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Hey there, beach-loving families! Are you ready to turn your sandy paradise escapade into a playground of laughter, competition, and unforgettable bonding moments?
Well, get your sunscreen and flip-flops ready because we’ve collected a list of family beach games that’s about to make your seaside outing a whole lot more exciting!
Whether you’ve got tiny tots with buckets and shovels, spirited kids who thrive on friendly competition, or teenagers who think they’ve seen it all, these activities will have everyone saying, “Let’s do that again!”
From building the most epic sandcastles to racing against the waves, see your little ones’ faces light up like seashells as they join in the fun.
And don’t even get us started on the beach volleyball showdowns, spikeball championships, thrilling scavenger hunts, and more that’ll keep your children and teens grinning from ear to ear.
The beach games below are sorted by suggested age groups but feel free to tweak them to match the ages and preferences of your family members.
Table of Contents
Family Beach Games for Young Children
Get ready to see those little eyes light up as your tiny adventurers dive into a beachside extravaganza of giggles and fun!
Here’s a list of games suitable for young children that are all about creating memorable moments on the beach and making it an endless playground of imagination.
I Spy is a great game of visuals that kids of all ages can participate in.
The game is best played in small groups, though larger groups can join in as well.
One person starts by saying ‘I spy something red’ or any other color, depending on what it is they have chosen.
Everyone else then needs to guess what that thing is, with the person who guessed correctly earning one point.
The point system can also be based on how many guesses it takes to get an answer right, with the first guess being worth six points, the second being worth five, and so on.
Very young children can participate, though everyone may need to be more patient with the youngest ones as they try to guess what it is someone has spied on.
Simon Says is a great game for all ages, that often results in hilarious physical requests and the inevitable twist that surprises even the most alert participants.
There is one ‘Simon,’ who is the person in charge of telling everyone to do certain actions, such as spinning in a circle or patting their head.
The twist is that Simon must say ‘Simon says’ before a command, otherwise, participants are not supposed to do that action.
For example, if Simon instructs everyone to ‘touch your nose’ without starting with ‘Simon says,’ then anyone who touches their nose is out.
Beach Water Balloon Toss
Engage in a fun-filled water balloon toss on the beach, providing a refreshing break from the sun.
Stand a certain distance apart and toss the water balloon to your partner without breaking it.
The standard rules are for teams of two to set up facing each other in a long line.
After each completed pass, the pair takes one step away from each other.
The game goes on until there is only one player left, and all other balloons have popped in the process.
Beach Water Balloon Toss is one of the fun games at the beach that can be enjoyed by kids of all ages and adults who want to stay cool and have a splash of excitement.
Set up a beach karaoke session and sing your favorite songs with the sound of the waves as the background music.
Take turns singing, and encourage participation from everyone, eventually resulting in some great laughs along the way.
Karaoke is something anyone can join in on, you may just need to be okay with hearing some off-key renditions of Wheels on the Bus if you’re playing with a younger crowd.
Play a game of tag on the sandy shores, adding an extra challenge to one of the most widely-played easy beach games.
Players must tag others by touching their shoulders, and the tagged person becomes “it.”
The player deemed “it” would then need to chase everyone else around, attempting to tag someone else.
Tag is a game that has been played by children for millennia, with the simplistic nature of the game being its charm.
Any child can learn the rules, including children as young as two years old.
If you are looking for something more competitive and organized, older kids love sand tag too.
Fly colorful kites high in the sky, harnessing the strong beach winds to send your kite high above the crowd below.
Ensure the safety of other beachgoers and always fly kites away from crowded areas.
Kite flying is perfect for families of all ages, and if you have younger kids this game would be a fun way to get them involved without explaining any complicated rules or involving physical abilities.
Transform the beach into a bowling alley by using any large objects, such as buckets and beach toys, as bowling pins, or this bowling kit.
The pins are organized in a triangular shape resembling that of a bowling alley, and if you fill the objects with ocean water they will hold more steadily to their position in the sand.
Participants will then take turns rolling a beach ball or other kind of bowling-ball equivalent so that it knocks down the pins, under the same scoring rules as traditional bowling.
Beach bowling is suitable for kids of all ages, with older children enjoying the challenge, younger children playing alongside their older siblings, and the very young getting a kick out of knocking pins down.
Beach limbo is a fun and flexible game where participants attempt to pass under a lowered pole without touching it.
Lower the pole after each round, and the player who successfully completes the limbo at the shortest height wins.
This game is suitable for families with kids of all ages and adults who enjoy playful beach activities.
Beach limbo also features in our list of boat party games.
Seashell hunting is a delightful pastime where participants search for unique seashells and treasures along the shoreline.
