When you’re getting yourself ready for a great day at the beach, you’ll need to have a few ideas about beach-ready activities if you want to have a good time.
In this article, we’ll run through the 92 best things to do at the beach so that you’ll have an ample supply of fun things to do in the sun and sand.
Whether you’re interested in going to the beach to get some solo time or to have a fun day with your kids, we can point you in the right direction.
One of the first and best things to do at the beach is to apply sunscreen. You need sunscreen to avoid getting a sunburn over a long day having fun by the shore. Be sure to re-apply your sunscreen every two hours or less.
Sunbathing is a great way to work on your base tan, and it’s also very relaxing. Try to remember not to spend too much time in the direct sun without sunscreen, though.
Hopping into the water and paddling around is the perfect beach activity. Be sure to monitor your children at all times. It’s probably a good idea to know where the lifeguards are, too.
Beaches attract all sorts of waterfowl and other birds. Many of these birds may be endangered or otherwise rare, so be sure to get your fill by watching them carefully while you’re at the beach.
Building a sandcastle with your children is one of the prototypical best things to do at the beach. It’s helpful to have buckets and spades, but you can use your hands if you prefer.
Crustaceans like hermit crabs and ghost crabs are all over many of the world’s beaches. These hard-shelled arthropods are cute and fun to watch, but don’t ruin their day by hurting them or moving them far away from their home.
If you know how to surf and you’re at a beach with big waves, surfing is a great activity because you’ll look cool while working out and having fun. If you don’t know how to surf, you should probably take a lesson before hitting the waves to make sure that you don’t lose your board to a riptide.
Reading a book is one of the best things to do at the beach because it’s relaxing but also enriching. Many people prefer lighter reads for the beach because it’s easy to drift off and gaze into the water by accident. Magazines are also fair game. You should be careful if you decide to bring your non-waterproof e-reader or iPad to the beach to read, however.
Frisbee is an easy and inclusive sport to play on the beach. Toss the disc around with a friend, dog, or child.
Beanhole is a fun game to play at the beach because it’s casual and quick to start. Grab a friend and toss some beanbags around — you’ll find that the hours will fly past.
“Mermaid purse” is the colloquial name for the egg pouches of sharks and rays. These egg pouches wash ashore in vast numbers, and they’re fun to hunt down amid piles of seaweed. Children will love hunting for mermaid purses, especially if they find one which still has a shark embryo inside.
Clambakes are a time-honored New England tradition wherein clams, corn on the cob and other crustaceans are cooked in a big sandpit using rocks heated by a fire. If you don’t like clams, you can also have a crab bake, crawfish bake, or lobster bake. Clambakes sound like a big production, but the result makes it all worthwhile.
If you’re so inclined, many beaches have areas where you can wade deep enough into the water to catch some small fry. You should probably throw them back when you’re done, as none of the fish that you can catch close to the shore will be tasty, nor will they be big enough to eat.
If you have a metal detector and a lot of patience, hunting for buried treasure is one of the best things to do at the beach. Alternatively, children can also hunt for buried treasure by digging wherever they please.
Grab a few seashells then press them face down into the wet sand. Voila, you’ve made seashell art. Children will enjoy making seashell art more than adults.
For adolescents, wakeboarding is a fun and safe alternative to more difficult sports like surfing. Grab a wakeboard and hit the small waves to see where you end up. Wakeboards tend to be a gateway to surfing, however, so parents should beware that their kids may ask for an upgrade from their wakeboard at some point.
Beaches are littered with a nearly limitless number of seashells. Finding the common shells is fun for everyone, but sometimes finding a rare shell will make your day. In particular, it’ll be tough for you to find a nautilus shell. But, if you do, you’ll have a keepsake for your trip and a great conversation starter.
Beaches tend to be hot, especially during the day when the sun is beating down. Drink a lot of water to make sure you stay hydrated. If you decide to consume alcohol while you’re on the beach, you should drink water in equivalent volumes.
If your beach faces a bay, it can be fun to identify different islands or jetties. A map will probably come in handy.
