How to Throw a Tropical Pool Birthday Party

Make a splash with your next birthday by throwing a tropical-themed pool party! We’ll help you get started with pool party ideas for decorations, food and beverages, activities and much more.

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Getting Started

Kick things off by sending friends and family a themed invitation. This flamingo invitation from TweetPartyPrintables is a downloadable template that allows you to customize with your party information and then print and mail to attendees. If you’re looking for a paper-free option, Evite has a plethora of free email invitations, including this pineapple pool party invite. While planning your party, keep in mind these smart ideas for a backyard party.

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Figure Our Your Food

Once your guests have been invited, it’s time to think about your menu. Since most of your party goers will be in and out of the pool (these picks for Amazon inflatable pools might come in handy), you can keep the snacks light and easy to grab. Some of our favorite recipes to enjoy poolside include fresh salads, grilled kabobs and veg-heavy sides. Need some more inspo? Take a look at these pool party recipes that make a splash.

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Choose the Perfect Birthday Cake

It wouldn’t be a birthday party without a cake, and this pink pineapple cake from Ashley Byma of Best Friends for Frosting is just the ticket for a tropical celebration. Melissa makes it by layering pineapple-flavored white cake and pineapple curd, coating the layers in Swiss meringue buttercream and sprinkles and topping the cake with some adorable edible pineapple leaves. By the way, here’s how to cut a (real) pineapple the right way.

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Add Something Sweet

Who says sweets have to stop at cake? Satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth with a full-fledged dessert bar. You can fill it with these summertime fun cookies, beach ball-decorated cake pops, a citrusy key lime pie and more tropical desserts. Or, set up an ice cream bar with lots of homemade ice cream flavors and toppings.

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Let the Beverages Flow

Keep your guests cool in the summer heat with a few beverage options. In addition to plenty of bottled or tap water, offer up a few bottled sports drinks or fruit juices. You can also give your guests the chance to imbibe with a cocktail or mocktail to sip by the pool.

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Protect Against the Sun

In addition to cooling drinks, protect party goers from the summer sun by setting up a sunscreen station. Grab a few levels of sunscreen (we suggest levels 15, 30 and 50) that are water/sweat-proof and place them on a small table near the pool with a sign. That way, kids and adults will have easy access to sunscreen and reapplication can stay top of mind. Keep yourself safe all summer long with these helpful health tips.

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Take ‘Em to the Tropics

Turn your backyard into a tropical oasis with some fun and floral decorations. Brighten up your food and beverages tables by mixing a few bouquets of fresh flowers with faux palm leaves and string a greenery banner or pineapple-shaped fairy lights to dress up walls and entryways. Add a few mix-and-matched balloons and inflatable palm trees around the yard to complete the transformation.

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DIY Pool Party Decorations

Don’t feel like you have to go all out with your decorations. If you’re looking for decorations that are more a tropical breeze than a tropical storm, keep things simple with a few small touches. Our Taste of Home set stylists put together these drink umbrellas by layering folded craft paper and gluing them to toothpicks. You can customize these mini parasols to your party’s color palette or theme. Pair them with a few balloons and streamers for a streamlined look. DIYers will love these crafty ideas for centerpieces, too.

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Set the Table

For parties that are planning on serving heartier foods or a full-fledged meal, keep your theme going for your place settings. Best Friends for Frosting’s founder, Melissa Johnson, put together this cheery tablescape that’s perfect for a tropical birthday party. Melissa picked up most of her table items from Etsy.

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Fill the Pool With Fun

Stuff the pool with hibiscus, pineapple or giant flamingo pool floats and plenty of noodles for floaties. For those who prefer to play, set up a game of pool volleyball, or Marco Polo. This box set of pool toys is a great bulk option that’ll keep little fishes swimming all day long.

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And the Lawn, Too

Keep the fun going outside the pool with a water balloon fight! A rapid-fill water balloon kit allows you to fill about 35 water balloons at once, without having to tie any. How easy is that? Toss in a few water soakers, squirt guns and lay out a slip and slide for a truly water-filled celebration. Take a look at these fun ideas for a superhero birthday party.

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Don’t Forget a Favor

When your birthday party starts to wind down, send your guests home with a tropical treat! These festive hair ties or kids’ sunglasses make wonderful party favors or you could go homemade with a baggie of tropical biscotti or coconut macaroons.

Caroline Stanko
Caroline has been with Taste of Home for the past seven years, working in both print and digital. After starting as an intern for the magazine and special interest publication teams, Caroline was hired as the third-ever digital editor for Taste of Home. Since then, she has researched, written and edited content on just about every topic the site covers, including cooking techniques, buzzy food news, gift guides and many, many recipe collections. Caroline also acts as the editorial lead for video, working with the Test Kitchen, videographers and social media team to produce videos from start to finish. When she’s not tip-tapping on a keyboard, Caroline is probably mixing up a killer cocktail, reading a dog-eared library book or cooking up a multi-course feast (sometimes all at once). Though she technically lives in Milwaukee, there is a 50/50 chance Caroline is in Chicago or southwest Michigan visiting her close-knit family.