The objective of seashell hunting is to search for unique and beautiful shells along the beach.
This activity is ideal for families with young children who can easily explore the shoreline, as well as adults who appreciate beachcombing.
You can easily make this game more competitive for older kids by setting certain goals, such as the first one to find a shell of a certain color or shape.
Seashell hunting can be combined with beach scavenger hunt too!
Sandcastle building involves creating intricate sand structures using buckets, shovels, and imagination.
Work as a team to construct the most creative sandcastle within a specified time frame.
This activity can be made into more or less of a beach competition with the use of judges, deciding on which castle is the most visually impressive.
There can also be variations in judgment criteria, such as fulfilling specific engineering requirements or trying to replicate a certain landmark or building type.
Sandcastle building is ideal for families with young children and adults who enjoy creative pursuits.
Family Beach Games for Older Children
Get ready to turn the sandy shores into an action-packed arena for your older kiddos.
From thrilling spike ball matches that stir up friendly rivalries to pulse-pounding relay races that have them racing the waves, the following beach game options are tailor-made for a day filled with cheers, high-fives, and memories that stick like sand.
Spike ball is a game that has become more and more popular on beaches over the years, with its compact setup and addictive gameplay making it an easy quick favorite.
The only equipment needed for a spike ball is a small trampoline and a ball, which is another reason why it is near the top of anyone’s beach games list.
The teams are traditionally two-versus-two, with rules that are relatively similar to volleyball.
One participant throws the ball at the trampoline, now transitioning the possession to the other team of two.
The other team has up to three hits back and forth before they need to return the ball to the net and transition possession back to the original team, with a similar three-hit setup as volleyball.
There are several ways for a team to earn a point, either with the ball bouncing multiple times, landing on the ground, or hitting the rim of the net.
Spike ball is best enjoyed by older children, otherwise, the rules and physical ability would become too complicated for them to grasp.
Football is one of the best beach games for families, with running, throwing, and catching that keeps all of the kids rambunctious and engaged for a long time.
To start the game, it is best to designate end zones, most easily with beach gear like chairs, large buckets, or beach blankets held down with some featherweights.
One team begins on offense, with a quarterback throwing to several receivers that are running around the beach trying to get open so they can catch a throw and run toward the end zone.
At the same time, the defense is trying to disrupt the play, either by distracting the quarterback or somehow physically deflecting the ball as it is in the air.
Football is best enjoyed by older children, around 8 and older.
Younger kids may still enjoy a game of catch, but they wouldn’t be able to fully participate in an involved game.
Beach Ball Relay Races
Relay races are a great way to work as teams in a high-octane activity that anyone can join in on.
Establish a certain race track, such as from one ramp to another along the dunes.
A relay race includes multiple racers working as a team, with one racer starting and handing off to the next once they reach a designated point.
Any item can be used as part of the relay, but beach balls make the game especially interesting because they are particularly difficult to hold onto when you are going at high speeds.
Beach ball relay races are fun for the entire family, and although they can be played at their full potential with older children, younger children can certainly be included as long as there are more accommodations for them such as a shorter distance or some assistance from parents.
Play a giant version of tic-tac-toe by drawing a grid in the sand and using shells as markers.
Each player takes turns placing their shells to make three in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Sand tic-tac-toe is perfect for families with young children and older kids who enjoy classic board games and have the ability to understand the rules of the game.
Dead or Alive
Dead or Alive is a great game to play in the sand or on the ocean waves, mixing a game of catch with some friendly competition.
One player is the thrower, who throws the ball up in the air over a group of people competing to be the one who catches it.
As the thrower throws the ball up, they shout a number, which represents the amount of points that will be rewarded to whoever catches it.
The term ‘Dead or Alive’ comes from the distinction of whether a player will only get the points if they catch it before it lands on the sand or water (‘Alive’) or if the points will be rewarded to whoever catches it, whether it hits the sand or not (‘Dead’).
Dead or Alive can be incredibly fun, with athletic competition mixed into a traditional game of catch.
The children must be evenly matched age/ability- wise, or else feuds can start if one player is more physically equipped to catch the ball.
Either way, young children will most likely not be able to compete with older kids in this fun beach game, and may not enjoy the competition among each other to begin with.
Beach frisbee is a great game that can either be a relaxing back and forth or a competitive showcase of skill on the sand and in the water.
Stand a certain distance apart and throw the frisbee back and forth, with the goal of catching it without it touching the ground.
Many people enjoy throwing the frisbee back and forth as a relaxing activity, and small children can easily join in by throwing from very short distances.
For older kids looking for something more adventurous and competitive, take turns attempting complicated throws from long distances or over big waves.