Relaxing on the beach is even more enjoyable when you have some tunes to keep you company. Upbeat and airy music typically works the best for lounging around on the shore.
Going to the beach is a teaching opportunity if you have children. Teach your children about the way the moon influences the tide by having them compare tide levels over the day. If you want to get fancy, try measuring the number of waves per minute or the height of the average wave over the day.
Your children will inherit the earth that you leave for them, and they must learn early on to keep the planet in good shape. Teach your child about the dangers of pollution and global warming to ensure they’re a responsible adult.
Water balloons are usually too messy to use, but on the beach, there’s no problem with getting soaked. Make sure to pick up the balloons after they’ve popped, too.
Many small fish make their home in the intertidal zones along the shore. In areas where the water is relatively clear, you can see them flitting around the rocks as they hunt for food. You can also find oyster reefs near some beaches. While they aren’t fish, they may be a delicious snack.
Sometimes the best thing to do at the beach is to have a casual conversation with one of your companions. Keep things light-hearted and remember that the best things in life are free.
If you’re lying on your back and absorbing the sun, it can be relaxing to observe the clouds as they pass overhead. Practice keeping an open mind while you observe the clouds for a bit of mental enrichment.
Napping in the warm sun or under an umbrella is a great way to pass the time on the beach. Make sure someone is watching your belongings and your children if you decide to doze. When you sleep, you should also make sure that you have a fresh coat of sunscreen. Don’t forget to move your clothes and sunglasses to prevent awkward tan lines.
Tide pools are highly biodiverse areas where you’ll find a lot of ocean life. You’ll also find many smooth stones which might be worth examining. Be careful if you decide to walk on rocks that are in tidal pools, however. Rocks in tidal pools tend to be extremely smooth and slippery.
Flying a kite is one of the best things to do at the beach because it takes advantage of the high winds from the ocean. You won’t have any trouble getting your kite aloft by the shore.
Sand sculptures are easy to make if you have a spade and a bucket. Remember to mold the sculpture using wetter sand before adding details.
Walking along the beach is one of the best things to do at the beach because it’s relaxing and energizing at the same time. Be sure to appreciate the smell of the water and the seaweed.
Most beaches have concession stands which sell light fares like fries or ice cream. Having something to nibble on makes any stay at the beach more enjoyable.
Setting up a volleyball net and playing a game of volleyball is a fun way to exercise and meet new friends. Volleyball isn’t the best sport for children because of how difficult it is, however.
Looking cool is a major part of going to the beach, and sunglasses are a shortcut to looking cool. Try on a bunch of different pairs and see which pair you enjoy the most. Aviators are timeless, but Wayfarers are also very popular.
Beaches are typically very photogenic, so taking pictures can be a great way to pass the time while generating a memory of your day. Composition in beach photos can be difficult depending on the shoreline, however. As a rule of thumb, aim for one-third of the shot being either water or land and have the other two-thirds be the opposite.
Sunsets over the water are among the most beautiful because of the way the sun reflects off the water. If you’re with a child, explain to them why the sunset causes the sky to turn different colors. Remember not to look directly into the sun for too long.
Throwing a ball around with a friend is a great way to get some light exercise while having fun. If you have a dog, throwing the ball into the ocean is even more entertaining than playing catch with a human.
Sometimes starfish get trapped on the shore after they get washed in by the tide. When you throw the living starfish back into the water, you’re saving their lives because they will dry out and die if they stay in the sun. Sometimes there might be thousands of starfish on the shore, but remember that when you throw a stranded living starfish back into the water, you made a difference to that one.
Improving the beach by picking up litter is a great activity which benefits everyone. If you’re squeamish, use a stick to pick up the trash.
Getting up very early in the morning to watch the sunrise over the water is an experience you’ll never forget. Be sure to check the time of the sunrise the night before so that you can get as much sleep as possible. As always, don’t look directly into the sun for too long.
