The 15 Best Beach Games of 2023 | by Travel + Leisure


Nothing is better than spreading out a towel or opening up a beach chair, enjoying some sunshine (with sun protection, of course!), and relaxing on the beach. But if you’re looking to liven up your afternoon a bit, you can’t go wrong with a beach game, whether that’s something super active like volleyball or more laid-back like playing cards.

We’ve researched both traditional beach games and newer ones, making sure that each is portable, waterproof (or at least easy to clean), and, of course, lots of fun. We have favorites for one-on-one showdowns and epic group tournaments, so you may want to add a few to your cart to stock up for summer.

Our Top PicksBest Overall:Spikeball Game Set at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Football:Wave Runner Grip It Waterproof Football at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Volleyball Set:Park & Sun Sports Portable Outdoor Volleyball Net System at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Young Kids:Qrooper Toss and Catch Game Set at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Golfers:Original Beach Putt Golf Set at Playbeachputt.comJump to ReviewMost Portable:TidalBall Set at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Drinking Game:BucketBall Giant Yard Pong Edition at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Bocce Set:GoSports Backyard Bocce Set at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Cornhole Set:GoSports Portable PVC Framed Cornhole at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Horseshoe Set:WIn Sports Rubber Horseshoes Set at AmazonJump to Review

Best Overall

Spikeball Game Set


View On AmazonView On Academy.comView On Dick’sWhy We Love It

It’s portable and can be played in a relatively small area, and you can bend the rules to suit your group.

What to Consider

Technically you need four people to play the official game.

Volleyball might be a classic oceanside game, but it requires lots of space to play, which is not always available at a crowded beach. That’s where Spikeball comes in. It’s a combination of volleyball and foursquare in which two teams of two players spike a ball onto a center net in the hopes of making the other team miss their chance to return. It can be played on all sorts of surfaces, but it’s particularly great for sand since you can make some pretty epic dives. Though the official rules require four players, you can use the equipment any way you like, altering gameplay to suit your specific group. It’s a great way to get the heart — and laughs — pumping in between dips. 

Price at time of publish: $55

The Details: 4 players | 6 years and up 

Best Football

Wave Runner Grip It Waterproof Football


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

Its bright colors make it easy to see in the ocean…

What to Consider

…but you can’t actually pick which color you get on Amazon.

Playing catch at the beach, whether on the sand or in the water, is practically a national pastime. But traditional footballs usually don’t perform well when drenched, which isn’t ideal for a beach day. This football is specifically made for water use, with an extra-durable bladder designed to last in rough conditions and an easy-grip texture. The 9.25-inch football comes in a variety of bright colors, and it floats in the waves. Popping it in your beach tote is no problem since it weighs a mere 8 ounces. The only downside is you can’t actually pick your color with this specific deal.

Price at time of publish: $15

The Details: 2+ players | For all ages

Best Volleyball Set

Park & Sun Sports Spiker Sport: Portable Outdoor Volleyball Net System


View On AmazonView On Dick’sView On Sportsunlimitedinc.comWhy We Love It

The net height is adjustable.

What to Consider

It’s a more expensive beach game, and it requires a long setup.

The most important factor to consider when searching for the perfect beach volleyball set is portability. Between the net, the poles, the tension cords, and the ground stakes, there’s more equipment to carry than you might expect. That’s why we love this set, which fits compactly into a carrying bag. We also love that the net has adjustable heights, from 8 inches to 7.3 feet, to adapt to the players’ needs. It also includes a volleyball, so there’s no need to purchase one separately.

Price at time of publish: $106

The Details: 2+ player | 10 years and up 

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Best for Young Kids

Qrooper Toss and Catch Game Set


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

Kids can play alone or with others.

What to Consider

The quality isn’t the highest, so they might not last too long.

This can help little ones develop their hand-eye coordination, and they’ll have a lot of fun doing so. It’s been around for decades — all it is is neon-colored Velcro paddles and balls that make playing catch a breeze. So while the teens and adults might play catch with a football, the younger children can play catch with the help of these paddles. Plus, if they outgrow the paddles, they can always just play catch with the soft tennis ball. We also like that the strap on the back of the paddles is adjustable for adults and kids alike.

Price at time of publish: $25

The Details: 1+ players | 3 and up

Best for Golfers

Original Beach Putt Golf Set

Original Beach Putt

View On Playbeachputt.comWhy We Love It

It’s pretty much the only way you can bring mini golf directly to the beach.

What to Consider

It requires flat, packed sand to play.

