Family beach days are among the simplest yet special happenings; many people keep these experiences close to their hearts for a lifetime. Whether that compelling beach is near home or on islands in the Caribbean like Turks & Caicos and Jamaica, the mesmerizing blues of the sea, glistening white sand, and contagious laughter of the ones you love at the beach tend to leave an imprint on your soul.
If you’ve got a family beach day on the horizon with immediate or extended family and want to make it extra special, check out our 33 best family beach games that are perfect for an exciting beach day!
Expert tip: What are family beach games without the right beach destination? Here are some family vacation ideas to consider that’ll be fun for everyone!
A water bucket relay will be a great way to get the excitement started on the beach. If you’re traveling with family, you can split into teams of at least two. Each team should have a bucket of water, and you can use spoons, shells, or any convenient tool of your choice to scoop water from the sea into your bucket. Do this in turns within teams. The winning relay title goes to whichever team fills their bucket first!
Limbo is good fun no matter the setting. All you’ll need for some good beachside limbo action is a pool noodle, or perhaps even some driftwood. You can set the stage for some exciting rounds of limbo, music included. A portable speaker playing festive music will help everyone really get into the game. Young and old can participate in beach limbo on some level, and you can make the game progressively more challenging. How low can you go?
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Seashells are often available in abundance on the beach, so why not make a fun activity that includes searching for shells? A seashell hunt works best on a beach with lots of shells, so this is something you can do some research about before you go. The objective of a seashell hunt will be to see who can find the most shells or the biggest shells in a set amount of time. When everyone is done finding shells, give points for the number of shells, the types of shells as well as shapes, sizes, and colors.
Expert tip: Make this experience fun for little kids as well by letting them in on some conch shell magic. Did you know you can hear the sound of the ocean inside a large conch shell? The kids will love listening in!
A game of Frisbee on the beach won’t be too complicated to organize. All you’ll really need to do is pop one into your bag at some point while you’re packing, and you’ll have everything you need for an invigorating game at the seashore. The best kind of Frisbee will be lightweight and buoyant, so you can find it easily if it gets tossed into the water. Once you’re out on the beach, split into teams and enjoy some good family fun.
Rounders or cricket at the beach is a great option for large families, particularly those with older kids. These games tend to involve quite a bit of running around, so it's best to play when it isn’t too hot out. A good rule of thumb when planning to play rounders/cricket on the beach is to choose a beach that isn’t too busy so that others aren’t inconvenienced if your ball goes astray.
Kite flying is something you can plan out way ahead of your beach day in order to get everyone involved. If you’re traveling with family, you can opt to get a kite for everyone old enough to fly one, even letting your kids pick out their own. Handmade kites are an option as well. As you plan your kite flying beach day, keep in mind that the best kite flying days will be those that are very windy, so it may be a little too cool to take a dip.
Digging holes in the sand almost seems to come naturally to kids at the beach, so why not make a game out of it? Can your kids make their own pool in the sand? How deep and wide can you all dig if you dig together? Get everyone in on the fun and when you’re done, take a photo of everyone standing inside the hole.
Expert tip: Dig away from the tide to avoid your hole filling back up too quickly.
Beach volleyball is a sunny day beach classic and you and the kids can enjoy a few rounds of this game on a beautiful beach day. You’ll need at least two players to get a game of beach volleyball going, but if there are more people in your group it's even better. If you’ve got a really large group, you can even try a round of beach volleyball with adults versus kids!
Kids, for whatever reason, love playing tug of war, and out on the beach, you can stir up their competitive side with mention of this challenge. You’ll need at least two players to get this game started, but it’s more fun with four or more people. Start things off by putting a marker on the sand — a digging toy, bucket, or pool noodle can be ideal. The best of 3 out of 5 rounds wins!
If you’ve heard of snow angels, then you’ve likely also heard of sand angels. In case you haven’t, making angels in the sand is a real possibility. All you’ll need to do is get a spot in the sand, lay down, and proceed to use some ‘starfish’ action to create your angel. When you and the kids are done, you can use pebbles and shells to decorate your sand angels.
Good to know: Making sand angels is a great way to warm up after taking a dip in the ocean.
Much like seashell hunting, a treasure hunt on the beach is a great way to keep kids occupied. The difference between these two games is that for a treasure hunt, you’ll have more say in what the kids will find along the way if you place some items beforehand. Or, you can go the natural route and search with the kids to see what you all can find — anything from shells and pebbles to various flora and fauna.
If you hide the items for your family treasure hunt yourself, you can create a list of things the kids should look for and direct them to the area they should search. The winner of the beach treasure hunt can be the person who gets the most varied items (if you go the natural route), or whoever finds the most items from your list.
