Evoke the care-free mood, festive spirit, and natural beauty of a day at the ocean with these decorating ideas for beach parties. Combining a relaxed atmosphere and cheerful decorations, beach parties are a theme that everyone can enjoy.

THEME:  Choose one of these 3 beach themes as a guide or combine elements of each throughout your party:
  • Beach Fun: Elements of a day at the seashore, including activities & bright colors.
  • Surfer Surfari: All about surfing & surfers.
  • Seaside Scenery: Environmental & natural features from sand to sea gulls.
APPLICATION:  Your theme may evolve as you plan, but choosing a specific direction will add consistency and interest to your event. Use your theme in planning:
  • Decorations
  • Food
  • Music
  • Attire
  • Invitations
  • Signage
  • Drinks
  • Favors & Giveaways
  • Lighting
  • Activities
  • Photos
  • Serve-ware
MOTIF:  Establish your theme with one or more key motifs and design elements, such as sun, sand, palm trees and/or these beach items:

Beach Fun
  • Beach chair
  • Umbrella
  • Beach ball
  • Sunglasses
  • Kites
  • Beach towel
  • Suntan lotion
  • Pail & Shovel
  • Sandcastles
  • Cabanas
  • Pier
  • Flip flops
  • Lifeguard chair
  • Tropical drinks    
Surfin' Surfari
  • Surfboards
  • Lifeguard chair
  • Surfer bus or woody
  • Life rings
  • Flip flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Sailboards
  • Sharks
  • Waves
  • Surf Shack
  • Beach balls
  • Jellyfish
  • Tiki Gods
  • Bamboo
Seaside Scenery
  • Sea shells
  • Starfish
  • Sand dollars
  • Driftwood
  • Shore birds
  • Sea gulls
  • Pelicans
  • Beach glass
  • Crabs
  • Flowers
  • Sea grass
  • Coral
  • Raffia & twine
  • Fish
  • Sea Turtles
COLOR:  Next, choose a color palette for your party; some popular choices include:
  • Beach Fun: pink, teal, blue, lime green, purple, yellow and orange
  • Surfer Surfari: red, blue, yellow, green and orange
  • Seaside Scenery: aqua, white, tan/brown, turquoise, ivory, and shades of blue
Beach Fun Decorating Ideas

Invite your guests for an evening of beach-themed fun with a “stroll along the boardwalk” or a "day at the beach." More beach fun decorating ideas:
  • Hang a solid color or Welcome Aboard life ring on the front door
  • Encourage your guests to dress "beachy" on the invitation
  • Lay a bamboo or grass mat longways on the floor to evoke the impression of a pier
  • Place a hand-painted “Boardwalk” sign pointing to the party area
  • Hang beach balls at varying heights in the entry or party area
  • Offer guests funky or oversized sunglasses as they arrive in the spirit of fun for a memorable keepsake
  • Set up a beach chair, with towel, suntan lotion, sunglasses & a beach ball. Use burlap, sandpaper or real sand underneath.
  • Use Wood Fence with Anchor & Net Coasters to protect furniture surfaces
  • Hang Palm Tree, Beach Ball or Sea Shell String Lights
  • Arrange fishing nets and decorative crab traps as a wall or table decoration, then add shells and plastic fish “bait”
  • Decorate hors d’oeuvre trays with a 5” Pelican figurine
  • Place beach-themed guest towels and Crab, Conch Shell, Sun & Palm Tree Shaped Soap in the bathroom
  • For dinner place settings, personalize 8" Green, Yellow, Blue & Red Life Rings and use instead of chargers for your guests to remember the occasion
  • Cover the wall with light blue or sky with clouds bulletin board paper.
  • Hang kites at different heights with anchored strings to look like they are flying
  • Create a fun and interactive tabletop display by filling a Weathered Rectangle Planter with moist sand and adding miniature pails and shovels for making sand castles
  • Set up a volleyball or badminton net
  • Sprinkle Beach Confetti of sunglasses, palm trees, suns & starfish on surfaces
Serving Table

Create a fun day at the beach scene on your serving table for a memorable focal point. Start with teal or ocean colored satin overlayed with a strip of burlap along the back for the beach. I just used pieces of fabric on top of a white cotton tablecloth and pinned a Table Skirt with Hibiscus Flowers to hide the edges and add more flair.

I decorated our beach serving table with:
  • Metallic Foil Palm Tree Centerpiece
  • 2 Tropical Beach Cabana Centerpieces
  • Flip Flop Votive Candle Holders
  • Sand Dollar Beach Chair Votive Candle Holders
  • Picnic Table Condiment Set
  • Sand Pail & Beach Ball Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Resin Beach Ball Photo/Sign Holder Weight
  • Red & White Striped Sailboard (on the water)
  • Exotic Sea Shells and Driftwood
  • Flip Flop Beverage Napkins
  • Beach, Drink & Be Merry Beverage Napkins
  • Bright Yellow Metal Oval Tub
  • Bright Orange Scalloped Edge Serving Trays (2)
  • Flip Flop Spreader Knives
Don’t forget to add some theme decorations to the guest bathroom, such as a Sailboat figures or colorful Wood Buoys. Small but thoughtful decorations in unexpected places will delight the guests with your attention to detail.

