Summer Party Ideas and Themes for 2020

Warm weather calls for a fun summer party with family and friends. Whether you’re celebrating a kid’s birthday, working with your neighbors on the annual block party idea, or starting a new summer tradition, planning your party begins with choosing the perfect seasonal theme. We’ve provided a fun and creative list of summer party ideas below to get the party started.

outdoors summer party with cute decor

Summer Party Themes

Looking for the perfect party theme in a season of warm weather and longer days? We want to help. Look to our selection of summer party themes below or use the following ideas to inspire a theme all your own.

1. Backyard BBQ Party

Host a classic backyard BBQ party for friends an family with traditional picnic food. This is an easy theme that will make guests feel comfortable and right at home. Although the focus of a BBQ is the food, you can go all out with country inspired decorations. Everything can be used for this theme, from sunflowers and mason jars to paisley print and plaid tablecloths. For your summer BBQ party invitations, you can choose from plenty of fun BBQ designs.

2. Beach or Pool Party

Throw a party at the beach or bring the beach to your backyard with a fun pool party theme. This theme is usually characterized by sand, seashells, striped décor, beach chairs and seafood. You can set up beach-inspired games for the day or host a bonfire gathering at night. If you’re throwing a beach-themed party at your house, be sure to stock up on blue linens, outdoor pillows, glassware, rustic beach signs, and pool party invitations to match.

3. Backyard Dinner Party

Host an evening dinner party in your backyard for an intimate and memorable time with your loved ones. From beautiful lighting ideas and candle spreads to summer decor and tableware, you can create new summer memories right at home. If you prefer cool summer nights over daytime heat, this is the perfect summer party idea for you. You can choose a warm or cool color palette and find table runners, plates and more that compliment your color theme. Consider customizing mason jars with short summer sayings to add charm and personalization to your dinner table. For additional inspiration, visit our resources on dinner party ideas and dinner party menu ideas.


4. Tex-Mex Summer Fiesta

Get the margaritas, chili and tacos ready for your Tex-Mex party theme. This theme combines Western and Mexican fiesta party elements for one unforgettable celebration. Consider using a variety of colorful garlands, paper flowers, cactus plants, piñatas and Mexican serape table runners for your decor. You can also add a nacho bar with a variety of toppings and a margarita station to make this a fun Tex-Mex fiesta.

5. Lemonade Party

Lemonade is the go-to drink for summer. You can turn this sweet drink into a summer party theme with lemonade-inspired treats and yellow decor. Consider building a stylish lemonade stand that can double as a drink station and photo booth. You can also incorporate pink lemonade-inspired decor and treats in your party set-up to add a pop of color.

6. Luau

Turn your backyard into an island with a luau summer party theme. This theme is easy and allows for a variety of DIY projects. Tropical flowers, palm trees, grass skirts and fruity cocktails are just a few things you can incorporate to make your guests feel like they’re in Hawaii. In addition to luau-inspired décor, you can encourage guests to dance by playing Hawaiian music. Lastly, choose a party invitation with plenty of tropical elements.

7. Summer Camp Party

If you’re looking for a nature-oriented party theme, a summer camp Woodland theme is a great idea. Plants, bear-themed décor, wood signage, s’mores and a campfire will help transform any backyard or park set-up into the perfect camp getaway. Encourage guests to wear camping inspired apparel and provide throw blankets and custom pillows for comfortable seating. If your party goes into the evening, try screening a movie in your backyard with a popcorn bar to keep guests entertained.

8. Carnival

Create your own carnival this summer by bringing circus and county fair elements right to your backyard. This theme is geared towards kids and consists of carnival-friendly food, games and colorful decorations. Get creative with your dessert bar by including classic carnival treats such as cotton candy, popcorn, churros and snow cones. You can also set up a lemonade stand and water bar with fruit for guests to cool down in between carnival games. Popular games at a carnival themed party often include ring tosses, ping pong tosses, dart balloons, dunk tanks and ‘guess how many’ candy games. You can set up a fun prize table where kids can cash in their tickets for small prizes. Lastly, don’t forget the temporary tattoos and face paint stations for attendees.

9. Ice Cream Social

Host an ice cream social to keep your friends and family cool this summer. Set up a decadent ice cream bar for attendees to create their own ice cream masterpiece. Offer a variety of popular toppings such as cookie dough, chocolate chips, strawberries, cherries, marshmallows and chocolate syrup. When it comes to decorations, use plenty of ice cream inspired decor and choose a bright color palette, such as neapolitan.

ice cream social with root beer float

10. Backyard Boho Celebration

Looking to throw a stylish summer celebration with picture perfect decorations and delicious drinks and treats? Consider putting on a backyard Boho celebration. When it comes to decor think chic rugs and wicker chairs or throw pillows and blankets. Unique pottery, candles, and art pieces make great accents sure to wow your guests. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your dinner party menu!

11. Wine Tasting Party

If you love wine, friends, and warm weather- you might find your perfect summer party involves wine tasting. From a light Chardonnay to a sparkling rosé to a summer friendly pinot noir, this party lets you explore all your favorite warm weather flavors. Include rating cards and a delicious charcuterie board on a personalized cutting board to make sure your guests never want to leave. For additional advice, check out our resource on wine tasting party ideas.

12. Potluck Picnic

Potlucks are great ways to get the whole neighborhood or all your friends involved in the party planning. Create a signup sheet before hand with designations for appetizers, main courses, desserts, and drinks. You may also want to include sections for food restrictions or diets. Check out our cozy picnic ideas for additional inspiration.

13. Beer Tasting Party

Beer tasting parties aren’t just a great way to quench your thirst in summer– they’re also excellent ways to catch up with friends and neighbors. Follow our guide on ideas for a beer tasting party or simply use it to come up with fun ideas all your own. And for a special touch, use personalized pint glasses or growlers as the ultimate beer party decoration and party favor.

bottles of beer and growler

14. 4th of July Party

4th of July parties are typically the biggest, most anticipated summer parties of the season. Plan one to put all others to shame with our resource on 4th of July party ideas. From patriotic banners and flags to American BBQ classics, your Fourth of July celebration will be a party to remember.

Summer Party Game Ideas

Once you have food and decorations covered, plan out a few summer party games to keep guests entertained. Preparing two to three games can liven up your summer celebration and break the ice. After the majority of your guests have eaten, ask a friend to lead a group game. You can also set up game areas so guests can play games throughout the party.

Here are some popular summer game ideas to keep the party going:

  • Scavenger hunt
  • Mini-golf
  • Lawn twister
  • Lawn scrabble
  • Bean bag toss
  • Balloon dart board
  • Pool prize search
  • Ring toss
  • Bottle ring toss
  • Hula hoop competition
  • Watermelon carving contest
  • Potato sack race
  • Water balloon dodgeball
  • Obstacle course

Resources Related to Summer Party Ideas

When you’re looking at themes, it’s also important to choose summer party invitations that match your party idea. Your summer party invite sets the tone for guests and gives them an idea of what to expect. You can use your color palette or take elements from a specific theme to choose your invitation design. And if you’d like additional inspiration, make sure to check out our related content in our party ideas content hub.