Dogs love the beach because they can play games, meet other dogs, and jump in the water. Walking your dog along the beach will be fun for both of you. Remember to keep an extra towel on hand to dry off your canine companion if they decide to take a dip. You should also plan to have some protection for your vehicle, as wet pets tend to cause chaos.
Drawing a tic-tac-toe board in the sand is a fun activity for children, but adults may not find it very engaging.
Crab walking along the beach or in the surf is an intense form of exercise. See how long you can do it, then take a rest in the shade. For bonus points, try crab-walking through the surf with only your nose poking above the water to breathe.
Watching the moon rise over the water is beautiful, especially during a full moon. Be sure to check the moon phase beforehand, so you aren’t left looking at a waning gibbous.
Packing a simple lunch and eating it on the beach is a time-tested tradition. Don’t forget to pick up after yourself. Good choices for beach picnics include sandwiches, charcuterie, fruit, and salads.
Jogging along the beach is more difficult than jogging along the grass or asphalt, so you’ll get a better workout while seeing everything on the shore.
If you get a chance to rent a jet ski and take a ride, you’ll have a lot of fun. Try not to hit anything while you’re driving around.
The smell of seaweed is fresh and crisp, even when it has been sitting on the shore for a while. Sun-dried seaweed also has a delightful scent.
You’ll need to protect your head from the sun if you plan on staying at the beach for a long time. Try on a few different hats to see which one protects you the best.
At popular beaches, seagulls are often cruising around looking for a snack. Keep an eye on the birds and don’t leave your food unattended. Alternatively, see how long it takes for a gull to swoop in after you leave food in an open area.
Many dogs love to swim, but most dogs need the encouragement of their owner before they take a dip without an incentive. When you’re at their side, your dog will love to take a dip.
Drawing a sand hopscotch board is quick and easy. Make sure that at least one person knows the rules before you play.
The wind and the sun at the beach can bring out the best in your friends and family. While they may want to fix their hair first, candid photos at the beach are often the most timeless.
Everyone leaves prints in the sand. Children and adults alike can have a lot of fun chasing trails.
Racing in the water is a great way to show off your athletic prowess and have fun with a friend. Hit the water at a running start from the beach for the extra zoom factor.
Children will have fun making a sand angel by laying on their backs and moving their arms and legs. Sand angels are more impermanent than snow angels, so appreciate them while they last.
Inner tubes are usually the purview of play by the pool, but there’s no reason why you can’t use them at the beach.
If you plan on spending the entire day at the beach, it might be fun to build a sundial at the start of the day. All you need to get started is a stick and a few rocks or shells. Getting the angle of the sun to cast the right shadow is a matter of picking the right stick and ensuring that it is fully upright.
You’ll be wearing your bathing suit while you’re at the beach, so you must like the way you look in your suit. Try on a few different suits until you find the one that you like the most.
Having a cold and refreshing light beer at the beach can escalate the relaxation factor. Be sure to use metal cans rather than glass to avoid any risk of shattering.
Seagulls have a keen sense of smell and superior eyesight. If you leave something like a mostly-eaten lobster shell on the beach, within a few minutes, you’ll see the seagulls swarming to devour the remains.
In many areas, little shrimps live in the intertidal zones and rocky outcroppings at the beach. You probably shouldn’t eat these shrimps, but if you have a small net, they can be fun to scoop out of the water for a while.
Building a bonfire on the beach at night is a great way to get a party started or to prepare for some waterside cooking. Try to surround your fire pit with rocks to avoid any risk of fire spreading.
Splashing in the water is fun, safe, and free. Children love to run around in a free-splashing zone.
Taking a selfie at the beach is a great way to show off how good you look in your beach gear. It’s also a great way to take advantage of the excellent lighting conditions on most beaches.
Children love to bury people in the sand because of the activity’s comedic value. If you’re lucky, you’ll get them to bury someone who isn’t you.
The background noises of the beach and the repetitive crashing of the waves can be an excellent environment for philosophizing. Use the movement of the sun to keep track of time while you’re thinking.
