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How to Throw the Best Pool and Beach Parties Ever

How to Throw the Best Pool and Beach Parties Ever


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Host the best summer parties by the pool or at the beach by following these top tips

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The temperatures are rising, the sun is beating stronger every day, and there is only one way to really cool down: by jumping into the pool or the ocean. On these almost unbearably hot summer days wearing anything more than a swimsuit and sunglasses, drinking anything that isn’t ice cold, and eating anything hot or substantial is totally unappealing. That’s why every party from here to Labor Day needs to be by the pool or on the beach. Anything else just isn’t going to be weather-appropriate. Here we explain how to host the ultimate pool and beach parties, covering everything from the practical equipment you’ll need, how to decorate, the best drinks to serve, and what food to cook for the occasion.

How to Throw the Best Pool and Beach Parties Ever

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The temperatures are rising, the sun is beating stronger every day, and there is only one way to really cool down: by jumping into the pool or the ocean. Here we explain how to host the ultimate pool and beach parties, covering everything from the practical equipment you’ll need, how to decorate, the best drinks to serve, and what food to cook for the occasion.

Set-Up: Colorful, Summertime Decorations

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It’s the height of summer, so make sure you decorate accordingly with bright, colorful decorations. From striped beach towels, to bright bunting and paper lanterns, to neon balloons, decorate as much as possible to make sure your party setting looks wonderfully inviting.

Set-Up: Count Your Guests

Pool and beach parties can easily get out of hand. Keep your party under control by not inviting too many people. No one wants to be at an overly crowded summer party where there’s not enough space in the pool.

Set-Up: Drinks Equipment

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Set-Up: Plan Ahead

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If you’re hosting a beach party, you need to do some research before you start sorting out your guest list and your menu. Make sure you find out what the rules there are about having parties on your favorite beach, as you may need to do some paperwork, follow certain guidelines, or obtain permission before you throw the party.

Set-Up: Playlist

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Pool and beach parties won’t feel complete without your favorite summer tunes playing. Invest in portable, waterproof speakers so that you don’t spend the whole party stressing about your fancy speakers being broken by someone’s wet, sandy hands.

Set-Up: Practical Equipment

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Hosting a beach or pool party requires you to take on a lot of responsibility. Make sure you’re well prepared, since, as the host, it’s your job to be well-equipped. You need to have a first-aid kit, sun screen, beach towels, and, if you’re headed to the beach, vinegar, in case of jellyfish stings.

Set-Up: Tableware

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Nothing breakable or fragile should be present anywhere. Ideally, you’ll just be serving finger food, but if not, using paper plates and disposable flatware is the best option. Plastic cups (and straws for the kids) are also essential — you definitely don’t want someone to smash a glass in the pool.

Set-Up: Umbrellas for People and Food

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Set-Up: Water Games

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Though the beach and the pool do provide a lot of entertainment in and of themselves, providing some games for your guests — both kids and adults — will make the afternoon even more fun.

Drinks: Alcohol-Free

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Drinks: Beer and Wine

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Cans of beer and bottles (or cans) of wine, are the easiest alcoholic drinks to serve at pool and beach parties. Make sure you keep them cold and that you only offer those that are light in alcohol for a fun, but safe, party.

Drinks: Low-Proof Cocktails

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Food: Finger Food

All the food you serve should be easy to eat — no one wants to sit down in a swimsuit for a drawn-out, heavy meal. The food should be light, not requiring a knife or fork, and your guests should be able to nibble on it throughout the afternoon. You don’t want to make people feel bloated or sick when they jump into the pool right after eating.

Food: Low-Maintenance Food

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Planning a beach or pool party requires much organization and planning, so you really don’t want to have to cook and put together fancy, time-consuming dishes. Keep things simple with low-maintenance food, and if you are really feeling overwhelmed by hosting, make your party a potluck.

Food: Chips, Dips, and Crudités

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Food: Colorful Candy

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Food: Fresh Fruit

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Summer is our favorite time of year for fresh produce. Set out a platter of ready-to-eat fruit for a healthy, tasty, and party-perfect snack.

Food: Gluten-Free Lemon Crinkle Cookies

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Food: Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

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Food: Grilled Lemon and Pepper Shrimp Skewers

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Food: Grilled Vegetable Kabobs

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Food: Orange Jelly Boats

Food: Peach and Honey Ice Pops

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Food: Spicy Chicken Skewers

Food: Spicy Rosemary Roasted Nuts

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Food: Sweet and Salty Popcorn

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Food: Watermelon Wedges

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Nothing says summer like simple wedges of fresh watermelon. Slice up a couple of watermelons for your guests to pick up and eat their way through whenever they need a super refreshing snack.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


From flamingoes to donuts, pool inflatables come in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. They can add a splash of color to the main attraction—your pool—and smaller ones can serve as DIY ice chests or just whimsical table decor.

You’ll want to offer plenty of snacks and treats to keep your guests energized. Check out all the cute and clever ways to keep them fueled up below.


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