6 Fun ideas for throwing a beach birthday party for adults

pink flamingo pool float on the ocean
Paperless Post BlogParty Décor > 6 Fun ideas for throwing a beach birthday party for adults

Beach birthday parties are in a league of their own. Warm golden sand and blue skies provide a breathtaking backdrop for memorable photos while crashing waves play an epic soundtrack all day (or night) long.

While the seaside is naturally lovely on its own, a few thoughtful choices in decor, food, and activities can set the scene for an even more fun-filled day by the water. Get ready to gather your favorite people where the ocean meets the land for a phenomenal beach birthday bash.


Left: Tropical flower garland, tie-dye inner tubes, a scallop party plate. Right: An invitation that features an overhead photo of people on the beach. Images courtesy of Paperless Post Party Shop; Beach by Gray Malin for Paperless Post.

1. Make waves with beach day decor

Step aside, ocean view. These beautiful beach decoration ideas could give you a run for your monkfish.

Give your party scene an added boost with seaside decor. Opt for items that complement the beachy vibes and add flair to the festive atmosphere. We’ll cover some of our favorite themes to anchor your decor options.

Pick out your favorite beachy theme

All the best birthday party ideas start with a theme. When planning to decorate your beach birthday party, consider the personality of the guest of honor. Do they love to party and dance all night long? Do they subscribe to the chill, beach bum lifestyle? Or do they enjoy spending time seaside for the natural beauty? 

Whatever their beachy inclinations, you can find birthday decor to match. 

  • Tropic-inspired: You can’t go wrong with a beach party inspired by the tropics. Throw a bright and beautiful birthday party complete with tropical decorations and party supplies. Turn the night into a colorful paradise with tiki torches or a bright blossom garland (1) for a floral feel. Break out the rum and ukulele for a fun-filled evening of music and merriment. 
  • Surf shack soirée: Ride the waves of their brand new year with a party theme inspired by surfer culture vibes. Secure a surfboard for your guests to sign, and line tables with gold tinsel fringe garland to mimic rays of sunshine. Channel a surf-shop aesthetic with watercolor clamshell plates (2).
  • Retro beach feel: Opt for a beachy throwback party with brightly colored melamine plates that have “groovy” written all over them. Toss in some tie-dye tubes (3) to help buoy your guests’ party spirit. 


Left: An invitation with Champagne bottle balloons on the ocean. Right: A balloon with confetti inside, a shark-shaped balloon, a blue tassel garland. Champagne Float” by Gray Malin for Paperless Post; Images courtesy of Paperless Post Party Shop.

2. Find inspiration from your favorite beach movie or TV show

You don’t need to be in Hollywood (or Malibu) to take inspiration from your favorite beachy movie or TV show and create a special birthday celebration on the sand. Consider one of these pop culture classics for your beachy birthday:

  • “Mamma Mia”: Here we go again! If you’re a fan of all things ABBA, you can throw your celebration the “Mamma Mia” way. Eat fresh fruit with floral-inspired plates, or live your “Dancing Queen” fantasy with a confetti balloon (1) to mimic a sparkling disco ball. Rent a karaoke machine for an all-night ABBA jam session. 
  • “Baywatch”: Bring “Baywatch” to your birthday with life-saving decor. Protect your guests from a terrifying(ly cool!) shark balloon (2), or stick to the classic “Baywatch” color scheme with red cups. You can also do a slow-motion beach run competition to see who can best embody Pamela Anderson’s signature strides. Don’t forget to invite a cardboard cut-out of David Hasselhoff for extra laughs.
  • “Gilligan’s Island”: Take your guests on a trip to “Gilligan’s Island” (without leaving them stranded, of course) with your beach day decor. Try a blue tassel garland to mimic the look of grass and palms. Or snack on birthday cake with these gingham side plates to bring out that classic ’60s flair. You can even set up a few fun personality quizzes to see which of your guests identifies most with each iconic character on the show.
Left: A watermelon cut in halves at the beach. Right: An invitation with an illustration of a palm tree in front of the sun and water. Image by Scott Webb; “Seaside Sunrise ”by Paperless Post.

3. Food and drink ideas that say “surf’s up”

Cupcakes, cookies, fruits, or snacks—party food and drinks are a must, no matter where you’re celebrating. Prepare for a beachside snack attack with a (collapsible) table full of themed food and beverages.

Seashore snacks

For a beach party, it’s usually best to serve food that’s easily handheld and keeps you energized throughout the day. Leave the china and three-course dinners at home. Also, consider food that you won’t mind eating when it’s hot. Cheese and charcuterie don’t last long in the sun. 

For a proper beach day picnic, consider bringing along:

  • Fruit plates
  • Chips/pretzels and dip
  • Sliders
  • Granola
  • Pinwheels 

To keep sand off your hands (and your snacks), be sure to pack plenty of napkins and towels.

