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Beach trips can be a lot of fun. My family loves them. But, spending the day at the beach can be challenging when you have kids in tow, especially if your kids are toddlers or babies. So, to help make your family’s days of sun and sand easier, I’ve rounded up 15 of the best tips for a successful beach trip with kids. Let’s get started!
1. Get there early.
Let’s face it: everyone loves going to the beach when it’s warm out. And therefore, the beach can get crowded. You don’t want to be in a position where you are dragging your kids and stuff all over the beach looking for a spot to set up camp. You also don’t want to be stuck sitting uncomfortably close to another family. As What Moms Love points out, getting there early will allow you to lay claim to a prime spot of sand. It will also help you to get a closer parking spot.
2. Spread your stuff out.
If you get there early, you will have lots of space to play with for a while. Ensure your family’s comfort throughout the day by spreading out. Put your beach toys out in front of your blanket. Put your cooler and/or wagon behind your chairs. Both Army Wife to Suburban Life and What Moms Love recommend this strategy to prevent others from sitting right on top of you and to give your kids some room to play as the day goes on and the beach fills up.
3. Bring water shoes for your little ones.
Jessica at Suitcases and Sippy Cups suggests packing water shoes for your little munchkins to wear. The shoes will protect their feet from hot sand, rocks, and any critters they might step on while in the water. The only thing worse than a crying child at the beach is a crying child with an injured foot!
4. Use a sponge lei to cool off.
Donella at One Crazy House has one of the most creative ideas for keeping cool that I’ve ever seen! She uses a sponge lei to help beat the heat! Cut a kitchen sponge into shapes, and then thread them onto a string. After soaking the sponge pieces, give the lei to your child to wear. It will serve as a cooling device while being a fun necklace to wear too! I love this idea!
5. Bring a baby pool.
If you are taking babies or toddlers to the beach, think about taking an inflatable baby pool with you. Devon over at Mama Cheaps declares it to be the best tool ever for keeping young children entertained at the beach! You can either fill it with water for a baby-friendly swimming experience, or you can add some sand and sand toys for them to enjoy while having a buffer between them and other people.
6. Use bath toys instead of beach toys.
No one wants to spend a fortune for a day at the beach. One way to save money from Passion for Savings is to bring bath toys, cups, and bowls to play with in the sand instead of buying beach toys. Not only will you save money with this idea, but you already know which bath toys your kids like to play with! If your kids have a play kitchen, think about taking some of the sturdier dishes from their play set! These could make great alternative sand toys. Donella at One Crazy House recommends using old measuring cups, spatulas, and even paint brushes for building sand castles!
7. Bring a fitted sheet.
One of the most creative tips for a successful beach trip with kids is to brig a fitted sheet. Now, a fitted sheet may seem like an odd item to pack for the beach, but it can be quite handy. If your baby is tempted to eat sand, or if you just want a spot for them to play away from the sand, try using a fitted sheet with heavy coolers or bags at the corners for a sand-free baby zone. Deidre at Team Johnson and her sister came up with this great idea.
8. Bring an umbrella and/or tent.
We all know that you need a way to get some shade if you are spending all day at the beach. This is especially true if you have kids with you. Devon at Mama Cheaps prefers a simple tent for her shade option. A tent also gives your kids a quiet place to get away from people, a great spot to nap in, and provides them with a fun and shady area to play. She recommends looking for one that is easy to set up! No need to make things harder on yourself! If you use an umbrella instead, be sure to keep it in place with a sand anchor, as suggested by What Moms Love.
9. Don’t forget the hats!
Speaking of shade, it’s important to keep your kids’ faces out of the sun as much as possible. The best way to do this when they are wanting to run and play? Use hats with large brims and sunglasses. What Moms Love prefers those with full UV protection.
10. Put your snacks in small containers.
While your kids may not care whether their snacks are a little sandy, you don’t want to be eating after them if they put their grubby hands in a big bag of chips! By bringing either individual size snacks or by packing your food in small containers, you can prevent your food from becoming contaminated with sand. Jessica at Suitcases and Sippy Cups packs her snacks in small disposable containers to keep food free of sand. For more ideas on best snacks and food storage at the beach, see our food tips for beach trips.
11. Bring some baby powder.
Jamielyn at iheartnaptime.net lets us in on a little secret: baby powder is great for getting wet sand off of your skin! Pack some in your beach bag to use on your kids at the end of the day before they get in the car. This will help keep the sand on the beach and out of your stuff! How awesome is that!?!?
12. Use a mesh laundry bag.
To help keep that stubborn sand out of the car, carry your sand toys in a mesh laundry bag. Amy at The Idea Room uses this and it works great for her. It allows any stray sand to fall out of the mesh bag while walking back to the car.
13. Don’t forget the ziploc bags!
Ziploc bags may be the greatest thing ever invented. They are a must-have for anyone traveling, regardless of the destination. They are also pretty great for the beach, as Devon from Mama Cheaps can testify to. As she points out, they are waterproof, so they are the perfect place to store everything from food to diapers. Plus, you can use one to store your keys, phone, and any other electronics in.
14. Bring a dry set of clothes
While this may sound obvious, you would be amazed at how many people forget this: pack a dry set of clothes to change into before heading home. A lot of times, we tend to dress our kids in swimsuits before heading to the beach. The problem with this is that at the end of the day, they are wet. And you don’t want to put them in the car in wet clothes. So, don’t forget to throw in some dry clothes to put on at the end of the day.
15. Pack an extra towel
Like ziploc bags, beach towels have a ton of uses. From drying off to providing shade to acting as a cover up, they are very versatile. But usually, we only pack one towel per person. I would suggest packing an extra towel. You never know why you will need it, but you will be glad you have it when you need it. Once we got caught in a downpour at the beach. By the time we got back to the car, everything was soaked! I was happy to have an extra towel in the car to dry things off.
So, there you go. The best tips for a successful beach trip with kids. I hope you get the chance to lay on the beach and enjoy your family in the sun, surf, and sand again soon. And when you do, these tips should help make your day a lot more pleasant. Be sure to read our tips on what to pack for the day at the beach and safety tips for beach trips to keep everyone safe. And check out our complete guide to happy travel with kids. Happy travels!