Beach parties are tons of fun, but if your live far from the water it's likely not on your list of  water centric activities. Living in a desert climate has its perks, but if you live in Phoenix, Dallas/Fort Worth or San Diego and are looking for something different, try throwing a backyard beach party. 

Make the backyard your beach
No matter how far from the coast you are, if you put on your party planner hat and get a little creative, you can have a beach party in the middle of the desert with many of the benefits of the beach itself. Decorate your pool deck with seashells and other ocean themed decorations. Better Homes and Gardens suggested conch shells in glasses of sand as decorative pieces. Dried sand dollars and star fish can make nice centerpieces for your picnic tables. Use an ocean blue table cloth to enhance the experience, and complete the look with a standing umbrella pushed into the ground.  

Keeping the kids busy
If you're really feeling like getting into the beach bum spirit and there are kids to entertain, make an open sandbox using a tarp to put the sand on. Table Spoon suggests putting the sand in a kiddie pool as well. Whatever you do, make sure to keep it contained so it doesn't damage your lawn or run off on to your neighbors property. Put a sprinkler nearby so the sand can get wet – but not too wet – making for moldable sand that the kids can build castles from. One way to keep the kids entertained is to have a sand sculpture contest. The kids can get creative and build things like mermaids, turtles or sharks out of the sand. At the end of the day, the adults can pick a winner. If you're afraid of leaving kids out, remove the competitive element and present it as fun activity. Kids being kids, they're likely going to get restless after they've completed their sand sculptures, so make sure you have water guns and water balloons on hand so the fun never stops! 

The adults can have their own sand sculpture contest as well, although in the interest of fairness the games should probably be separate. Depending on how "adult" the adults are, they may want to have  a water gun fight of their own. Horse shoes is also a great beach game, and it's easy to set up in your backyard. If those activities sound simply exhausting, there's always the option of lounging on your towel and working on that tan, of course. 

Fill up on seafood and fresh treats
Of course you have to eat, and what better way to celebrate your backyard beach party than with a spread of delicious seafood? If you feel like going the classic New England clambake route you'll need some soft shell clams, corn on the cob, chorizo, potatoes and some lobster rolls if your feeling extra fancy. If you decide that the low country boil is more your taste, you'll still need the corn and potatoes, but you'll also want to throw in some crawfish, shrimp and sausage. Crabs are always a treat if you feel like having Baltimore style cuisine. Whether they're steamed and eaten straight from the shell, or served in golden and delicious crab cakes, these tasty crustaceans will have your guests coming back for seconds. 

Keep yourself and your guests hydrated with some delicious tropical smoothies. If the food is saying east coast, the drinks can say Caribbean! Mix freshly cut pineapples in a blender with coconut juice and either plain or vanilla yogurt for a yummy poolside beach treat.