[15 Cheap or Free] Classic Beach Games for Adults

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From party games to childhood favorites, here are some of the best beach games for adults. You are never too old for a fun time at the beach! 

Beach Games for Adults

Whether you are on a lengthy beach vacation or a fun day trip, there are countless ways to have fun. While you enjoy the sunshine, sand, snacks and sea, why not play a game? 


Friends playing tag on the beach

Tag is one of the classic games of childhood, and the game makes for one of the best beach games as well. The rules are simple: choose one player to be “it,” and the other players run away from them. If the chosen player tags someone, they become “it.”

With no winner and endless variations, you can burn off tons of energy running wild on the beach with your friends if you have enough space on the sand. You can even try playing in the water for more fun if you feel like swimming and splashing after each other.


Tug of war on the beach in the sun

All you need to play tug-of-war is an even number of players, a strong rope, and even stronger muscles. Form two teams, each taking one end of the rope. (If you have uneven numbers, consider making the odd one out your referee.) On go, each team pulls as hard as they can. Whoever pulls hard enough to get the rope over a mark or even yank the opposing team off their feet gets an instant win.

For more competitive fun, you can try variations on this great game, such as one-on-one tournament style tug-of-war, four-way tug-of-war, or stumps tug-of-war (especially good on soft sand).


Adults playing frisbee on the beach

Your average plastic flying disc will typically cost you about a dollar, sometimes even less. On an open beach, there are no barriers to seeing how far you can send your Frisbee soaring while your friends go long. If you want a more organized game, you can try Kan Jam, set up goals for a game of Frisbee Golf, or put empty cans or cups up on sticks for a game of Bottle Bash.

The only concerns you should have when playing a Frisbee game are that you don’t accidentally knock another team member in the head with your flying disc and that you can retrieve it if a Frisbee toss goes into the ocean. There’s enough plastic in the ocean already!

Sand Volleyball

Beach volleyball with friends

Volleyball is a favorite beach game. Some public beaches have volleyball nets available. If yours does not, you can purchase a volleyball set. A beach volleyball, such as a Waboba ball, costs under $20.00, and a volleyball net costs around $30.

Olympic beach volleyball is played two-on-two, with best-out-of-three sets to 21 points. You are not restrained by any official rules: play to your heart’s content! If some members of your party are inexperienced or unfamiliar with volleyball, you get the chance to introduce them to one of the best beach games in a friendly, low-stakes environment.

Musical Beach Towels

Group of friends in the sun on the beach

You have most likely heard of musical chairs: the game where you set up chairs, walk around them while music plays, and when the music stops, everyone must run to sit down in a chair. Whoever is left without a chair is out of the game, and one chair is removed each round until one winner remains.

You may not have brought enough beach chairs to play the game, but you likely brought at least one beach towel for everyone in your party. If so, you can play musical beach towels instead. And if you don’t have a radio, bluetooth beach speaker or other music-playing device, consider having eliminated players sing for you instead!

Sand Art

Building a large sandcastle on the beach

Building a sandcastle and drawing in the sand with sticks of driftwood are simple, classic childhood beach activities. Turning them into beach games for adults means that now you can bring to life the creations you could only dream of as children. Sand makes for an excellent medium, and with enough imagination, it is great fun.

If you are a group of artistic sorts, you can have fun crafting giant and elaborate sandcastles, sculptures, and drawings. You can even turn it into a friendly contest if you’re feeling competitive. Of course, the best beaches will have plenty of room for you to play this simple but fun beach game. The best part is, when you’re done, you can enjoy the sights of your creativity from your sand free beach blankets.

Rock Skipping

Young man skipping rocks at the ocean

Trying this on a beach with large or choppy waves will not be enjoyable; rocks can only skip on smooth surfaces. But if you’re at the beach of a flat lake or sound, you can make fun beach games out of seeing how far you and your friends can skip rocks. Just make sure there’s nobody in your line of fire!

The best skipping rocks are flat and smooth, neither too small nor too big. Grip the rock tightly with your thumb and middle finger, hold it parallel to the water, and release it with a hard flick of your wrist.

Scavenger Hunt

People on the beach with colorful gems and stones

Scavenger hunts are perfect beach games. From signs and posters to plant life to beach equipment to even different colors of rock or shells, there are plenty of things to find and collect on this enormous outdoor playing field.

