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Trips to the beach are a whole lot of fun in their own right, but a good beach toy can make your memories of sunny days spent on the sand even sweeter. There are options out there for everyone, whether you’re shopping for a sandcastle-loving toddler or a grown-up with a penchant for oversized college games. In this article, we look at a few of the best beach toys, covering a whole spectrum of budgets, ages and interests.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Go Toys Beach Sand Toy Set
Amazingly affordable, the Go Toys Beach Sand Toy Set provides everything your child needs for making sandcastles. It contains 15 individual pieces, each made from durable, lightweight plastic. It also includes six animal-themed sand molds, four miniature castle molds and a castle-shaped bucket with a lid that doubles as a sand sifter.
The included watering can, rake and shovel are great for crafting moats and drawbridges; while the diversity of the set guarantees hours of entertainment for even the shortest attention span. The set is also designed to promote hand-eye coordination and critical thinking skills, while the bold primary shades can be used to teach kids their colors. It comes in a zippered bag with twin carry handles for easy transport and storage and weighs just 1.6 lbs. Intended for children aged two and older, the set guarantees Mom and Dad their fair share of fun as well.
Best for Older Kids: Djubi Classic Catching Set
The Djubi Classic Catching Set is ideal for older kids who require a little more excitement to stay entertained. This innovative game is a high-adrenaline reinvention of the age-old favorite, Catch. Players use a launching hook to propel a ball fitted with an elastic tag through the air, to be caught by a partner with a netted racquet. Though the premise is simple, the thrill of sending a ball flying up to 100 feet through the air is considerable - while catching it requires a feat of agility and coordination.
The set includes two foam djubi balls and two racquets, both with ergonomic handles and an integrated launching hook. The balls are designed to float - so that if they end up in the sea, a quick dip is all that’s required to resume play. The manufacturer also recommends this toy for children aged eight and older.
Best for Family Fun: Bocce Ball Set and Equipment Carrying Case
Looking for a game that the whole family can play? Consider purchasing the Bocce Ball Set and Equipment Carrying Case. Bocce is easy to set up, easy to learn and suitable for up to four players of all ages from toddlers to grandparents. This set includes four green bocce balls, four red bocce balls (both with two different scoring patterns) and a white pallino marker ball. The bocce balls are made from a poly-resin compound that won’t break and can withstand all weathers.
When you’re not at the coast, bocce can also be played in your backyard or local park. In this way, the fun isn’t restricted to summer beach trips, but continues all year round. The set also comes with a weather-resistant carry case. It measures 7” x 7” x 7”, and includes two handles for easy transport from the car park to your spot on the shore.
Best for Adults: BucketBall Beach Edition Set
Custom-made for bachelor weekends and spring break getaways, the BucketBall Beach Edition Set is the outdoors-sized version of legendary drinking game beer pong. It includes 12 ultra-durable buckets (six blue, six orange), two hybrid game balls, a handy set of instructions and a tote bag for storing and transporting the set. The buckets are meant to be filled with sand and water for extra stability, with your penalty drinks kept nearby.
The entire set weighs under seven pounds and packs away into less than a cubic foot of space, making it easily portable and handy to store in between beach trips. If you feel really serious about your future as a BucketBall champion, consider purchasing the brand’s inflatable bucket rack separately. In this way, you can move play from the sand to the water at will.
Best Traditional: Four-Pack Rainbow Beach Balls
Sometimes, the simplest games are the ones that stand the test of time. The Four-Pack Rainbow Beach Balls set includes four traditional beach balls - much like the ones your parents used to play with when they were small. They’re cheap, cheerful and provide endless entertainment for everyone, whether you choose to kick them around on the sand or throw them to one another in the waves.
Of course, beach balls are notoriously easy to pop, which is why this four-pack set is a smart purchase. It’s also a great idea for large families: with four balls to choose from, there’s less chance of siblings arguing over whose turn it is to play. The beach balls are easy to inflate orally and measure approximately 24” in diameter when deflated.
Best Budget: JBM Frisbee Flying Sports Disc
The high-quality JBM Frisbee is a solid investment for the budget-conscious beachgoer. More than that, playing frisbee is a great way to have fun and keep fit; and even to make new friends on the beach. This one is made from durable, non-toxic polyethylene. It measures 10.5” in diameter, and tips the scales at just .4 pounds. Shaped to reduce resistance and increase tension, the frisbee's smooth, slightly weighted edge gives you the optimum grip for throwing and catching. Choose yours in a beachy shade of blue or opt for highly visible orange instead.
Best Kite: Hengda Easy Flyer Kite for Kids
The Hengda Easy Flyer Kite is shaped like an octopus and perfect for kids. Made entirely of a soft yet strong nylon polymer, it has no sharp edges and is remarkably easy to fly. It’s also visually impressive, measuring 31” in width and four meters from the top of the octopus’ head to the end of its streaming tentacles. There are several vivid color options to choose from, including red, orange, purple and pink. Some have rainbow-colored tentacles. Your purchase includes the string, handle and a bag for compact storage.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best kites.
Best for Nature Lovers: Dry Branch Catch and Release Beach Aquarium Kit
Designed with budding naturalists in mind, the Dry Branch Catch and Release Beach Aquarium Kit is the ideal companion for rock-pooling trips. The transparent plastic globe features a removable screen lid, so you can fill it with water and captured sea creatures; then suspend it in a rock pool, allowing fresh water to flow in and out. In this way, your little one can admire their catch, then release it safely at the end of the day. It’s a great educational tool, and also instills an awareness of conservation and environmental responsibility. The handle doubles as a float and is attached to the lid so that neither get lost.