101 Activities You Can Do at the Beach Without Swimming

101 Activities You Can Do At the Beach Without Swimming

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The beach is one of the most enjoyable locations to vacation. There are tons of activities to play and do. If you’re tired of swimming in the ocean, check out some of the best things to do besides swimming at the beach. Here are 101 activities you can do at the beach without swimming!

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What are 101 Activities You Can Do at the Beach without Swimming?

What are activities you can do at the beach without swimming

When swimming at the beach isn’t an option or you simply want to stay out of the water, you can still have fun with many other activities you can do at the beach without swimming.

Painting Seascapes

Painting seascapes at the beach

Bring some canvas and some paints and try to capture the natural beauty of the coast. It can be thoroughly therapeutic.

Skim Boarding on the Wet Sand 

Skim Boarding is easy to pick up but challenging to master. You take a board and glide across it over the glossy wet sand for as long as possible. Keeping your balance is tricky, and wipeout will leave you faceplanting into the sand rather than the water, but that’s part of the fun.

Beach Ball

The classic beach ball. With this simple piece of equipment, you can bounce it around, play a leisurely game of beach volleyball, ball tag, keep away, and other fun beach games. Check the wind before bringing it out.

Beach Volleyball

Many beaches have their courts and balls; if they don’t, chances are you can find one set up by beachgoers that you’re welcome to join. Playing volleyball in the sand is a workout, but you’ll have so much fun you won’t even notice until you pass out with your towel. Who says you need to get in the water when there are so many fun activities to do at the beach without swimming?

Building Sandcastles

Another beach classic. You can’t visit the beach and not attempt to build a small structure from the pliable sand that surrounds you. If you think this activity is for kids, then think again. As you’re older, you can build more giant sandcastles than before. So break out the buckets and shovels and draw up architectural designs.

Bury Someone in the Sand

Once your friend starts snoring, you steadily start pouring sand over them, careful not to wake them up. Soon they’re trapped neck-deep in a pile of sand that makes them look like a mermaid, and you’re taking pictures to send to their SO. Burying someone in the sand as a prank or on request is a great way to get some laughs and enjoy your time at the beach.

Camp Out

Some beaches allow you to pitch a tent and stay on the beach. It’s a magical experience filled with stars, waves, and prayers that a crab won’t somehow make it into your tent. Who knows? You might even enjoy it so much that you’ll decide to camp rather than stay at pricy resorts and hotels on the beach. After all, you can’t beat the location.

Collect Seashells

She collects seashells down by the seashore. And you can too. Collecting seashells is an absolute must-do when you visit the beach, as it’s fun, easy, and can give you gorgeous free souvenirs you can take home and show off to friends and family. Just check the beach rules to see if you can take the seashells off the beach before bringing them home.

Collect Driftwood

Seashells aren’t the only thing you can gather while on the beach! If you know a little about woodworking, collect some driftwood to create gorgeous furniture, knickknacks, or tools. Then you can bring that beach vibe home with you.


Relaxation at the beach in beach chairs

Everyone dreams of relaxing on the beach when they hear “beach vacation.” Sitting with a fruity drink in one hand, the other behind their head, legs crossed, staring out into the glittering ocean and sunny blue sky. They take a big sip and let it out with an “ah.” This could be you, on the beach, doing nothing but getting your chill on.

Eat Some Ice Cream

Everyone loves ice cream, especially on hot beach days when you’re looking to break your diet and cool off at the same time. Chances are there’s a place that serves ice cream near the beach you’re going to. So grab that sweet stuff and walk back to the beach to enjoy that frozen milk in style.

Fly a Kite 

Fly a kite. No really. Flying a kite is one of the best ways to enjoy windy weather at the beach. You can find kites in stores near the beach, build your own at a novelty store, or order a nicer one online. Just get a running start, and soon you’ll compete with others to see who can get their kite the highest.

