The only thing you should consider is getting a waterproof deck, so your cards don’t get damaged. There are all sorts of games you can play. From Go-fish to Crazy eights, possibilities are endless. You can even learn how to play a new game like the one in the video below.

Guessing games

You can play any guessing game you can think of. The game called “I spy” is the most popular. One player chooses an object within sight and announces to the other players “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…”, naming the first letter of the object. The player can even give other kinds of hints. Other players guess what the object is and the one who’s correct becomes the next spy.

At the beach you can also organize charades or Pictionary. When playing charades, someone must act out a word or phrase, while others are guessing. You shouldn’t say anything to help the players. In the game of Pictionary, the same rules apply. The only difference is that you are drawing the word that needs to be guessed.

Guessing games are very convenient because they don’t require any “equipment”. You can play them anywhere and make variations that your family would like. Split into teams and compete with each other, or try to guess the words and objects as a group.

Frequently asked questions

How do you entertain kids at the beach?

Include them in all the games you play: beach-themed charades, card games, checkers, etc. You can organize family competitions or send them on a treasure hunt too.

What are some beach activities?

Of course, you go to the beach for swimming but besides that, you can, walk or jog, play sports, have a picnic, read, play games, etc.

What should you not do at the beach?

Avoid doing anything that can disturb other visitors at the beach like making noise, shaking your towel near someone, smoking, etc.


We hope that you’ll try out these games the next time you’re at the beach. Remember, the only thing you need for playing the best beach games for families is enthusiasm and a good attitude. Then, the fun is guaranteed!

If you are going to the beach in the evening, there’s also a ton of stuff you can do. Here’s our article about Fun things to do at the beach at night, so be sure to check it out for more ideas.





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