Taking kids to the beach can be a fun and memorable experience for the entire family. However, having young children adds a whole new element of preparation, which can be a daunting task, especially if you have never done it before. Here are some tried and true tips to help make your trip to the family beach trip a success.
Choose a Family-Friendly Resort
When planning your beach vacation, it's important to choose a resort that caters to families. Look for resorts that offer kid-friendly amenities, such as children's pools and playgrounds. You may also want to consider a resort that offers family-friendly activities, such as scavenger hunts, pool parties, and movie nights.
Choose a Vacation Rental with Beach Equipment
Choose a vacation rental that provides beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, such as sand buckets, shovels, and frisbees, and a beach wagon or cart. This can save you the hassle of bringing your own equipment and provide additional fun activities for your kids to enjoy on the beach.
Plan Ahead and Check Beach Conditions
Check the weather forecast, tide times, and any potential hazards, such as jellyfish or strong currents.
Low tide is a great time to visit the beach because of the expansive beach and opportunity for exploring tide pools!
Go Early or Go Late
Plan your beach time during the early morning or late afternoon/early evening when the sun is not too strong. This will help you avoid sunburns and keep your kids comfortable. Plus, you'll be able to avoid the crowds, which can be overwhelming for some children. While mid-day might sound appealing, there are two elements working against being at the beach mid-afternoon: the intensity of the sun’s heat and nap time. Those two factors, when combined, are exponentially harder to overcome and can lead to major meltdowns.
If you miss the window of leaving early or the day is heating up quickly, don’t despair. Going to the beach in the evening is wonderful! Usually, the crowd disappears an hour or so before dinner time, so heading out then, you’ll have cooler temperatures and more space to run free. Bonus: the kids will be tired out right before bedtime!
When traveling to the beach with kids, it's important to pack smart. Here are some essentials to bring:
UPF T-shirts or cover-ups
Snacks (such as squeeze pouches of applesauce and yogurt, grapes, blueberries, individual plastic bags or containers of finger snacks )
Plenty of water and other hydrating drinks
A small inflatable pool for young children if they are not yet comfortable with ocean waves.
Toys, books, and games for downtime
Life jackets for kids
First aid kit (waterproof band-aids, antiseptic ointment, pain relievers, vinegar for jellyfish stings)
Wet wipes and tissues
Talcum-free baby powder to remove sand from feet
If you are planning for an early morning visit to the beach, pack your beach bag and prepare your snacks (pre-slice and freeze any fruit) the night before.
Protect your Skin
Make sure to apply sunscreen on your child's skin before heading out to the beach. Make sure to cover all areas, including the face, neck, ears, and feet. The best way to apply sunscreen is while totally naked, applying so much that you need to let it be absorbed into the skin, before you get dressed..
Reapply the sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating. Set a timer on your phone to remind you when it is time to reapply.
Bring a cooler with plenty of water and other hydrating drinks for your kids.
You can also bring some fruits or snacks that are rich in water content, such as watermelon slices, frozen grapes, cucumber, popsicles, or orange slices.
Be proactive and, every hour or so, call everyone over for a hydrating treat!
Pack the cooler with small frozen water bottles instead of ice. They will keep the other items cold and at the end of the day will be thawed and ready to drink!
Most importantly, keep your child safe while at the beach.
Before you arrive at the beach, set some boundaries with your children. Let them know where they can play and where they should stay away from. Also, set rules about swimming and water safety, and make sure your kids understand and follow them.
Make sure your kids wear a life vest when they are in the ocean. It is much different than swimming in a pool and even strong swimmers can get into dangerous conditions in ocean water.
Teach your children about water safety and the potential hazards, such as rip currents, and (very importantly) what to do if they get caught in one.
Supervise your children at all times, especially when they're in the water. If there is more than one adult, be clear on who is responsible for keeping their eyes on which child.
Make a plan with your kids in case one of them gets separated from you. Point out the color and location of your beach umbrella so they can find you if they get lost.
Show your kids the location of the lifeguard stand in case of emergency or in case they can’t find you.
Tips for a Beach Vacation with Kids
Traveling to the beach with young children can be a lot of fun, but it does require some planning and preparation. By following these tips, you can ensure that your family has a safe and enjoyable time at the beach. Remember to take plenty of pictures and make lasting memories with your loved ones!
If you have any other suggestions or tips, feel free to share them in the comments below.