Mini golf and beach vacations go hand in hand, but the courses are typically found somewhere off the sand. For golfers who want to give their putting game a go at the beach itself, this is the kit for you. It comes with everything you need to set up an on-beach putting green: putting cups, a sand scoop for digging holes for the cups, putt rings, flags and poles, golf balls, and a waterproof dry bag to carry it all. Plus, this specific set comes with two adjustable putters that work for both righties and lefties. Just be aware that you won’t be able to play this game in loose sand. You need flat, packed sand in order for it to work.

Price at time of publish: $130

The Details: 1+ players | For all ages

Most Portable

TidalBall Set


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

You can play in as little or as much space as you want.

What to Consider

It’s a little expensive for such simple equipment.

Like Spikeball, TidalBall is a hybrid beach game — this one combines bocce with cornhole. Not only is the game fun, but it’s extremely portable, weighing just 8 ounces. The only things in the kit are lightweight balls, a sand scoop, and two koozies (which are not actually part of the game). Use the scoop to dig a hole surrounded by a horseshoe trench, one on each side of the playing field. Teams score three points if they toss the ball into the hole and one if they toss it into the trench. It’s almost absurdly easy to pick up, and, of course, you can change the rules however you see fit.

Price at time of publish: $30

The Details: 4 players | 4 years and up 

Best Drinking Game

BucketBall Giant Yard Pong Edition


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s just like beer pong, but there’s no table needed.

What to Consider

If you put actual beverages in the cups, they’re likely to get sandy.

Imagine a giant beer pong setup, and you’re imagining this yard pong set. It comes with 12 red buckets — yes, it’s a smaller rack than what’s used in traditional beer pong — that you can anchor into the sand. The set also includes three pairs of balls, each with a different style: standard, bouncy hybrid, and tailgate, which do not roll or bounce. Now there’s one important thing to note: You’ll probably want to use a (normal-size) side cup for your adult beverages! Not only are the buckets a bit large for filling with beer, but a lot of sand will likely get in them.

Price at time of publish: $60

The Details: 2+ players | 6 years and up (21+ if drinking alcohol)

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Best Bocce Set

GoSports Backyard Bocce Set


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

The resin balls are high quality for an affordable set.

What to Consider

The soft rubber balls don’t provide the satisfying “knock” sound.

You can’t go wrong with a classic bocce game, whether on the lawn or at the beach. With this set, you can play on both. You can also choose between classic resin balls and soft rubber balls, which are typically better for hard playing surfaces but work just as well in sand. Both balls are the same size and weight, but the soft rubber balls don’t make the same “knock” sound as the resin ones. If you’re not familiar with the game, the rules are pretty simple. Teams take turns throwing their bocce balls as close to a smaller ball, called the pallino, as possible. After all the bocce balls are tossed, the team whose ball is closest to the pallino wins a point.

Price at time of publish: $40

The Details: 4–8 players | 12 years and up

Best Cornhole Set

GoSports Portable PVC Framed Cornhole


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s lightweight and portable.

What to Consider

The surface is bouncy, which slightly alters the physics of the game.

Cornhole is a backyard favorite, but the wood boards are certainly not convenient to lug to the beach. This portable set solves that problem. All in, the two targets and eight bean bags only weigh 15 pounds, and they collapse down to fit into a carrying case. The one thing to consider is that because the targets are made out of fabric and PVC pipes, the surface can be a little bouncy, which may mess with established cornhole players’ techniques. There’s a slight learning curve, but it’s easy to overcome.

Price at time of publish: $40

The Details: 4 players | 3 years and up 

Best Horseshoe Set

WIn Sports Outdoor Indoor Rubber Horseshoes Set


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

The mesh carrying case makes sand removal a breeze.

What to Consider

The rubber horseshoes are lighter than metal ones, so you’ll have to toss them with a slightly different technique.

We’ll admit it: Real metal horseshoes have a lovely clang to them, but they’re not the safest pieces of equipment to toss around with kids nearby. This horseshoe set includes heavy rubber horseshoes, which are far less likely to cause any bruises. Some players might find it frustrating that they are lighter than metal horseshoes, though. But for a lighthearted game at the beach with kids, this set will do the trick. You can also use the game indoors, and the mesh carrying case makes it easy to hose off all the sand first.

Price at time of publish: $21

The Details: 2 players | For all ages

Best Frisbee

Kan Jam Original Disc Toss Game

View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Kanjam.comWhy We Love It

The cans flatten to be put inside a carrying case.

