Party Ideas

15 Awesome Pool Party Ideas for Your Summer Celebration

By Sonia Guzman

Schools are out and temperatures are rising, which means it’s finally time to celebrate summer. It’s hard to think of a better way to celebrate the fun and freedom that summer brings than a good old-fashioned pool party! Don’t have a pool? That’s okay! We have all the tips and tricks to turn any summer shindig into a splash-filled good time. Let’s dive in!

Plan your pool party location

The first step to hosting a pool party is finding the perfect location! And hey, a pool isn’t even required. You can turn any outdoor venue into a pool-esque oasis with some creative planning. Try reserving a community, neighborhood, or rooftop pool for a few hours. Not an option? Use water guns, sprinklers, and maybe even a kiddie pool or two to turn your backyard into a splash zone.  

🌊 Get creative: Store-bought slip n’ slides are cool, but you can build a massive slide for under $50 instead!

Fun pool party idea: DIY slip and slide!
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Pool party decor ideas

Hosting a themed pool party makes it easy to plan your party decor. You can’t go wrong with flamingos, mermaids, luau, or the ocean! You can even get playful with an ice cream theme or sophisticated with a Las Vegas pool party theme. The list could go on but no matter what theme you choose, we have a few ideas to get you started on your themed party! 

Get in touch with your tropical side

Feeling tropical? Palm trees, pineapples, and pink flamingos create the perfect aesthetic for a sunny summer soiree. Use plastic palm leaves, tropical paper dinnerware, pineapple cups, and mini flamingo floaties to create the cute tropical vibes your summer has been missing! Most if not all of these items can be purchased at your local dollar store, helping you achieve your peak pool party goals on a reasonable budget.

Flamingo and pineapple pool party table decor
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Include some cute balloon decor

Incorporating balloons can be another adorable addition to your festivities. Whether you’re a DIYer or would rather hire a balloon decor artist, including balloons in your party decorations will add that extra flair that makes your party stand out. Create a balloon archway, palm trees, or ocean waves to add a unique touch to your summer pool party!

Palm tree with monkeys balloon decor for a pool party
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Create a pool party photo backdrop

Everyone loves a good photo opportunity! Give the people what they want and include a photo-worthy backdrop at your summer party. Put together an easy backdrop with parchment paper, plastic tablecloths, or tassels. Then add a few props like pool noodles, floaties, or beach balls, and voila! An Insta-ready photo backdrop for your pool party.

Photo booth backdrop with pool innertubes and flower decorations
Photo Credit: Alex Clark Photo

Share some sweet pool party favors

It’s always fun to provide your guests with a little swag, especially if you’re planning a birthday party. But instead of knick-knacks that will end up as clutter, why not provide some functional party favors? Sunglasses, water guns, flip flops, or even sunscreen make great grabbable and useful goodies.

Pool party favors like sunscreen, sunglasses, and water pumps.
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🦩 Read this: 7 Ideas for a Spectacular Summer Party

Pool party food and drink ideas

A proper pool party wouldn’t be complete without juicy fruit snacks, easy finger foods, and refreshing beverages. We have a ton of ideas to get you started!

Plate up some pineapple

Pineapples are the perfect summer fruit and are so versatile! You can create all sorts of fun treats for your party guests. Core the pineapple and serve the fruit solo, or add some mint for a crisp refreshing treat. You can even dip the pineapple in chocolate and freeze it for a sweet summer snack. Once you’ve cored the pineapple, don’t toss it in the trash! You can use the shell as cups for your cocktails or add some flowers for a perfect summer centerpiece. 

Pineapple snacks for your summer pool party
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Make the most of your melons

Watermelon is another quintessential summertime snack! Serve it alone or get creative and use the shell to create a shark-shaped bowl for the fruit. Don’t forget the gummy fish for a little extra detail to complete the shark attack!

Fashion a fancy fruit salad

Consider using the fruit for a yummy watermelon salad with some cilantro and lime as a compliment to your poolside cocktails. You can also freeze it for some juicy popsicles for when it’s time to cool down!

