Mini Backyard Beach Vacation with DIY Pool Noodle Floating Beverage Cooler plus Beverage Barge

Have you realized this summer is almost over? I just did and was thinking it would be nice to do one more special something with my family.

I came up with a bunch of things we could do, but after looking at my budget realized a full blown vacation wasn’t feasible.
So instead of a full blown vacation I decided to use some creativity. Once I figured out how much I could spend I decided to create a mini backyard beach vacation.
For a fraction of the cost of a vacation, I turned my backyard into a mini beach destination we can enjoy for the rest of the summer.

When I was a girl growing up in Queens, New York I’d spend summer weekends with my family at a beach nearby. 
My favorite part was playing in the ocean with my brothers and cousins while the adults hung out under a shaded barbecue hut, laughing, talking and cooking. 
I’m 15 hours from the beaches of my childhood, but I still want to pass on those same mini family vacation experiences to my children. 
Instead of driving 300 miles to the beach I decided to bring the beach to our house by creating a mini backyard vacation space.

The first thing I did was set up a twelve foot by three foot pool which is the perfect size for a family of five to swim around and cool off.
To make sure we had drinks nearby I made a floating beverage cooler and individual beverage barges which I filled with COKE® minis. Let me show you how easy they were to make.

DIY Floating Beverage Cooler

To make the floating cooler I used:

  • rectangle plastic container
  • yarn
  • pool noodle
  • box cutter

1. First I cut four pieces of my pool noodle slightly shorter than the sides of my box.

2. Next, I threaded a double strand of yarn through the pool noodle holes.

3. Then I positioned on pieces of pool noodles on each side of my box and tied the two ends of my string together.

Floating Beverage Barge

To create floating beverage barge for the COKE® minis, I used:

  • hot glue gun/sticks
  • pool noodle
  • box cutter
1. I cut three pieces of the pool noodle in the following lengths (10 inches, 12 inches, and 3 inches.

2. Then I cut the 10 inch and 3 inch pieces in half lengthwise and the remaining piece in half widthwise.
3. The two pieces I cut width wise were glued together side by side with the flat side down.
4. Next, the I glued the two 6 inch pieces onto the ends of the two pieces I just glued.
5. For the last step, I positioned COKE® mini in the center of the barge and traced a circle around the bottom of the can then cut it out. 
6. Finally, I glued the 3 inch pieces to the barge to work as supports for the COKE® mini cans.

Mini Backyard Beach Vacation Set Up

To mimic a beach feel I spread some playground sand around. I used some to create a pathway to the pool and some to surround our beach towel area. 

I placed two lanterns at the bottom of the pool ladder. I used flameless candles in them so that this space would be illuminated on nights when we swim after the sun sets.

To create a comfy sitting area, I laid out a blanket, beach towels and pillows. 

We get extreme sun and heat here so this space will definitely make us feel like we’re at the beach.

To mimic the feel of palm trees, I brought houseplants with droopy leaves outside and placed them around our blanket. 

I also bought out a wicker basket to keep extra towels organized.
Pulling together this space was not hard at all. I spent an hour looking at pictures of beach picnics to get some inspiration and made a list of the elements I could realistically bring into my space to make it feel as beach like as possible. 

It took about me about three days, in between my normal responsibilities, to set up the pool and spread the sand. 

For three days of work we’ve already enjoyed a week’s worth of mini backyard beach vacations.  When I tell you that my kids are thoroughly enjoying this space, I mean it and feel like the memories were worth every penny.

They’ve been out here everyday since I put this backyard beach space together and I’m looking forward to it getting a lot of use before school starts back up. 

Ok, I’ll admit it. Im REALLY enjoying it too!

35 Comments

  1. What a fun idea!! I wish we had a pool in the backyard to do this. We have well water, so that would not work out well for us.

  2. This is so cool! Just feeling the sand under your feet and being able to dive under in the pool already give an amazing summer and holiday feeling! Could definitely do with a little vaca garden as well!

  3. I don't have enough back yard to pull something like this off but I'll make due by joining pool in summers 🙂 I might use this fun idea.

  4. This is what I was thinking of doing once we move to Florida and get our house. Definitely love this vacay style.

  5. I need to come hang out with you! This looks like a blast!

  6. This looks pretty darn relaxing! I didn't know you grew up in Queens?! I have family there and have spent quite a few summers there!

  7. The floating beverage holder is a great idea! It's very creative and so much more affordable than the expensive ones you find in the stores.

  8. That is a super fun idea. We have been thinking about getting an above ground pool, so if we do I might use this fun idea.

  9. What a fantastic idea! I love the floating cooler and the barge. And the set up is beautiful! You look super relaxed lying there by the pool so it seems like you had the perfect idea for a backyard vacation. Awesome idea!!!

  10. I'm in MA and I have no problem traveling 3+ hours to get me to a beach even for just a day trip……nothing compares

  11. I'm in MA and I have no problem traveling 3+ hours to get me to a beach even for just a day trip……nothing compares

  12. Okay can I move in??? I love this idea and do not have the space for a backyard pool

  13. What a great idea! So simple and yet practical! Your daughter is totally your mini you!

  14. What a fun memory for your family! I love the floating beverage barge, too.

  15. Oh my gosh this is so fun! You really captured the feeling of the beach and brought it home!

  16. This is so lovely. I am jealous of this little piece of heaven!

  17. Such a fun and smart way to use the noodles. I want one of those noodle chairs, have you seen them?

  18. This is brilliant! I absolutely love that you brought the beach to you versus traveling 300 miles! I am a huge beach bum and so grateful that I live close! I love the floating beverage barge idea!

    • We are close to Myrtle Beach which I love visiting, but I grew up in NYC and the beach vibe is a little different. I miss the old memories. Which beach are you close to?

  19. What a great idea!
    We don't have enough back yard to pull something like this off but I'll make due by sitting in the hot tub 🙂

  20. I cannot live away from the beach! I couldn't imagine a weekend without seeing the waves roll in, but when I lived in Athens, GA for a year, I felt that urge to make myself a beach at home too. I LOVE your setup! This is actually better than the beach because you have privacy and quick access to a clean bathroom! This is great!

    • Yes…the clean bathroom. Public beaches often have some shady bathrooms. The one at ClearWater beach in Florida is pretty clean.

  21. Sounds like a fun backyard party. I am lucky that I live right near the real beach, so we spend our entire summers there.

    • That sounds so fun. We are a 1 & 1/2 hits from a minor beach and 3 hours from Myrtle Beach. I'd love to spend a summer on the beach, but this has been a fun substitute.

  22. What a brilliant idea. I like the floating cooler barger that is genius. Great way to enjoy a vacation without the travel.

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