What to Consider

The plastic spikes used to keep the cans in the sand are a bit weak.

You could always play a regular game of frisbee on the beach, but if you want something a bit more intense (in a good way!), check out Kan Jam. Teams of two players compete to score the most points; scoring revolves around throwing a frisbee at a trash can–like structure. The can has an open top and a slit in the front, and one player throws the frisbee at the can while their teammate attempts to deflect it into the can. You score a variety of points based on where the frisbee ends up and whether or not there was a deflection involved. There’s one way to instantly win: throwing the frisbee directly into the slot or the open top.

Price at time of publish: $33

The Details: 4–8 players | 9 years and up 

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Best Card Game

Mattel Games UNO Splash Card Game


View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Entertainmentearth.comWhy We Love It

It’s budget-friendly, and up to 10 people can play.

What to Consider

Cards can blow away if it’s windy.

Uno is a simple card game that anyone can learn quickly. The goal is to get rid of your hand by placing cards down on a main pile, matching the top card’s number or color. The problem with standard Uno cards at the beach is that they’re not waterproof, but this set is, so you don’t have to worry about ruining them at the beach. They also come with a handy clip that connects them all, so you can easily attach them to your beach bag. Just beware that the cards might blow away in the wind.

Price at time of publish: $10

The Details: 2–10 players | 7 years and up 

Best Badminton Set

Funsparks Paddle Ball Game Jazzminton Deluxe


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It comes with different birdies to alter the style of gameplay.

What to Consider

Traditionalists won’t like that there’s no net.

Setting up a badminton net on a beach isn’t very fun, which is why we love Jazzminton — it eliminates the net from gameplay. You can stand as close together or as far apart as you want, with the main goal of keeping the birdie off the ground (or out of the water, even though they do float). Speaking of birdies, this set comes with multiple styles, some of which travel faster than others, so you can always keep the game spicy. If you love an active beach vacation, don’t leave home without this lightweight set.

Price at time of publish: $25

The Details: 2 players | 6 years and up

Best Toss Game

GoSports Ladder Toss Game Set


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You can play this game solo if you desire.

What to Consider

The ladders aren’t weighted, so they can fall over if not anchored.

Ladder Toss is a very straightforward game. You just toss a bolo (a short length of rope with a weighted ball at each end) toward a ladder and get it to wrap around one of the rungs. Each rung has a different point value. Typically you play in teams for a certain number of rounds, but if you want to fudge the rules of gameplay a bit, you can even play alone and just hone your tossing technique. There’s a little bit of assembly involved if you plan on using the beach bag since the PVC pipes need to be connected to form the ladder.

Price at time of publish: $30

The Details: 2–4 players | 6 years and up 

Best Board Game

Multiflex Designs Jumbo Checkers


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

The “board” is a rug and it’s machine-washable.

What to Consider

The storage bag is made of flimsy plastic, so you might want to upgrade to a mesh or canvas bag.

Board games are not usually the easiest to play at the beach, given the lack of stable surfaces and the likelihood of losing pieces in the sand. This jumbo checkers set, however, is the perfect one to take to the beach. The “board” is actually a rug, and the pieces are extra-large so you won’t easily lose them (and they’re easy to grip with little hands). Best of all, the rug is machine-washable, so it’s nearly effortless to get sand off after the beach trip.

Price at time of publish: $13

The Details: 2 players | 5 years and up 

Best Water Bouncing Ball

Waboba Pro Water Bouncing Ball


View On AmazonView On Dick’sView On Waboba.comWhy We Love It

This ball is specifically designed for more accuracy compared to the original model.

What to Consider

The ball’s heavier weight might be a problem for young kids.

There’s nothing quite like a simple game of catch, but when you add a body of water into the equation, that provides ample opportunity for even more fun. Waboba is no stranger to designing water-friendly balls, and this specific model takes things to the next level. The Pro edition is a heavier, bigger, and firmer version of its Surf ball, which makes it easier to throw the ball or bounce it off the water with more accuracy. But therein lies one drawback: This ball is not suitable for small kids who might struggle to master the heavier weight. If you’re searching for a bouncing water ball for kids younger than 10, try the Waboba Surf instead.

 Price at time of publish: $12

The Details: 2+ players | 10 years and up

Best Flying Disc Set

Poleish Sports Bottle Bash Game Set


View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Basspro.comWhy We Love It

It provides frisbee throwers with a more specific task than simply playing catch.

What to Consider

The game requires a significant amount of space to play, making it less than ideal for a crowded beach.

