The beach is more than just a relaxing place to spend the day soaking up the sun, sand and surf. With a soft surface and easy access to the ocean, it's also one of the best playgrounds on the planet. In fact, there's a whole line of games that were invented specifically for beach play, as well as some existing sports that have made the transition from dry land to the surf and sand. Here are our five favorite beach games for the whole family:
Bocce: This popular Italian game dates back to ancient Roman times, but it has gained a new level of popularity since being adapted to beach play. A bocce set includes one smaller ball, known as the pallino or "pill," that serves as the target, along with eight larger balls (four of each color) that are rolled in an attempt to land closest to the pill. As few as two and as many as eight can play the game, and team play adds to the excitement for a family or group of friends. One player rolls the pill (preferably below the high tide line), and the field then takes turns trying to land the larger balls nearest to the pill. One point is awarded for the closest ball, and teams can get multiple points for each ball that is closer than their opponents' best ball. First team to 15 wins. You can pick up a cheap bocce set at a local beachwear shop.
Cornhole: This popular pastime was born at tailgate parties to kill time before the big game, and now it has grown into a major competition of its own. The game features two large wooden boards/platforms with holes cut toward the top end that are placed 27 feet (or nine paces) apart. Each team or player (up to four per team) takes turns tossing corn-filled bags at one board, aiming for the hole or trying to knock opponents' bags off the board. At the end of the round, points are awarded for each bag that goes through the hole (three points) or remains on top of the board (one point). First team to 21 wins. You can build your set at home or pick one up at local shops.
Ladder Ball: This game is perfect for the beach because you can bury the ladders in the sand for stability, and the ocean breeze adds to the degree of difficulty. Featuring two ladders, each with three rungs, placed 15 feet (or five paces) apart, ladder ball sees players stand at opposite ends and take turns tossing six bolos (two balls attached by a string) at the ladders. The goal is to wrap the string around one of the rungs to score points — one for the top rung, two for the bottom, and three for the middle. Opponents can negate your points by landing a bolo on the same rung, and teams or players can earn bonus points by landing all three of their throws on the same rung or one on each rung. First team to 21 wins, and you must land exactly on 21 to close out the win. Inexpensive kits made of PVC pipe are available at local beachwear stores.
Myrtle Ball: This locally invented game has spread to other beach resorts, but its blending of sports like golf and bocce make it a natural fit for the Grand Strand sand. The easy-to-play game’s small kit includes six buckets that are buried up to the brim in the sand and six brightly colored balls that are rolled into the buckets. Points are awarded based on the size of the bucket in which you land your shot, and Myrtle Ball can be played by as few as two players, or by teams as large as three per side. Be sure to bring a small beach shovel to make it easier to dig the holes, and the first team to 15 wins.
Volleyball: This popular indoor sport takes on a new spin when played on the beach. Perfect for larger groups, beach volleyball can include teams of virtually any size and age, and the younger players make perfect gofers for stray shots. Volleyball is also a great way to make new friends, as a game usually attracts more willing participants. Guests can find nets set up on the beach all along the Grand Strand, and there are regulation sand courts set up near Plyler Park on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. First team to 25 wins a set, and all you really need to play on an established court is a volleyball and some teammates.
Guests at The Breakers Resort have even more options for fun on the beach or by the pool. Games and other activities are held on the main pool deck throughout the summer months, and The Breakers Kids Club offers lots of programs designed to keep the little ones entertained. So add some enjoyment to your Myrtle Beach vacation with some fun and games at The Breakers.