So you’ve summoned up the bravery to pack-up the littles and head to the beach? Good for you! But as the saying goes, “life’s a beach”!
Here are some of our must have items when we take our kids to the surf:
Collapsible buckets – because carrying cumbersome buckets is for rookies and these take up less room if you are flying or driving or just don’t want to juggle more than you have to.
Small First Aid Kit – lie to yourself all you want, but ouchies and owies happen when kids hit the beach. You don’t need to pack a mobile triage unit, but having a kit with some basics is always great.
TIP: if jellyfish are known to share the waters with you, pack a squeeze bottle with vinegar to help with stings. No one needs to pee on anyone.
Bungee Cord – a cord or two with decent stretch is only limited by your imagination. You can dry clothes, secure inflatables that might blow away, confound bag snatchers, hang towels to create shade or privacy, create a hat rack, or string up sandals to ensure they aren’t lost or become caked with sand.
Waterproof Phone Bag – to catch special moments and to protect that phone, a waterproof phone bag is great. You can catch underwater memories, but more importantly, you ensure your phone is protected from the water and from your kids.
Cash in an M&M Container or Other Tube – tuck your cash in an empty M&M mini tube because it’s water tight, sand proof, easy to conceal, less cumbersome than a full wallet , and it draws no attention in your sea of parental gear.
TIP – if sand flies, those nasty little ankle biters, are a problem on the shores where you are, pack a small container of coconut oil. Apply from the knees down, in addition to your sunscreen, and those little flies won’t be able to nibble on you through that aromatic oil slick.
Hammock – OK, it’s an indulgence, but life requires a dash of decadence. We know that the mesh and woven kinds are more breathable, but our version packs into itself, has a drink holder, is waterproof and doubles as our make-shift changing room, shade maker, and rain tent
Multi-Tool – whether a pocket knife or multi-tool, be sure you can open bottles, snip string, and cut fruit with one of these tucked into your beach bag.
TIP – sand makes it home with you because it is small and fine and hard to wipe away. Use baby powder to get those sand-clingers off. The powder sticks to the sand making it bigger and heavier and easier to brush off.
Beach Mat – our beach mat lives in our car because you never know when a picnic opportunity will present itself. These mats are ubiquitous in Thailand. Made from recycled plastics, they are easy to clean and shake the sand out of. You may not have this style where you are, but look for a mat that cleans easily and won’t hold sand.
Beach Bag – perhaps this goes without saying, but a fantastic beach bag is key: sturdy, large straps which are easy to get you arm through, a big open space with at least one dedicated pocket. Not all bags are equal so envision yourself beach hauling the kids stuff before you make your purchase.
TIP – bring a deck of cards or other card games (UNO, Scrabble Slam, Virus) to help when rain interrupts the day or for a break in the heat of mid-day. Rest, water, and snacks are an easier sell when you have family playtime too.
The Basics – some standard beach bag fare, but worth listing:
- beach towels
a book (admittedly, this is wishful thinking when the kids are young, but maybe you’re feeling hopeful)
TIP – a re-sealable and re-usable plastic bag is great for outfit changes. Slap on your swim gear and put your street clothes in the bag to keep them sand-free. When it’s time to head home, put your wet swim wear into the bags to keep everything else dry.