How to Plan a Beach Day with the Kids

Remember when going to the beach meant grabbing your bathing suit, towel and filling up the gas tank?  Well, those days are over when you’re traveling with kids.  Never fear, even though it is harder to get out the door there is still no better place to spend a day in the Summer!

It’s my daughter’s 4th birthday this week and she wants to go to the beach.  The weather forecast says it will be a sunny 82 degrees that day.  It has been awhile since I took a day off so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate with my favorite little girl.  My husband will be traveling for work so pulling this off requires proper planning.  Primarily because our beach trips usually involve me taking the kids to find a spot while he lugs chairs, blankets and bags to our location.  This week’s blog is meant to help me (and you!) remember all of the beach day essentials without feeling like a pack mule.

Beach Basics: Swimwear

You can’t hit the beach without a proper swim suit.  While I am praying mine still fits from last year I can guarantee the kids have outgrown theirs.  Since they are toddlers I need to make sure their swim wear stays put when they are running and playing in the sand.  A good suit should offer sun protection as well.  Trust me a sunburn on your baby makes you feel like a terrible parent.  Also, it needs to be easy to get on and off when it is time to change or go to the bathroom.  Finally, a wide brim hat will keep your baby happy and their head and eyes safe.

Here’s a few 4+ star rated options for boys and girls:
Carter’s Boys’ Toddler Rashguard Set, Blue Whale, 4T
Baby Toddler Boy Girl Two Piece Swimsuit Swimwear Bathing Suit UPF 52+ pink L
Connectyle Kids UPF 50+ Mesh Safari Sun Hat UV Sun Protection Hat Summer Daily Bucket Play Hat Grey

Complete the look: Accessories

The beaches in the Northeast are beautiful but they can be rocky.  Get a good pair of water shoes for the kids so they can walk without begging to be carried all day.  If your kids prefer sunglasses to hats (or both) that will help keep them happy in the car and the beach on a sunny day.  When it is chilly after a swim a hooded towel can keep them dry and warm.  It also makes instant privacy if you are trying to change their swim suits but don’t have an extra hand to hold up the towel.  You need a big enough bag to handle all of your stuff too.

Here are 4+ star accessory options to try:
JOINFREE Women’s Men’s Kid Beach Water Shoes Slip-On Aqua Sneakers for Outdoor Line Black 2.5-3.5 M US Little Kid
TheCroco Bunny Hooded Towel Premium Quality: Ultra Soft, Super Absorbent, X-Large 49″ x 28″,for Kids & Toddlers use for Bath, Beach, Pool
Pro Acme TPEE Rubber Flexible Kids Polarized Wayfarer Sunglasses for Baby and Children Age 3 -10 (Pink Frame/Blue Mirrored Lens)
Oahu XXL Mesh Beach Bag Tote, Extra Heavy Duty with Zipper, 8 Large Pockets and FREE Bonus Waterproof Cellphone Case (Black)

Protect ya neck: Skincare

Even I have given up the days of using just SPF 4 or Maui Babe Browning Lotion.  When you go anywhere with the kids sunscreen is a must have.  I have used a few that have worked for us but I think this is different for every kid and skin type.  Make sure to have some lip balm with some SPF as well for a day out in the sun.  My daughter has long hair so a wet-dry brush will get rid of tangles without tears if she goes for a swim.  Bug spray might be useful too depending on where you go and if you hike around a bit.  Finally, a parenting hack I learned is that baby powder gets sand right off their skin so a little of that can help keep them comfortable after the beach.

My Summer skin-savers:
Wet Brush Pro Detangle Hair Brush, Metallic Purple
Badger – Anti-Bug Spray, 100% Natural and Certified Organic – 4 oz Aluminum Bottle
Sun Bum SPF30 Lip Balm Mango, Lime, Watermelon 3-pack
Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50, 6oz Spray Bottle (Pack of 2)
Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Dusting Powder, Talc-Free Baby Powder – 7.5 Ounce Bottle

Setting the scene

Sometimes getting the kid’s ready for the beach takes longer than they actually LAST at the beach (see also: playing in the snow).  If you know you are going to spend a long time no matter what it is a good idea to bring some equipment.  We have this beach cabana that has served us well for many years.  It is a good size and there was even room for me to climb in and feed my children when they were babies.  It provides a space to take a break from the sun and privacy for diaper changes too.

A waterproof blanket will make the ground more comfortable and less sandy to lay on.  Plenty of food and snacks are required for toddler travel so a cooler that can be rolled around is ideal.  Plastic sippy and snack cups will also help keep sandy hands out of the bag if everyone is sharing.

Don’t leave home without these:
Pacific Play Tents Lil Nursery Portable Dome Tent for Infants – 36″ x 36″ x 36″
Igloo Ice Cube Roller Cooler (60-Quart, Ocean Blue)
Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cup, Pink/Orange, 10 Ounce, 2 Count
ZOMAKE Picnic Blanket Waterproof Extra Large, Outdoor Blanket with Waterproof Backing for Family Concerts,Beach,Park

Fun in the sun

The best part of the beach is that you can unplug for a bit.  I could sit and read a book for hours but let’s be real – no parent is getting away with that.  Beach toys are great and can keep the kids busy for awhile.  Mine are big fans of the basics like pails and shovels but if your children are a little bigger there are other options too.  My kids also like to take a picture of everything but if you want to keep your iPhone functional a disposable camera can be a fun way to document the day.

Beach toys!
Click N Play 18 Piece Beach sand Toy Set, Bucket, Shovels, Rakes, Sand Wheel, Watering Can, Molds,
Kan Jam Ultimate Disc Game
Fujifilm Disposable QuickSnap Waterproof Pool Underwater 35mm Camera, Pack of 2
My Sister’s Keeper: A Novel (Readers Club)

Ready, set, beach!!

The most important thing I always try to remember when I travel with the kids is to relax.  Sometimes I get anxious I but know how important it is for us to go on adventures together.  I’ve never “winged it” a day in my life so planning ahead makes me feel more confident that the day will be a success.  Are you ready for the summer?  What are your “must have” items for a trip to the beach?  Leave a comment with your suggestions! 

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