Tantrums, sunburns, jellyfish stings, and endless whining—that’s now how I want to do a beach trip, and I’m betting that’s not how you want yours to go either.
Our two-year-old twins have been on quite a few beach trips now, so I’m inclined to call myself a pro! Ha—I wish. I will say that over the past few summers that I’ve learned a thing or two to keep things pleasant for everyone. Tricks on keeping the day rolling along, tips on how to keep everyone safe, I’ve covered it all.
Whether you are going on a quick summer trip or planning a big family vacation to the Caribbean, my experiences can benefit you, because we have done it all! Our big family vacation to Turks & Caicos earlier this year was a true dream, though in a stunning place, we endured our share of tantrums and fits, because, hello, kids do not care the location. Ha! Our yearly summer trips to the Texas Coast with extended family pose their share of challenges as well—heighten anxiety with varying personalities and more kids all in one space (condo or house). Managing all of the feelings and anxieties of beaching with babes brings can be a challenge, but my tips help make it all as seamless as possible.
Without further ado, here are my ten tips for beaching with babes & toddlers!
Pack a Cooler | I love to plan to stay out on the beach all day. It just makes things easy so you aren’t trekking back and forth to your condo/house/room. With this, you need food and drinks. So, plop a cooler in a wagon, and fill ‘er up with bottled water and sandwich goodies for lunch and bring a bag with all of the extras (bread, chips, etc.). Don’t forget the paper plates/napkins
Shady Spot | Plan a place for shade & napping—whether you bring a small pop up tent, a wagon with a cover, or easy up canopy. A tent or canopy is not only great to escape the sun, but perfect for naps. We also love our Radio Flyer Wagon that has a covered top. Throw in some beach towels, and you’ve got the perfect toddler bed!
Beach Toys | This is a given—all the beach toys are a must! We have several fun sets from Target. Make sure to get a variety to keep their interest for an extended time. Along with buckets and shovels, we love options with small wagons and other push toys. A kite is also a really fun “toy” to bring along! The kids also seem to love to watch it fly among the sea breeze. For older kids boogie and skim boards are a huge kit as well.
Routine | To keep attitudes in check, try to stick to your regular schedule. We usually head down to the beach after breakfast and stick to our regular lunch and snack schedules. If you can get the kiddos to nap, that’s major bonus points, and you’ll be able to enjoy the beach a little longer. We head typically head in around our usual bath time and get started with dinner. By then, everyone is tuckered out, and ready for bed.
Mix Things Up | To keep interest piqued, mix up the day with sand toys, water play, sandcastle building, walks, shell hunting, etc. Just like at home, when you notice they are getting bored or cranky, divert and look to another activity.
What to Pack | Of course you’ll want to pack the basics, sunscreen and spare swim diapers, but there are a few other things you might not think about. Pinterest “says” baby powder is a must for getting sand off your legs and feet, but I must be doing that wrong. Ha! It just doesn’t seem to work for me, but maybe it will for you. My musts are Aquaphor (for rash from the sand), trash bags for the diapers, and an extra swimsuit because it is no fun trying to get a wet swimsuit on a toddler! Another fave for me is Turkish towels—they dry quickly and repel sand better than other towels. Don't forget the life jackets as well. There is some controversy around Puddle Jumpers, but since we aren't really "swimming" they work perfectly for our beach days. The babes for more secure and comfortable in the waves with it on. For smaller babies, a Bumbo Chair is super handy for them to sit up and enjoy the scenery.
All Eyes on Deck |Assign each adult a child, all while keeping your eyes on everyone. Sounds simple enough, right?! JThis is probably where most folks’ anxiety with kids and the water comes from; I know it is for me anyway. But it is reassuring to know that each of us is assigned a child. We also try to tag team an adult or two playing in or nearer to the water, and some up on the beach. It also helps if you can choose a spot on the beach that offers plenty of distancing between other families. This keeps your eyes focused on your own crew, and not distracted with other people in the mix.
Portable Fan | A great addition to our beach trips, especially for the really little ones, is a portable fan. You can find battery operated options for ten bucks on Amazon. Not going to lie, it’s a nice relief for myself too on super-hot days. Hehe!
Change of Clothes | May seem silly, but I like to bring a change of regular clothes as well. This is especially helpful if you drive to the beach from your condo/house/hotel or plan to head out to eat for dinner. Baths are until right before bed, because ocean humidity is no joke. So for a few reasons, having a quick change of clothes is helpful.
Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks | Did I say snacks? You will definitely want to make sure you have plenty of snacks. A must for us is fruit to keep hydration up. We just pop a container of cut watermelon & cantaloupe in our cooler, and even whole peaches and plums. When the kiddos get messy, they just wash off in the ocean!
I’m sure there are tons more tips and tricks out there for managing a beach trip with kiddos, but these are the few that keep me sane. Do you have any other tips for surviving AND enjoying a beach trip with kiddos? Be sure to share them in the comments.
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