Games aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you picture a day at the beach (or an afternoon if you’re traveling along the coast), but a change in the weather might leave you looking for some alternative activities. These games can fill the time or change the scene if your beach time starts to lag.
There are a number of ways to create a chec
ker board (or chess board) on a beach. If it’s sandy, draw the board with a stick and use pebbles as checker piece. If the beach is rockier, consider drawing the board on your sleeping pad with permanent marker or pack a rolled up plastic sheet board and using popcorn kernels, chocolate chips, or another food item as pieces. Be creative–there’s bound to be something kicking around that will work like checkers.
Dots and Boxes
This is another game that goes by a number of names, but nothing could be simpler to play on a sandy beach. With your foot, or a stick, mark out a grid that’s five dots wide and five dots tall (for a more challenging game, make the grid larger). Each player uses their turn to draw a line between two dots. The goal is to create a complete box. When you make a box, mark it with your initial. The winner is the player with the most boxes. This game can also be played with pen and paper, but that’s not as much fun as running around on the beach.
Horseshoes is the perfect beach game: it’s designed to be played in sand, it’s laid back, and it requires a lot of space. There is nothing lightweight about horseshoes, but if you’re on a raft trip, who cares? Pick up a set, learn the rules, and start practicing the perfect throw before your next trip to the beach, whether it’s at the ocean or on a river.
Farkle, which is also known by other names, is the perfect game for when the weather turns or when you’re waiting for the surf to pick back up because it can last for a while or can be abandoned quickly if the weather breaks. The game requires six dice, a pen, and paper. The rules vary by region, but the official list can be found here.
If Farkle starts to get repetitive, set one of the dice aside and start a game of Yahtzee. There’s no need to pack the rolling cup or the score pads–just jot down the scoring rules in a notepad before the start of your trip. Yahtzee is kid-friendly, easy to learn, and can be played on almost any semi-flat surface.