As a military child, I was fortunate to go to the beach all over the world. My dad then retired in Hawai’i and I grew up going to the beach all the time. In talking with friends, I find that they often wonder what beach activities their children and entire family will enjoy. It’s a topic that I love to talk about since so many of my favorite childhood memories are at the beach.
When you plan a day at the beach with the family, you imagine that everyone will be active and happy the entire time. Why wouldn’t they be? They’re at the beach, after all. But things don’t always work out the way we plan, so it’s a good idea to have some of fun beach activities planned so you can create your own wonderful family beach memories.
There are so many different types of things to do at the beach that there is guaranteed to be something that everyone will like. With just a little planning, you can make a routine trip to the beach a day full of beach fun.
When you’re planning for your trip to the beach, consider the ages of your children and beach activities they’ll enjoy. Please always carefully supervise your children at the beach. Evaluate their water skills, maturity, risk-taking personality traits and the water conditions.
Let’s be honest the water is the best part of the beach. There’s something mystical, powerful and somehow both exhilarating and relaxing about the ocean.
- Swimming – Depending on your child’s abilities and the water conditions, this may the highlight of the day or not . You can always bring swimming devices to help them and their confidence.
- Jumping Waves – Even very young children enjoying jumping waves at the water’s edge. Depending on the size of the waves and swimming skills, wave jumping appeals to older children, too.
- Boogie Boarding – Boogie boards can be fun in the shallow water and in deeper water for more skilled swimmers. Be sure to get a board with a leash so that the board doesn’t get washed away in the waves.
- Snorkeling – Depending on how rough the water is, snorkeling is an exciting way to explore under the water. Even when the water is murky, children enjoy snorkeling with the hope of seeing something exciting under the water.
- Floating – Whether floating alone on a raft or with others in a boat, it can be a relaxing or exciting experience depending on the waves and the stability of the float. While I personally prefer the peacefulness of relaxing on a float, some children actually enjoy tipping over every other minute.
- Paddling – A small dingy or boat is wonderful fun and a great way for children to learn to paddle and to work together to steer the boat.
Playing in the Sand
Playing in the sand is at the top of the fun things to do at the beach list. The tactile nature of sand and the endless creative posibilities make it irresistible for kids of all ages.
Building Sand Castles – A trip to the beach isn’t complete unless a sand castle is built. It’s a creative way for children to learn about building and design. The great thing about sand castle building is that you really don’t need any special equipment. You can bring buckets and plastic containers from home to dig with and use as molds. Or-rrrr, you can find incredible castle building equipment, too. And be sure to checkout the Best Sandcastle Competitions for building inspiration.
- Complete Sand Castle Building Kit for Younger Children
- Sand Castle Tower Kit for Older Kids
- 18-Piece Kit with Mesh Backpack
- Set of 4 Handheld Shovels
- Set of 3 Long-Handle Sand Shovels
- Shark Sand Bucket with Shovel
- 4-Pack of Collapsible Sand Buckets
Fun Beach Games
There may not be agreement on the best beach game, but these are classics that are always a hit with beachgoers of all ages.
- Playing Frisbee – Frisbee is a classic beach activity that’s great for older kids. Be sure to consider if your beach will have enough open space to play Frisbee (and not hit other people – ask me how many times I’ve been hit by other people’s frisbees.)
- Playing Catch – Another classic beach activity is playing catch. Bring a football from home, preferably a foam football, if you have it, a tennis ball or beach ball.
- Beach Games – Teach your children some of the nostalgic beach games from your childhood:
- Run the Bases
- Musical Beach Towels
- Sand Pictionary
- Blowing Bubbles
Other Things to Do at the Beach
- Reading – There are always low energy times at the beach where kids need to just rest. Reading is a perfect activity for this downtime and reading a beach book is even more perfect. Check out this list of beach books for children for reading ideas.
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash
- Taking a Walk – Put on a sun hat and take a relaxing, adventurous walk along the beach. This is is perfect a wide range of ages.
- Looking for Sea Shells and Sea Life – Add a treasure hunt angle to your walk by bringing a couple of buckets and searching along the water’s edge for shells, star fish, crabs and whatever has washed up.
- Playing a Scavenger Hunt – You can get your free copy of the Beach Scavenger Hunt for Kids 4-page printable. You can print the sheets out as many times as you’d like. You may also want to take this printable summer scavenger hunt.
Find all our best kids’ activities, games, and printables in the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.
I’m a mom of 3, a veteran and military spouse. I’ve moved into 20+ homes all around the world. My passion is helping busy people make the space and time for what’s really important to them.