Today’s beachgoers are here for the sun, the surf, the fun — and they are here to win!

Going to the beach is not just a swimming and tanning adventure anymore. It’s become sports central for families and friends who come also for the explosion of new beach games that are popping up in local shops and online stores.

On a recent walk down the strand, I chatted with a champion college LaCrosse team kicking up a hacky-sack storm, some old school buddies at their seventh reunion for Spikeball, foot racing and football “field goal” competitions, wood block tossers scoring points like bowling in the sand, and several families that had set up an eight-hole chipping golf match right on the beach.

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Today’s beach games are new, colorful, clever and seemingly endless. One group had constructed a four-way volleyball court. The nets made a cross with four quadrants. One player occupies each quadrant and competes against the other three all at the same time. Truly ingenious.

There’s beach bocce, a ladder apparatus that you sling two-nylon rope-connected balls at and try to wrap the balls around the rungs. And there’s paddleball events with either small rubber balls or weighted badminton birdies. What cool moves can you make when hitting the birdies to make your competitor miss?

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Yard-Pong is becoming a rage. It’s like the old beer pong, but instead of red cups and ping pong balls, you haul tennis or wiffleballs at seven-inch deep pails. One manufacturer took that idea a step further. Try three pails all connected vertically, with the biggest one on the bottom, one a bit smaller in the middle and the tiniest one on top. Now try getting your bean bag into one of the buckets, with the highest score obtained by landing in the smallest unit.

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There’s beach ring-toss, and its successor – Kan Jam Disc Toss. That’s where you set up some portable cans and try to land your “Frisbee” disc inside of them, all set up like a beachy version of an archery course. And yes, there is corn hole — ever popular. But corn hole has had offspring. Try a game touted as “where golf meets cornhole!” The cornhole board has not just one hole but several, and you use your golf wedge to score points. Another child of corn hole is “sand hole.” Dig a hole and place a slippery blanket over it. The blanket has a built-in golf “cup” in the middle. Use corn hole bags instead of golf clubs on this one.

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There’s a lot of cheering and laughter on the beach these days, and the winners take home all the glory. You don’t have to just sit and wait for a tan anymore. It just happens while you throw, swing, kick or jump and have a really great time. And when you are all hot and sweaty, the ocean’s right there for a nice cool dip. It just doesn’t get any better than this.

About the author

Ed Beckley

Ed Beckley

Ed Beckley is an award-winning writer and photographer formerly of the Outer Banks and now residing in Ocean Isle Beach. After serving as a reporter, then city editor, of the Winsted Evening Citizen in Connecticut, he spent 26 years as a manager of public relations and marketing for Verizon Communications and former Bell System companies. He has worked as a freelance writer for several Outer Banks news services, including the Outer Banks Voice. He’s a lifetime accredited member of the International Association of Business Communicators. His photography has been displayed in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. RELATED POSTS