Photo by Christian Lambert on Unsplash

It’s starting to warm up again, and you know what that means: it will soon be time to take a trip to the beach. There’s a lot you can do at the beach, whether it’s relaxing, swimming, having a picnic, or just taking in the sights.

What you might not think of doing is playing a card game, but it is indeed possible. If, like me, you’re the type of person who always carries a card game or two with them, then you’re in the right place. I’ll be showing you a list of what I think are the best card games for the beach so you can have geeky fun anywhere.

Best Card Games for the Beach

Pack O Game – Spy

I’ve recommended the Spy game in a couple other lists, including my list of the best card games for plane rides and the best card games to play without a table. That’s because I think it works perfectly whenever you don’t have a large flat area at hand. This could easily be the case at the beach.

The premise of Pack O Game offerings, including Spy, is that you have a card game that’s literally the size of a pack of gum and that you usually keep your cards in your hand the entire time. With this premise, Spy is both incredibly small and travel-friendly.

Players take all the cards of a particular color and build a “base” in their hand by arranging their cards however they see fit. Your goal is to investigate other players’ bases by moving your spy card in your hand to reflect where you’re going in theirs.


  • Intriguing spy theme.
  • Super small size makes it easy to fit in your bag and carry with you wherever.
  • Generally very affordable.
  • Can support up to four players.


  • Some people can find it tricky to pick up, but you should get the hang of it after a couple turns.

Hoyle Waterproof Playing Cards

Even the most careful person has accidents once in a while…the odds increase a little bit when you’re exposed to the elements, such as at a beach. Because you likely don’t want to ruin your card game, it’s worth looking for something specifically designed to resist water if you’re going to be around large bodies of the stuff.

That’s where these Hoyle waterproof playing cards come in. I know they’re not a specific card game per se, but there are plenty of card games you can play with them. You can look them up online for suggestions.

Not only are these cards usually quite budget-friendly, but they’re hand-washable. If you’re having a messy picnic at the beach or you drop them in the sand, you can clean them off once you get home.


  • There are tons of card games with a plain deck of cards.
  • Made from completely waterproof material, so you can’t destroy them in the water.
  • If they get dirty, you can wash them by hand once you get home.
  • The material is easy to shuffle.
  • Attractive swirly design almost looks like waves on the cards – pretty fitting for a day on the beach.


  • Unless you already know some card games, you’ll have to spend time looking up games to play.
  • Some users have stated that the faces of the cards can get scratched off in time.

Spot It! Waterproof


A basic deck of playing cards isn’t the only waterproof option I’d add to this list. I’d also like to introduce you to the waterproof (and beach-themed!) version of Spot It!

This is a visual matching card game. Every single pair of cards has something in common with each other, and players must rush to figure out what symbol two cards have in common before the others.

It’s a simple game, and many people have come up with new ways of playing it. I also think it’s an excellent educational game, since it helps children develop pattern recognition skills.


  • Easy to learn.
  • Players have developed multiple new ways of playing the game.
  • The cards are totally waterproof.
  • Instead of the traditional Spot It! art, this version has beachy artwork.


  • If, like me, you have slower reflexes, slapping a card before everyone else can is difficult.
  • Can be very competitive.
  • Some players felt that the cards are too slick.

100 Pics Riddles

Need to make a little conversation on your nautical outing? Consider grabbing this 100 Pics Riddles game to help stir up some conversation and get your brains into gear.

The premise is simple: try and answer the riddles on the cards. It even comes with a convenient holder that covers the answer for you and protects your cards. That’s why I think it’s a great option for your beach day.

You can even play it alone if you’re lounging by yourself. As I mentioned above, the game comes with a holder that covers the answer, so you don’t have to worry about needing someone else to hide it from you.


  • You can play the game alone or with other people.
  • Has a holder that both conceals the answer and protects the cards.
  • The game includes 100 different riddles for you to puzzle over.
  • Easy to learn to play.
  • Manageable size is perfect for traveling.


  • Some owners said the riddles were a little too simple.
  • Once you’ve solved all the riddles, there isn’t a reason to play it again.


Uno is one of those classic games that virtually everyone has played at least once in their lives. Because of this, many people already have an understanding of how to play it.

What I especially like about this edition is that it comes with a metal storage box. That makes it perfect for taking to the beach – you won’t have to worry about water or sand damaging the box.

The box also doubles as a small flat surface you can use to make a pile of cards. If you don’t have a table nearby, it may be perfect.


  • There are different strategies you can utilize to win the game, making it great for both beginners and experts.
  • The games themselves are relatively short.
  • Great for players of all age groups.
  • Includes a tough storage box made from metal.


  • There are some reports of the storage box being too big for the cards. I think this could work out well for the beach, though, because it gives you a larger space to make a pile in.

Cover Your Assets

If you do happen to have a table to play on, I would recommend Cover Your Assets. This fun game is all about trying to become a millionaire by either building your own fortune with pairs…or by stealing from others.

This is a great game for any competitive friends or family you have. You’ll love the feeling of victory you get when you still someone else’s valuable pairing – and they’ll love the look on your face when they steal yours.

Plus, this game is fairly simple to learn. You can play with everyone, including your kids.