Grab a soccer ball and head to the beach for some sports action. This is a great way to get the whole family involved and all you’ll need, in addition to a ball, are a few markers in the ground for goals. Things like towels, buckets, sand mounds, or castles can be used to mark out goals. Split up into teams into a minimum of four players and start tossing the ball around. With the recommended amount of players, you’ll have two goalkeepers and two strikers, but the more players the merrier with this beach game. Five players on each side are ideal if you can manage it!
Expert tip: Want to plan a fun-filled vacation with older kids? These tween-friendly vacations will be met with immediate smiles!
Heard of musical chairs? Well, musical towels is a similar concept. All you’ll need to get the musical towels party started is a portable speaker, some good music, and beach towels. Spare clothing can also come in handy if you don’t have enough towels. The same rules of musical chairs apply to musical towels. Anyone in your family who is old enough can take turns being in charge of the music and removing the towels as you go along.
Making sand mermaids on the beach can be fun. This activity works best when one family member agrees to be the model. Have the model sit or lay in the sand and cover them up to their chest or waist. Once that’s done, you can have fun shaping a mermaid’s tail around their legs. Decorate mermaid tails with seashells, seaweed, pebbles, and other beachside finds. Be sure to take photos to capture the memories. Funny poses are recommended!
If you’re planning a beach day with the kids, but you’re not necessarily going to swim, it helps to have some fun activities planned. One of these activities can be rock painting. You’ll have to plan ahead for this activity as you’ll need supplies such as brushes and acrylic paints. You can choose a beach theme, gather some rocks with the kids, and then settle in for some painting. Play around with form and color, and perhaps even try painting a sunset, sunrise, underwater scene, or something completely abstract.
Hoop toss or ring toss is a game that will definitely bring out the competitive side in members of your family. You can play this game in a group or split into two teams. Play to see who can score the most points. You can purchase packaged ring toss games, or you can get creative and make your own. Consider including prizes to up the excitement factor!
Floats make a day at the beach or the pool extra exciting, so why not bring them along for a family beach extravaganza? You can use the floats to set up some fun water races from one end of the beach to the other. Stay close to shore, especially when younger kids are involved. If the water isn’t calm, or if your group doesn’t include strong swimmers, then this activity may not be ideal.
Want to set up an artsy beach day? You can arrange a drawing challenge for your family where everyone is required to draw what they see. All you’ll need is some paper, pencils/pens, and some fluid imagination. This activity is great for kids of all ages, but older kids might make a better attempt at recreating beautiful beach scenery. Kids can draw what they see, and even throw in some extras like dolphins, whales, mermaids, and even pirate ships. When all is said and done, you’ll be able to take your creations home and maybe even frame them!
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An active beach day can include a beach ball relay, for which you’ll need a minimum of four players. This game works for kids of all ages, and adults will be able to have a great time as well. The beach ball relay will involve passing a beach ball between your knees and seeing which team can complete the task the fastest. Smaller teams can work on beating their best time, while larger groups will be able to race to the finish.
Want to teach your kids a lesson on caring for the environment? A good way to do this would be to get the whole family involved in a beach clean-up activity. You might even be able to make a game out of it — whoever can fill their bag with the most trash gets a prize. Keep your kids safe during this activity by equipping them with gloves and keeping them supervised.
Have a pirate-themed beach day and spend some time searching for buried treasure. You can use play or real coins and bury these in the sand, or even go the extra mile and find a makeshift treasure chest that you can fill with goodies. Give the kids shovels and let them dig to find the treasure. To make the game feel more authentic, create a treasure map with clues and hand one out to each participant.
Want to take advantage of the picture-perfect beach scenery with some amazing family photos? Set up a pre-planned or spontaneous beach photoshoot on your own. You can set your camera or phone timer and get the settings just right for the perfect beachside snaps, or you can let the kids be photographers for the day. You all can also take some silly selfies together to capture the moments.
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I Spy can be a fun way to keep kids occupied on the beach. Younger kids, especially, will enjoy this game that involves guessing various beach sightings in the vicinity using simple clues. Use themes like colors, nature, or items we brought to the beach. Keep things easy for younger kids and add more variation for older kids.
From the pillow fort at home to the sand fort out on the beachfront, your kids will love having some super cozy times at the beach. The whole family can get involved in the fort-building efforts with a few spades and buckets. You can find ideas on Pinterest for various types of forts that you can make together.
Sharks and minnows is a swimming game that’s most suited for older kids. This game can also be modified to be played on the sand if there are younger kids involved. To play this game, you should select a ‘shark’ out of the group who will be tasked with ‘tagging’ the minnows when they attempt to get onto the shore. This game usually requires a referee to make those close calls, so adults can take turns filling that position!
