Beach Horseshoes on your Summer Vacation

By John Focht

Horseshoes may have been invented by the ancient Greeks, but it was made to be played at the Shore between Dads, Moms, Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents, and kids.

Horseshoes is an outdoor game played between two people, or two teams of two people, using four horseshoes and two sets of stakes set into the ground – or in this case into the beach.



Horseshoes is actually a very competitive game with official rules and scoring, but at the beach the rules of can be tweaked a bit to make the game a more enjoyable beach time activity.

When horseshoes is played between two people, the players stand on the same side and individually toss their horseshoe at the opposite stake which has been staked into the beach surface.  Who throws first can be determined by each player throwing an initial toss of horseshoes to see who gets closer to the stake, or it can simply be decided by a game of rocks-paper-scissors – this is your choice.

If you are playing teams, a player from each team should be opposite each other, for example, one side contains a player from Team A and Team B, and the other side also contains a player from Team A and Team B.

Official rules of horseshoes state a horseshoe must lie within 6 feet of the stake.  If each team throws a toss and the horseshoes land exactly the same distance within the 6 feet, the throws cancel each other out and no one gets the point.  Whoever gets closer to the stake, and is within the 6 feet, they get the point.  A ringer is worth three points. Play to 21.

Sometimes playing with the kids though, it’s tough to get the ‘shoe within 6 feet of the stake.  To avoid a three-hour game of horseshoes, make it closest to the stake, even if the closest horseshoe lands a few 10-15 from the stake. Play the game to twenty-one and pitch away the afternoon.

Beach Games at the Shore is available on Amazon.