Summer is right around the corner and for many people, that means hosting pool parties in the backyard. There's no better way to beat the summer heat than inviting your friends and family over to swim, lounge by the pool, and generally just have fun in the sun. To add color and variety to your summertime, we've rounded up some of the best pool party ideas the web has to offer—including themes, decorations, games, and more.
Of course, no pool party is ever complete without some light, summery snacks. Whether you want to spice things up with shrimp tacos or keep it sweet with an ice cream float bar, we've got recipes to suit every taste and occasion.
Check out our ideas to make sure your next pool party is a splash!
#1 Boho Tablescape
Set a long, low table and bring rugs outside for a super-relaxed, family-style meal. The more mud cloth and floor pillows, the better.
#2 Come Up With a Theme
Give your pool party a dress code and then decorate for the theme accordingly. Some ideas include tropical or all-white for a classic, dressier pool party. Or you could get weird and choose a TV show as a jumping off point or something oxymoronic, like summer goth and let your guests get creative.
#3 Pool Balloons
Need a cheap and easy decor idea? These pool balloons might just be cuter than flamingo floats.
#4 Get Your Pets Involved
These DIY pool-float dog costumes will get all the likes. And you can reuse them for Halloween!
#5 Lay Out Some Games
Put out a deck of cards for any guests who'd rather stay on land. You could also put out some less conventional card games, like tarot cards and bring in a fortune teller to entertain guests.
#6 Sunscreen Station
A sunscreen station is an ingenious way to entice a large group of guests to re-apply — especially when you've got kids running around. Add some hydrating mists, and everyone will love you forever.
#7 Add Plush Seating
The more colorful your party is, the better. Set up bright and patterned pillows and blankets on the deck for a poolside-picnic effect and for extra lounging space.
#8 Rent a Space
Don't have a pool in your own backyard? Go all out by renting a hotel or local pool for the day. Or research which hotels in your areas have pools and see if any of them every host parties—then round up a group of friends to purchase tickets and attend together.
#9 Make It Kid Friendly
Make it kid-friendly with an arts and crafts station. If there are going to be a lot of little kids running around, you may want to consider bringing in a lifeguard for the day, too.
#10 Cute Floats
Blow up donuts, flamingos, unicorns, and pineapples for your guests. The crazier the float, the cuter the Instagram photo.
#11 Plan Ahead to Avoid Messes
Open up your pool house instead of inviting guests to trample through the main house. If that's not an option, put up signs and make towels available for your guests to dry off before coming into the house to the use the restroom.
#12 Lots of Foods
- Summer Shrimp Tacos
This festive shrimp and mango recipe is ideal for impromptu summer gatherings when you need a quick dinner that requires minimal cooking. Let your friends pick their own toppings and make the taco of their dreams!
- Ice Cream Float Bar
This ice cream float bar is perfect for a summer soirée by the pool and can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Give this childhood favorite a twist by serving it with sparkling juices and flavored sodas.
- Sand Dollar Cookies
These sand dollar cookies will fit right in at a beach-themed pool party. Simply top snickerdoodles with slivered almonds for the sweetest summery snack.