I have been taking the boys to the beach on my own since Gray was one week old. We live right at the beach and spend so much time in the sand and the ocean that I've had a lot of time to figure out what works at the beach with little ones and what doesn't. Dustin works during the week so he isn't able to join us, but the weekdays are our favorite days to go because it's less crowded, there's more parking, and sometimes we even have the entire beach to ourselves. And when I'm on my own, I want our trips to run smoothly so that we can all enjoy the experience without any frustration or stress.
Below are a few things I've learned that help make beach days with kids happy and fun without unnecessary stress...
Pack one bag that can fit everything
When you have kids, you need a lot of things at the beach. But that doesn't mean you have to carry in ten bags - because that's not only impossible, but it automatically starts your beach trip off with unnecessary stress. Lugging ten bags over your shoulder while you walk through the sand and try to keep track of your kids is just not fun. And there's nothing worse than making ten trips back and forth to the car with your little ones in tow who just want to get into the sand and start playing.
We use just one bag, The Beachmate, to carry everything! The Beachmate system is a genius invention for anyone that takes kids to the beach. It is an all-in-one stackable storage system that organizes the whole family's beach essentials in one bag that you can simply carry over your shoulder. Complete with durable buckets, shovels, soft cooler for snacks and water, and plenty of pockets for sunscreen, extra sand toys, wallets, and other essentials. The Beachmate system comes with a collection of stackable buckets that make for pretty epic sandcastles and can even be flipped over and used as lunch or snack trays. The Beachmate system will pretty much change the way you go to the beach with your family - trust me!
Put sunscreen on before you leave the house
There is nothing worse than putting sunscreen on in the sand. Sand inevitably makes it way into the sunscreen as I rub it in on my boy's legs which is not a pleasant feeling and makes them want to avoid sunscreen altogether. Applying sunscreen before we leave the house, or even before we hop out of the car once we have arrived at the beach, saves the trouble of chasing down kids in the sand or accidentally exfoliating their skin.
Wear protective clothing
Holden has particularly fair skin and I really have to be on top of reapplying sunscreen when we are spending the entire afternoon in the sun. However, there are times that we are having so much fun or we've walked down the beach in search of sea treasures that I'm late reapplying. Therefore, to make my (and his) life easier, I always make sure to cover every inch of skin that I can in UV-protective clothing to prevent any sunburns. The boys now wear their wetsuits and sun hats when we go to the beach so that I really only have to worry about reapplying sunscreen on their faces, hands, and feet. Plus little kids in wetsuits are just adorable. And don't forget to clothe yourself in UV-protective clothing as well.
Don't worry about sand
Don't worry about sand because if you do, it will make you crazy! I never understand the people that freak out over sand getting on their towels or blankets when they are at the beach with children. Little ones don't meant to, but they are going to step on your blanket or inside your tent and get sand everywhere. It's pretty much impossible to not get sand into every single nook and cranny when you are at the beach and guess what...that's ok! It is just part of going to the beach. Let go of that and you'll have an amazing time. Even when Gray was just a week or two old, it wasn't fair to ask Holden to not get sand anywhere near the baby. I mean it really is impossible, especially for little ones. So I accepted that Gray would get sand in his car seat, there might be sand on the blanket where he was lying, or Gray might even sand in his eyes! But you know what, by acknowledging beforehand that was a possibility, I didn't over react when it did happen. And guess what, we all survived a little sand here and there. The Beachmate towels are super lightweight and quick-drying which also means you can't shake out the sand at the beach and leave it there, without dragging it all to the car with you.
Bring lots of snacks and water
All of the running, digging, swimming, and splashing makes for some pretty hungry kids. Pack more than you think you will need because there is nothing worse than getting to the beach to have one of your kids say the words "I'm hungry" and you realize that you don't have any food with you. Also, make sure to keep plenty of water on hand because running around in the sun and sand can make everyone dehydrated.
***And because I want you ALL to have an amazing time with your family at the beach or lake or while you're on vacation, you can now get 10% off your order at Beachmate by using the code MEMORIALDAY. Offer ends after memorial day weekend (Monday at midnight)!!! Don't miss out...trust me...this bag will change everything :)***