When you want to soak up some sun, swim in some surf, or play in some sand, the beach obviously is the best place to do it. When you want to engage, educate, or entertain a meeting group, however, going to the beach probably isn't your first instinct. If it's summer, it should be. After all, the beach offers warm weather, ample space, a casual atmosphere, and a naturally social setting -- everything you could possibly need for an afternoon or evening of authentic group fun. Volleyball and Frisbee golf aren't your only options, either. Here are five activities that will unite your group and show you a different side of the sand.
CrossFit at Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort (St. John's, Antigua)
Anyone who's tried jogging on sand knows from experience the beach has all the makings of a killer workout. Rosewood's Antigua resort, Jumby Bay, harnesses that potential through its partnership with ICE NYC, a New York-based CrossFit, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and yoga studio whose trainers offer weeklong CrossFit training retreats on the private-island property. Retreats include warm-ups on the dock and a daily "workout-of-the-day" on the beach, all of which could be distilled into a daylong program for groups that want to add an active element to their meeting.
Beach Olympics at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort (Naples, FL)
If physical activity sounds appealing, but you'd rather do "fun" than "fitness," check out LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, which offers a Beach Olympics activity for groups on its private, white sand beach. With teams of seven to eight players each, the activity consists of physical and mental challenges and is staffed with uniformed referees who provide game instructions, timekeeping, and scorekeeping. Games include a jigsaw jumble, Scrabble scramble, shortstop tossup, obstacle relay, team ski, speed stackers, island hoppers, Hungry Hippos, and bubble soccer, among others.
Simulated Surfing at Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort (Hollywood, FL)
Although surfing is a quintessential beach activity, learning how to do it can be an intimidating proposition for amateurs. That's why Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort offers the FlowRider Double, a simulated surfing experience that allows meeting attendees to ride artificial waves beside the ocean instead of real waves in it. It's just as fun as the real thing, but a lot easier, a lot safer, and a lot more social.
Sand Sculpting at Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort (Key West, FL)
Sandcastles aren't just for kids. At Casa Marina, professional sand sculpting firm Sand Isle offers "Sand Sculpting 101" workshops: two-and-a-half-hour workshops during which attendees learn the fundamentals of building awesome sand sculptures using only sand and water. Past participants have made bears, mermaids, dragons, ships, sharks, cars, and even historical landmarks -- all out of sand.
Sarong Dyeing at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina (Kapolei, HI)
To help both individual guests and meeting groups discover authentic Polynesian traditions, Four Seasons Resort Oahu offers #FSWayfinders, an ongoing weekly series featuring art, culture, history, and other in-depth workshops. Among its offerings is an exclusive Indigo Sarong Dye workshop on the beach (pictured) led by Island Bungalow Hawaii, a local boutique specializing in globally inspired textiles and furniture. Participants learn the history, alchemy, and traditional techniques of natural indigo dyeing -- practiced by ancient Polynesians, who extracted organic dye from native plants and used it to color fabrics and other artifacts. The best part of the workshop: Everyone leaves with a stylish new cover-up they can wear to the beach.
Cornhole at Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa (Palm Beach, FL)
Sure, relaxing on this resort's white-sand beaches might keep attendees plenty occupied between meeting sessions. But for those looking for a more active break or teambuilding experience, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island provides a variety of sand-inspired activities, from volleyball to ring toss, beach pong, and more. Cornhole is a favorite option, where players compete against one another, tossing bean bags into the specially designed, raised platforms with a small hole cut in the center. Competition gets fierce as teams battle one another for who has aim and tossing skills to land more of the beanbags into the hole. The 193-suite property also offers seven meeting spaces, able to accommodate groups from 10 to 160 people.