Beach Trip Tips to Guarantee Fun for the Whole Family

I’m channeling my inner Olaf as I think of tips to make your summer trip to the beach the best one yet! “A my snow up against the burning sand...probably getting gorgeously tanned in summer!” The beach is truly my favorite place on earth to be, and sometimes it kills me that our family has to drive so far to get to one. But – that means we have to plan a lot for any trip we take to the beach – and I am here to share all my travel tips with you!

If this summer will be your first family trip to the beach, I am so excited for you!! There is nothing like watching your child splash in the waves and make sand castles. And if you’re a little nervous? I’ve been there, too. We took our youngest to the beach for the first time a little over two years ago. This was a kid who hated being dirty, would never touch a sandbox, didn’t even like kinetic sand. I was not convinced that my love of the ocean would transfer to my sweet boy. I honestly feared it would be a disaster. The first day out, he kept shouting into the waves, “This is the best day of my life!!” The beach is magical, whether you are 5 or 45. No matter how far you are driving to the beach this summer, or how many times you’ve been, try these tips and tricks to make it a good one!


Mom and Dad Walking on Beach with Toddler on Dad's Shoulders


1. Get there early! Getting to the beach early has so many advantages that it’s well worth it! Arriving early typically allows you to slide right into a parking spot, rather than driving around for a half hour waiting for someone to leave. You can stake out your spot in the sand before it gets crowded, and you can check the tides ahead of time on the NOAA website. (You don’t want to pick the perfect spot by the water, only to be washed out as the tide comes in just when the beach starts to fill up with people!) Also, arriving early allows you to enjoy the beach before the sun is at its hottest.


Family Sitting Under Tree At The Beach Featuring the My Chair and the My Play Baby


2. Make sure you have enough shade for everyone in your family. Beach umbrellas are great, but may not offer enough shade for everyone in your family. If you can bring two, do it. Another option is to pack a pop-up beach tent for everyone! If you still have little ones, Regalo Baby’s My Play Portable Play Yard Deluxe is fantastic! You can buy it with or without a sun shade, it folds up compactly, and it offers some added peace of mind for mamas of little ones who can wander off in split seconds. Have a newborn traveling with to the beach? Have no fear, check out the Regalo Baby My Play Baby Portable Infant Bassinet! (featured above)

If you are traveling to the beach by airplane and don’t have much packing room, make sure you check ahead of time whether the beach offers chair and umbrella rentals. If so, book in advance! If not, consider purchasing an inexpensive pop up tent at a local supermarket and leaving it behind. Trust me, shade is a necessity at the beach – especially if you’re planning on spending a lot of time there! 


Dad and Kids Packing the Car for the Beach


3. Make a packing list – and check it twice! When you’re packing for multiple people, it’s so easy to forget something! Make a list well in advance, so you can be confident that you didn’t miss anything. Cross items off as they go into your suitcases! Here are several items that are always in our beach bag: sunscreen, large beach blanket (for sitting), towels for everyone (for drying), sand toys, face masks/snorkels/goggles, sunglasses, sun hats, small first aid kit, plastic bag/pouch for phones, a small portable speaker, and dry changes of clothes.


Group of Kids Having A Picnic on the Beach


4. Stay hydrated and well-fed! Pack a full cooler of ice, water bottles, snacks, and lunch foods. Nothing can put a damper on a beach day (or any day!) faster than a hungry, thirsty kiddo. Spending time in the sun requires lots of water – pack more than you think you will need!


Mom Applying Sunscreen to Daughter in the Shape of a Heart


5. Lather that sunscreen on before you get to the beach – and again every 1-2 hours. Get at least one good lather before you even arrive at the beach, before tiny grains of sand are all over everyone. But make sure you reapply often and use a high SPF to avoid sunburn! Not a necessity, but I also love to buy my kids’ swimsuits that also have SPF protection in them.


Little Girl in Life Jacket on the Beach Looking Out At the Water


6. Bring a lifejacket for each child – and be ready to play! You might not be able to read a book on your family beach trip this year, but you can still have a great time! Make sure you keep lifejackets on your kiddos when they aren’t in arms’ reach of you, and keep eyes on your kids at all times. If you are leaving your kids in the care of another adult briefly, communicate about who is watching which child when. Be ready to build sand castles, splash in the water, look for seashells, get buried in the sand, and play ball! Both you AND your children will cherish the memories of you playing and being present.

What would you add to this list?

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