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Best Overall: TidalBall Set at Amazon
"It’s the Goldilocks of beach games because it excels in portability and fun."
Best Budget: Win Sports Pickleball Paddle Set at Amazon
"This affordable set of paddles only weighs 10 ounces, so it's easy to carry to the beach."
Best Active: Spikeball Pro Kit at Amazon
"The rules are similar to volleyball, but the twist in the game makes it more portable."
Best for Pairs: Kan Jam Disc Game at Walmart
"Teams of two work together to throw a flying disc and deflect it into their opponents' goal."
Best for Groups: Crossnet Volleyball at Crossnet
"This game is like beach volleyball on steroids and can accommodate any number of players."
Best Drinking Game: Bucket Ball Beach Edition at Amazon
"Beer pong gets a beach-side upgrade with this full-sized kit."
Best Board Game: Lulu Home Jumbo Checkers at Amazon
"A soft, woven material replaces the standard hard playing board for a more portable version."
Best Classic: Bocce Ball Set with Soft Carry Case at Amazon
"Italian lawn bowling is a traditional outdoor game, and this set makes a perfect beach companion."
Best Lightweight: GoSports Ladder Toss Game Set at Amazon
"Although this set only weighs 10 pounds, it doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to sturdiness."
Best International Feel: GoSports Kubb Viking Clash Toss Game Set at Wayfair
"Reviewers noted that this Swedish lawn game is highly durable."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: TidalBall Set
In the contest for the best games to play at the beach, TidalBall often lands on top. It’s the Goldilocks of beach games. Created by a group of friends who tired of carrying cornhole boards and bocce sets to their favorite South Carolina shores, this game excels in portability and fun. All of the game components, a scoop, two sets of three playing balls, and drink koozies, fit in a single 10-ounce mesh bag. That the game materials include koozies to keep your drink cold tells you all you need to know about the game’s number one value: fun. The game can pop up anywhere since the playing field takes shape on the sand. Players scoop holes and a trench into the sand, with points awarded for tossing the balls into the holes and avoiding the trench. Both pairs and groups will enjoy this game.
Best Budget: Win Sports Pickleball Paddle Set
With a price-tag of just more than $20, this affordable set of pickleball paddles is perfect to throw into your favorite beach bag. Even without a net, players enjoy batting the wiffle-style balls back and forth with a pair of paddles. The team who gets to 11 points with at least a two-point lead first wins. Weighing only 10 ounces, the set is easy to carry to the beach. Plus, the balls’ lightweight construction means you won’t have to worry about taking out your neighbor while they're trying to have a beach-side nap.
Best Active: Spikeball Pro Kit
The new game of Spikeball turned judges’ heads on the TV show “Sharktank,” in which entrepreneurs pitch investors to earn funding for their million-dollar ideas. It has captured players’ attention, too, with reviewers commenting the game is incredibly fun and addicting. Spikeball’s rules are similar to volleyball, a traditional beach game, but the twist in the game makes it more portable and travel friendly. Players compete to bounce a ball off a net and cause the opposing team to miss a return shot. The lightweight two-on-two game has a take-anywhere set up and is easily assembled on the beach. The pro kit has the benefit of being regulation tournament size and includes texturized balls for more controlled throws.
Best for Pairs: Kan Jam Disc Game
Billed as the top outdoor party game in the United States, Kan Jam combines the best of Frisbee golf, cornhole, and basketball. Teams of two work together to throw a flying disc and deflect it into their opponents’ goal, aka the can. The teams compete to be the first to claim 21 points or gain an instant victory by slinging the disk into the Pac Man–like slot. Reviewers appreciate the competitive nature of this game and commented they were still able to maintain distance from eachother. They also commented that this game takes up less space than other similar games, like cornhole, and it collapses easily for transporting.
Best for Groups: Crossnet Volleyball
This game is like beach volleyball on steroids and can accommodate any number of players. The game supports four players at a time and additional players wait for someone to lose before they can join the game. Each player gets a quadrant to defend as they lob the ball over the net and try to keep it from landing in their square. Players are eliminated when a ball falls into their square. It’s a fast-paced game that brings big fun in an easy-to-assemble package. The mesh nets are lightweight so carrying this game to the beach is easy.
Best Drinking Game: Bucket Ball Beach Edition
Beer pong gets a beach-side upgrade with this full-sized kit. The game comes with tennis-ball sized balls for pitching into a pyramid of large buckets. This set includes six buckets for each team. It also comes with two hybrid balls that are durable enough to stand up to windy conditions. A handy carrying bag makes this a breeze to bring to the beach. The games’ rules don’t require drinking, but, if you bring your own beer, it can easily become a friendly drinking game.
Best Board Game: Lulu Home Jumbo Checkers
If you’re ready to graduate from beach toys this travel-ready checkerboard is right for you. A soft, woven material replaces the standard hard playing board for a more portable version. It’s easy to fold up and tote along the beach, the lake, or on a picnic. The 28 x 28-inch reversible rug has a checkerboard on one side and a Tic Tac Toe board on the other, which means even more opportunities for gameplay.
Best Classic: Bocce Ball Set with Soft Carry Case
Italian lawn bowling is a traditional outdoor game, and this bocce set makes a perfect beach companion. Up to four players compete to toss their bocce balls closest to the small, white pallina, and strategy comes into play as they knock other players’ balls away from the goal. The game is ideal on any surface; hard- and soft-packed beaches each introducing different challenges for players. Keep in mind this game might not be a top choice for crowded beaches, however. The bocce balls are quite heavy and may not always land where you intend them to!
Best Lightweight: GoSports Ladder Toss Game Set
In ladder toss, players swing bolas (a pair of balls connected with a rope) and try to wrap it around the rung of an upright, ladder-shaped target. Each rung merits different points, as players strategize to be the first to arrive at 21 points. The lawn-game favorite is perfect for the beach thanks to this easy-to-carry set. Made of PVC pipes, this game weighs in at only 10 pounds. Although it’s lightweight, it doesn’t sacrifice anything when it comes to sturdiness. It’s also easy to assemble and disassemble and carry anywhere thanks to an included carrying case.
Best International Feel: GoSports Kubb Viking Clash Toss Game Set
In the Swedish lawn game Kubb, teams compete to knock over their opponents’ wooden blocks with wooden batons. The game is bowling meets horseshoes and features Viking-inspired graphics on the pieces. Reviewers noted that this set is highly durable, with little wood breaking off even after the most powerful throws. Buyers should take note if portability is a factor, the playing sets come in two different sizes: regulation and backyard sizes.