How To Enjoy The Beach With Kids

Are your kids little breaded chicken nuggets by the end of the day? Is your food extra crunchy from a sprinkling of sand? Did you solemnly swear that you’ll never go back to that wretched place?

I’ve been there. After a few years of trekking solo with two tiny kids I’ve learned a thing or two. Please don’t let the sand get in the way of enjoying a nice day at the beach.  Here’s how to get through it like a boss.

going to the beach with kids

1.  Scare the living hell out them.  The ocean is a vast body of deathly water.  It’s full of rip tides, rocks, and will suck you under in a moments notice. Talk to them about the dangers of the water.  I don’t let my tiny kids go in alone past their knees. You’ll know the what your kids limits are and a little deathly reminder is always helpful. Here’s a visual aid for your conversation. Mwah ha ha…

ocean waves

2. Go early to grab a spot near the lifeguard and sit as close to the water as possible.  Check the tide and make sure it’s not coming in.  You don’t want to have to move your stuff back in a few hours and infringe on someone’s spot. I personally want to obliterate anyone who does this.

going to the beach with kids

3. Buy a wonder wheels, a magical little cart with large wheels and a huge mesh basket that folds up nicely. You’re going to have to walk through the parking lot and the sand. This little invention makes toting all of your stuff a lot easier. It’s worth the sixty dollars if you go to the beach frequently. You can get one at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon.  All the locals have one for good reason.

4. Bring a backpack chair for each adult and small cheap chairs for your kids.  These beach chairs are the most comfortable seats.  They have a cup hold and a pouch in the back for extra storage. Don’t waste money on buying backpack chairs for the little ones. They cost around $30 a piece. I’ve had mine for 5 years and it’s still going strong.

5. Bring baby powder. Sprinkle some on your body for instant sand removal. No more sandy feet in your car. If you have a diaper wearing toddler this is a must for keeping the sand out of their creases.

going to the beach with kids

6. Pack a cooler with lots of small containers for snacks. The last thing you’ll want is your kid sticking their sandy hand in a bag of chips.  Provide individual portions so they can keep the sand in their own snacks and not yours.  Alice and Dottie never seem to mind the extra “seasoning”. Don’t forget to place your cooler behind your chair. There’s usually enough shade behind me to keep it out of the sun.

going to the beach with kids

7. Mind your manners. Do NOT sit on top of fellow beach goers.  You’ll be in for a day of dirty looks.  Keep enough space between you and everyone else so your kid isn’t running past someone while kicking sand on them.

8. Pack good food. A decent pasta salad is the difference between a regular beach day and an excellent one.  Good food just makes everything better. Don’t forget napkins!

going to the beach with kids

9. Bring a tiny baby pool. This extra watering hole is great for little ones to sit in.  They get to enjoy the water without you sitting with them near the ocean all day.

going to the beach with kids

10. Don’t forget your auger for your umbrella. You already know that an umbrella is a must. However, you might not think to bring one of those corkscrew things to keep it in the sand.  A little wind will lift your umbrella straight out of the sand where it transforms into a spear for someone else.

11. Spread out. If you follow my advice by going early you’ll want to spread your stuff out the claim your space.  Keep the sand toys in front of where you’re sitting and the wonder wheels behind you.

12. Don’t forget a plastic shopping bag for your garbage. The trash cans are usually a hike to get to.  Save yourself the trip. If you plan on going to Sandy Hook you must take your garbage home.  That’s right, they do not provide trash cans!

13. Put your cell phone in a zip lock bag. Keep the sand out of your phone’s little crevices and protect if from any ocean water.  I store my keys, wallet, and phone in the pocket of my wonder wheels.

14. Freeze a couple bottles of water. While I still use those little cooler packs they rarely keep everything cold enough.

15. Don’t forget to reapply sunblock every 80 minutes. A cooling breeze can make you easily forget that you’re going to burn in the sun.

16. Wear foam flip flops. Keep the cute leather ones at home.  It doesn’t feel so nice rinsing expensive shoes under water at the shower station before you leave.
Up to 30% Flip Flop Sale at Havaianas

17. Bring a long sleeve cover up. If the temperature is below 85 degrees there’s a chance it could feel really cool by the water.

18. Pack large sand buckets. You’ll be glad you brought these to fill up that little blow up pool.  I like to keep a full one so the kids can rinse their hands off. Another tip within a tip, don’t bring books for the kids.  Every time I’ve tried they’ve turned into a soggy mess.

going to the beach with kids

19. Go during the week to avoid crowds.

going to the beach with kids

20. Keep your shell collection in order. We’re always bringing souvenirs home from the beach.  Bring a small bag to keep them together for later.

21. Bring a beach blanket and comfort items. I can’t tell you how many times Alice has fallen asleep at the beach. I used bring an extra large blanket for her to lay on and a stuffed animal she likes to cuddle with. You can also put the kids chairs on top of the blanket in case they drop their sandwich during lunch.

going to the beach with kidsSo here I obviously forgot the blanket…

22. Spray sunblock in the same direction as the wind. This will ensure all of it is actually getting onto your kid’s body.  That stuff is expensive, don’t waste it by making this mistake!

going to the beach with kids

23. If you have a baby try to find a baby dome. I’m sorry to say it’s been discontinued.  I’ve seen these in consignment shops time and time again.  They are blue circular enclosed play pens that fold in half.  There’s a little stand on the bottom so your baby isn’t laying on the ground.  It was perfect. You can also try a baby bumbo seat.

going to the beach with kids

Alice has lived at the beach for most of her life.  These are all lessons I’ve learned from my sister in laws or the good old fashioned hard way.  The smallest things like baby powder make the biggest difference between a happy baby and an irritated one.

Be super prepared this summer with this special printable list.
beach packing listFor a free printable of the packing list and updated tips…


xoxo, Jessica (aw2sl)

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Lovely comments

  1. says

    I literally laughed out loud at number one! And I always forget to bring baby powder. Our favorite snack to pack in the cooler is watermelon slices in a ziploc baggy. It’s good on any day but there is something about eating it on a hot beach that kicks it up a notch. Great post!

  2. says

    It’s so much work taking kids to the beach! I take my cousins sometimes and there is so much we have to bring. Usually a trip to the beach is relaxing, but when you bring kids along it can be exhausting. Thanks for sharing these tips with Hump Day Happenings!

  3. says

    Having lived in Florida, leave a few clean beach towels in the car. Take a 1-2 milk jugs of water. When time to leave, you can rinse off the kids, (at least their legs and feet) take off their wet suits and wrap in dry towels for the ride home! You know they will fall asleep on the way home! Don’t forget the frozen juice boxes!

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