Pictionary is familiar to most people, but out on the beach, this game can be played a little differently. No pen and paper are necessary! Instead, you can just make shapes on the sand with things like seashells, pebbles, seaweed, or driftwood. Each player will take turns drawing whatever comes to mind as everyone else tries to guess what it is before the drawing is completed. Whoever identifies the object in the drawing first will be declared the winner, and that person will be next to draw/make their own creation in the sand. Pictionary can be enjoyed by kids of all ages.
Looking for something different to do on this beach trip? Take some dodgeball action to the seashore! This option is most ideal if you’ll be spending some time on the beach with older kids and teenagers who can get bored easily. You can get everyone together and compete in teams for prizes. Use a beach ball to reduce the likelihood of injuries. This game is ideal for big groups and teams.
Take a break from the beach action for some good ol’ TikTok. Most kids won’t say no to this activity, especially if they’re already fans of TikTok. You can get together and make a family-style TikTok dance. These types of videos are just as fun to make as they are to watch over and over when you all get home. Try different dances, and if grandparents are on this beach trip as well, see if the kids can persuade them to be part of the fun!
Also known as tic-tac-toe or Xs and Os, you can play noughts and crosses in the sand with your family during your beach day. Only two players are needed to play this game, so it is suitable for small beach groups as well. Make your game of noughts and crosses more interesting by adding prizes for the person with the most wins after a certain number of rounds.
A game of 20 questions will be embraced by older kids and teens who can easily wrap their minds around the rules. You’ll need a minimum of two players for this game, and once you’ve got enough people, you can quickly get things underway. Start by choosing an individual. You can choose someone you all know personally or even a celebrity! After you have chosen, the other players will have to guess who you picked by asking no more than 20 questions about them.
When was the last time you played hangman? If it’s been a while, sand hangman might just be the perfect reintroduction. The rules of the game are the same with the exception that pen and paper are swapped for sand and a branch. Use simple words when playing with younger kids, and go harder with teenagers and adults. For teens and adults, you can also use phrases, lyrics, and things along those lines.
Are there lots of rock pools on the beach you’ve selected? If so, it’ll be perfect for a rock pool search game. Kids of all ages will love a chance to put their observational skills to the test scouring the rock pools for signs of life. See if you can find any critters in the rock pools, and as you all search together, use the experience as an opportunity to teach kids about the animals that live on and around the beach.
You can’t go wrong with some sandcastle building on the beach with kids. There are many ways you can go about this classic activity, from simply going the freestyle route and building your sandcastle by hand, or getting various sandcastle molds to make your creation extra special. Fairytale and pirate themes can provide great inspiration for sandcastle building projects, and you’re free to make them as big or as complex as you like!
Expert tip: Sandcastle building is not only fun but it can be educational for kids as well. You can teach young kids how they can make solid sandcastles with just the right amount of water and sand.
Sunburn is the worst, especially on a family vacation. Avoid this nuisance by putting on lots of full-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen (with SPF 50 and above). Reapply often for yourself and the kids, just as much as everyone gets in and out of the water. Older kids can reapply themselves (though they’ll typically need reminders from you!).
Help kids stay cool with hats, preferably those that cover the sensitive areas of their face and their ears as well. Sunshades and other sun protectant gear will also come in handy on extra sunny days.
If you’re headed to a windier beach, windbreakers will come in handy to protect you and your kids from the elements.
The best time to go to the beach is usually in the early morning before 10 am, or later in the afternoon from 3 pm onwards. The hours between 10 am and 2 pm tend to be peak sun times, though this can vary depending on your destination.
It goes without saying that you should be extra vigilant when going to the beach with kids. You’ll need to stay alert at all times, especially when younger kids are in and near the water. Keep an eye on older children as well, and educate them on things like riptides and other possible dangers on the beach.
Waterproof cases or pouches are a great way to keep your devices safe and dry if you decide to bring them on the beach with you. If you think it’ll be too much of a hassle to bring them along, leave your devices in your hotel room or at home.
Spending hours on the beach in the sunshine is a sure way to build up a thirst. Bring along plenty of water and juice for yourself and the kids, especially if you’ll be going to a beach that isn’t near any shops or restaurants. Pack some snacks as well and make sure not to leave any trash behind when you leave the beach.
There are so many things you can do on a beach with family, aside from just swimming and playing in the sand. Depending on which beach you go to, you can try water sports, play some beach games, make sandcastles, and just let loose and have a good time.
We hope we’ve helped you find fun things to do with your family on your next beach day. If this beach day happens to lead you to the Caribbean, it's worth noting that this region has some incredible all-inclusive family resorts. Beaches Resorts has the best kids clubs, nurseries for babies and toddlers, a Beach Shack for teens, a waterpark, and lots of super fun activities for kids and parents on and off the beach!
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Right now is the best time there is for your family to play together and laugh together. Make the most of your time on the beautiful seashore, and enjoy the lasting memories.
Expert tip: Heading on vacation with family and not sure what to pack? Here’s our ultimate family beach vacation packing list.