Glass Collecting

When you go glass collecting at the beach, that doesn’t mean picking up old trash left behind by selfish beachgoers. That means picking up trash left by beachgoers fifty years ago, but it has since been smoothed out and looks pretty. Sea glass is glass from bottles and other beach equipment that’s been smoothed and rounded over time, creating picturesque rocks for you to collect. Just check beach rules to ensure you can take them home.

Ocean Fishing

Do you have grit? Are you decently in shape? Do you want to go home with one whopper of a fisherman’s tale? Then try your hand at ocean fishing. The fish swimming in the briny deep is much bigger and more demanding than a lake or river fish, so prepare for one salty battle. 

Kite Surfing or Windsurfing

Kitesurfing and windsurfing are when you use sail or a kite to catch the wind and pull you along on a board over the water. It’s easier than regular surfing, plus it’s a lot of fun on windy days.

Take a Hike

Many beaches have trails over dunes or nearby parks and nature preserves where you can enjoy the beach in its natural habitat without human habitation or intervention.

Ladder Ball

Bring ladder ball to the beach! There are few activities as well suited to the sandy conditions as ladder ball and the competition can be fierce.

Eat Some Barbeque

Barbeque is excellent on the beach. Ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs, and, of course, seafood skewers. All drenched in a thick smoky sauce that will leave you smacking your lips for weeks afterward.

Bonfire Party

Bonfire party on the beach when not swimming

Piling up some wood and setting it ablaze is one of the best ways to enjoy evenings at the beach. Roast marshmallows, make smores and watch the smoke spiral into the sky.

Picnic on the Beach

Bringing some food along is a great way to offset the munchies. Lay down a blanket and bring out the food to enjoy a picnic experience like no other. Nothing beats beach ambiance when it comes to food.

Chill in a Beach Cabana

Cabanas offer privacy and a nice place to read, nap, or relax on the beach. Most resorts and major hotels have beach cabanas available to rent. They’re just a bed or a couple of loungers with curtains.

Check Out the Beach Bars 

For some, the real beach fun starts after the sun sets. Head into a beach bar to enjoy snacks, games, and drinks with your group or others.

Hula Hooping

Hula hooping is where you take a hoop and spin it with your hips. It strengthens your core and tones your belly, butt, and thighs, making it a great way to exercise for your perfect beach body and a great activity to play at the beach.

Jet Skiing

Jet skis are fast, wild, and tons of fun. Most rental places let you ride for an hour to your heart’s content in a square mile area, but some places have tours, adventure trails, and more to enjoy high-speed water fun.

Limbo Dance Competition

How low can you go? Limbo was invented at the beach and remained a fantastic activity to break out when everyone felt competitive. Just have two people hold a pool noodle and attempt to walk under it while bending backward. Having a prize for the winner will get everyone fired up.

Spot the Dolphins

Dolphins abound at shorelines and coasts around the world. So check to see if any will be near the beach you’re going to, and bring your binoculars to watch them closely. Friendly dolphins might even swim up and play with you!

Learn About Tide Pools

When the tide is out, it’s the perfect time to get habitat hunting. Looking for tide pools and telling kids about them is a great way to spend some time at the beach. Plus, tide pools are fantastic photo opportunities you shouldn’t miss.


Meditate on the beach to relax

Get in touch with yourself with an excellent long meditation session at the beach to destress and find your inner peace at one of the most peaceful locations you can.

Beach Yoga

Planting your feet in the sand and stretching your muscles will help you get in shape and help you have a fun time on the beach.

Make New Friends

Many beach activities require friends to enjoy fully, but if you don’t bring any, the beach is the perfect place to find some. Ask to join a volleyball or frisbee game, chat people up at beach bars or participate in local beach events. Who knows? You may find your new best friend to join in on activities you can do at the beach without swimming!

Send a Message in a Bottle

There are two kinds of people. Is there anything more romantic than sending out a bottle with a heartfelt message? Or you can put a QR code that will rickroll the person who gets it.

Paint Rocks and Seashells 

Are those boring old rocks and shells you collected lacking a little pizzazz? Then show off your artistic side and paint them yourself!

