It’s a beautiful day. The sun is shining and there’s a lovely breeze. You have nowhere to be and nothing to do. It’s your day off, your home is clean and all chores have been completed.

You decide to go to the beach. You pack sunscreen, lunch and a towel. You get there and find a spot. You plop down in your beach chair and stare off into the great blue horizon.

Now what? Many choose to unwind by reading, listening to music or sipping a favorite beverage. Others prefer something a little more active. Here are a few beach games and activities worth trying.



This deceptively simple game is the ultimate team sport for one big reason – you can hold a drink in your hand while you play. (Please note Hilton Head Island beach rules dictate that said drink should be non-alcoholic.) Teams of two stand on opposite sides of the pitch, where two KanJams have been placed at either end. One player tries to land a Frisbee inside the can, with his partner slamming it in out of midair if necessary. The unpredictable winds of our beaches make for an even more intense game, and a set will run you around $30-$40.



One basic requirement of a good bocce court is a solid, uniform surface. Fortunately, the ocean gives us one twice a day as the tide recedes, leaving behind sheet of hard-packed sand perfect for the game. A set of bocce balls will set you back around $25, but it’s worth every penny for a storied game played in a beautiful oceanfront setting. Just don’t be surprised if you draw a crowd of older gentlemen ready to show you a thing or two about how to play.


Usually, golfers try to avoid the sand. But in this case, it makes for the perfect medium to craft your own challenging putt putt course. Players each craft their own holes, digging out bunkers and setting up pin locations, then challenge their friends to see who can get the lowest score, before trying their own hand at everyone else’s creations. Obviously, you don’t want to bring your new Scotty Cameron putter to the beach, so make do with a plastic set from the nearest shop. It will only add to the challenge.


We’ve all seen someone on the beach try to skimboard, getting up to a decent run before zipping across the low waters of a receding wave, only to have their momentum run out after a few feet. Bungee skimboarding basically takes that same principle and ratchets up the momentum. Surfers set an anchor a few feet off shore which is tied to a bungee cord they haul back to the beach. Once it’s tight, they hop on their skimboard and rocket off into the waves. A set of cords will run you $50-$60.



A blend between cornhole, bocce ball and horseshoes. A set costs around $20 and comes with four small balls and a shovel used to dig two holes and trenches behind each hole. Get the ball in the hole for 3 points or the trench for 1 point. Teammates on opposing sides alternate tosses. Invented here in the Palmetto State, TidalBall is quickly gaining popularity on beaches all over the East Coast.

bearpongBEAR PONG

A version of beer pong without the table, using oversized cups and a ball. A set of 12 buckets and two balls costs around $70. Each team sets up a triangle of six buckets opposite of one another. The object is to eliminate the other team’s buckets buy throwing or bouncing the ball into them. Filling the buckets with alcohol is not advised.



Dig three holes in the sand — small, medium and large. Roll a ball toward the holes, awarding the most points for the smallest hole. Use a heavy ball that won’t blow away, something like a tennis ball. For the sake of beach joggers, don’t forget to fill the holes back up when you are done “bowling.”



A paddleball beach sport that looks a bit like pingpong without the table. The paddles are smaller and the ball is larger. Sets range from $30 to more than $300. Two players face one another with the objective of hitting the ball back and forth without the ball hitting the ground. Hilton Head’s longstanding frescobol record is five hits.

laddertossLADDER TOSS

Two balls connected to a string are called bolas. Each team has three sets of bolas. Each ladder has three rungs, each with a different point value, and players try to toss the bolas so they hang from a ladder rung. The top is worth 3, the middle is 2 and the bottom is 1. Points are tallied at the end of each round. Collect 21 points to win. Sets range from $32 to more than $150. Try not to hit other beachgoers with the bolas.



A popular beach game known by many names, including tailgate, bean bag toss, doghouse or simply bags. Sets range from $30 to more than $200. Players take turns throwing bags of corn or beans at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points while landing on the platform scores 1 point. Play continues until a team reaches 21. Never play for money with an Ohioan.


This requires skill and precision with a bucket and spade. Local beaches have seen incredible sculptures of sea monsters, mermaids and even Lionel Richie’s head. Find inspiration from part-time Hilton Head Island sand sculptor Mark Anderson online at www.sculpturesinsand.com. Send us a photo of your masterpiece and we will run it in an upcoming issue. Pick up a super deluxe sand sculpting kit for around $45.


A volleyball-like team sport played by two teams of two players. Opposing teams line up across from each other with the Spikeball net in the center. The ball is put in play with a service — a hit by the server from behind the service boundary into the net to an opposing player. Once the ball is served players can move anywhere they want. The object of the game is to hit the ball into the net so that the opposing team cannot return it. Sets cost around $50.


The soft playing surface leads to a totally different style of play with a much greater degree of improvisation. The compact field, much smaller than a normal soccer field, allows players to score from anywhere on the sand. Good footwork is key.


A non-contact, self-refereed team sport played with a flying disc. Two teams compete on a playing field with an end zone at each end. A goal is scored by catching the disc in the opposite end zone. The thrower may not run with the disc. Instead, players move the disc up the “field” by passing to teammates in any direction. Popular team names include “Disc in a Box” and “Game of Throws.”



Looking for other fun activities? Try tug-of-war, scavenger hunt, obstacle course, hula hoop-a-thon, sand darts, water balloon toss, human pyramid, relay races, buried alive contest, limbo, washers and badminton.


Leave nothing but footprints

Time in years required for common trash items to fully decompose


Read HHIGO Online

Sign up for free newsletter

Average Temperatures

  Low High Ocean
Jan–March 44 64 58
April–June 63 81 75
July–Sept 72 87 82
Oct–Dec 51 70 63