If you're looking to soak up the last few rays of summer and get into the sun and sand by planning a trip to the beach, you're probably planning on filling up the car with all of the essentials.
Since living in the beach cities, I've gotten pretty good at streamlining the car-packing process when it comes to beach days, and I've got a few tips that I hope will help you know how to plan and pack for your next trip to the ocean!
How to Carry Your Gear
Okay, so full disclosure, our family carries all of our beach gear in a big plastic tub that we're able to throw in all the toys, towels, sunscreen, and and snacks in without carrying a million different bags. BUT for everyone who doesn't do this regularly, that might be a little much. So I recommend getting yourself a bag that you save just for the beach (but can also be used when you head to the park or pool, just anywhere you don't mind if it gets a little dirt, sand, and yuck on it). I recommend going the backpack route, because you are going to need to be hands free to hold onto hands or kids or umbrellas or your drink. Getting your hands on something like the Fjallraven Kanken, which is super easy to wipe down, has plenty of space inside without feeling like you're separating them into tons of different pockets and zippers. No one has energy for that after a long beach day. Nope.
How to Stay Dry and Comfortable
You are going to want a couple different things when it comes to sitting on the beach. You're going to want a big old blanket or mat to cover your entire space. Nothing is worse than having encroachers come too close to your beach spot. Get your hands on something like the Gathre Maxi Square Mat that is perfect for the beach because you can just shake the sand off, fold it up, and your clean up is done. We love taking ours to the beach! You'll also need some softie towels, like these Little Unicorn Hooded Towels, that will keep your kids warm when they come out of the water (because they're always freezing... always), and for when they want to have snacks, because no sandy fingers are allowed in the chip bag!
How to Stay Cool
Even if it's a little bit overcast when you show up, do not let it fool you, mama, you will get toasty warm and burnt in no time... UNLESS you prepare, so that's why I'm here to help. Bring your sunscreen, and apply that BEFORE you and the babes get to the sand. For the love of everything, apply it before you get to the sand. Rubbing in sunscreen when your kid has already rolled around in the sand is a gritty, whiny, mess. Parking lot application is key! And then reapply, reapply, reapply. Every 2 hours. Set a timer on your phone, mamas.
I personally couldn't handle a day at the beach without an umbrella and some shade, but a cooler with some cold drinks is also a must! If you're not going to invest in an umbrella, I definitely recommend getting everyone some hats to keep the sun out of their face for at least a little bit during the day! Nothing cuter than a beach mama with a wide brim hat, or a little one in a sun hat.
How to Keep the Kids Happy
You will want to bring so many more snacks than you think you need. I think it's smart to bring some empty tupperware containers for each of the kids. Use them to pour in some chips, or crackers, or fruit snacks, etc. Then they won't be sticking their yucky, sandy, salty hands in a big open bag. Bring plenty of bottled water (don't bring your fave water bottle because it's going to get sandy and it's nearly impossible to clean after that). Toys are a must for the beach. Even though they should be happy with just the water and sand, never count on it. Getting toys that are easy to rinse off, or even some old bath toys with you will go a long way to give your babes something fun to play with while they're digging a mote around their sand castle. You can also pick up sand toys at any local store near the beach for decently cheap, and a bucket and a shovel are pretty much the essentials for any kid on a beach day.
How to Clean Off
My number one trick for ending a beach day is dusting my kids with baby powder. I keep a big container of it in my plastic tub and I pretty much turn my kids into ghosts before we head into the car. The baby powder dries their skin and the sand just disappears. It's everything to me, and I don't even bother with the little showers that are at the beac. Why? Because the only thing that's harder to clean off than a sandy babe is a super-soaked AND sandy babe. Bring some washcloths with you to keep in the car. After you dust them down, you can wipe them off in the parking lot and put on some clean clothes for the drive home. Bing bang boom, minimal sand, and no diaper rash for the babes (happens to my little girl a lot) while they're sitting in an uncomfortable dusty mess as you're driving home!