If you have a long road trip to the beach with your friends and plan to do this, consider using the time to brainstorm a list for your hunt. You may even come up with a prize for the winning player or team of this excellent outdoor party game!

Wiffle Ball

Colorful wiffle balls

If you and your friends are the sporty types but not fans of volleyball, beach Wiffle ball could be for you! While Wiffle ball rules differ slightly, you will catch on quickly if you’re familiar with baseball. Kids love it too!

The lighter equipment of Wiffle ball compared to baseball makes it a perfect beach game. While baseball is played with a leather, cork, and rubber ball and a wooden or metal bat, Wiffle ball is played with a hollow plastic ball and bat. A Wiffle ball and bat cost on average $20.00 or less.


Woman with a boogie board wearing a bikini

If you are not a fan of playing in the sand, you most likely come to the beach for the surf instead. Some of the best beach games can be played in the water!

Bodyboards (sometimes called boogie boards) lean towards the more expensive side, but you can still find suitable boards for under $30 and ride the waves all day long. If you didn’t bring one with, most local beach shops will carry them.

If you happen to already all have surfboards with you (though not necessarily “cheap”), you can hold your own personal surfing contest. 

Bodysurfing is an equally fun alternative to using a board, catching waves with only your body instead. Observe proper water/ocean safety rules and only try these beach games if you are a strong swimmer.

Sand Darts

Blue and red sand darts beach game

Blunt foam lawn darts can be found for under $30 and used for a fun beach game. Draw dart boards or a row of rings in the sand with increasing point values, and toss your darts from the throwing line to rack up points. Ring toss, ladder toss, and cornhole boards are even more fun variations.

Bucket ball is another variation of this great beach game. Arrange the buckets in a row (or a more challenging pattern) and assign them point values, and try to land balls, a bean bag, or even beach stones into the buckets. For extra fun, have team members throw two hybrid balls at once to see whose ball makes it in first.

Ball Games

Woman playing with a beach ball on shore

If you have a ball or Frisbee, you could try playing catch, a simple game. Or you could raise the energy and play Monkey in the Middle, another game kids love in which two players play catch with a third between them trying to intercept.

If you want an extra challenge, you can play this fun beach game in the ocean too!

Another ball game that you can turn into a fun beach game is Four Square, in which players stand in four boxes drawn in the sand and hit balls with their hands into other players’ squares.

Bagged Games

Blue and white striped beach bag with a floppy beach hat

If you don’t have enough room on crowded beaches to play any of these beach games, you can pack a beach bag full of equipment weighing less than seven pounds.

Options for great games that can fit in a tote bag include Lulu Home Jumbo Checkers, which comes with its own foldable rug as the checkerboard; soap and wands to blow bubbles; and kites. While some family members like calmer games, other kids prefer games like kite flying where they can run around the beach.

A bocce ball set often comes with a carrying bag. Also called Italian bowling, bocce ball involves the first team throwing a target ball and the other team trying to score points by throwing their balls as close to the target ball as possible.

Mini Golf or Bowling

Friends enjoying time at the beach together

Do you have a mini golf or a bowling set? If not, they’re decently inexpensive. You can find some that include everything you need for less than $50. These games tend to be small enough to stow in a beach bag. Best of all, they can be played with a small group of only two people or a larger get together. 

Playing on the sand adds another layer of fun and challenge to these classic games. You can draw out different courses in the sand. If you want to get extra creative, you can add sandcastle as obstacles to your games!

Campfire Stories

Men and women roasting hot dogs around a fire on the beach

When your beach day is done, you can still play fun games at night. Make a small and safely maintained campfire (if beach regulations allow) and some nice drinks and food, and you can keep playing beach games. Drinking games such as beer pong and Never Have I Ever are popular choices as beach games for adults.

Improvisation games are also fun for the whole family. The best games include Round Robin, in which players take turns making up parts of a story, Charades, in which players act something out while the rest of the group guesses what they are, or Mafia (sometimes called Werewolf or Salem), in which one player is chosen to eliminate other players and the rest of the group must find them out.

Wrapping Up

There’s so much more to do at the beach than lay on a beach blanket and watch the seagulls steal French fries. With a bit of creativity and relatively little expense, you can pack a whole day’s worth of fun beach games for adults right into your tote bag. Of course, kids love these games, too. Just remember to pack your sunscreen! 

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