  • Competitive gameplay will get everyone invested.
  • Suitable for most ages, so you can get your children involved.
  • Each game will feel different, so you can play it over and over again.
  • Can support groups of several people.


  • You may want to have a table to play this one on, since you do need to have cards laid out where others can see them.

Read Next: Best Card Games for Elementary Students

$#!% Happens

Did you go to the beach with a group of friends instead of bringing kids along? If your beach getaway is for the grown-ups among you, try bringing a more adult-oriented game like S#!% Happens.

In this game, players need to essentially guess how bad a situation described on a card would be. Each situation is assigned a rating called the “Misery Index.” Your goal is to guess just how high each one ranks on the Misery Index.

The situations on the cards are bizarre and generally hilarious. You’ll have a blast discussing crazy hypothetical situations with your friends.


  • Fun for groups of adults.
  • Great for pairs or larger numbers of people.
  • Some of the situations on the cards are bound to make you laugh.


  • Once you’ve played a few times and learned the Misery Index ratings, playing more can feel repetitive.

Truth or Drink

Truth or Drink is another card game I’d recommend if your beach day is an adult getaway. You can tell from the name of the game how it works.

It’s essentially truth or dare, only minus the daring part. Players must draw a card from the deck, which will usually ask a funny question, and you must choose to answer it or take a drink.

If you’re looking to get a little tipsy, pack this game for your trip the beach. Just keep in mind that you may want to tone down the drinking or avoid playing it too long while you’re out in public.


  • A great drinking game for adults.
  • You’ll learn new things about the people you’re playing with.
  • Anyone can learn to play it in seconds.
  • Perfect for breaking the ice.


  • You can’t play it repeatedly with the same group of people, otherwise you’ll go through all the questions with them.
  • If your friends have no filters, no one will take a drink since they’ll end up answering everything.

Similar Post: Best Drinking Card Games for Couples

How to Choose the Best Card Game for the Beach

Card Size

Anytime you’re not inside with a large table to play on, you’ll have to be concerned about the size of your cards. This is doubly the case when you’re playing outdoors, because you likely won’t want to lay your cards all on the ground, so you’ll want to hold them in your hands as much as possible.

It’s entirely possible you do have a table to play on at the beach. If you don’t, however, consider taking a look at the size of the cards for a game before you buy it. Smaller cards will be significantly easier to hold in your hands and keep off the ground if necessary.

Durable Materials

Beaches are full of environmental factors that could easily ruin a card game. Water, sand, wind – need I say more?

Any card game you play on the beach needs to be durable enough to withstand the test of the elements. Consider looking for cards made with thick and solid cardstock. You may even find some waterproof editions of classic card games; we included a few on this list.

If you’re not sure where to find this information, you can usually search keywords in the customer reviews such as “durable” or “waterproof.”


Something else worth thinking about when you choose a card game for your beach trip is how the gameplay works. More specifically, I’m referring to how much space it takes up.

Again, unless you have a picnic table to play on or something, you likely don’t have a nice flat area for laying out piles of cards. If you’re sitting on a towel under an umbrella, you’ll want something that doesn’t need much room.

The size of the cards will factor into this, but the actual rules do, too. For instance, if a game requires you to have several piles laid out, it probably won’t be great for the beach. On the other hand, if you only need one or two piles, then you can probably make that work by using the box.


If you’re planning on spending an afternoon at the beach, you should also consider how much time you want to devote to a card game. Do you have a bevy of other activities planned? For instance, if you want to spend time swimming, building sandcastles, lounging, having an outdoor feast, or simply admiring the scenery, you may not want to dedicate tons of time to a card game.

This is why it’s never a bad idea to check the duration. Most card games tend to be fairly short, taking generally less than 45 minutes, but you may want something even shorter than that. Be sure to check the product description or box to locate the estimated duration of the game.

On the other hand, if you wanted to combine game night with a day on the beach, you may prefer longer games. That’s okay, too! You can either look for those with a longer duration or plan to play multiple sessions in a row.

Number of Players

How many people are going to be taking a trip to the beach with? Will they all want to join in on the game?

Since no one likes to feel left out, these are questions you should be answering as you look at card games. There are card games that you can play by yourself, card games that are great for couples, and even card games that can support whole crowds of people.

You can determine the number of supported players by checking the box. Sometimes, even if a game says it can only support a small number of players, you can modify the rules to support even more.


One of the things I will always recommend considering no matter the situation for your card game is theme. A card game’s theme is the artwork, story, and gameplay it’s based around.

There are card games for any kind of theme you could be interested. Into pirates? There are tons of pirate card games out there.

Want to play something with a fantasy twist? You’ll have no shortage of games to choose from.

Heck, you can even find beach-themed card games if you’d like something with a nautical feel.

This may seem kind of stupid to consider initially, but I think it’s really important. I can’t even tell you how many card games I’ve purchased just because they have an appealing theme to me and discovered something new I enjoyed as a result.

Wrap Up

So, if I were taking a trip to the beach soon, which card game would I recommend over all the others? Having played it before, I would probably go for the waterproof version of Spot It!

However, I think there are great games on this list for a variety of situations. If you’re into trivia, go for the 100 Pics Riddles game. Groups of adults might prefer something that feels more mature, like S#!% Happens.

Which card game is your favorite? Have you played any of them before? Let me know in the comments below.

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