Pool party food idea: Watermelon salad
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Shape up a few tasty sandwiches

For a heartier snack that stays on theme, try some “starfish” sandwiches! Easy to grab and munch down in between cannonballs, this treat is sure to please even the pickiest eaters on your guest list (while keeping it simple for the host). Use a cookie cutter, or if you’re feeling brave, freehand and use a knife to cut peanut butter and jelly (or any kind of sandwich) into a star shape. You can’t go wrong with this cute, simple summertime delicacy.

Create a crisp cocktail

An ice-cold cocktail is an excellent way for your adult guests to cool down in the summer heat – and another good way to incorporate some yummy summertime fruit! Grab an extra watermelon from the store and use the leftover mint from your pineapple dish, add a splash of rum, and mix up a refreshing watermelon mojito. Not much of a mixologist? Hire a bartender on GigSalad to make sure drinks stay full and check one more thing off your to-do list.  

Watermelon mojitos are a refreshing pool party beverage
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Blend a beautiful blue beverage

Looking for a cute way to keep the kiddos hydrated? Use blue Gatorade or create your own concoction with some blue punch combined with fruit juice. Pour the mix into a drink dispenser labeled “Pool Water” for an amusing addition to your food and drink spread.

Pool party idea: blue punch in a drink dispenser labeled as "pool water"
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Pool party ideas for entertainment

No matter what your pool party’s theme is, providing quality entertainment will take the celebration up a notch. You can keep it simple with some sizzling summer tunes, or up the ante with some live performances!

Don’t stop the music

Music is essential at almost every social gathering. Whether that means hiring a DJ or putting together the perfect pool party playlist, make sure you include some of summer’s greatest hits! Mixing throwback tunes with some new hits will bring nostalgia and encourage your guests to create some new favorite memories.

Try these songs to get the party started:

  • “Chattahoochee” by Allan Jackson
  • “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes
  • “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and The Waves
  • “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams
  • “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince
  • “Vacation” by The Go-Gos
  • “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys
  • “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama
  • “California Girls” by Katy Perry
  • “Sunshine” by Matt Costa
GigSalad event dj DJ Mel performing poolside
Book DJ Mel on GigSalad!

Live music can add even more ambiance to the pool party atmosphere! Try booking local musicians with a tropical vibe who play beach music. For smaller budgets, a singing guitarist is a great option to cover all your laidback favorites.

GigSalad steel drum player Domo, Jack of All Trades performing at an outdoor party
Book steel drum player, Domo, Jack of All Trades on GigSalad!

Dance the day (and night) away

Booking a dancer is the perfect entertainment choice for pool parties. Most performers can tailor a show based on your budget and a dance performance can provide an unexpected surprise for your guests. For Hawaiian luaus or other tropical-themed parties, hire hula dancers to provide an interactive performance that both kids and adults will enjoy.

GigSalad hula dancer The Heart of the Islands performing at a pool party
Book The Heart of The Islands on GigSalad.

When you know the party will keep going after dark, book a fire performer for an exciting addition to the late-night festivities! If fire isn’t allowed at your venue, ask your dancer for an LED performance instead. Their props and routine are just as mesmerizing without the risk.

GigSalad fire performer Mystica Fiora Fire Dance performing at an outdoor party
Book Mystica Fiora Fire Dance on GigSalad.

Keep it kid-friendly

For pool parties with lots of little ones, it’s not a bad idea to keep them entertained! Hiring a live mermaid for your pool party will mesmerize all of your party guests young (and old). Whether she’s splashing around in the pool or telling the kiddos about her underwater adventures, her appearance is sure to be a hit. Other kid-friendly vendors like face painters or bubble entertainment will add a little something special for the smaller guests. The adults may get in on the fun, too!

🐚 Read this: 15 Ideas for a Magical Under the Sea Party

GigSalad live performer Mermaid Sabrina lounging at a pool party
Hire Mermaid Sabrina on GigSalad!

Pool parties are the perfect opportunity to celebrate summer events, from a fun Memorial Day activity for kids to a laidback Labor Day party to close out the season. So grab those pool floats, throw on some sunblock, slip on your shades, and have a blast creating great memories with your friends and family. 🏊

Pool party ideas

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