How To Throw a Beach Party Where Everyone Has a Blast

picture of a successful beach party

Sun, sand, surf! There is nothing better than an afternoon at the beach with all of your favorite people. One of my favorite daydreams is pondering beach days gone by, whether it’s an afternoon birthday party or dusk bonfire gathering.

But there is much more to throwing a beach party than meets the eye! The elements make beach parties challenging. However, you can achieve a daydream-worthy beach party with a bit of advanced planning.

Advanced Planning Checklist

This handy checklist helps party planners consider all aspects of an amazing beach party. Keep this list handy as you plan to help make your party pleasant for every guest. Remember, the best host is a thoughtful host! Consider the following carefully when planning your beach party:

  • Venue
  • Invitations
  • Theme
  • Beach-Friendly Decor
  • Simple Foods
  • Safety First
  • Entertainment
picture of a luao beach party

Select the Perfect Venue

Since you have decided on a beach party, much of the venue is already chosen. However, within the beach atmosphere, you have several choices. As with all of these items on this list, think about your specific guest list when deciding. 

Do you imagine your beach party taking place oceanside? Consider if mobility will be an issue for any of your guests if they must navigate sandy terrain. Depending on where you live, the beach may be crowded with fellow human and canine visitors, affecting your plans.

Parties by the shore must also pay attention to the tide. The last thing you want is for your guests and decor to be washed away! Consult with a tide predictions table for your region to help you plan the party.

If you want to have a beach bonfire, be sure to investigate if your beach of choice allows bonfires. Research the rules at your beach to see if they allow gatherings, bonfires, dogs, outside alcohol, and other pertinent ordinances. Some beaches require a permit for parties.

picture of a bonfire party on the beach at night

Often beaches offer picnic areas on grass which can be easier to navigate. These areas may contain picnic tables, garbage cans, and other convenience items. However, it is unlikely guests will be able to enjoy the sound or smells of the beach from a picnic area.

Arrive at your beach party early to scope out a high-quality spot. Make sure your venue is close to the amenities you have prioritized and locate restrooms in advance. Scan your party area and remove any driftwood, garbage, or smelly beach items to keep your guests safe and happy.

Write Detailed Invites

As already indicated, beach parties require a lot of clarification. Keep your guests at ease and in the beachy spirit with plenty of information on the invitation. Be sure to indicate the type of terrain they may need to navigate, which may influence their RSVP or choice of outfit or shoes.

List requirements for guests on the invitation. If you suggest your guests bring their chairs or blanket, or if your party is BYOB, make sure to indicate this on your invitation. 

Give some idea of the activities planned for your beach party. If you are offering games or a sandcastle-building contest, your guests will be ready to play. Describe your menu helpfully so guests know to anticipate a meal or snacks. Words like tapas or cookout communicate this well. 

Have Fun With a Theme

Choosing a party theme provides structure and sets expectations for guests. For a beach party, your theme may occur naturally. Sometimes your main activity sets the theme, like a beach volleyball party. Or, if it’s a holiday, the theme will dictate the plan for the day.

But if the theme is not overt, let your creativity go wild! Channel the iconic beach party movies from the 1950s and 1960s for a retro theme. Keep big sunglasses and bandanas on hand, as well as glass bottles of Coca-Cola and a soundtrack heavy on Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys.

picture of people parting at the beach with smoke sticks theme

Or pick an unorthodox beach party theme! Plan a sexy masquerade party as the sun sets on the beach. The crashing waves add an extra air of mystery as guests mill around the crackling flames. Even with masks off, the glow from the bonfire maintains the intimate atmosphere.

Choose Beach-Friendly Decor

When it comes to decor, considering the elements is a must. Almost, as a rule, avoid glass when throwing a beach party. If glass breaks on the beach, trying to clean tiny shards of broken glass out of sand is nearly impossible. This can turn your beach party into a danger zone.

