Summer beach parties are super fun to host, and with these beach party ideas, your friends are guaranteed a great time. One way to make your party stand out is to create a big, billowing, tent, or gazebo. And you can make it yourself with dowels and white sheets, for a romantic effect. This will help your guests find your spot on the beach, as it will help you stand out. But it also creates a festive, welcoming shelter, and center spot for all the food and drink, basically creating a room on the beach. You can also group umbrellas together, creating a separate space.
Within that room, create a living space. Bring lots of pillows, towels (best if they are of the same color group), and tables. Make it a party space, and serve all food from this area. Decorate this space; don't just think of it as the beach, but that you're creating a party.
You can ask your friends to bring dishes for the party, but you need to come up with a theme for the food. You don't want someone bringing a chinese chicken salad if you're serving a mexican menu. So, choose the cuisine, and stay within that genre. Remember that you want to serve food that can hold up in the hot sun (no potato salad), and that's easy to eat on the beach. Alcohol in the sun is a bad combo, but people do love their drinks, so be sure you have plenty of coolers so that your drinks are served cold (and check local laws about public drinking). Sangria is a great, inexpensive, and wonderful drink on the beach, and can be made ahead of time.
Have games available for your guests. Bring paddle games, a football, frisbee, and volleyball. If it's later in the day, have plenty of chairs for your guests, or ask them to bring beach chairs. Ideas for themes include a Mexican Fiesta, a Luau, and a Barbeque.