Is it just us, or have pool parties become highly competitive in recent years? It used to be that the pool itself was enough of an event, requiring very little in the way of accessorizing in order to be a hit. But now it seems the pool is just a blank canvas for decking out your space in cheeky pool floats, aquatic snack delivery systems, and of course, LED lights. (We're not complaining.)
If you're gearing up to host a poolside bash, you're in luck. We've rounded up some of our favorite sources for all the most sought-after pool accessories and gadgets, so you can guarantee your guests will be impressed with a cavalry of inflatable floats and fun diversions. The best part? Whether you're hosting a fun summer hang for the kids or a boozy adults-only fête, the key ingredients are more or less the same. (Ride-on llama pool floats are for all ages, as far as we're concerned.)
If you're only perusing Shopbop when you need a new outfit for an event, you're seriously missing out. The fashion retailer has been steadily expanding its non-wearable offerings, and that means playful pool floats, drink holders, and posh pool towels galore for the fashion-friendly set.
It stands to reason that the outdoors experts at REI would know a thing or two about accessories that stand up to the elements. Check out REI's electronics category for pool-friendly gadgets like Speaqua's The Barnacle speaker, which includes Bluetooth and song-storage modes, is waterproof, and — as its name suggests — sticks wherever you put it, thanks to a suction-cup base.
Leave it to Urban Outfitters to deliver some of the most lust-worthy pool accessories we've seen this year. From out-of-the-box inflatables like this adorable tiger, to light-up lotus flowers that add a little garden party sophistication to your pool, to special-edition artist collabs featuring evil eye floaties, pretty much everything is add-to-cart worthy.
4. Grandin Road
Tired of the same old sticky PVC pool floats? Grandin Road has changed the game with its soft, fabric-covered floats that deliver all the novelty goodness without compromising comfort. This orange wedge option, for instance, is filled with buoyant pellets that make floating around the pool feel like plopping down on your favorite beanbag chair.
Neiman Marcus brings a decidedly upscale approach to its pool accessories, with luxe options like this "yacht" pool float that puts yesteryear's iconic pink flamingo to shame. If you're planning to party Beverly Hills-style, look no further.
No pool party is complete without refreshments — and when you're lounging on your favorite float, it seems downright arcane to get out of the pool for a drink refresh. That's where Amazon's clever options come in — it has every variety of floating party barge you could ever hope for, as well as add-ons that attach to the side of your hot tub (if that's your thing).
Frontgate's "Pool & Beach" category is certainly not short on color — from rafts to pool noodles, there are a lot of summery brights to be seen. But we have to admit, we have a soft spot for this multipack of colorful LED floating orbs. Whether you're spending time in the pool at night (we get it; there's nothing better than a night swim in the summer) or even hosting an event on dry land around your pool area, these intriguing orbs dial up the ambiance in a big way.
The teens are alright. PBteen checks every box with its poolside accessories, including hard-to-find animal floaties like this adorable llama (a major trend motif in the past few years) and floating Bluetooth speakers that change colors with the beat. After all, who knows more about pool parties than teens?
If you run with the art school crowd, you may need to up your pool accessory game. Artware's pool accessories are limited, but they certainly pack a punch — like this oddball lampooning of the classic swan float by David Shrigley, or (for true galleristas) this cell phone-inspired Cindy Sherman pool raft.
Emily Bihl is a freelance writer and sometimes-songwriter who can invariably be found rearranging furniture in a domicile somewhere along the Mississippi River. She lives with her black labrador Selkie and a small army of homemade ceramics, and has not willingly closed a browser tab since 2011.