Choose disposable products for your beach party, including silverware, cups, plates, and napkins. Ditch styrofoam or other products harmful to the environment. Instead, purchase renewable products or compostable paper items when possible.

Wind commonly wreaks havoc on beach parties. Pack an assortment of weights to keep everything from blowing away. Grab sandbags to keep any tent in place and use a plastic container of rocks to weigh down plates and napkins.

Because sudden weather changes can destroy a beach party, plan your decor with comfort as the priority. Pack extra blankets and towels. Grab umbrellas, wide-brimmed hats, and other sunshades. 

Simple Foods are Best

The beach can be unpredictable. When it comes to food, it’s best to keep things simple on the sand. Classic beach party foods include hot dogs, hamburgers, kebabs, barbecues, and smores. If you choose any of these menu items, keep condiments simple for the best results.

Contamination and food poisoning are concerns when serving food at a beach party. When partying outdoors, food is cooked somewhat unreliably on an open flame. Protein and dairy may sit in an environment that is unrefrigerated or under-refrigerated. 

These conditions can promote dangerous quality for the food you serve to others. It may be a good idea to serve already-cooked proteins like fried chicken to avoid any concerns. Or choose a snack-heavy menu with chips, popcorn, fruit and veggie trays, and other stable foods.

With the innovations in plant-based meats, these proteins also offer a safer alternative for outdoor dining. While you still cannot eat plant-based meats raw, it presents a much lower risk for any foodborne illnesses if they are undercooked. 

Safety First!

Outdoor parties have more safety considerations than typical indoor gatherings. Beach parties are vulnerable to weather changes, sun and heat exposure risks, and the unpredictable ocean. As the host, it is your responsibility to take the proper steps to maintain as safe an environment as possible. 

Dehydration is a major issue when partying outdoors, especially if alcohol is involved. Pack extra water and ice to keep everyone hydrated. Fight sun exposure by bringing extra sunscreen as well. Read up on what SPF means to purchase the best sunblock for your guests.

picture of sunblock on a woman's back

Many beaches attract bugs, especially mosquitoes. Supply extra bug spray to ensure the experience stays pleasant for your friends and family. Citronella candles or lanterns may be a possible solution for persistent insects.

Help establish a buddy system for those going into the water. Especially if young children or inexperienced swimmers are involved, it is crucial to keep each other safe. Choosing a beach with a posted lifeguard provides additional security.

If your beach party occurs at night, pack extra flashlights and batteries. The sunsets around 8 p.m. during the summer, but beach parties can quickly stretch into a long night. Make sure you can safely navigate back to your car or ask for help.

For beach bonfires, buy a substantial amount of firewood. Find firewood at gas stations, big-box stores, and hardware stores. You will go through much more wood than you anticipate, so don’t be afraid to overbuy firewood.

What About Activities and Entertainment?

Will you provide additional entertainment at your beach party? For some, a day at the beach is enough for their friends. But think a little deeper if you want to go all-out for your beach party.

picture of a dj at a beach party

Fun beach games run the gamut, from new activities to classic games. Almost all of us have played with bags or cornholes. This game involves throwing bean bags into holes in propped-up, triangle-frame boards. A portable, addictive game, bags are perfect for the beach.

Classic activities like sandcastle building, playing catch, and water games like Marco Polo always hit the spot. Pack a beach ball, a bandana, or some buckets and pails for portable, inexpensive fun for hours. 

Be sure to indicate the activities you are planning on your invitation. Detailing this will influence the attire your guests may wear. Listing these activities may inspire your friends and family to bring their beach games. 

Waterproof speakers dominate the market with robust and durable sources of terrific party music. Or, if you or your friends are musicians, bring your instruments for a sunset jam session to cap off a memorable day at the beach.


Throwing a beach party isn’t easy. With planning, you can pull off a sensational beach party all of your guests will enjoy. Think through all of your details to determine if they will be negatively affected by wind or water. Find creative alternatives to any beach party plans that can’t stand up to the outdoors.

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