Traveling to the beach with kids is always an adventure. Whether your children enjoy the ocean or not, there are a few ways to ensure it’s an enjoyable experience for everyone. Check out some of my favorite tips, tricks, and activities to make your next trip to the beach a safe and memorable one.

As all moms know, this list can be incredibly lengthy. Do you ever feel like you’re packing everything but the kitchen sink when you head to the beach? From the necessities like sunscreen and towels to small tents for shade, snacks, sand toys, and extra clothing, you can get incredibly bogged down trekking across the sand to your perfect spot.

Here’s some insight on what to pack and what to leave behind.

Snacks

When it comes to snacks, we know that children of all ages get hungry at the most inopportune moments. And even if they aren’t truly hungry, let’s be honest, snacking keeps them busy! So I would suggest packing a small bag with a handful of their favorite snacks. I like pretzels, Goldfish, and granola bars. They’re not messy, travel easily and are relatively healthy. I also like packing fruit. Whether it’s apples, grapes, or an orange, fruit makes a great snack on a hot day.

You can pack the fruit in the same small cooler that you bring your water in, which I do suggest you bring. And plenty of it! The sun on the beach can be brutal and staying hydrated is extremely important. Especially when the kids are splashing in the waves and swimming all day. If you’re visiting a beach with a snack bar or boardwalk, don’t go crazy about bringing food. Your children are sure to want a delicious treat from one of the stands, even if it’s just a soft pretzel or a nice, cold ice cream!

Sun Protection

This is probably one of the most important things to pack when heading out for a day in the sun. Sunscreen alone isn’t enough, but it’s definitely the first line of defense against sunburn, heat exhaustion, or worse! And that’s not just true for the kids. Adults and older teens should wear sunscreen also. Apply the sunscreen approximately 20 minutes before heading outdoors, which is about how long it takes for the skin to properly absorb the lotion.

Waterproof or water resistant sunscreens may help to maintain their SPF, even after getting wet, but it’s really not enough. Be sure to reapply sunscreen to yourself and your children every two hours. This ensures that the skin remains protected.

When discussing sun protection on the beach, there are countless other options available, in addition to sunscreen application. Invest in a sun protective shirt for your child. These come in all types of sizes, colors, and designs. You can opt for short sleeved or long sleeved. The fabric can get wet and will also protect your child from the sun’s rays.

Let them choose a nice beach hat and a pair of sunglasses. This will help protect the top of their heads and their eyes, both while in the water and while playing in the sand. When they are taking a break and drying off, an umbrella offers much-needed shade. Set up a few beach chairs and bring some music, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a gorgeous beach resort!

Entertainment

Whether your children will be spending a majority of their time swimming, playing in the ocean or hanging out on the beach, you’ll want to bring some supplies. Depending on your child’s age and the intensity of the waves at the beach you’re visiting, bring along some type of life jacket or other flotation devices. Even if your child knows how to swim and doesn’t require a safety device, never allow them in the water unsupervised. The current can change at any time and rip tides are a very real danger off most shores.

But if your child is an avid swimmer, they might enjoy trying a boogie board, which allows them to safely ride the waves. If your child isn’t quite there yet, bring along plenty of sand toys including pals, shovels, and even water guns. You can sit along the shoreline with them as they play and get their feet wet. Building sand castles is always a fun activity for children of all ages.

If you’re looking for more “dry” fun, bring along some other games. These include a football or baseball to toss around, a frisbee or even a small cornhole game. Those kids that don’t enjoy getting wet or swimming will have plenty of alternative activities. I mentioned music before. Bringing along a wireless speaker or even an old-school boombox is a great way to pass the time also. Just be considerate of nearby beachgoers that might not appreciate your taste in music.

ADVERTISEMENT

Clothing

I think we can all agree that there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a sandy, wet bathing suit long after you’re done swimming. Your children may want to change immediately after their done swimming, which may require a quick wardrobe change. Most beaches offer outdoor showers where you and your child can rinse off the sand from their feet and bodies. Here’s a fun tip – bring along your sand toys and rinse those off too! After you remove most of the sand from your child you can get them changed.

Again, most beaches offer bathrooms where you can get changed. I suggest bringing loose fitting and comfortable clothing that will be easy for your child to get on over their damp hair and skin. If your child is okay with keeping their bathing suit on, just dry it well and throw the loose, dry clothing over top. This option will have to do if the beach you’re at doesn’t offer changing rooms.

A fun day at the beach is all about striking the balance between packing too many items and knowing what the essentials truly are. But either way, your children will enjoy the sun, sand and water. And most likely be ready for a nap at the day’s end! And so will mommy.

 

Featured Photo Courtesy: sanddollar via Pexels