Bring Some Board Games

Playing some board games on the beach might be weird, but it’s a lot of fun. You can even add prizes for winners and punishments for losers to spice things up.

Play Frisbee

Frisbee is the timeless sport of playing ball with a flat disc. Beaches are great locations to enjoy with multiple people, and it’s great for windy days when beach balls fly out to sea, never to be seen again.

I-Spy With My Little Eye

I-Spy is childish until your friend accuses you of cheating because there’s nothing that matches your descriptions. Then it becomes a heated battle of honor.

Check Out the Boardwalk

There are 60 boardwalks on beaches in the US, from Myrtle Beach all the way to the oldest being Atlantic City. You must check out if you are at a beach with one. It’s beach law.


Tug of war on the beach in the sun

Relive your summer camp days by getting rope burn and falling into the sand. Always a fun time between friends and family.


Simplistic but effective. Tic-tac-toe is a great way to pass the time or break game ties. You can make it fancy using shells and other collectibles rather than Xs and Os.

Truth or Dare

There’s nothing better than sitting around a campfire with your closest friends and daring one to get pinched by a crab. Other fun variations include Would You Rather and Never Have I Ever.

Catch Up on Some ZZZs

One minute you’re resting your eyes. The next, you’re waking up cause a crab is crawling on you, and you have wicked sunburn. Don’t be this person—set timers.

Read a Bestseller

Catch up on your reading list and listen to the waves—pure paradise.

Build a Rock Tower or a Cairn 

Build a small rock shrine if there’s a rocky area at your beach. It looks fantastic, has a long history, and is fun, depending on how big you dream.

Create Art

Draw pictures, plant shells, and get in touch with your inner artist. It’ll all wash away, but just say transience is a part of the art’s beauty.

Spike Ball

Get a game of spike ball going. Don’t be surprised though if strangers want to join in on the fun!

Giant Water Pong

Get 10-20 buckets and fill them with saltwater from the ocean. Then use a tennis ball or similar object to try to get it in the buckets just like when you were playing pong during your college days.


Playing cornhole on the beach

There are few games as classic as cornhole. Bring the tables and bean bags and see who has the best aim!


Get a game of kickball going. Mark the bases with sand toys and pick your teams! Just watch that you won’t kick the ball into someone’s family picnic.

Venture Into a Sea Cave

Adventure through an unknown labyrinth to discover secrets, ghosts, and treasure as long as it’s open to the public.

Race or Compete in Different Events

Hold a miniature beach Olympics that includes a variety of beach games.

Water Gun Fight

Fill them up and blast your opponents in a wild and wet free for all that will separate the whiners from the players.

Get That Vitamin D

Slather yourself in tanning oil and go home with a tan that would make any Californian jealous.

A Leisurely Stroll

Taking a nice romantic long walk along the beach is so good, it’s a cliche.

Watch the Sunset or Sunrise 

On the west coast, watch the golden rays disappear beneath the waves. If you’re on the east, wake up too early for vacation and blink sleepily at one of nature’s most incredible sights.

Sand Angels

Like snow angels, you get a lot of sand in your bathing suit. But seriously, it can be a fun family activity, especially for kids who love snow angels and winter weather as much as the beach.

Explore the Sand Dunes

Explore the sand dunes at the beach

Sand dunes are one of the most exciting habitats on earth, so if you’re allowed, you should take some time to explore them.

Dig a Hole

Digging to China is a family favorite activity! Set a timer to make it a race or compete to see who can dig a deeper hole. Make sure you fill the holes back in, or other people could get hurt.

Whale Watching

If the season is right, bring your binoculars or book a tour to see the biggest creatures in the world—a truly majestic sight for anyone who loves the ocean.


Easy, just take a board and paddle, and paddle out into the waves. If you’re a beginner, you may want to start on calm waters, as keeping your balance can be tricky at first.

Jump Waves

Go to the water’s edge, and when a wave comes, jump over it. Simple, yes, but the simple things in life make it enjoyable. And watching kids running away from the surf is one of the many beachy joys you must experience to understand.


