Ways to Turn Your Dock into an Entertainment Space

Turn Your Dock into an Entertainment Space

Spending a day on the dock is one of the best ways to enjoy your time with friends and family. Docks provide easy water access and can accommodate lots of people hanging out, snacking and having fun. If you want to transform yours into the ultimate entertainment space, you must invest in quality accessories, furniture and activities. 

Figuring out how to turn your dock into an entertaining space can initially seem overwhelming, especially with many available options and features. If you want to create a lasting entertainment space for friends and family, check out our guide below. We’ll break down all the features, furniture and fun you need to provide guests with an unmatched experience. 

Top Tips for Entertaining on Docks

Waterfront views, water-based activities and roomy gathering space make docks ideal for all your get-togethers. Anyone looking to host socialization events should consider using their dock for a unique venue. Use these tips to make the most of your space:

Consider Accessibility

You’ll need to consider accessibility when setting up your entertainment space. Docks sit on the water — they’re often wet and might be challenging to use for many individuals. Ensuring your dock accommodates everyone helps your guests have the most fun and maximizes dock safety and convenience. Consider these adequate accessibility measures to ensure everyone coming to your party can use the dock safely:

  • Dock features: Security curbing and swim ladders help improve dock accessibility for everyone. Invest in quality accessibility measures so all your guests have stable, easy access to the dock. Durable dock features can greatly improve accessibility and safety for everyone. Look for durable accessibility-enhancing features to ensure they withstand the elements and hold up to regular use. 
  • Launches: Consider investing in accessible launches for kayaks and canoes. Our unique transfer bench accommodates different wheelchair sizes, while the transfer slide boards work with varying sizes of watercraft. Guests with mobility needs can use your launches without issues — you’ll make your dock a more fun and accessible place for all your guests. 
  • Ramps: Ramps make accessing the dock easier for those with limited mobility. Choose easy-to-grip railings made from weather-safe materials designed for dock use.

Accessibility on Docks

Prioritize Space

Having a large enough dock for entertaining and water fun is essential. Make sure your dock can hold all the people and activities you need while leaving room to dock boats and personal watercrafts (PWCs). Use optimal layouts, flexible seating and designated activity areas to make your dock work well for entertaining:

  • Layout and flow: Optimize dock layout and flow to promote comfort and functionality. Choose a dock arrangement with all the sections you need — F-shaped docks provide the perfect separation of docking and walking, while large dock sections give you ample space for relaxation and games. Arrange your dock and furniture in a way that allows for easy movement and conversation. With furniture, tables and activities, you can create natural sections that provide entertainment without cluttering the space. 
  • Flexible seating: Maximize your use of dock space by incorporating versatile setting options. Place sturdy dock benches for permanent seating areas. Opt for stackable or folding chairs you can easily store for other seating. Floor cushions also help create quick, comfortable seats as needed. Set seating up with some shades and a table to designate sitting areas that you can expand if necessary. 
  • Designated activity areas: Consider making specific activities for areas like games, water fun and eating. Use your activities to section off each area — cornhole boards and waterslides are large enough to show that area’s purpose. A table and sectionals show guests where the relaxing hangout spot is. Reclining chairs and a dock hammock create specific sunbathing areas. 

Dock Furniture Tips

Modular floating docks let you configure your dock space to fit your entertainment needs, including rearranging sections to make smaller or larger areas as needed.

Choose the Right Furniture

Furniture gives guests somewhere to relax and chat. Make your dock more accessible and comfortable with furniture to provide guests with somewhere to congregate. Keep these tips in mind as you furnish your dock:

  • Choose comfortable seating: Look for comfortable, weather-resistant materials for your dock furniture. Polyethylene dock benches are highly durable, ensuring you always have dock seating. Combine them with weather-resistant cushions to keep them comfortable. Aluminum and resin wicker are two more strong materials that hold up well to the pressures of the outdoors. Ensure your furniture is comfortable with cushions and pillows. Choose appropriately-sized furniture to accommodate all your guests. 
  • Select multi-functional furniture: Multi-functional furniture is the best way to optimize your dock usage. Tables and chairs with built-in storage compartments and benches that double as storage units are beneficial. Furniture that turns into chairs, benches and tables lets you adjust seating and storage to changing guest needs. Multi-functional furniture maximizes storage capacity and guest comfort while keeping your dock organized. 
  • Consider outdoor dining: If you plan on hosting for extended periods, you’ll want to provide an outdoor dining set. Explore outdoor dining sets with durable, water-resistant tables and chairs. Look for solid materials like teak or aluminum — they resist UV and water damage. Add shades and cushions to make the space more comfortable and protect guests from the sun. 

As you’re choosing your furniture, don’t forget about cleanup! A dock trashcan is a great way to keep things tidy without worrying about water damage.