Swimming around with a snorkel is fun because you’ll see things you wouldn’t normally see. Children will need to be coached on how to avoid getting water in their snorkel, however.
Most beaches are free. You can spend an entire day at the beach without spending a dime — and it won’t even be very difficult for most people.
The beach is the best place to grill a fish, especially if you caught the fish yourself mere moments ago. Offer some of the fish to strangers to make new friends.
At a beach, bonfire smores are the traditional food. If you don’t like traditional s’ mores, try substituting the chocolate for some Nutella.
The power of the crashing waves will vary a lot from beach to beach. If you’re at a beach where the waves crash with intensity, try listening to them for a while for superior relaxation.
Children love to dig in the sand. If they manage to dig to the waterline, you’ll have an opportunity to teach them about the world.
Rock jetties are usually isolated from the rest of the beach. Sitting on a jetty can be a good way to get away from everything for a while.
Beach parties are extra fun because you can take a dip into the water whenever you want to cool down. Start the party right as the sun is setting so that people will show up on time to watch.
Throwing a horseshoe around on the beach is an easy activity which children will find entertaining.
The beach is a good place to do yoga because you can sit directly on the sand and feel its warm energy while you stretch. If you stumble during a balancing pose, you won’t fall hard.
Many beaches are flush with rocks which spark when you bang them together. Finding the right set of rocks might take a few tries, but the result is very rewarding.
Ultimate frisbee is like football but with frisbees and no tackling. These features make it fun for friends on the beach.
Making new friends on the beach is easier than usual because people are relaxed and there isn’t much pressure to make a connection. Inviting people to do shared activities is the place to start. If you have a dog, you already know that dogs are also a great way to make new friends no matter where you are.
The noises of the beach make for a great background track when you’re playing the guitar. You could also sing while playing if you want to impress someone. Try to keep the sand from getting into the inside of your guitar, however. Sandy guitars won’t have the same acoustic properties.
Hacky sack is a wonderful game for the beach because playing barefoot changes the game for the better. If you try to show off and stumble, you won’t fall far.
Beaches are great for spotting boats. If you have binoculars, you could even identify the names of the boats and then look them up online to see their history.
Sitting with your back to the tide and feeling the successive waves crashing against you is something that everyone should do. Especially as the waves get more intense, you will feel the struggle of sitting still — and be more relaxed on land as a result.
Disc golf is a low-stress and fun game for the beach because anyone can play. You’ll need a large beach to have the most fun while playing disc golf.
For some people, the beach gets the creative juices flowing. Try jotting down a few lines on a notebook, but don’t force them out if the next line isn’t coming to you.
The rocky outcroppings are fun, albeit sometimes dangerous places to exercise along the beach. Remember that many stones may be slippery from the surf.
Most beaches have an abundance of smooth stones which are ideal for skipping along the water when it’s calm. You get extra points if you can make your stone skip more than twice.
Throwing around a pigskin is a relaxing way to burn time at the beach. If you have enough friends, a casual game of touch football is a lot of fun.
Snails love to hang out in the intertidal region of the beach because they can stay wet without being in the open ocean where they might get eaten. At low tide, you may find hundreds or thousands of snails sitting on rocks which were underwater during the day.
Whatever you’re doing at the beach, avoid littering by picking up after yourself. Most beaches have trash cans to put any of your detritus.
The beach is a fantastic place to meditate once you have established a basic competency in mindfulness. Face the water and sit with crossed legs. Take even breaths through your nose. Leave your eyes partially open and unfocused. Pay loose but curious attention to the minor differences in the sound of the crashing of each wave, and appreciate the way the wind caresses your face. Stop when your back starts to hurt.
That wraps up our list of the 92 best things to do at the beach. Hopefully, you have a bunch of ideas about what you will do on your next visit to your local lake or shoreline.
Remember to apply a lot of sunscreen and drink plenty of water when you’re at the beach whether you’re active or lounging. Have fun, and don’t forget to keep the beach in pristine condition by picking up after yourself when you’re done for the day