Tossing a frisbee around can be fun, but it might feel a little repetitive if you’re just playing catch. With Bottle Bash, however, there’s more structure to the frisbee-oriented game. In a nutshell, players compete to knock plastic bottles off poles via a flying disc, usually in teams of two, although there’s also a more intense one-versus-one version. The defensive aim is to catch both the disc and the bottle before they hit the ground, thus preventing the other team from scoring points. Since the game relies more on coordination than strength, it’s perfect for families of all ages and sizes. Be forewarned, however, that at least 30 to 40 feet of space is required to place this game, meaning it may not be suitable for a crowded beach. Assembly is simple — stick the poles in the ground and balance the bottles on top.

Price at time of publish: $50

The Details: 2+ players | For all ages

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Best For Families

Crossnet 4-way Volleyball Net with Carrying Backpack & Ball


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

Crossnet is designed to provide an even playing field for all family members, no matter how big or small.

What to Consider

As beach games go, it’s pretty expensive.

The ideal family beach game should have both easy-to-understand rules and an easy setup process, but perhaps most importantly, it should keep all family members on equal footing in terms of gameplay. Crossnet manages to accomplish all this by blending four square with volleyball, using nets that have an adjustable height. The most valuable skill with Crossnet is control rather than strength or size, meaning even the smallest member of your clan can still win some matches. Unlike other team beach games, it keeps the entire playing area fairly compact so a family can still play together even on a crowded summertime beach. Assembly is a little complicated, requiring the anchoring of poles with tension strings — it’s easiest to do with a party of four, so each branch of the nets can be set up at simultaneously.

Price at time of publish: $115

The Details: 4 players | For all ages

Best Paddle Game

PaddleSmash Outdoor Games


View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Dick’sWhy We Love It

Pickleball goes portable with this fast-paced game.

What to Consider

It’s designed for older teens and adults.

Partake in the pickleball craze with this portable, easy-to-assemble version that is just as challenging as it is fun. Since you can’t take a full pickleball court with you on the go, this game uses a small, foldable court that you can bring with you just about anywhere. While the tiny net-surrounded court requires some getting used to, even for pickleball pros, the game as a whole does a good job of recreating the combination of power and finesse that makes pickleball so enjoyable — and challenging. One possible issue with the game’s design is that uneven surfaces can alter the experience, so if you’re bringing this one to the beach, be sure to find as flat a surface as possible. And keep in mind that it’s not particularly an easy game for kids — you have to be tall enough to hit the ball into court, and you need to have sharp aim.

Price at time of publish: $199

The Details: 2–4 players | 15 years and up

Best Lacrosse Game

Hydro Lacrosse


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s assembly-free.

What to Consider

There are no rules — if you don’t know how to play lacrosse, you’ll probably just be playing catch.

Lacrosse isn’t necessarily the first game you might think of when you picture people playing at the beach. But this design makes a typically non-beachy game very much beach-friendly. The kit comes with two short, soft lacrosse sticks and a ball — all of which are waterproof. Essentially, they’re designed so you can play lacrosse in the water. If you happen to be a lacrosse player and you’re at the beach with enough people to form full teams, you could actually play a true game of aquatic lacrosse. But if you’re not too familiar with the sport, you’ll probably end up just playing catch with your Hydro Lacrosse sticks, which is a great way to spend a day in the sun.

Price at time of publish: $15

The Details: 2+ players | 5 years and up

Blitzball Starter Pack


View On Dick’sWhy We Love It

The ball is heavy enough so as not to be affected by a sea breeze.

What to Consider

You’ll need plenty of space to play this game.

Love to play wiffle ball, but don’t want to lose your pitch to the wind at the beach? Enter Blitzball. The game is designed to make pitching a lot more fun and hitting more substantive thanks to a heavier ball design — one that allows pitchers to throw some pretty dramatic curveballs, sinkers, and sliders. The bat is also thicker and more durable, which means batters to get more velocity in their hits, so much so that you can reportedly hit the ball 40 percent farther than a baseball. As such, you’re going to need a lot of space on the beach to play this game, especially as you don’t want to hit any innocent bystanders. A basic starter kit provides a bat and balls, meaning there’s no assembly required, but add-on pieces like the strike zone require some setup. While this game is a perfect beach activity for baseball fans, it is definitely more difficult to play than wiffle ball, which means it’s not necessarily ideal for young kids.

Price at time of publish: $35

The Details: 2+ players | 18 years and up

Best Kite

A Great Life Classic Beginners Kite


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s very easy to fly.

