Great Themes for Beach Parties

Sun, surf and sand-it's the perfect recipe for fun, but, more important, it's the perfect recipe for a party. If you're busy planning a big beach bash, you'll want to check out these great themes for beach parties.

Preparing for Your Beach Party
Most parties start with a date and plans for invitations, but a beach party is a bit different. It needs to start with a call to local officials. Beaches have strict rules, and these rules may affect your party plans. Here's what you need to find out:

  • Are parties permitted on the beach?
  • Can you have a bonfire? Do you need a permit to have one?
  • Is there a curfew that you need to adhere to?
  • Is alcohol allowed?
  • Are grills allowed?
  • Are there lifeguards on duty?
  • Are there trashcans on the beach, or will you need to haul off your own trash?

Got the green light? Then get to the fun stuff.

Party invitations should be fun and provide a glimpse of what's to come. If you can deliver the invitations to each guest, pick up an inexpensive shovel and pail for each guest from a dollar store. Then, write the party details on the shovel with a permanent marker or paint pen.

Tip: Include a note that guests should bring their shovels and pails to the party, and you'll already be on your way to setting up an activity.

Beach Decorations
The beach provides an instant backdrop for a party, so you won't need to do much decorating to set the mood. Set up a few brightly colored beach umbrellas. Then, hand out beach towels to everyone. They'll provide cheap seating, and guests can take them home once the party is over.

Try these other decorating options:

  • Blow up beach balls, and distribute them around the party site
  • Hand out Hawaiian shirts for beach party favors
  • Light a path to the party with tiki torches

Party Activities
A beach party suggests so many fun activities. Host a treasure hunt; have a sand castle contest; face paint with zinc sunscreen; play a game of beach musical chairs or set up some bowling pins and give beach bowling a try. More tried-and-true classics include limbo, beach volleyball and kite-flying.

Food Ideas
Incorporate the beach theme into the menu by serving shrimp skewers, crab cakes, beach fries and tropical fruits (mango and pineapple, for example). You can also give less beachy dishes new names that suit your party theme: Blackbeard's Barbeque, Mermaid Mashed Potatoes or Hang Ten Hot Dogs.

If you're planning to serve cake at your party, think about doing cupcakes instead. Since they're grab-and-go, you won't need to deal with the hassle of cutting up cake, and you won't have as much mess to clean up afterwards-a win-win.

More Beach Party Tips

  • Make a pack list to avoid forgetting items.
  • Have a few bottles of sunscreen on hand for guests to use.
  • Stock up on cold drinks and ice-you don't want anyone to get dehydrated.
  • If the party will be at night, bring bug spray and citronella candles.
  • Include a first-aid kit on your list of must-haves.
  • Bring trash bags to haul away trash and recycleables-even if there are trashcans on site (they may fill up or be full when you get there).
  • Use a wagon or sled to transport your party supplies with ease.
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Beach party ideas can vary if kids or adults are the main guests, but most beach party tips apply for all ages, and the beach atmosphere can appeal to the kid in all of us.

The perfect complement to a sun-and-sand-filled party is great beach party music. All you need is a CD burner or an mp3 player. The idea is to have catchy, upbeat tunes that keep the happy mood going and possibly get people dancing. Think of mixing up different styles from the suggestions below, and add your favorites, too. 

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Incorporate the best of what the tropics have to offer when creating beach party invitations and give guests a hint of the upcoming party in paradise. Use the invitations as a springboard to other beach party ideas and ensure that everyone can't wait to put on their Hawaiian shirts and sandals. 

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