17 Pool Party Ideas that Will Make a Big Splash This Summer

Throw the best pool party this summer with this fun inspiration.

Trust us: It doesn't matter if your pool is above ground or below ground—these pool party ideas will make a splash with friends and family. Whether you're entertaining adults or children, these pool party ideas will be a hit.

two women near pool with mixed drinks
Rebekah Photography
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Themed Party

food table with grass skirt white cart
Adam Albright

Have a theme! Whether it's a color scheme or one of our favorites—like a luau-themed party—let your imagination run wild. Use bright summer colors to help tie everything together for whatever pool party idea you choose.

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Backyard Picnic


Take your picnic beyond the basket! Lay down a cute rug or outdoor blanket for guests to sit on and be comfortable. Add throw pillows, candles, and other decorations help create the atmosphere for this relaxed pool party idea.

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Drink Cart

mimosas banner on serving cart at poolside
Adam Albright

Stay hydrated poolside with a drink cart. Dress up a simple utility cart with a banner and fresh flowers. Mix up a selection of alcoholic and nonalcoholic pitchers of drinks to leave on top so guests can help themselves. Keep utensils, cups, and ice on the second level for easy access.

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Yard Games

kids playing disc tic-tac-toe outdoors
Kinzie Riehm

Need a break from the water or sunning in a lounge chair? Get your guests off their feet for some big yard games. For example, creative and play tic tac toe with frisbees by taping a grid on a large sheet. A little friendly competition is good for any gathering.

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pink sunglasses with script on rattan table
Rebekah Photography

Surprise your guests with sunglasses! Get crafty and use a marker or paint pen to personalize the glasses to commemorate your event. Give them as fun party favors to help protect eyes from too much exposure to sunlight. Be sure to get some smaller ones for any kiddos who'll be attending.

06 of 17

Fun Floaties

pool with bright inner tubes and balloons
Rebekah Photography

This pool party idea may seem obvious, but really, what water-based celebration would be complete without oversized, dazzling pool floats? If your party has a theme, pick rafts and floaties to match, like swans, flamingoes, unicorns, or even ones shaped like the food you're serving.

07 of 17

Inner Tube Cooler

watermelon inner tube with fruit-infused bottles
Rebekah Photography

Waterproof your drinks with this convenient pool party idea—turn an inner tube into a cooler. Set a bucket in the center of the inner tube, fill it with ice and drinks, and send it sailing away on the water. Make sure the bucket is bigger than the inner hole so it doesn't fall through—and make sure it's not too heavy, also!

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Veggie Tray

various vegetable kabob skewers
Rebekah Photography

Fresh in-season veggies will shine on the snack table. Skewer them in a color gradient to look like a delectable and healthy rainbow. Serve them on a fun party platter so guests can nibble easily. A dip would be a fun addition to this appetizer.

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Drink Pitchers

Cucumber Limeade

Honey, cucumbers, and limes combined create a rejuvenating and refreshing summer afternoon drink. Whip up enough to fill a pitcher so all of your guests can enjoy a glass or two.

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String Lights

string lights hanging on patio at dusk
Cavan Images/Getty Images

Make your party twinkle! Add string lights around your house or backyard for a sweet glow. Once the sun sets, this pool party idea will help your space (and your guests) take on a warm, welcoming glow.

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Water Balloons

blindfolded girl swinging bat at hung water balloons
Gretchen Easton

Break out the water balloons! It doesn't matter how old your guests are—they'll love throwing them at one another as a fun way to cool off during a hot summer day. For a fun twist, tie them to a clothesline and whack them like mini piñatas.

12 of 17

S'more Cups

smores treat boxes
David Tsay

A staple of summertime, s'mores are a must have. Skip the mess and put together little s'more cups out of recycled berry containers. Place a napkin at the bottom of each to help with sticky fingers and melted chocolate.

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Grill Out

grilling veggies on a gas grill
Kalim / Adobe Stock

Avoid making a mess in the kitchen by grilling up something tasty. Prepare some hot dogs, hamburgers, and kabobs for an easy-to-make variety with something for everyone. For something a little more special, try ribs or barbequed chicken.

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Sundae Bar

outdoor ice cream bar
Buff Strickland

Cool off from the summer heat with a sundae bar. These sweet treats are a delicious pool party idea that will be huge crowd-pleasers. Stock up on your favorite toppings and flavors for tons of yummy combinations.

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Pops of Color

white poolside table with snacks hat sunglasses
Adam Albright

For the ultimate pool party, add bright summer accent colors and decorations. From outdoor pillows to balloons, make your space pop with pinks, yellows, blues, and greens.

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Themed Cupcakes

Beach Party Cupcakes

Here's a delicious pool party idea—themed cupcakes. For these beach-inspired treats, crush up graham crackers to use as sand. Create super-easy waves on the cupcakes with store-bought gel icing. Make beach-ball style frosting using fruit leather. Get creative and think up your own cupcake designs that reflect the summer.

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Thank You Tags

pool party favors
Carson Downing

Gratitude is priceless. Thank your guests with adorable DIY tags you can attach to goggles, pool toys, or snack baggies.

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