Pro tip: Make your party a low-waste affair by opting for cloth napkins instead of paper. You can easily shake sand out of cloth napkins and wash them at home while protecting the ocean you’re partying beside. 

Beachy beverages

Playing in the sun and salt water can definitely work up a thirst. Bring some refreshing drinks to quench your guests and keep the good times flowing:

  • Sparkling water
  • Fruit punch
  • Lemonade
  • Coconut water
  • Orange juice
  • Iced tea
  • Arnold Palmers

Adult beverages

While a cooler of beer and hard seltzers can always please a beach crowd, try elevating your party with some classy cocktails. Whip them up beforehand in large batches, store them in a thermos, and enjoy them from the comfort of your towel.

For a boozy beach affair, try:

  • Daiquiris
  • Margaritas
  • Pina coladas
  • Spiked strawberry lemonade
  • Mojitos

Once you’ve set up your drink table at the beach, pour your pre-made cocktails into acrylic jugs for guests to access at their leisure. Don’t forget the tiny umbrellas and paper straws!


Left: An invitation with palm frond shadows. Right: People have a bonfire at night. Havana, 7pm” by Paperless Post; Image by Kevin Wolf.

4. Beach day activities

With a whole shore to yourself, you can plan many beachy activities that will keep your guests entertained until the sun dips below the horizon. 

Try any of these activities for some guaranteed fun in the sun. 

  • Hula hoop contest: Challenge your party guests to a hula hoop contest and crown the winner.
  • Limbo: How low can you go? Have your guests form a limbo line and see who can scuttle like a sea crab under a pole. Play tropical tunes so that the contestants can add a few dance moves to their limbo walk. 
  • Sandcastle sculptures: Release your inner Michelangelo and sculpt your way to success with a sand sculpture contest. Create your dream castle, an abstract work of art, or a sandy depiction of the party host. 
  • Volleyball: Split into teams and throw down with a beach volleyball tournament. Volley up some fun and serve smiles to all of your party-goers. 
  • Beachside bonfire: Wind down at the end of the night with a relaxing bonfire by the beach. The sound of the crashing waves and the crackling bonfire may make you even more excited for every birthday yet to come. (Check to make sure fires are allowed on your beach first.)

Don’t let the party die down after the candles are blown out. Playing beach games can boost your friend group’s morale and spark some friendly competition. Even if you lose every activity, you can defend your title at the next birthday party. 

5. Sand-tastic finishing touches

With all the big party staples solidified, you can start having fun with some additional, delightful details. Adding small finishing touches can show your guests that you care about their good time.

These little-something-extras will ensure your party goes down in history as a night to remember. 

  • Themed party favors: Let your guests take home more than a cool shell that washed up on shore. Party favors allow your guests to hold onto a keepsake to remind them of the fun they got up to at the seaside. Some fantastic beach party favors include sunglasses, beach-scented candles, or even customized shot glasses.
  • A beach party playlist: Rock to the rhythm of the waves and the music. Curate a killer beach day playlist to complement your beach day vibes, and play it on a portable speaker.

6. Nautical invitations to excite your guests

No party planning is complete without the perfect party guest invitations. Show your friends what fun times await them with a stunning invitation to set the tone for the festivities. Whether your party feels like a casual kickback, a non-stop rager, or an elegantly beachy affair, the perfect invitation can say it all. 

  • Day at the Beach: Use a fun, colorful invitation that will have your guests grabbing their brightest bathing suits. 
  • Beach Scene: Whisk your guests away to a scenic beachside with an elegant invite. 
  • Beach Balls: Get into the competitive spirit, and throw a beach ball birthday invite into the mix. (Make sure you’ve got plenty of beach balls blown up and ready).

If you prefer a casual, playful tone, try a Flyer instead. Use stickers and animated gifs to add some energetic excitement to your invitation. Keep it cool with a Chill Flamingo, or plan for some sun with Forecast Says Fun.

An online invitation with an animation of the tide coming in and an illustration of sunglasses with the words “beach babe.”Forecast Says Fun” Flyer by Paperless Post.

Try a little bit of party paradise with Paperless Post

Sun, surf, and sand are just a few gifts that come with throwing a beach birthday party. No matter which shore you choose for your party, you’ll be blessed with a stunning setting and good friends to help you celebrate. 

If you want to channel some relaxed beachy vibes into your party planning process, grab your sunnies and dive into the digital waters of Paperless Post. Our tools make hosting easy-breezy.

Utilize our collection of customizable invitations and get the party started. Whatever the occasion, we have a wide variety of invitations and Flyers that are fun to customize and ready to be sent to friends and family in minutes.

At Paperless Post, we bring the party to you. And to the beach.


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