Best Beach Toys

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
108 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best beach toys

A warm, sunny day spent seaside — or lakeside, if you live far from the ocean — is a treat no matter what your age. There’s swimming, of course, as well as dodging the waves as they break on the beach, or splashing in the water as it recedes. And there is always merely relaxing on the warm sand, perhaps with a book in hand, a picnic lunch nearby, and an umbrella providing shade. It’s a wonderful way to recharge all of your senses. But don’t forget the beach toys too.

For some people, the activities need to go a little further than splashing or relaxing. That’s particularly true among the youngest kids, who typically aren’t ready to brave the waves, but even older children, teens, and adults sometimes like to spice up a beach visit with some fun in the sand. That’s where beach toys come in. No matter the age group, there’s an assortment of toys and gadgets to add an extra dose of entertainment to any trip to the shore.

Not sure where to start? Our buying guide has some helpful advice and tips, and our recommendations above offer plenty of variety.

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No matter the age group, there are numerous beach toys and games from which to choose.

Key considerations

While there are nearly endless choices for great activities for fun at the beach, there are a few things to consider when choosing your toys.

Weight

Most likely you’ll be toting quite a bit of stuff to your day at the beach, especially if you have young children. For most families, that means toys, towels, blanket, umbrella, refreshments, chairs, clothes, and sunscreen all needing to make their way from the parking lot to an open spot on the sand. That can be a lot of weight and bulk to maneuver. Do yourself a favor by choosing beach toys that don’t weigh a lot or take up a huge amount of room in your car’s trunk or on the sand.

Durability

The combination of sand, salty water, high temperatures, and intense UV rays is a potent one. Not only do those factors take a toll on your skin — hence the need for frequent applications of sunscreen — they also cause wear and tear on any belongings you bring with you on your day of fun.

As a general rule, beach toys made of plastic are the best bet because the material holds up well to sand, water, temperature, and sun, won’t chip or peel, generally won’t fade, and dries quickly. But lightweight fabrics or even wood can also be viable choices as long as you don’t leave them submerged in water for too long and make sure they’re thoroughly dry before packing them up for the trip home.

Electronic toys, stuffed or plush animals, toys with many crevices where sand can lodge, games or toys with many small pieces, or anything that’s delicate are things best left at home because these are the likeliest to be damaged by sand, water, and heat.

Care

A day at the beach typically ends with wet, sandy people and belongings. Neither of those conditions is great for your car, so it’s helpful to choose toys that are easy to rinse off, if the sand is wet, or dust off, if the sand is dry, before heading to the parking lot. Toys made of plastic stand up well to this, but other materials, including wood, usually can only be dried and dusted to remove the sand. Fabric or stuffed toys are the biggest problem. Rinsing them is likely to lead to mildew, and sand usually won’t easily brush off plush or fuzzy fabric, so think twice before packing these types of toys.

A few toys or games add an extra dose of fun to any day at the beach.

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Features

The biggest consideration by far when it comes to choosing beach toys is the age of the person who will be playing with them, followed by that person’s interests and personality. While individual preferences can vary wildly, of course, the following guidelines can help you choose the toys likeliest to please every age group.

Toddlers and preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers are the easiest age group when it comes to choosing beach toys, and their options are typically the least expensive as well. Options to keep your littlest family members happy include the following:

Pail and shovel: For many of these youngsters, a small plastic pail and shovel provide enough entertainment to keep them occupied for hours. Digging a hole in the sand, filling the bucket with sandy water, and then dumping that water into the hole is lots of fun when you’ve only recently started to walk.

Plastic molds: Youngsters can pack these with sand to create various shapes. Geometric figures and ocean creatures like seahorses, starfish, whales, and crabs are especially popular.

Wagon or plastic vehicle: A small vehicle is great for zooming along the sand.

Rakes or combs: Plastic miniatures of adult tools create interesting patterns when scratched along the sand.

Inflatable beach balls: These come in all sizes and colors.

Elementary-school age

Children six to nine years old are likely to want to spend a lot of time in the water followed by some serious snacking, but that doesn’t mean they won’t also want to spend time enjoying other activities. Kids in this age group are often very curious about all manner of things around them, so toys that offer some sort of learning experience along with the fun are excellent options. Toys that these children are likely to love include the following:

Bucket: One great choice is a clear plastic “catch and release” bucket. This typically has a screened top and a handle, making it easy to tote the bucket down to the water, catch a sand crab, interesting bug, or even a tiny fish, and then spend some time observing the creature inside the bucket before releasing it back into its watery home.

