I want E to be a beach bum like her mama. We’re off to a good start. She loves everything about the beach, from playing in the waves to collecting rocks and shells and building sand castles (and promptly stomping on them). Late night bonfires are on the list, but we’ve got a few years yet.
Whether it’s the OBX at her MomMom and PopPop’s…
Or on the Cape at Grammie’s…
Miss E is a fan of the beach. Victory!!
The thing with beach time with a tot, is that it no longer has anything to do with you. Don’t bother bringing a chair for yourself, you won’t be sitting, or an adult beverage of choice, you won’t be relaxing. Instead, you’ll be running after a beach drunk little one, in and out of the surf, over sand bars and pebbles, searching for special rocks and building sand castles that they will stomp and destroy with gusto. And you and them will love every minute of it. (OK, not every minute. The packing and unpacking kinda blows.)
If you’re not beach bums like us, but are soon going to the beach (or have recently gone and been sorely unprepared) here’s what you’ll need for even the shortest Tot-Friendly Beach Trip:
- Have 2 Swim Diapers and 2 Swimsuits Per Diaper Clad Kid, and Arrive in a Regular Diaper: Swim diapers DO NOT hold pee. They’re designed to hold the solid stuff, not the liquid. If you don’t want a pee soaked carseat or stroller, change at the beach! Plan for the worst and so pack for a blowout, one per kid. (Hence the extra suit and swim diaper)
- Sandals, Not Flip Flops for Small Tikes: The sand at the beginning of the beach (read farthest from the water) can be hot hot hot! Flip flops allow lots of the hot stuff in and even the ones with back straps can fall off easily. Opt for some stay-put sandals and you’ll help avoid hurt feet and carrying them over the hot sand. Ones that can get wet are even better for beach walking over rocks and shells.
- A Towel or Blanket for Changing and Towels for Drying Off: Have a changing towel or beach blanket, as well as towels for drying off post swim.
- Some Source of Shade, Even for a Short Trip: A simple, cheap beach umbrella works just fine. If you’re planning on staying through naps, try a portable beach cabana, like L.L. Bean’s Sunbuster Shelter. It makes changing far easier (no sun in the eyes) and gives a nice place to hang out so you can extend your time there.
- A Wet Bag: Typically these are used by the cloth diapering contingent, but they are also very useful for beach/pond/pool trips for used diapers, and wet towels and suits. Check out this one from Planet Wise.
- Wet Wipes, Or Other Hand Cleaning Wipes: Rotting fish? A dead crab? These things are like homing beacons for kids.
- Floaties/Life-preservers, But NO Flotation Toys: Skip the tubes and rafts for little ones (and all together at the ocean) and save the boards until they can ride a wave on their own. Currents and winds can change in an instant!
- Know the layout before you head out: And pack accordingly. If it’s a long walk to and from the car, or there are dunes involved, pack as light as possible, and, depending on the size of your family/group, opt for a beach friendly cart.
- Water in a Cup That Closes: Sand gets everywhere. EVERYWHERE. A cup with a closable top, like a straw cup with a latch, is key to sand free drinking.
- Favorite Snacks: The beach can be overwhelming. Sometimes a reset with a favorite snack is in order, and sometimes you just need some refueling after so much play! The beach is a great place for juicy peaches and watermelon. Rinse off in the surf and play on!
- Sand Toys, and Enough to Share: There’s no doubt that your kids will pick up a friend or two at the beach. Make sure you have at least one extra shovel and bucket for impromptu tot beach parties!
- Wine for After the Beach: Or your favorite beverage or treat of choice. It’s so awesome to see your kids loving the beach and playing their hearts out, but it is exhausting and the packing and unpacking can be taxing. Nows your chance to play!