Some people go to the beach to frolic in the surf, work on their tan or make their way through a stack of trashy novels. But if you're looking for a little extra entertainment, check out the following games and activities. Burn some calories while having fun and then cool off with a quick dip in the ocean.
Volleyball is the quintessential beach activity. It’s a fun, fast-paced game that can be played with either two players or many. Many beaches have volleyball courts set up already, so all you need is a ball like the Spalding Neverflat King of the Beach Volleyball ($24.99, Dick’s Sporting Goods). Just volleying the ball back and forth is a fun way to kill time and get some exercise, but you'll burn a lot more calories if you get a nice competitive game going.
If you like the idea of beach volleyball but are looking for something more portable or just a different take on the sport, try Spikeball. In this game, instead of hitting a ball over a net, you bounce a small ball onto a tabletop-like net, working with your partner to earn points and keep the opposing team from scoring. The Combo Meal Kit ($59.99, Spikeball.com) comes with a net, three balls and a backpack to stash it all in.
You don’t need a net to have fun. If you’re a fan of tennis or need a simple, portable two-player game, beach paddleball is the game for you. You simply hit the ball back and forth, trying to keep it in play without it touching the ground for as long as possible. It’s a fun, inexpensive option that will get you moving. Try the Sun Bum Paddleball Set ($20.65, Amazon.com), which comes with two paddles and two balls. For a playful take on the game, try the Hit Mit ($16.98, Walmart), an EVA foam glove that turns your hand into a paddle!
The Frisbee is a classic beach toy that will bring hours of fun. Start with some simple Frisbee games like Disc Tag, where the goal is for one team to maintain control of the Frisbee for as long as possible, or some Freestyle Frisbee fun. Try the Wham-O Pro-Classic U-Flex Frisbee ($8.25, Amazon.com).
This is a no-brainer, for sure. You could use typical beach accoutrements like a little shovel and pail set from the dollar store. But if you want to unleash your inner sculptor, try a kit specifically designed for making sand sculptures. Can You Dig It Sand Tools Super Deluxe Sand Sculpting Kit ($44.99, Amazon.com) has everything you need to create a sand castle as big as your heart's desire. It comes with molds, tools for smoothing and digging, a brush for polishing your work and a DVD with instructions and techniques.
Kids ages eight and up who are curious about what goes on beneath the ocean’s surface will love Nancy B.’s Science Club Aquascope and Journal by Educational Insights ($34.99, Toys R Us). Chances are adults will find this a lot of fun, too. This activity is a fantastic way to encourage children to continue learning all summer long. Plus, you don’t have to get into the water to use the Aquascope if you don't want to. It has LED lights and can be used with or without magnification, so you can compare different settings. This is scientific inquiry at work in real life! But it does require adult supervision.
Always respect beach rules and be mindful of fellow beachgoers. Check your local beach’s regulations to see what they do and do not allow. Also, talk to your physician to make sure that high-energy activities are suitable for you. Have a fun, safe day at the beach!