Kites: Kids particularly like kites with colorful patterns and funny or dramatic shapes.

Kits: You can find kits for building large, detailed sandcastles.

Games: Lightweight, foldable games that are easy to play on the sand include cornhole and sand bowling.

Binoculars: Inexpensive binoculars are great for bird watching at the beach.

Flying rings, flying disks, and balls: Kids can make up their own games with these universal toys.

Remote-controlled vehicles: Make sure they’re specifically designed for use in wet or sandy conditions.

Bubbles: Some bubble-blowing sets are quite elaborate.

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DID YOU KNOW?
You don’t need to spend a lot on beach toys. Many cost only a few dollars. You can also find bowls, spoons, and molds in your kitchen for free.
STAFF
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Tweens

Notoriously moody and difficult to please tweens are in an admittedly rough spot. They no longer have the comfort of being “little kids,” but they don’t yet have the advanced freedom of a teenager, and most of them are also dealing with newly felt hormones. Still, your “tweenager” is just as likely to enjoy a trip to the beach as any other member of the family. Sweeten the deal with a few activities geared toward the proclivities of this age group. Some possibilities include the following:

Water guns: These are a great way to burn off some energy on the shoreline.

Floats: If you’re at a lake or sheltered beach, a large float, particularly one in a fanciful shape like a unicorn, flamingo, or rainbow, is the perfect spot to take in some sun.

Sports and games: These include sand badminton, football, flying disks, tug-of-war, and ring toss.

Metal detector: Encourage your budding detectorist to scope out hidden treasures beneath the sand.

Teens and adults

While a lot of teens and adults prefer to use their shore time for relaxing, it’s still nice to have an occasional active break. Many activities enjoyed by people in these age groups are the same as those favored by younger groups, such as flying kites, simple games such as ring toss or cornhole, tossing footballs, battling with water guns, and enjoying calm waters on a large float. But there are other beach games that strike a chord with teens and adults, such as the following:

Team sports: Beach volleyball, spikeball, beach bocce ball, paddle ball, badminton, or variations on any of these are very popular. There are many easily transported sets for all of these games.

Remote-controlled vehicles: These are a lot of fun, but make sure they’re specifically made for wet or sandy conditions.

Remote-controlled flying devices: Fly drones responsibly and keep them away from other people enjoying the shore.

Boogie boards: Even those with no surfing experience can easily ride the waves on these.

Possible beach toys range from simple bucket-and-shovel combos to drones, metal detectors, and team sports.

STAFF
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Beach toy prices

Inexpensive: The range of possible beach toys is vast, so it’s hard to pinpoint a price range, but there is definitely no need to spend a lot of money. In fact, a simple plastic bucket and shovel can be had at any discount store for just a couple of dollars, and you won’t spend a lot more than that for an accompanying bag of plastic sand molds, rakes, and other toys.

Mid-range: For beach sports, such as spikeball, volleyball, or paddle games, expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $50, depending on the game and the included equipment. You’ll pay around $15 to $20 for a colorful kite and a little more for a large float.

Expensive: More expensive beach toys include boogie boards, which typically range from $30 to $60, and drones, which start at around $50 for a nano drone and can go up to $100 for a full-size drone suitable for beginners.

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Use a wagon or sled to tote your collection of beach toys down to the sand.

FAQ

Q. Are beach toys only for the beach?

A. Not at all! Most of these toys and activities are just as much fun poolside, and many of them are also great activities for the backyard, park, or campground.

Q. What’s the best way to transport the toys from car to beach?

A. Lugging armfuls of toys and other belongings isn’t much fun, nor is it easy. To the rescue: a cart with all-terrain wheels or a sled with a pull-rope can easily take your belongings from the parking lot to the sand. This also provides a handy spot to corral the toys when they’re not in use so you don’t forget them at the end of the day.

Q. Are there any beach toys suitable for all ages?

A. Absolutely! Kites, balls, simple games, and molds for building elaborate sand castles are just a few examples of toys that have universal appeal to all ages from young to old. And of course, many children enjoy games and toys geared toward people younger or older than themselves. Just be sure to keep an eye on very young children who might be inclined to put small pieces or toys into their mouth.

 

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