Heading to the beach usually means a day of fun in the sun. Bringing a few things with you will ensure you’ll have a good time.
You can’t spend a day at the beach without sunscreen. My favorite is Neutrogena – both the spray and the face stick. They also make a great spray for the kids to use on wet skin. Reapply often, more than what you think you should. Usually every time the kids want to go grab a drink or snack, I have them reapply. Better safe than sorry. And don’t forget to reapply on yourself too! (That’s usually where I mess up – always worrying about the kids but forget myself.)
Having a dry towel to wipe hands and faces off during the day can be a life saver. Make sure to pack a couple of extra ones just in case. If you take a beach cart or chair, hang the towels to keep them out of the sand and help them to dry out between uses.
Use your blanket to not only save your spot in the sand but also as a meeting place. Let everyone know that if you get separated for whatever reason to meet back at the blanket or find a life guard. Consider something bright or a unique pattern to help it stand out on a busy beach.
For long beach days, you will want a cooler with wheels. They get heavy quickly once you fill them with drinks and ice. If you’re just going with a small group or won’t be spending the whole day, a smaller cooler will work perfectly. Make sure to stick some nice, cool washcloths in your cooler. Prep them the night before by getting them wet, folding them into squares, then popping them into the freezer. Just remember to grab them out of the freezer before you head out the door. Having them to wipe your face at the end of the day is very refreshing. You can also use them on your neck to help you cool off.
Snack and Drinks
Pick snacks that are easy to eat with your hands. Go with prepackaged snacks or snacks that you’ve put into zip top bags at home. Putting sandy hands into a bag over and over again all day can leave you with yucky snacks by the end of the day. Make sandwiches the night before or in the morning before you leave. Put yogurt tubes in the freezer to help keep things cold in the cooler and enjoy like a popsicle at the beach. Drinks are great in cups with lids or resealable bottles. Smaller containers, like juice pouches, can also be frozen the night before so they can help keep the cooler cold and be refreshing when enjoyed at the beach. Over pack on the drinks – you want to keep everyone hydrated during your day in the sun.
Even if you’re not going far out into the water, life jackets are a great idea for the kids. It’s easy for the kids to lose their balance when a wave hits them and get knocked off their feet. Knowing they have their life jacket on makes it a little less scary. Adults and big kids might want to have a float with them. My boys love using a small boogie board to ride the waves.
As fun as the water can be, sometimes you need a little break. Bring a few shovels and pails with you to build sand castles. Store them in a mesh bag so the sand falls out once you’re finished playing.
Whatever you like, bring something with you to read. Even the kids can do their summer reading spread out on the sand when they need a little break from the waves. Tag team with your spouse or friends to watch the kids while you read a few chapters.
Change of Clothes
After you’re done in the sun and surf, stop by the restroom or changing room to get out of your wet, sandy clothes. Pack of bag of dry clothes separate from all of your other beach items so they don’t get wet or sandy while you’re looking for something else. To make things even easier, pack everyone’s outfit in a separate zip top bag or for boys and girls so you’re not trying to sort them at the beach before you change.
Change for Parking
You may be asked to pay for parking at the beach. Be sure to have some quarters on hand. Spaces aren’t usually expensive but the machines may only take quarters. Prep before you leave home by putting them in a small zipper pouch or zip top bag so you’re ready when you arrive.
Want to make sure you’ve got everything for your next beach visit? Below is a free printable so you can just print and pack before your next beach visit.
Print your copy here.
What’s your must have beach item?
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