beach games slammo players
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Truth: Packing for the beach is a drag, the summer fun version of extra work that’s like emotional labor, sur la plage edition. But because wearing a cute swimsuit is not enough to ensure the ideal beach day, it’s worth toting a portable beach game to entertain you, your friends and family when reading, napping and playing “shark got your legs” in the shallows are done. From the simple (a glittery inflatable beach ball) to the more rules-based games (this lawn bowling game invented by a vet stationed in Afghanistan), there’s something that will appeal to everyone. Now, if only you could get extra points for your stellar sunscreen application.

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1. Wicked Big Sports Takraw Juggle Volleyball and Soccer Tennis Portable Outdoor Sports Tailgate Backyard Beach Game

Best for Jocks

This sport goes by the name of Juggle Battle, Kick Volleyball and Sepak Takraw—all just a way of expressing a hybrid of every outdoor game you have ever played that tests the coordination of every limb (and team member, if you’re not playing one-on-one). Basically, you use your knees, feet and head to keep the ball aloft, letting it bounce no more than twice on one side before it makes it over the net, which is strung up at hip height. “Being my first time, I was slow at picking it up (because I like using my hands a lot in sports), but it was super fun learning,” says one reviewer. “It's like soccer, volleyball and tennis wrapped into one game.”

$58 at Amazon

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2. GoSports 6 Piece Slammo Game Set

Best for Teams

This two-on-two game has overtaken the beaches of SoCal, and it’s easy to see why: you need a bit of coordination and a touch of strategy, but there’s not the intense athleticism required of beach volleyball or soccer. Four people stand around the mini trampoline and bounce the ball between them—sounds easy, right? Not when your opponent power-slams the inflated ball against the net trampoline, thereby rocketing it to your backhand (or, dirty pool, to your face). Basically, assemble this surfside and prepare to unleash your inner warrior.

Buy It ($50)

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3. GoSports 2' x 3' PVC Cornhole Board with Carrying Case

Best for Bar Games Adepts

This is the most lightweight and portable cornhole game we’ve found that’s also sturdy enough to withstand high winds and the occasional splash of sea water. The PVC surface is stretched tightly over the scaled-down 36-by-24-inch frame, and it comes with 2 boards, 8 sand-filled bean bags and a carrying case with rules, all weighing in at less than 10 pounds.

Buy It ($40)

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4. Rollors Game

Best for Bowling Fans

This creative mix of lawn bowling, horseshoes and bocce ball is the invention of a military veteran who innovated the rules and game pieces while he was deployed with the Air Force in Afghanistan. (So, sandy surfaces are A-OK.) In a nutshell: Players get 3 discs, each of which have point values from one to six printed on each side. Players place the goals 25 feet apart and start rolling, then add up the numbers of the discs that land closest to the goal. The classic wood pieces are handsome, and we see this turning into a family tradition, starting with the youngest kids in the tribe and lasting to even non-sporty older grams and gramps.

Buy It ($50)

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5. Ban.do Glitterbomb Beach Ball Inflatable

Best for All Ages

Ban.do is known for jazzing up household basics with thoughtful and fun design…enter this rolling, glittery inflatable. This 14-inch ball has clear sections, as well as flashing mylar confetti compartments, so it’s got the vibe of a disco light show when it catches the sun.

Buy it ($16)

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6. Stephen Joseph Octopus Beach Tote & Sand Toys

Best for Elementary School Ages

For children three years and older, this set of toys includes a sand sifter, little sand molds that make a crab, star and fish, and a sweet shovel sized just right for little hands. We like the way your child will assemble it all for beach days if you train them with a booming, “Prepare the pirate octopus!”

Buy it ($52)

Amazon

7. Qrooper Kids Toys Toss and Catch Game Set

Best for Preschool Children

We bought a set of these for our three-year-old niece after hearing how she was, well, stealing it from other families on the beach. And after playing with game for a few minutes, we understand why: The large face of the Velcro-covered discs makes catching the fuzzy tennis balls easy—and it’s fun for littles to rip the balls off the discs to throw. No wonder there are 959 five-star Amazon ratings for this model, which is touted for its durable water-proof lining of the paddles.

$25 at Amazon

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8. Zen Maestro Slackline Kit Complete

Best for Circus Aspirants

Lucky enough to be headed to a beach with palm trees, or a beach-adjacent park like those that dot the shore in Santa Monica? Set up a slack line, the PVC tightrope that you balance across a few inches off the ground. It requires some skill, but it’s also a madly effective way to work your core and glutes as you tighten everything to balance your way over the line.

Buy It ($55)

Walmart

9. 4Pcs Water Guns Water Play Game Toys Summer Swimming Pool Beach Toy

Best for Kids (and Cocktail Lovers)

Give the kids this set of four water pistols (with handles sized perfectly for their gritty little palms) and prepare for hours of saltwater squirts among them. Or buy two and create an adults’ only set: Just mix up a batch of margaritas to fill these up and propel into your beachmate’s mouth…whichever works for you.

Buy It ($39; $24)

Walmart

10. Aerobie Orbiter Boomerang

Best for Building Hand-Eye Coordination

With practice, this neon-toned, triangle-shaped boomerang can fly 90 feet away then swoop right back to you. And if your littles want to play with it but don’t have the patience to practice, it works great as a person-to-person flying disc, too.

Buy it ($10)

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