Whether it’s an oceanside retreat or the sandy shores of a lake, nothing says summer like a day at the beach. But even the most water-loving family could use a little variety in their beach excursion routine. Here are over 33 beach activities and beach games that take next-to-no supplies and a lot of creativity.

If you’ve got a baby in tow, check out our favorite baby beach hacks to make the best of your day!

1. Host a beach scavenger hunt.

The beach is full of hidden treasures. If your pint-sized pirate isn't quite ready for ocean exploration then a land-based scavenger hunt is a great way to spend the afternoon. Start the day with easy-to-locate items and slowly work toward more obscure finds, just like Katie of Views from a Step Stool did with her son.

2. Play nature tic-tac-toe.

Whether you use sticks or simply sketch a playing board in the sand, tic-tac-toe is an easy and fun beach activity for any age. Get creative with your Xs and Os markers by using shells, sticks, and other nautical treasures.

3. Create beautiful beach art.

This two-in-one beach activity is perfect for your little explorer to showcase his artistic side. Get an early start, collect as many colorful items as possible, and give him a wide-open canvas.

4. Make sand animals.

Forgo the typical sand castle and challenge your budding builders to sculpt their favorite sea creatures out of the sand instead. Bonus points for the most imaginative monster!

5. Look for animal habitats.

Turn the beach into your outdoor classroom and talk about the different habitats you can find there. Point out the grasslands, the water, and the dunes, and then follow up with a chat about the animals in each habitat. After the lesson, send your students off to explore.

6. Build a sand (snow) man.

Olaf may have wished for summer, but most snowmen prefer frigid temps. Their sandy counterparts, however, love all things beachy! You can use sand toys for arms and buckets for hats or look around for supplies right on the beach. 

7. Host an Olympic competition.

Turn a day at the beach into an Olympic-inspired competition. Head over to A Small Snippet to see how to set up games like hurdles, a 40-yard dash, discus throw, and more.

8. Practice your putting.

Play a sandy round of mini-golf right on the beach. For this fun beach game, you can pick up a set of pint-sized clubs and balls from Amazon or the dollar store and make your own course.

9. Make a rock tower.

For this beach activity, collect rocks of various sizes, and have the kids stack them up until the tower topples. The kid with the tallest tower wins! Take pictures and spread them back out in the sand before you leave.

dad and daughter reading on the beach, a fun beach activity

10. Enjoy a good beach read.

It might not be the juicy novel you've had your eye on, but there's something special about hosting story time in the sand. You can choose a family favorite or pick something beach-themed!

11. Play musical towels.

A circle of towels easily doubles as the setup for musical chairs. Don't forget to bring the radio or a smartphone with speakers to crank up your favorite tunes.

12. Organize a beach ball relay.

For this beach game, the rules are simple. Players use any part of the body except the hands and race to carry a beach ball across the finish line before their opponents.

13. Throw sand darts.

Sand darts is one game that's always a bullseye at the beach. It's easy to set up—sketch a dart board in the sand and then collect shells or pebbles to use as darts.

14. Paint rocks (and shells).

Bring a few markers (Sharpies work best, so this one is ideal for the older kids) to the beach and have your kids add flair to gathered shells or rocks. You can hide them for other families or take them home as souvenirs. We love the adorable designs spotted over at Green Owl Art.

15. Fly a kite.

It’s often windy by the beach, so take advantage of the prime conditions to fly a kite. You can grab one for less than $10 at Target (or, if you’re feeling crafty, make your own!).

16. Organize a beach ball relay.

Using any part of the body except the hands, two people race to carry a beach ball across the finish line before their opponents.

17. Take a walk.

Sometimes the simplest things can be the most special. Reapply that sunscreen and head out on a stroll down the beach with your littles. Along the way, you can hunt for shells, spot animals, and dip your toes in the ocean.

18. Make a river and float a boat.

Once you've made a sand castle, expand the pretend play by carving a river from the castle to the sea. Add rocks for boulders, dig waterfalls, and build tiny boats the kids can sail to open waters.

mom and daughter digging a hole, a fun beach activity

19. Dig a hole.

Whether the kids are competing to see who can hit wet sand first, or if they're making a swimming pool for the royal residents of the adjacent sand castle, digging a hole is one of the most classic beach activities of all time.

20. Become a beach steward by cleaning up the beach.

Take a few minutes to stash the trash while taking a break from all the sand castles and treasure hunting,! Using supervision, it's a great way to start or end your day at the beach. Make it a game to see who can pick up the most trash—you'll be helping the beach habitat you love and showing kids responsibility. Win, win! 

21. Organize a few rounds of hopscotch.

You don't need much to set up this classic game. Find a stick and make the game squares. Then, gather a few rocks and a few willing kids, and then let them hop away.

22. Set up beach skeeball.

Skeeball + sand = fun. Recreate everyone’s favorite arcade game at the beach. Just dig the holes and get rolling. Thanks to Life with Leo for the idea!

23. Become a mermaid.

She's always wanted to be a mermaid. So dig a hole, bury her, and craft a mermaid tail out of the surrounding sand. You can even let the kids make you a tail!

24. Melt a sand castle.

After your kids have had their fill of towers and turrets, offer up a bucket of water and a funnel (a plastic water bottle works great, too). Show your little builders how to dribble the water over the towers slowly. The castle will change and dissolve before their eyes.

25. Create a construction site.

The beach is the biggest sandbox your kid will ever see. Add a little water, gravel, or rocks, and bam! You’ve got an instant dig site. Tote mini construction vehicles, put the kids under a shade structure, and then bust out that novel you brought—you now have time to read it.

26. Do the Limbo

A classic game that anyone can play, all you need for the Limbo is a stick and music. Take turns going under the stick (chin up, hands and feet can't touch the ground), until one player remains.

mom and daughter doing beach yoga, a fun beach activity

27. Do a little beach yoga.

Take a meditative moment and do yoga to the sound of the waves. To avoid getting super sandy, stick with standing poses like Triangle Pose, Half Moon, or Warrior Pose but consider aquatic names for them: Castle Pose, Mermaid, etc.

28. Try to balance on a boogie board.

Get everyone lined up on their boogie boards near the water. Then, have your kids stand on the board with their backs facing the water (so they won't see the waves coming). The winner is the last one standing on a board when the water retreats.

29. Play I Spy.

From friendly pups to sailboats and kayaks, there’s so much to take in at the beach. Grab your sunnies and challenge your kids to a game of I Spy. Just pick an object and dole out clues about it (I spy something fuzzy, something red, etc.) until they can name it.

30. Try your hand at "Sand Pictionary."

A sandy beach is a perfect canvas for Pictionary when the tide is out. Give this classic game a summery twist with words like firework, crab, and watermelon. Once the correct guess has been made, wait for the waves to clear the "board" and start the next round.

31. Toss a beach ball around.

Sometimes the simplest games can be the most fun. All you need is an oversized beach towel and a beach ball! See how long you can keep the ball in the air and off the sand.

32.  Pitch a beach tent.

Channel their inner castaway and create a beach tent using found branches and a towel. Then relax and enjoy sandy fun in the shade.

33. Craft shell necklaces.

Look for seashells with holes in them as you enjoy the beach. Once you’ve got a few on hand, let the kiddos string them onto twine to make a simple and sweet necklace.




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