Its summertime and the temperatures are rising under the hot sun. This is when the beach beckons. Think of large expanses of soft sand, cool waves rolling up on the shore, and ocean breezes. It is time to pack some bags with supplies, pile the kids into the car, and hit the road.
Your children will likely be overly excited during the drive, so be sure to pack things for the ride, as well as the beach. Here are some essentials for a day trip to the beach.
Earbuds and videos
Unless you live 5 miles from the beach, you will want to make sure the kids are occupied during the drive. Do you remember long drives to the beach as a kid when you shouted, “I see sand on the side of the road” 5 yards away from your driveway? Yes, kids get so excited they imagine the destination well before you arrive.
It is a good idea to grab their favorite videos or games that they can plug into, either on the car entertainment system or on a smartphone to make the ride go by more quickly without too many distractions.
Water and snacks
It is necessary to have plenty of water when spending the day in the sun. It is easy to get dehydrated. You can buy a 12 pack of 8 ounce water bottles that you can freeze the night before. They will stay cold as they melt.
And, with all the running around and hopping over waves, everyone is going to need nourishment. Some of these are going to end up with sand on them. That is a very unpleasant crunch. It is recommended that you pack several smaller baggies or reusable containers of a variety of snacks, just in case sandy little fingers ruin one or two bags (and they will).
Pack trail mix, berries, PB&J sandwich squares, string cheese, and some healthy cookies or fruit roll-ups.
Sunscreen and coverups
A sunburn is not joke for both kids and adults. Pack enough sunscreen to reapply after several dips in the pond. Even waterproof sunscreen will eventually wear off.
It is also a good idea to have each child wear a UV ray proof swim shirt. These are lightweight tops that block the rays of the sun and prevent rash from contact with wave boards or sand. While you are at it, hats are also a good idea. Baseball caps are easy.
The beach and waves will entertain your kids for only so long. Bring some plastic buckets, shovels, and sand castle molds to keep the kiddos entertained. Put your phone in a plastic bag so you can take photos of their handiwork without fear of dropping it in the sand or water.
Other toys include frisbees, paddles with soft balls, and foam surfboards for catching waves,
Meat tenderizer or vinegar
What? Oh yes! There are lots of creatures in that salt water, including jelly fish. If you or your child happens to get stung, a shake of inexpensive grocery store meat tenderizer on the sting will put the fire out almost immediately. Vinegar can also work.
Extra towels and a change of clothes
At the end of the day you are all going to be wet and sandy. Pack some extra towels that you can use to clean everyone off. Wiping the kids down with a wet, sandy towel just doesn’t work, especially after a quick rinse under the shower. Use those sandy towels as a makeshift enclosure for your kids to change into dry clothes, if there isn’t any shelter.
Dry clothes can make the drive home a more pleasant experience. No one really wants to sit in the car in a wet bathing suit.
Taking the family for a fun day at the beach does not have to be a chore. With a little planning, all can go without a hitch. The tips suggested here can make everything run a little more smoothly. If you like to make frequent trips to the beach, you might consider repacking everything the day after you get home so that you have a jump on the next expedition.