What to Consider

Although water-repellent, this kite is not waterproof.

Unless you’re a kite-flying expert, you probably want a kite that’s easy to set up and fly. Look no further than this rainbow kite, which is designed to catch even the slightest bit of breeze and start soaring. It’s so easy to fly, in fact, that kids as young as 4 can manage to get it aloft on their own once trained how to do so. It’s also very durable, meaning it should last many summers, though it’s only water-repellant and not waterproof — you might want to fly this kite closer to the inland side of the beach! 

 Price at time of publish: $15

The Details: 1+ players | 4 years and up

Best Sand Castle Kit

SupMLC 27-Piece Sand Castle Kit


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It has a variety of thematic molds for different childhood interests.

What to Consider

It’s hard to keep track of so many pieces.

With this sand castle kit, your youngsters will be not just building their own custom fortress but also excavating dinosaur bones and creating an aquatic menagerie — there are 27 pieces in the set, allowing your little one’s creativity to shine. While there are quite a few standalone molds, there are also some rakes and shovels to aid in any construction work. No assembly is required, except for the actual building of the sand sculptures, of course, and kids of all ages can enjoy this toy. While the kit does come with a mesh bag, it might be challenging to keep track of each and every piece.

Price at time of publish: $17

The Details: 1+ players | For all ages

Best Floating Frisbee

Activ Life Kid’s Frisbee Rings


View On AmazonView On WalmartWhy We Love It

This frisbee is easy to toss and catch.

What to Consider

More experienced frisbee users and adults might miss the durability and distance capabilities of a traditional frisbee.

Frisbees can be deceptively difficult to master, but these flying rings are much easier to throw in the direction you want them to go, and they’re capable of reaching heights up to 80 feet. And you can even bring them in the water, as they’re made from a lightweight, flexible material that not only allows them to float on the water, but also ensures they won’t hurt any hands when they’re caught. Best of all, there’s no assembly required — simply grab a ring and start tossing. But more experienced frisbee players may not be satisfied with these flying rings, as they’re unlikely to get the sort of distance or control they’d normally get from a traditional disc. But for families with kids, this is a great choice.  

Price at time of publish: $15

The Details: 2+ players | For all ages

Best for All Ages

4E’s Novelty Beach Balls (set of 3)


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

There are countless ways to play with this toy.

What to Consider

They can blow away easily.

Hear us out — a beach ball might just be the best all-ages beach toy around, thanks to the fact that you can make up a million games to play with it. For little ones, it’s easy to use a beach ball for squishing, tossing, or kicking. When the kids get a little older, you can play more organized games with a beach ball, including volleyball and crab soccer (where you kick the ball around while crab-walking on all fours). And don’t forget the possibility of relay races where you have to run with a beach ball between your legs! Just be aware that beach balls have a tendency to blow away, so always make sure you have a spare or two on hand.

Price at time of publish: $10

The Details: 1+ players | 3 years and up

Tips for Buying Beach Games

Consider available space

Some beach games, like volleyball, take up a large amount of space, which isn’t ideal for more crowded beaches. Figure out how much space you’ll have available to you — or how much space you want to take up — before you decide which game to take to the beach. Other games, like beach golf, require flat, damp sand, which may not exist at every beach.

Be mindful of age ranges

If you’re traveling in a group with children, keep in mind their ages when it comes to packing games. You might want to bring a game that everyone can play, or, if you have the capacity, you could bring separate games for children and adults.

Don’t forget ease of portability

You’ll need to take your games with you in the car (or on public transportation), then lug them from the parking lot (or bus/train station) to the beach. And if your beach is particularly large, you might need to bring them quite a distance to get a good spot. So make sure that your game, no matter its shape and size, is able to be packed into an easy-to-carry bag.

Frequently Asked QuestionsAre games allowed on all beaches?

Most games are allowed on most beaches, but ultimately it’s up to the discretion of the town. Some towns in the U.S. have ordinances that ban the playing of sports or games on the beach. Others might have restrictions on the types of games you can play or the hours you can play them. Always refer to the municipality’s rules before planning your day around a beach game.

What’s the best way to pack beach games?

Most beach games come with a carrying case. If they don’t have one, make sure you have a bag large enough to fit all the pieces. Mesh bags are ideal, as they let the sand shake out more easily. They can also be hosed down with your game inside if it is waterproof.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Stefanie Waldek is a freelance travel writer with nearly a decade of experience. For this article, she evaluated her own experience with beach games (she grew up going down the shore) and read dozens of customer reviews.

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