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15 Summer Birthday Party Ideas for the Best Celebration Ever

summer birthday party ideas

Photo by Fezbot2000 on Unsplash

Summer always feels like a party—with Fourth of July and Labor Day celebrations galore. So if you’re a Gemini, Cancer, Leo, or Virgo, you need to get creative with your summer birthday party ideas so they stand out from the rest of the get-togethers. (We know your friends will come anyway, but it never hurts to mix things up now, does it?)

The thing about a birthday shindig is that it should reflect your personality in some way, shape, or form—after all, it’s the one day of the year that’s 100% about you. When it comes down to it, who you’re with is way more important than what you’re doing… but if you can do something awesome together, it’s a win-win.

We swear these 15 summer birthday party ideas are just that—and more. See some of our favorite out-of-the-box options, and then grab your best friend for a little planning.

01 of 15

Host an Iced Tea Party

sweet tea

Getty Images/Ray Kachatorian

There’s nothing chicer—or more fun—than a quirky Mad Hatter–themed tea party. The thing is, no one wants to be sipping on hot beverages in 80-degree heat, so this is where the twist comes in. To go along with the season, serve several varieties of iced tea instead of hot, all pre-brewed in labeled Mason jar dispensers. (P.S.: Don’t forget a boozy option or two.) Set up a spread of all your favorite tea party treats, including scones and clotted cream, mini cucumber sandwiches, and tiny jam tarts to keep guests full before you blow out the candles.

02 of 15

Go for a Boat Cruise

woman on boat

Getty Images/Kamon Supasawat 

Deck yourself out in your finest summer attire and have a champagne toast with all your favorite people on deck. If your friends seem up to it, you can do a full dinner cruise, but we think cocktails are a bit more low-key, and it ensures that there’s room for plus-ones. Word to the wise: If you wear a dress, make sure it’s long so you’re not tugging it down all night in the wind.

03 of 15

Plan a Weeknight Dinner Party

dinner party

 Getty Images/SolStock

You learn early on when you celebrate your birthday in the summer that friends tend to escape to the beach on weekends (they often set out as early as Thursday night). Make sure you can get everyone together by having a relaxing dinner on the Tuesday or Wednesday of your birthday week. You may have to plan it a bit later on in the night—remember, most people will have work—but it will still be a special time to reminisce about the past year and think about the one to come.

04 of 15

Go Vineyard Hopping

friends at vineyard

 Getty Images/DisobeyArt

It’s time to get your wine tasting on with your besties, and one vineyard just won’t do. Plan a tour de vin complete with several stops and lunch at one (some wineries even offer brick oven pizza… yum). To make sure everyone can have fun, hire a driver or charter a bus. Now go have your grape escape.

05 of 15

Organize a Sangria Social

white sangria

 Getty Images/Debby Lewis-Harrison

Summer means sangria, since all the best fruit is in season. Have friends over on the patio, rooftop, or even by the pool to sip the chilled beverages (it just needs to be alfresco). Since you’re the birthday girl, pick your favorite fruit-and-wine fusions, whip up a few pitchers, and designate a friend to play bartender if you need refills later in the night.

If there’s time, you can also make a cheese board, but let’s be honest, the custom sangria combos are going to more than impress.

06 of 15

Have a Bonfire Bash


Getty Images/Zafer Çimen/EyeEm 

Light a bonfire on the beach or in your backyard and have your friends gather around. You can provide the drinks and s'mores, and if you have a musically inclined friend, maybe they can strum a few chords. This chill, low-pressure summer party idea allows for casual attire and minimal set-up.

07 of 15

Plan a Brunch Party


 Getty Images/Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography

Either go out to brunch or host your own in the backyard. You can play chef and cook everything yourself or get the meal catered. Just don't forget the mimosas! Make them in multiple flavors like passion fruit or blood orange.

08 of 15

Go on a Weekend Trip

palm springs

Getty Images/Kate Ballis

The weather is great, so pack up for a weekend trip with your friends. Head to the beach or wine country—wherever fun is guaranteed to be had. Your birthday is a great excuse to get everyone out of town.

09 of 15

Create a DIY Bar Crawl

friends at bar

 Getty Images/Thomas Barwick

Hit every bar downtown by coming up with your own bar crawl. No coats are necessary, so why not hop from place to place? You can also create a game for each stop, where the person with the most points at the end wins a prize.

10 of 15

Host a Margarita Party


 Getty Images/Glasshouse Images

Whip up all different flavors of margaritas for this tropical affair. We're talking strawberry, peach, mango, and more. And don't forget to make some frozen and others on the rocks. If you want to go all out, hang a piñata from a tree, too.

11 of 15

Plan a Coachella Party

desert party

Getty Images/Mint Images

Transform your home into the desert for a Coachella themed party. Have everyone dress in their best festival gear and play this year's lineup over the speakers. Keep the decor boho-chic with cactuses and dreamcatchers throughout.

12 of 15

Have a Backyard BBQ

backyard bbq

 Getty Images/Maskot

Nothing screams summer quite like a backyard barbeque. So grill up some burgers, chicken, corn, and more, and make sure there's plenty of seating in your yard for all of your guests.

13 of 15

Organize a Luau

hawaiian luau

Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash

Make like America's most festive state and throw a luau party. Get your guests leis made of real flowers and serve drinks out of pineapples. The more greenery and tropical fruits, the better.

14 of 15

Plan a Picnic


Getty Images/jacoblund

Set out lots of blankets in your yard or at a local park for a picnic party. Don't forget a picnic basket filled with all the goods, so you can lounge around all day with your friends.

15 of 15

Go for a Winter Theme

winter party

Getty Images/Thomas Barwick

If the sweltering sun has you feeling some type of way, rebel with an indoor winter-themed party. Crank up the AC and serve spiked hot cocoa along with all of your favorite comfort foods. Plus, you'll majorly save on decor—just bring out all of your Christmas decorations for the day.