Beachcomber art is a game of creativity and imagination, using items discovered along the beach to create art, such as driftwood, seashells, and seaweed.
The game can be treated entirely as a purely creative outlet, with everyone working side-by-side to create art out of different beach materials.
If you are looking to make the game more competitive, play speed rounds where participants need to complete a certain work of beachcomber art in a given time period.
This game is ideal for families with creative children and adults who appreciate art and nature.
If you are looking for fun beach games for families, Beach Yoga is great in its simplicity and tranquility, along with the fun younger children may get out of attempting challenging poses.
Beach yoga involves practicing yoga poses on the sandy shores, benefiting from the calming sounds of the ocean, the beach breeze, and the general vibe of peace and relaxation that comes with a beach town.
Follow a yoga instructor or use guided videos for proper techniques, which are usually available at minimal cost at most beach towns, as long as you are willing to join in for the sessions that usually occur in the early morning.
Any attempt at serious yoga should be done with older kids, as any age younger than that will end with a chaotic variant of yoga that is not nearly as relaxing but still fun!
Beachcomber Scavenger Hunt
If you have time before your trip and you are brainstorming games to play at the beach with family, consider setting up a beach scavenger hunt!
Organize a scavenger hunt where participants search for specific items like sea glass, a particular seashell, or even a message in a bottle.
In order to set up a beachcomber scavenger hunt, one participant must create a list of items to find, and the first team or individual to collect all items wins.
It doesn’t just have to be specific items!
The scavenger hunt list can include something shiny, rough, smooth, shapes, or colors.
This game encourages exploration and discovery in kids of all ages, although for the game to be productive and go from beginning to end naturally.
For grown-ups, you may want to get ideas with our list of scavenger hunt games for adults.
Play a beach-themed version of charades, where participants act out words or phrases without speaking.
Divide into teams, and each team takes turns guessing the words or phrases acted out.
Beach charades are best fit for families with kids and teenagers, as well as adults who enjoy interactive and entertaining games.
Younger kids may get a big laugh out of seeing their family members acting out the phrases, but would most likely not be able to fully participate.
Beach Mini Golf
Set up a makeshift mini-golf course on the sand, using beach toys as obstacles and small balls.
Each player tries to get the ball into the holes with the fewest strokes possible, a great challenge for older kids.
Beach Paddle Ball
Play paddle ball with a partner, using a softball and paddles designed for beach use.
The objective of beach paddle ball is to keep the ball in play without letting it touch the ground, similar to beach volleyball rules just involving paddles and usually not confined to a designated area or court.
The game usually gets active and dynamic, with participants running back and forth across the beach as they try to keep the ball in the air.
Due to the relatively high level of physical activity required for this game, it is best enjoyed by older children.
Younger children could still enjoy the game just as much, the physical exertion may just need to be adjusted so that they can compete.
Family Beach Games for Teenagers
It’s time for an unforgettable beach day filled with excitement and laughter as the teenagers in the family seize the day!
From thrilling volleyball matches to a competitive bocce ball game, the following list of family beach activities is tailored to make their time by the sea an absolute pleasure.
Beach volleyball is a dynamic sport played on sandy shores, with only a net and some space in the sand needed before you begin.
Divide into two teams, with the objective of getting the ball over the net without it touching the ground, or with any team member touching it twice in a row.
Volleyball is a great game for families with older kids and teenagers who have the ability to participate fully.
Younger children can still play in this activity, although you may need to be much more flexible with the rules and give them the chance to hold the ball and throw it every now and then.
Beach Reading Club
Reading a good book on the beach is a classic past-time of all beachgoers, so it makes sense to organize this hobby into a collective group.
Create a family beach reading club where everyone brings their favorite beach reads to discuss and exchange.
Allocate specific reading times, and gather to share thoughts and reflections.
To add to the beach theme, participants can meet on the beach at the designated time to discuss what they’ve read.
Children can participate as long as they have the ability to read, and at that younger age, it might be a great way to encourage reading and build stronger reading comprehension, as they may pay closer attention to what they are reading so that they can have a better discussion about it come time for the book club.
Beach Bocce Ball
Play bocce ball on the sand by rolling a smaller ball (the “pallino”) and trying to get your team’s larger balls closest to it.
Bocce ball is one of the best family beach games and has been around for thousands of years, and for good reason.
It is simple to learn and just challenging enough to make it addicting for all who join in.
Bocce ball is ideal for families with older kids and adults who enjoy strategic and skill-based games, and would most likely not be fully comprehended by children under seven years of age.
Try next: Beach Games for Adults.
We hope these family beach games add a tidal wave of laughter and bonding to your next sandy escapade.
Did you love our lineup or have your own game-changing suggestions? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.