How to Host a Beach Party

Beach picnic

Lavandasogni/ Twenty20 

Few experiences capture the essence of summer as well as a day at the beach. When the hot, humid weather hits, the beach is the ideal place to be, lounging in the sand, cooling off at the shoreline, and relaxing under the sun. And given the perfection of a summer day at the beach, the only way it can be made better is by hosting a party and inviting your best sun-loving friends to enjoy the salty, sea air with you. Keep your party casual, transportable, and as relaxed as a day at the beach should be.

Preparing for Your Beach Party

Write your invitations on a deflated beach ball. Ask your friends to inflate the ball and bring it with them to the party, along with their chair, beach blanket, and towel.

Before your party, check with local officials to determine the rules regarding alcoholic beverages, bottles, and whether you will be responsible for taking your trash with you when you leave, or whether there are receptacles on the beach for your trash. If you're serving alcohol (if it's permitted on the beach), make sure to serve plenty of non-alcoholic options as well. Long hours spent in the sun can cause dehydration, and alcohol can make it worse.

If required, obtain a permit for your party or bonfire (if you plan to make one).

Research the cooking facilities that are already available on the beach, and what kind of grill, if any, you can bring with you for preparing food Plan a food menu that you can easily serve at the beach. It's best to keep things simple. If there's a grill, plan items like burgers and hot dogs that can be cooked up quickly and in large batches. Provide your guests with condiments but have them build their own meals so less of the work is up to you. And don't be afraid to ask people to bring food: portable items like chips, dips, fruits and veggies, and any other kind of finger foods are best for this type of event.

Be sure to have enough large coolers and ice to transport your food and beverages to the party and keep them at a safe temperature until they're consumed. If you can, keep them in the shade under an umbrella to keep them out of the heat from the sun.

Favors and Activities

Give everyone your party favor at the beginning of your party. Make it a beach pail with a shovel, sunscreen, water squirt bottle, and sun visor. If your budget allows, toss in an after-sun product too. Other things to consider include:

  • Bring equipment for a game of beach volleyball.
  • Organize a sand castle building contest. Everyone can use the pail and shovel you have given to them. Judge creations in any number of categories including the tallest castle, biggest castle, most authentic looking castle, etc.
  • If you're on a beach with interesting seashells, send your guests scavenging for the best variety of shells.
  • Remember to bring along music and play your favorite beach songs throughout the party.
  • Challenge your guests to a hula hoop contest to see who can keep one spinning for the longest time.