Throw A Retro-Inspired Beach Party This Summer

Crank up your '50s playlist, and grab your vintage sunnies. We're spilling all the inside scoop on how you can throw an unforgettable retro-inspired beach party in your own backyard this summer.

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Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Photo By: Bethany Nauert

Set the Scene

To help with planning, think of your favorite old movies when choosing your retro beach party decor — Beach Blanket Bingo and Gidget were our inspirations. We started by setting out towels and outdoor pillows in ice cream-inspired colors to create a casual, poolside hangout area and swapped in a small wood stool for a table to hold drinks and snack plates.

Invite All Your Pals

Get the retro vibes flowing before your guests arrive with vintage-style invitations. We found these '50s invites on Zazzle.com and customized them with details of our soiree. Go all out with the theme, and ask guests to dress in vintage beach attire.

Vintage Snack Attack

We chose a simple, casual menu of snacks and treats for our retro beach party. When thinking about your menu, incorporate low-fuss popular foods from the decade, and add cheeky cards to get your guests into the beach party spirit. Here, we filled a tray with "beach balls", "pool mats" and "crunchy crabs." Tip: Lay a piece of wax paper down on your tray before filling it for easy cleanup.

Fun in the Sun

Those hot summer days outside can lead to sunburns — not to mention all the bug bites. Make sure your guests are covered on both fronts by filling a basket with a variety of sunscreens and bug sprays. If you have a pool, make sure to offer waterproof sunscreen options as well (especially for the kiddos!).

Beach Club Decor

We set up this beach club-inspired corner where guests can grab a towel if they need one. To keep with the theme, we displayed a big float with a fun message and pretty gerbera daisies draped inside. Remember to give everyone plenty of spots to relax, too. Guests can easily move floor pillows around to wherever they want to sit.

Dress Up Soda

Add paper straws in bright, retro colors and tissue-paper flowers (with washi tape) to dress up glass soda bottles.

Take a Dip

For another easy, retro-inspired snack, pour dip (like gaucamole, hummus or salsa) into clear plastic cups and add sliced carrots and celery. We included a "Take a Dip" sign to keep with the cheeky summer theme.

Fruity Cones

Kids will love these yummy fruit cones after a swim in the pool. Add a variety of fruit to the cones including berries, grapes, or diced cantaloupe or pineapple. Make things easy, and use pre-cut fruit from the produce section.

Coconut Cocktails

Serve the adults a delish cocktail — like one of these summery cocktails — in these adorable faux coconut shell cups. Pretty paper umbrellas and striped straws make the drinks feel even more festive and beachy.

Retro Sunglasses

Your guests can truly embrace the retro beach party vibes with a vintage sunglass station like this one. We found $1 sunglass frames at the local thrift store and set them up on a table so guests could grab them on their way to the pool.

Colorful Fruit Juice Ice Pops

The kids (and adults) will certainly appreciate cooling down with fruit juice ice pops. Fill up an aluminum tub with ice and stick all the pops in there for guests to grab and enjoy.

Hula Hoop Station

Take guests back to the 1950s with a hula hoop station. It'll keep the kids busy for hours, but chances are, the adults will really love it, too. We used a simple outdoor side table to hold all the hula hoops for anyone to stop by and spin. Make sure you set this up in an area that has plenty of room for hula hooping.

Refreshing Snow Cones

There's no shortage of retro desserts to choose from, but it's safe to say snow cones are an all-time favorite. Easily make faux snow cones with crushed ice and food coloring, and add an unexpected element with a candy ring pop garnish. Make an adult version by pouring your prepared signature cocktail on top of crushed ice.

Stay Dry

You can never have too many towels at your beach party! We set up a basket by the pool and stuffed it with colorful towels. Even if you don't have a pool, offer towels for guests to lay on the grass or put down on chaise chairs. Our pup Billy got into the beachy spirit too, with a festive summer flower necklace.

Easy Signature Dessert

We stacked chocolate cake snacks on a cake stand and added fresh cherries as our signature dessert. As an alternative, leave some of the cakes in their packaging for guests to take home.

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