Don’t you just love a beach bonfire? The sand, the surf, the friends, and the fire make for a fabulous combination. Let’s talk about some fun and easy games to enjoy at your next beach bonfire.
If the get-together starts before the sun goes down, this is natural. The great thing about beach volleyball is that you can be an expert or a novice and have just as much fun. Why not throw on your swimsuit, and add a pair of women’s shorts if you’d like a bit more coverage for spiking the ball and diving into the sand? Beach volleyball is fun for almost all ages, too. With a bit of help, the little ones can have great fun getting the ball over the net, and there is no age limit on the upside.
Don’t forget to toss a frisbee into your beach bag. It’s one of the most practical and portable games around. Frisbee is nice because you can tailor the skill level to the participants, so everyone is guaranteed to have fun. This one is even easier for beginners than beach volleyball (no lifting little ones to the net—just toss lightly. If your crew includes more skilled teens or adults who can seem to defy the laws of physics with a frisbee, cool! Just make sure they are patient with the beginners and maybe set up an expert game when the early team wears out.
If there is a classic game for a beach bonfire, it’s limbo. Once again, just get out there and have fun. There is no rule about how limber you need to be for a limbo game. Usually, laughing near people who slip and fall (including yourself) is half the fun of limbo. Be careful to keep all games, including this one, far enough away from the fire to keep everyone safe (especially if you have little ones afoot).
Starting the day early? Do you have runners (or competitive non-runners) in the group? Need to help the little ones burn off some extra energy? Relay races to the rescue. You can get creative by making this as serious or as silly as you would like. If you have the space, you can do a 50 yard (or shorter) dash, create batons out of anything from found items to water bottles, or even set up a circular course of an obstacle course where the runners have to jump over anything from a rock to a beach towel placed on the sand as a “hazard” to hula hoops or plastic rings they need to skip through.
We may not think of them as games, but swimming and surfing can be about camaraderie and competition with friends and family as easily as any other game. If you set up swimming or surfing games, make sure that everyone plays by “friendly rules” and that any partners are about equally matched. It’s no fun for the little kids (or just those of us who are a bit less athletic—lol) to have the big kids always win. When people begin to get tired, invite the crew up to the beach for cold drinks, and warm sun, and start gathering around the fire before night falls.
Often the best beach bonfire games aren’t athletic at all. To spark some frivolity, consider playing something like two truths and a lie. Each person states two items about themselves that are true and makes one up. The others must guess which one is untrue. If you have partners or family members who know each other extremely well, they might need to abstain from some rounds to keep it interesting. This is sure to lead to some fun stories and liven up the evening.
Usually, as soon as it is dark, great conversations come out around the fire that are better than organized games. There is something almost magical about friends, fire, and a beach to relax people and get the conversation going and keep it flowing long into the night.
Don’t forget the creature comforts to help make your beach bonfire the best yet. Think about everyone who is likely to be there and make sure everyone has comfortable seating. Some people prefer portable beach chairs while others love a throw blanket. In addition to entrees, snacks (classic s’mores are always appreciated), and perhaps alcoholic beverages, make sure that everyone has plenty of cold water available to keep them well hydrated and comfy through the day and well into the night. Bring everything in a big cooler or plan it out in advance and ask everyone to bring part of the menu.
Beach bonfires are about being comfy with family and friends. Enjoy!