It’s almost summer time and you know what that means – longer days, the kids are out of school, and of course, a trip to the beach. Whether you’re going for a nice, long summer vacation or just a quick weekend getaway, a day at the beach can be ruined if you’re not prepared before you get there.
Here are a few tips to help you plan a beach vacation, plus a list of some essential beach day items to bring with you. You’ll be able to soak up all of the sunshine since you are prepared!
Planning for Your Trip
Planning a trip anywhere can be overwhelming, especially when you’re planning for an entire family. There are some basic questions to ask or research prior to leaving home that make the process a little bit smoother.
The Rules of the Beach
First, find out if the beach has any specific rules or restrictions. Does the beach have specific hours? If there are lifeguards present on site, there is most likely a window of time that they are there. This is great information to know, especially if you have little ones.
Are dogs allowed on the beach? This is important to know for a couple of reasons. First, perhaps you’d like to bring your own furry friend along for the day. Or, if someone in your group is afraid of dogs, it’s a good idea to know if there may be dogs present. It’s a simple thing, but can also help you reduce the risk of a meltdown on your vacation.
And, take note of any item restrictions. For example, boogie boards, floatation devices, or pool noodles may not be allowed.
Driving & Parking
Another thing to consider when you’re planning your trip is what parking is available. Are you able to drive on or park on the beach itself? Even if you don’t want to drive on the beach, it’s good to know if people will be driving larger vehicles where small children are running around.
Is there a designated beach parking lot? Do you have to pay to park there, or is it free? You don’t want to end up at the beach needing cash and not having it. No one wants to have to make a trip to the ATM before hitting the water.
And finally, how far will you need to walk from your car to the sand? If you’re in a water front hotel, how far do you need to walk to get to the water? Perhaps it’s better to walk from your hotel to the beach? If you’ll be carrying a lot of items, you may want to consider a wagon or extra large tote to make it a little easier to get there. Make sure to find out if you need to cross any busy streets. If you know this before leaving your car or hotel, you can prevent kids from running ahead and potentially into traffic.
What’s Near the Beach
Sure, you know you’re visiting the beach. But knowing the surrounding area is never a bad idea. Where is the nearest public bathroom? If you’re not packing lunch, research your food options. And while you absolutely need to pack a first aid kit, make a note of the nearby drugstores. Better to be safe than sorry!
Plan Your Day
The last part of your beach day plan should be figuring out a basic plan for the day. Know ahead of time when you want to head out. Going early in the morning means you’ll get your pick of the best spots on the sand, and it won’t be as hot out.
Don’t forget about the sun. While sunscreen is a must, it could also be helpful to split up the day to avoid being outside for the sun’s strongest rays. You could head to the beach in the morning, and then head back in for lunch or a nap, then head back out. Or, maybe you’d like to spend the morning at the hotel pool or do some sightseeing and head to the beach later in the afternoon.
Breaking up the day like this is a great idea for sun safety, but it’s also a way to keep the kids engaged in what you’re doing. You don’t want to plan an 8 hour beach day only to hear “I’m bored,” by hour 3!
What to Pack for the Beach
Now that you’ve planned your trip, it’s time to pack.
Beach Day Essentials
Make sure you have sunglasses (and maybe an extra pair), a hat, a cover-up, and your favorite insulated water bottle. Is the beach known to have a lot of rocks or shells? Maybe you need watershoes to protect your feet. Make sure you protect your electronic devices. Waterproof cases are great for your expensive cell phone, but a simple ziplock bag or Stasher bag works as well.
- Insulated Water Bottle
- Layers/Coverup/UPF shirts
- Waterproof Phone Case or Ziplock or Stasher Bag
Then there’s the group essentials. You’ll want plenty of towels (always bring extra!), a beach blanket or chair, an umbrella, a bag for wet towels, and most importantly, a first aid kit and sunscreen. While you should apply sunscreen before going outside, you need to remember to reapply several times throughout the day when you’re at the beach. This is so important!
It’s also a good idea to pack a portable speaker. Make sure if you do, to keep the volume at a level that won’t disturb the other beach-goers around you.
Here is one of my best tips…bring baby powder! I know it sounds crazy, but sprinkle some on your feet and the sand will magically fall off.
If you’re bringing toys and/or floaties for the kids, it’s a good idea to keep them all in one place and separate from everything else. That way, the kids know where to get their toys, but they also won’t get sand all over your clean towels.
- Beach Blanket/Chair
- Bag for Wet Towels and Clothes
- Lots of Sunscreen
- Wet Wipes
- First Aid Kit
- Portable Speaker
- Baby Powder
Snacks & Drinks
Even if you’re only going for a couple of hours, always pack some food and drinks. Grab a cooler and load it up with hydrating drinks, especially water. Sports drinks or juice boxes are great additions too. Skip the soda – staying hydrated is super important when you’re out in the sun. You know I love Liquid I.V. and it’s a perfect item to bring with you to the beach! You can save 25% when you use my code DEVINEFAIRYTALE to save on their website.
The food you bring should be easy to pack and easy to eat. Things like pretzels, popcorn, chips and salsa, veggies and humus, granola bars, cheese and crackers (or cheese sticks for kids!) are all perfect for a day at the beach. If you’re going to be on the sand all day, packing something more substantial like sandwiches or wraps would be an easy thing to prep ahead of time to bring with you. Bringing your own lunch or snacks will help to make sure you have healthy options and not spend so much money.
No matter where you’re going, or when, you’re sure to have a fun and relaxing beach day if you follow these tips!