Bring a telescope and point it to the horizon for a truly unique view of the night sky. Thousands of glittering stars with nothing but a black ocean yawning out before you is an extraordinarily romantic setting for a date and a fantastic place to just gaze into the abyss.

Dance Party

There ain’t no party like a beach dance party. If you won’t bother the other beachgoers, grab that Bluetooth speaker and crank up your favorite tunes. Then just get grooving, and dance like no one is watching.


Once you drag your bike over the dunes, that’s where the fun starts. Dart away from waves as you leisurely roll down the wet sand. Any beach person would love to experience this unusual beach activity.

Hunt for Treasure With a Metal Detector

Hunt for treasure with a metal detector at the beach

Sure, you might look like an old person, but just think of all the treasure that could be buried beneath the sand, left behind by other patrons. Bottle caps, coins, and other beach treasures are just waiting to be discovered.

Scavenger Hunt

Holding a beach scavenger hunt is a great way to get kids, or adults, scrambling over dunes in search of items commonly found on most beaches. It’s a fun activity for the whole family, so create a list and print copies before you head out.

Sand Animals

So sand castles were a wash. Your kids or friends just aren’t interested in architectural design. Perhaps they’re more into… biology. Instead of building a classic sandcastle, spice things up by creating a sand lion, sand snake, or sand horse to catch their interest.


The beach is a smorgasbord of photography opportunities. Whether you are trying to capture the gentle surf or the native seabirds floating along the coastal wind, there are tongs of ways to capture the scene.

Build a Sandman

Snowmen get all the representation in popular media, but building a sandman can be just as fun! Put a bucket on them for a hat, grab some driftwood and sea glass for arms and eyes, and some seashells for a nose and mouth, and voila! Just as good as the ice version.

Musical Towels

Musical chairs, but at the beach. Set up the towels and play some music, taking one out each round until only the ruthless winner is left standing. It gets a lot more competitive with teenagers and adults, so beware.

Clean Up the Beach

So this activity is less fun and more social volunteering. But giving back to the beach you enjoy and love can be an essential lesson for children and adults alike. Plus, you can turn it into a competition with a prize to encourage environmental justice.


Draw some boxes in the sand, collect some rocks and let your kids skip away. It’s a great social activity for children, and you don’t need extra equipment if your luggage or car is packed full.

Beach Skeeball

Skeeball may not be what you think of fun beach activities, but it should be. All you need is a beach ball and some holes in the sand, and soon you’ll be trying to hit the middle every time.

Sand Pictionary

Play sand pictionary at the beach when not swimming

Drawing in the sand is a great way to start a game of Pictionary, and you can even use other beachy objects to augment your drawings, like shells and sea glass.

Craft Shell Necklaces 

Get crafty with the shells you collected earlier, and use the ones with holes to create simple shell necklaces. It makes a meaningful memento for your time at the beach and can be super stylish, depending on your design skills.

Play Mini Golf

Bring some golf clubs and a ball and dig a hole to help your kids or friends take a couple of strokes off their game. 

Frisbee Golf

Like golf, but with targets and frisbees. It’s always a fun time arguing with friends over whether, if it’s mainly over the target line, then it counts.

Water Bucket Relay

Little ones will love racing to fill up their buckets the fastest. It helps them learn coordination and how not to spill liquids. You can make it spicier for older kids and adults by banning the use of hands.

Beach Bowling

bring your pins and use a beach ball to try and knock them over. If it’s windy, you can play the different extended, ultra-hard versions by putting them very far away.

Watch a Storm

So you get to the beach, and the forecast calls for a storm. Well, don’t pack up just yet! Find a shop or nearby building where you can watch one of the most dazzling displays on Earth.

Squirt Ball

Use water guns to try and squirt a beach ball over a race line. You can work together or make it a free-for-all.