Keep the Dock Well-Lit

Dock Lighting Options

Proper lighting is essential for both safety and ambiance when entertaining on docks. Use light to create a welcoming atmosphere, allowing everyone to hang out on the dock after sundown. Consider these lighting suggestions when looking to illuminate your dock:

  • String lights: String lights provide soft lighting along dock rails and structures. LED string lights are popular dock lighting options for their energy efficiency and durability. Once attached, they hold up well against weathering. They’re easy to attach and come in many colors, so you can customize them to fit your dock theme. String them up all over your dock for attractive, soft lighting. 
  • Solar-powered lights: Installing solar-panel lights along your dock edges and on posts to provide eco-friendly lighting. Solar-powered lights are highly energy-efficient, charging up via sunlight during the day and using that power to generate light at night. You can install them without having to worry about powering them yourself — the sun will take care of everything. 
  • Dock spotlights: Strategically place dock spotlights to illuminate important areas. Seating spaces, pathways and water-access points need better lighting to protect anyone using these areas at night. A well-placed spotlight can help prevent accidents and falls, ensuring you and your guests are safe at all hours. Use them to provide focused, brighter visibility in key areas. 

You can also use a combination of lighting to create a perfectly balanced entertainment area that pairs safety with your party style.

Create Shade

Shading on Docks

Providing everyone with shade is essential, especially on hot summer days. The more comfortable and cool you make your dock, the longer you can hang out. Guests can relax and do activities if they have a convenient area to get out of the sun. If you’re trying to make your dock cooler, here are some shade measures you can implement:

  • Umbrellas: Install freestanding or patio umbrellas to create custom, easily-adjustable shade. You can use umbrellas attached to the center of tables for easy coverage while eating or put them up over games to protect your eyes. Umbrellas also come in many patterns and colors, so you can customize them to your dock’s look. 
  • Shade sails: Shade sails are a more involved, permanent form of shade. They’re large, sprawling covers that extend over a significant portion of your dock for excellent coverage. These fabric canopies are tensioned between posts or attached to your dock structure, giving you serious sun protection. If you want a sleek, contemporary shade option, shade sails deliver full shade for your dock. 
  • Retractable awnings: Retractable awnings are a good compromise between permanent shade sails and small umbrellas. If your dock has a roof or overhang, you can install retractable awnings for custom shade coverage. These awnings can sit as far out or in as needed, letting you customize shade coverage as needed. You get full control over the amount of shade while enjoying your waterfront view. 

If you have a floating modular dock, you might also consider positioning sections under shade trees to cool those areas of the dock naturally without much of an investment.

Use Hidden Storage Space

Utilizing hidden storage space is essential for keeping docks clean, organized and fun during entertaining. You can put away nonessentials and have space for extra supplies without leaving the dock. Keep these storage tips in mind for a more relaxing dock experience:

Dock Storage Boxes

  • Storage boxes: While storage boxes are less-subtle storage, they conceal belongings while displaying a sleek exterior. Dock storage boxes are durable, holding up to heavy weathering and staying attached to the dock. You can use them to sit on or as small tables for drinks and food. These boxes are ideal for anything you need to grab quickly — life jackets, rope, towels and watersports equipment all fit easily, so you don’t have to go far to get them. You’ll have lots of storage while maintaining your dock’s clean, uncluttered appearance. 
  • Under-deck storage: If your dock has a solid deck, use the space underneath for hidden storage. Install hatches or access panels that let you store more oversized items. Fishing gear, kayaks and paddleboards fit well in under-deck storage — they’re out of sight but not inconvenient to access. If you lack a dock deck, consider adding storage racks to your dock to hold water gear. 
  • Built-in furniture storage: Incorporate benches with built-in storage compartments along your dock perimeter. You’ll get additional seating while discreetly concealing storage space for items such as water toys, safety equipment and outdoor cushions. 

Think of Safety

Safety is critical for a successful dock event. Maintaining safety at all times helps protect you and your guests from accidents while ensuring you enjoy your time. Safety measures make your dock more accessible and inviting — invest in quality safety measures to encourage guests to stay on your dock for hours. 

Here are some safety measures you can implement for your dock:

  • Railings: Adding secure railings is an excellent way to prioritize safety. Use high-quality, durable materials like aluminum to ensure they stand strong year-round. Railings help keep dock-goers from falling into the water and allow people with mobility challenges to stable themselves on the dock. You can even hang decorations from railings to enhance your dock’s look for guests. 
  • Lighting: Lighting doesn’t just make your dock look better — it keeps visitors safe. Once you lose the sun, walking on the dock or getting off your watercraft can be dangerous. Installing sufficient lighting will illuminate your dock and keep visitors from tripping or hurting themselves in the dark. Prioritize key areas, like those near entry and exit points and anywhere with an incline or decline.
  • Clear pathways: Keep walkways and pathways mostly clear from obstructions. You’ll allow for easier movement and reduce trips and hazards. Getting the right size dock lets you create separate spaces for dock activities while maintaining a good walkway. Secure loose cords, remove clutter and mark elevation changes to ensure guests can navigate safely.
  • Storage for life vests: Having life vests and floats in storage on your dock makes them quickly accessible for guests. They can grab them quickly during emergencies or as they board watercraft. Keep several sizes to accommodate everyone and ensure they’re in a convenient spot so you don’t waste time digging them out. 

