Photo by: iStock

Family Beach Trip: A Survival Guide

Photo by: iStock

Taking a family beach trip feels like something a milestone you should accomplish each summer, but the thought of actually making the trek feels like, well, a lot of work. The carefree days of waterside lounging seem far away, replaced by worries like sunburns on baby skin, dirty diapers, and snacks, snacks, and more snacks. With just a few tips and a little planning you can save a family beach trip from misery and turn it into a memorable experience that you and your kids will cherish!

Don’t Forget Your Shade

Inevitably, your kids are going to get tired. Maybe they’ll even take a nap on the sand! For that to happen, you’ll have to have a safe, shady area for them to rest. This tent can fit several chairs underneath for shady lounging, and this one is great for toddlers and babies. Combine with a sand umbrella so Mom and Dad have some shade, and you’ll have a sun-free oasis to hang out in for the day!

Beach Blanket: Go Big

Don’t make the mistake of bringing a few measly beach towels. Chances are, your stuff will sprawl out in no time and you’ll wish you had more space. Lose any illusions of staying sand free— expectations are everything, so the sooner you accept that you’ll be returning home covered in sand, the better. Try this outdoor blanket, or just bring an old bed comforter or duvet cover to use as a beach blanket—something that’s heavy enough that it won’t blow away, but is still light enough to carry!

Create a Sand-Free Zone

Bring a tote that zips completely closed to maintain a sand free zone. Keep a plastic zipper bag inside for your phone (or invest in one of these sand-proof phone cases) and any other electronics or valuables that need to stay sand-free!

Haul Easy

Now that you’ve got all this stuff, don’t forget about how you’re going to get it to the beach. Purchase a rolling cart with wheels (like this one) that can handle sand for easy hauling. Pack loose beach toys in a kids backpack and encourage your kiddos to carry them! Or try the Beachmate system, which combines beach buckets, shovels, and a cooler all in one easy to carry package.

Be Sneaky with Valuables

This is the only hack you’ll ever need for hiding valuables in plain sight: roll them up into a diaper. If you happen to turn away and someone dumps your bag out in search of money, keys, or electronics, I can guarantee they won’t touch what looks like a soiled diaper!

Freeze Your Food

Save cooler space by packing the bottom with frozen water bottles. Freeze foods like washed grapes and yogurt sticks. Pack the rest of your food (sandwiches, string cheese, fruit, cut up veggies, crackers) on top of the water bottles to keep it cool. The best part is that your cooler will be completely empty and light as a feather by the end of the day—no melted ice packs to lug home!

Sanity Saving Tips

A few more things to not forget: long sleeved layers in case of temperature changes, a second pair of clothes (duh), and a portable potty.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

It’s true. Your days of lounging in the sun, drinking beers from the cooler, and reading your book in peace might be over, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have a good time. Accept that your family beach trip will be different than it used to be, but like so much in parenting, you won’t be doing it for yourself. By making the effort to give your kids meaningful family experiences, you’re a rockstar parent (no matter how much sand is permanently embedded in your minivan)!

Rachel Mast is a writer, event coordinator, and community manager at Pearachute.

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