Summer Party Ideas and Themes for 2024

Warm weather and bright blue skies call for a fun summer party with family and friends. Whether you’re celebrating a kid’s birthday, high school graduation, Independence Day, coordinating with your neighbors on the annual block party idea, or starting a new summer tradition — planning your party begins with sending out your summer invitations, and best of all, choosing the perfect party decor to tie the atmosphere together. We’ve provided a fun and creative list of summer party ideas, themes, supplies, and custom design outdoor products designed by Independent Artists you can showcase at your next gathering or event. Continue reading below to help get your celebration started.

Discover fun summer party themes and creative ideas to liven up your summer this year. Take your outdoor bash to the next level with themed outdoor home decor perfect for picture opportunities, creating memories and brightening up your outdoor living space. Wow your friends, family, and guests with a summer party they’re sure to remember for years to come.

Friends Celebrating 4th Of July Holiday With Backyard Party

Summer Party Themes

Looking for the perfect theme party idea in a season of warm weather and longer days? We want to help. Whether you are hosting a special occasion for a close friend’s birthday or a party for the fourth of July, look at our selection of summer party themes below, or use the following ideas to inspire a unique theme that speaks to you with custom design outdoor home decor.

1. Backyard BBQ Party

Host a classic backyard BBQ party for friends and 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 using farmhouse themed designs to offer rustic comfort. 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 for all your hungry guests to come.

Outdoor table top decor for the best new trending outdoor tabletop products featured

2. Beach or Pool Party

Throw a 4th of July party at the beach or bring the beach to your backyard with a fun pool party theme everyone will love. This theme is usually characterized by sand, seashells, red, white, and blue striped décor, beach chairs, and of course, seafood. You can set up beach-inspired games for the day or host a bonfire gathering at night with custom picnic blankets to lay out on to watch a fireworks show. If you’re throwing a beach-themed party at your house, be sure to stock up on patriotic themed outdoor pillows, glassware such as outdoor pint glasses, garden flags, and pool party invitations or 4th of July invitations to match.

4th of July custom outdoor pillow featuring stars fruit popsicles and flamingos

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, dinner plates, salad plates, serving platters, and cloth napkins that compliment your color theme. For additional inspiration, visit our resources on dinner party ideas and dinner party menu ideas.

Summer party spread for backyard featuring personalized blankets and custom pillows

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, string lights, paper flowers, cactus plants, piñatas and Mexican serape table runners for your decor. Or, use our outdoor home decor products with one-of-a-kind custom designs to highlight your yard. 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 and sugary drink into a summer party theme for your 4th of July party with lemonade-inspired treats and yellow decor. Consider building a stylish lemonade stand that can double as a drink station and photo booth both you, your family, and friends can take fun pictures in. You can also incorporate pink lemonade-inspired decor and treats in your party set-up to add a pop of color.

serving platter, plates, and table runner

6. Luau

Turn your backyard into a tropical island paradise 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 party decor, you can encourage guests to dance by playing Hawaiian music. Lastly, choose luau party invitations with plenty of tropical elements like floral or oceanic designs to capture the island vibe.

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 decor, 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 fleece 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.

custom picnic blanket and pillow

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 to serve beverages in outdoor pint glasses 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 for sundaes such as sprinkles, 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.

Child holding a personalized mason jar that says "Float Your Boat"

10. Backyard Boho Celebration

Looking to throw a stylish summer celebration this 4th of July with picture perfect decorations and delicious drinks and treats? Consider putting on a backyard Boho celebration. When it comes to decor for this summer theme, think chic rugs, wicker chairs, or throw pillows and blankets to use as stylish backdrops for taking photos with family and friends. Unique pottery, custom candles, and art pieces make great accents sure to wow your guests. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your dinner party menu as well.

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. You can even design custom wine glasses for your guests and gift them personalized wine stoppers as party favors to make the event extra festive. 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. If you are hosting the picnic, be sure to provide guests with picnic blankets to lay the food on. You may also want to include sections for food restrictions or diets.

4th of July party featuring an outdoor table with a serving platter dinner plates salad plates and outdoor pint glasses

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 around holidays like the fourth of July. 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 as the ultimate beer party decoration and party favors.

outdoor custom pint glasses

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, and outdoor home decor with unique custom designs. From patriotic banners, garden flags to American BBQ classics like hot dogs and burgers served on one-of-a-kind dinner plates, salad plates, and serving platters, your Fourth of July celebration will be a party to remember with custom designs that match your personality and taste.

15. Garden Party

Host an outdoor party in your garden that impresses your guests. This dazzling party idea is perfect for tea parties or fancier soirees with your friends, family members, and loved ones. Elevate your garden space with on-theme table settings in a color palette of your choosing. Find inspiration from our Shop by Style collection to transform your space into a garden party that’s unforgettable.

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

Summer Party Decor, Supplies & Essentials

party decor like banners and table settings

The perfect summer party has outdoor decor and party supplies that match the theme. With Shutterfly, you can add the finishing touches to your bash to the next level. Use these summer party decor ideas to host your celebration in style:

  • Table Settings: We offer table runners, plates, serving platters, and glassware that comes in a vast range of styles from our Artist Designs. Whether your style is muted and boho or bright and colorful — we have table setting designs for every unique theme.
  • Signs & Banners: Custom yard signs and banners are a great way to capture the attention of your guests. Perfect for celebrating graduations and baby showers, yard signs, bunting banners, and vinyl banners will turn your decor up a notch.
  • Cozy Accessories: Keep the setting intimate with cozy items like fleece blankets, throw pillows, and picnic blankets your guests can lounge on.
  • Party Invitations: You can’t throw a party without the invites! Design custom party invitations that suit the theme of your summer bash to get your guests excited about the event.

Resources Related to Summer Party Ideas

When you’re looking at summer party themes, be it for someone’s birthday or for the fourth of July, 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.