Beach days are the time for swimming, tanning, and relaxing. But if you really plan on spending the whole day there, you're going to need more than just sunscreen—we are talking, of course, about some top-notch beach games.
Here, the games that will make your beach days even more fun this summer.
1. Bat and Ball
It all starts with the classic bat and ball. The objective is simple: bat the ball around as many times as you can without letting it hit the sand. The beauty of playing it on the beach? You can channel your team player as much as you'd like, and dive to and fro with all the zest of the ideal teammate—you've got that sand cushion, after all. And if you get too sandy, just call a timeout and refresh with a quick dip between sets.
Waboba is a game involving balls specially designed to bounce gracefully on water. The idea is to pass the ball to your teammates by bouncing it at least once on the water. Waboba offers beginner, intermediate, and expert-level balls—but we suggest starting off with the Surf model, their lighter, introductory option. It's always best to get some practice in before you start whipping tennis-ball-sized objects at your friends while out for a swim.
Another variant on the classic bouncing-ball game, Spikeball employs a miniature trampoline of sorts to help you bounce—or spike—a ball to your fellow players. It's basically a twist on beach volleyball: you bat the ball back and forth with your teammates before bouncing it off the net. The first team that is unable to bounce the ball off the net and back at their opponents loses the point. So, spiking is, indeed, the name of the game.
Cornhole is a game as fun as its name is unappealing. The aim is to get as many beanbags through the hole as possible. It is a game of skill, nuance, and precision—and, for reasons that defy explanation, scoring in Cornhole can be a surprisingly thrilling experience. This is a game that can heat up quickly, and to the victors go the beach-day bragging rights. Just remember: like basketball, it's all about the arc of your shot.
5. Beach Bocce Ball
The goal of bocce is to toss your balls and land them as close to the pallino (that's the tiny ball, named after the Italian word for bullet) as you can. Points are awarded for each ball that gets closer to the pallino than your opponents'. Feel free to knock your opponents' balls out, but be careful, because you always risk the chance of knocking your own out of the running in the process as well. We know it's fun to play in the sun, but let's not fly too close to it, Icarus.
6. Ladder Golf
The goal of Ladder Golf is to toss the bolas (that would be the term referring to two balls connected by a string) toward the "ladder," scoring points if you manage to land it on a rung. As with cornhole, bocce, and curling, you can always try to knock another player's bolas off the ladder when you're feeling gutsy.
7. Personal Beach Volleyball
Having your own beach volleyball set is a lot more fun than showing up to the beach and trying to play pick-up with the semi-pros who've been out there spiking the ball around since sunrise. If you've got your own net and ball, you can determine the pace of play and the intensity of competition—so feel free to set it up and just play game after game, in a nice, leisurely manner, all day long.
And now, the Sweet team weighs in with some of their favorite beach activities.
"I love swimming in the ocean, because I get bored on the sand and I'm a true Aquarius, so water always sounds like a good idea to me. One of the best games to play in the ocean is Sharks and Minnows. I have two important suggestions, though. First of all, keep bounds near the shore because not everyone is an Olympic-caliber swimmer. Second, if you see a real-deal shark, get out of there!"
–Chanel Parks, assistant editor, @chanelinezp
"I highly recommend playing board games at the beach—there's something about playing them on your blanket near the surf that makes it more enjoyable than usual. My friends always bring Yahtzee and things get very intense. (It's always fun to yell 'Yahtzee' no matter where you are.)"
—Mallory Rice, deputy editor, @mallory-rice
"Forcing your friends to help you finish a crossword puzzle is a great way to spend an afternoon on the beach. And it never hurts to bring a Nerf football either."
–Stefan Marolachakis, senior editor, @stefanmymind
"As much as I love hanging out on the beach itself, I feel that you can have just as much fun on the boardwalk. This summer I have been all about learning how to skateboard with my friends and taking long walks that inevitably wind up at an ice cream shop. It's a proven fact that ice cream is even more delicious at the beach."
–Catherine Fuentes, managing editor, @cat_fuentes
"I like to use an entire bottle of SPF 75+, put on a hat with an enormous brim, sit under the biggest umbrella I can find, and read in the shade."
–Rebecca Bates, senior editor, @re.beccabates
"I'm a firm believer that you're never too old to build sandcastles. Relaxing on the beach and doing some creatively fulfilling, sustainable, architectural work? That's the dream."
–Abbey Maxbauer, editorial intern, @abbeymaxbauer