Surfin' Surfari Decorating Ideas

Create the ambiance of a surf shack for a mondo wave of excitement, then invite your favorite crew to grab their board shorts and hang loose. More surfer party decorating ideas:
  • Make a hand-painted "Surf Shack" sign on wood to hang above the entrance
  • Attach (unlit) Tiki Torches to the doorframe
  • Make a "post" of multi-colored hand-painted directional signs to different cities & the distance in miles
  • Hang bamboo mats, window shades or Table Skirts with Hibiscus Flowers on the wall and/or behind the bar
  • String a clothesline and hang cute beach towels, board shorts & bikinis (Photo from www.makeascenerentals.com)
  • Fill a basket with a few sizes of cheap, unisex flip-flops for your guests to wear
  • Hang Hibiscus Ceiling Swirls to create a party atmosphere
  • Decorate the walls with a variety items: license plates, surf boards, life rings, plastic fish, fisherman's net, vintage signs.
  • Add lighting with Shark Head & Tail Candles
  • Make cutouts of surfboards, if you don't have the real thing
  • String Surfboard, Beach Ball, Flip Flop, Tropical Fish and/or Tiki God party lights along the wall and bar
  • If your party is outdoors, set out some hula hoops and Frisbees
  • Hang Glass Jellyfish Windchimes
  • Use Colorful Wood Surfboard Coasters to protect furniture surfaces


Decorate your home bar to convey the surfer theme with a bulletin board paper or bamboo background. Then, hang 8" Solid Color Life Rings in lime green, red, blue and gold at varying heights.

I decorated our bar with:
  • Red VW Beach Bus with surfboards
  • Lifeguard Chair with surfboards & life rings
  • Colorful Surfboard Coaster set
  • Shark & Surfboard Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Surfboard String Lights
  • Tropical Hula Girl Beverage Napkins
You may also want to include beach balls, wood Tiki Gods and a Tiki Bar sign. Add a beach warning flag to the lifeguard chair, and serve cocktails with drink umbrellas.

Surfer Dinner Table Centerpieces

Make a detailed dinner table centerpiece more authentic with real sand. I used a white tablecloth covered with glossy ivory gift-wrap paper to keep the sand easier to manage.

For the centerpiece I used:
  • Beach Surf Shack Centerpiece
  • Beach Picket Fence Candle Holders
  • 5" Resin Pelican
  • Palm Tree Votive Candle Holders (2)
  • Whimsical Starfish on Floats Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Exotic Sea Shells
  • Driftwood Pieces
  • Tropical Hula Girl Beverage Napkins at each place setting

For the centerpiece I used:
  • Red VW Bus with Surfboards
  • Striped Beach Cabana Candleholders
  • Surfboard Coaster Set
  • Surfboard & Shark Salt & Pepper Set
  • Exotic Sea Shells
  • Driftwood Pieces
  • Flip Flop Beverage Napkins at each place setting
Include a little fun & sparkle with a smattering of Beach Confetti around the centerpiece and Tiki God Placecard holders at each place setting. Place Flip Flop, Sun and Palm Tree Shaped Soap in the bathroom.

Seaside Scenery Decorating Ideas

Invite your guests to “dig in” to a sandy seaside-themed celebration that will delight all who attend. Some of my Seaside Scenery decorating ideas:
  • Hang Blue & White Round Paper Lanterns from the ceiling, along with White and Blue Electric String Lights
  • Make mini-beach scenes in goldfish bowls or hurricane vases with sand and sea shells around an ivory or white candle
  • Fill 1/3 of a glass cylinder vase or giant martini glass with sea shells, beach glass and/or blue & aqua glass pebbles or water pearls, then add water and a floating candle
  • Place the Blue Butterfly, Clown Trigger, Moorish Idol, and Blue Tang in separate small goldfish bowls or hurricane vases with sand, filled with water, and float a candle on top
  • Place a candle or tealight in a large clam shell and fill with sand
  • Place a White Coral Chunk Centerpiece or several Bleached Finger Starfish in a large vase with sand and, optionally, fill with water
  • Add a Clown Fish on Coral to the Coral Chunk display
  • Use blue or teal floral lights in vase water displays for a subtle touch of ocean color
  • Hang Vintage Glass-Style Buoy Float with bleached string, Sea Shell or ocean-colored Tropical Fish string lights from the bartop or porch railings 
  • Place potted palm and/or tropical plants in the entry and party area
  • Place 8.5” Carved Wood Shore Bird figures on tabletops and/or the mantel
  • Add 5” Resin Painted Sea Turtles accents
  • Anchor tiki torches in white, metal buckets filled with sand
Seaside Banquet Table

Highlight the beauty of the seashore with natural elements in contrast with the rich ocean colors of aqua, turquoise and blue. I started with a dark blue tablecloth and teal dinner napkins. For the centerpiece, I used real sand in a shallow glass platter, set on a round sand-colored placemat.

For this banquet table setting I used:
  • 12" Wood Seagull On Piling
  • Exotic Sea Shells
  • Teal Mini Lantern Candle Holders
  • Etched Teal Sailboats & Seagulls Votive Candle Holders
  • Baby Seagull Salt & Pepper Shakers
  • Bleached Finger Starfish at each place setting
Serve cocktails with Stories of the Sea or Palm Tree & Hibiscus Beverage Napkins. Use Starfish, Sea Turtle, and Clam Shell Shaped Soaps and Metal Sea Turtle Votive Candle Holders in the bathroom.

Find these decorations and more in PartySwizzle.com's Beach Decorations. And, I'm always looking for more unique and original ideas; share your decorating ideas for beach parties with me.

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