Dock Railings

Safety and instructional signage can also be helpful, especially if you’re hosting a large group. Consider placing signs with guidelines and rules for dock use and near points of safety concerns like near launches and beside steep drop-offs.

Include Activity Add-Ons

Activity add-ons provide everyone with lots of entertainment. With something for everyone, all your guests can stay engaged for hours on your dock. Keep a variety of games and water-accessible points for maximum entertainment. Here are a few activity add-ons you can keep on your dock for get-togethers:

  • Slides: Dock waterslides provide endless fun for guests, especially children. Invest in a durable polyethylene slide with polyvinyl-coated steps so everyone can have fun on the slide while staying safe. These slides withstand heavy weathering, water and UV radiation for endless fun. They feature nonslip, textured steps for a good grip, even when wet. Always go with a slide designed for dock use and ensure it’s always secured to the dock. 
  • PWC ports: If you have a PWC, consider adding PWC ports to your dock. These ports provide a convenient, safe way to dock and secure your PWCs so you and your guests get easy access and more time on the water instead of worrying about unloading, loading and securing watercraft. 
  • Boat lifts: Boat lifts make using your boat extremely simple — they do all the heavy work for you. If you want to make the most out of your boat time, lifts are a great way to maximize enjoyment. Boat lifts are convenient, and they protect boats from exposure to water and weather since they’re held out of the water while stored.
  • Floating walkways: Incorporate floating walkways to connect different sections of your dock. These walkways let guests move easily between sections and walk freely without sacrificing access to boat and water activities. You’ll get all the dock space you need, and guests can walk around for different views and activities throughout their stay. 
  • Games: Games like cornhole, horseshoes and ladder toss provide even more entertainment for everyone. Games get everyone together and encourage community — everyone has more fun when they can get involved. 
  • Water activities: There’s more than just your dock to consider. Think about all the things you can add to the water to make your dock even more entertaining. Equipment like water trampolines and diving boards encourage water play. Kids and adults can have a blast jumping off the dock or on the trampoline. Use equipment designed for the water to ensure safety and durability. 

PWC Ports for Docks

Utilize Technology

While some dock hosts like a quiet afternoon on the water, some situations call for a little extra tech. Having guests over to watch the game on the lake or getting some music can level up your dock experience. Here are some additional entertainment options you could invest in:

  • Speakers: Durable, wireless speakers let you play whatever you want while on your dock. You can get speakers designed to withstand the water and weather for instant music. Play music, podcasts and even audiobooks as you relax by the water and enjoy the company. 
  • TVs: Outdoor TVs and projectors make for outstanding game viewings or movie nights. Invite everyone to enjoy a sports event or a movie together. You can cover screens with protective covers when not in use so they stay protected from waterside damage.
  • Solar chargers: Help your guests stay connected all night long with a solar charger for cell phones and other devices. 

Invest in Flexibility

Modular Floating Dock Benefits

Dock flexibility is a core component for any ongoing dock entertainment. If you want to be able to accommodate more guests or switch up your layout for different activities, you need a floating dock. The improved adaptability lets you create the ultimate dock experience for you and your guests. Here are some areas that could benefit:

  • Layout: Changing up your dock layout lets you expand and shift everything as needed. You can add extra walkways or square footage with modular dock sections. Modular floating dock sections attach easily to other components, letting you adjust the design for all your entertainment needs. Add more ports for other watercraft or expand the dock to fit a waterslide. 
  • Custom design: With floating docks, you can customize your dock features — you can add and remove safety components, accessories and storage to accommodate your entertainment needs. Changing dock features keep things fresh and sleek for an attractive waterfront while keeping things convenient for you.
  • Portability: Floating docks aren’t permanently fixed to a single location, meaning you can take your dock sections with you if you move to a new waterfront property.

Contact EZ Dock to Create Your Dream Dock

EZ Dock floating dock systems are designed to work with your needs. Customize your dock to fit all your entertainment and recreational activities. From durable, safe dock components to helpful accessories, we offer everything you need for the ultimate dock design. Our industry-leading ports, launches and floating docks deliver the strength and weather-resistance essential for a good time on the water. Our modular floating docks are easy to switch up and retain durability and stability no matter your configuration. 

Get started with your dream dock and request a quote today! Explore our current distributors to learn more about our unmatched floating dock systems. 

Create Your Dream Dock