Parachute Games

A boy playing parachute games at the beach

Use a big towel and see how high you can bounce a beach ball by holding the edges. Several other variations of this game include bouncing different objects and putting young children under the center who jump.

Bubble Blowing

Grab some bubble juice and blowers to have a bubble party. You can just wash off in the ocean if you get sticky.

Bocce Ball

Bocce ball is like the ball version of horseshoes. Draw some targets in the sand and use a points system that goes by how close the balls are to them, and soon you’ll be a pro.

Make a Drip Sandcastle 

No equipment? No problem! Use your hands to wet drip sand to create your very own castle. No shovels, buckets, or decorations are necessary.

Make Sand Globes

Like snowballs, but made of sand. They can be tricky to make, but once you have it down, you’ll have a perfect sphere of sand that is Instaworthy.

Create a Maze

Draw an intricate labyrinth into the sand and challenge family and friends to find their way out. Just remember to include an exit to avoid frustration and complaints.

Dig for Clams

Some beaches have clams, and you can dig them up and eat them! Just check the beach rules and bring the right equipment. 

Create a Curio Cabinet

Use a shoebox or some cardboard, or buy a premade curio cabinet to display all the little treasures you found at the beach. All you have to do is glue them in, and you’ll have a great little reminder of everything you did while you were at the beach.

Watch the Clouds

Sit back on your towel and watch the clouds roll by. Imagine them in funny shapes, or play a fluffy version of I Spy.

Eat Some Snacks

Eat snacks at the beach while listening to the waves

Delicious snacks are a must when visiting the beach to relieve hunger and give you energy for all the fun beach activities you have planned.

Jump Rope

A jump rope can be an activity in itself, or you can use it as equipment for our fun games and activities.

Organize a Game of Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate frisbee is excellent for connecting with other beach patrons and is a hit with kids. Set up teams, rules, and goals to create a memory you’ll never forget. Frisbee is a definitely one of those classic activities you can do at the beach without swimming.

Write Messages in the Sand

Messages in the sand will get washed away but the beauty is in knowing they were once.

Work Out 

Sand elevates workout sessions to the next level. You must work your legs harder to get traction in the sand, making every day leg day. End it with a refreshing dip in the ocean to cool off!


Taking time to take a boat out onto the water can give you an entirely different perspective on the beach and ocean.

Float on the Water’s Edge

Get a floatie, tie it to shore, and drift among the waves. It’s relaxing and helps you get a feel for the ocean and waves. 

Bird Watching

The coast is an excellent place for self-proclaimed naturalists, home to some unique birds and wildlife you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

Go Sand Sledding

Sledding down dunes is a great way to squeeze some extra winter fun into your beach vacation

Eat Seafood

Eat seafood at the beach

You can’t go to the ocean and not eat the seafood. It’s fresh, delicious, and has a fantastic ambiance and ocean views. Try to find a nearby restaurant that specializes in the stuff.

Window Shopping

Charming beach towns often have stores near the beach you can peruse and shop at your pleasure. Checking them out is a great way to get out of the sun and find gifts for everyone back home.

Write Some Poetry

If beautiful beach art isn’t your cup of tea, try writing some poetry to tap into your creativity.

Prank People

Cover someone (or yourself) a little beyond the knees and create an indent in the sand to lay in. Place a towel over the top of yourself to make it look like there is nothing out of the ordinary. When someone is passing by, use the weight of the sand to propel yourself upward and make it look like you are rising from the grave.

Celebrate a Special Occasion

That’s 101 activities you can do at the beach without swimming. Now you can hold a wedding, birthday, or other celebration at one of the most beautiful venues mother nature can offer. You can party, take pics, and work through these fun ideas for the best time your guests have ever had at the beach without having to worry if people who can’t swim will still have a great time.

Which Activities Will You Enjoy On Your Next Beach Vacation?

Remember, next time you visit the beach, you don’t have to go swimming to have an enjoyable time near the waves. There are so many activities you can do at the beach without swimming that you may even forget swimming is an option!

Activities you can do at the beach without swimming on your next trip to the beach

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