Soak up the excitement of these competitive Sea Island offerings as a family.
By Ashley Ryan
During childhood, few things are more exciting than playing games. And traveling as a family means that adults can join in on the fun as well. Sea Island has plenty of activities to keep members and guests entertained and engaged during short and long visits.
Healthy competition has many advantages for children, according to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. It can help them learn to set goals, discuss their limitations, enhance problem-solving skills, work as a team, follow rules and more, in addition to the coordination and cognitive abilities associated with certain activities.
On top of the developmental benefits, playing games as a group can be a great way to bring relatives closer together. “What we’ve seen it do is just get people together to have conversations they wouldn’t typically have,” says Daniel Whitford, Sea Island’s activities and programming manager. “If you’re playing a game with your mom or dad or uncle—whoever it is—you’re bound to have more genuine conversation than, say, at dinner. It can bring out a competitive nature and it can also just help guests unwind.”
Creating these positive memories reinforces the familial bond while also giving children the chance to develop their character and confidence in a safe space. Whether it’s tossing a bowling ball down a wood-paneled alley, beating the high score on Ms. Pac-Man or shouting out “bingo,” cross each and every one of these fun games off of your Sea Island bucket list this year—and do so as a family.
One of the games that is quick to bring families together is bingo, a Sea Island tradition that brings joy to everyone from ages 2 to 100. The versatile experience is hosted by emcee Ringo Bingo at The Cloister, in both the Mizner and The Cloister Ballrooms. As soon as the lights dim and the spotlight appears, the game’s host is firing off jokes that are sure to entertain those young and old. Cards—which are reusable—are purchased at check-in and the winners of each game receive a cash prize. Offered during the spring and summer months, as well during various holidays throughout the year, repeat visitors are often in attendance. “We have guests that join us who have been coming to bingo for over 40 years and are bringing their children back to play,” explains Kaylee Crane, the director of Sea Island events. After about six rounds, everyone enjoys line dancing followed by a snack of milk and cookies to close out the experience.
While Sea Island is filled with areas for socializing and dining, there are also plenty of settings that inspire play. The Game Room, for example, is the perfect place for families to relax and let loose. “They come to the Beach Club and it’s a completely different atmosphere than the rest of the resort,” Whitford explains. Open every day of the year, the Game Room is designed for fun, offering everything from classic arcade games like Galaga and Ms. Pac-Man to more modern adventures like the Hyperdrive racing game. On top of that, games are switched out for a rotating selection that ensures more variety—and the number of games increases in the summer months. Aside from these favorites, families can enjoy air hockey, foosball and table tennis.
Sea Strike & Pub
With six bowling lanes available to guests and members, the resort’s new Sea Strike & Pub at the Beach Club is the ideal gathering place for families looking to blow off steam with some healthy competition. Having just opened in fall 2019, this combination bowling alley-restaurant offers pay-by-the-hour bowling, food service ranging from shareable snacks to flatbread pizzas and burgers, plush seating and more. “We have so many incredible outdoor activities, but this is a good year-round indoor option,” says Anne Harvey, seasonal services manager. In addition to the bowling experiences, visitors can take advantage of a number of other games, including shuffleboard, darts and oversized Scrabble, which is played on a nearby wall. There are also nine big-screen televisions and two projector screens that can be used to air sports games and other broadcasted events.
For a little bit of fitness mixed with fun, head to the oceanfront Sports Court, a favorite amongst older kids, according to Whitford. “We have so many activities to do, but [the Sports Court] … is something that teenagers are a bit more drawn to.” Also located at the Beach Club, this half basketball court is accompanied by a four square grid, giving active families options on which game to play. A stash of basketballs is always kept at the court. On occasion, Sea Island hosts seasonal tournaments, pitting three against three, but it’s also a great spot for families to play a game of pickup basketball, shoot hoops or play horse.
Topgolf Swing Suite
Last summer, The Inn at Sea Island became the first place in the region to offer the innovative Topgolf Swing Suite, two simulator bays featuring interactive digital gaming experiences. “The Swing Suite is a great opportunity for the whole family to get together, from toddlers to grandparents,” says D.J. Tate, rooms manager at The Inn. Play signature Topgolf games, like TopContender and TopPressure, the latter of which is a version of darts for golf. Or opt for sports simulators, including Hockey Shots, Soccer, Quarterback Challenge, Baseball Pitching and Zombie Dodgeball, or carnival games such as breaking plates, popping balloons and knocking down bottles. Tailor the experience to the age groups and skill levels of your crew. Each of the two bays can fit up to eight people, and the adjacent bar offers beer and specialty cocktails in addition to bites like a giant soft pretzel or grilled chicken nachos. On top of the already monumental appeal, the Topgolf Swing Suite is a great place for hosting birthday parties or other group events, giving guests a way to ensure games at Sea Island are the highlight of any trip.