We are very fortunate to live so close to the beach. If I tell you how close, some of you may get a little jealous. One of the many perks of living here in Florida, aka Paradise. Going to the beach prior to having kids was a breeze. We didn’t have to think about nap time, schedules, diapers, toys, snacks…you know the drill. Before we could just hop in the car at what ever time we got up, armed with a towel, chair and some sunscreen and we were on the way. If we really wanted to go nuts, we’d pack the cooler full of beer. Ahhh the good old days.
Now its completely and utterly different. It is like a good hour and a half process to get ready. From preparing snacks, lunch, drinks to getting the bag ready for a family of 3. You would think we were going away for the weekend with the kind of preparing I do. But if you are not smart with your preps, you will suffer! So since the summer months are quickly approaching (uhh still can’t believe it’s already MAY!) I thought I would pass on some of my helpful tips for smart packing when going to the beach.
Having the Right Beach Bag is KEY!
It’s all about the bag. I tried the cute, wicker weaved ones and by the time I got to the spot to set up shop, I wanted to throw it in the ocean and never see it again in my life. It hurts your arm, and you basically loose a hand because it will inevitably fall off your shoulder a million times. I chose to use a backpack. Not the most beach-cutesy bag on the planet but you can shove a ton of stuff in their and throw it on your back while giving you two hands free to carry other things or reign in a beach-crazed toddler.
Back packs fit pretty much everything you need from towels, sunscreen, extra shirts, toys, money and keys.
And yes, it needed all those !! points. This includes sun screen for both you and your kids. I suggest the spray or foam kind of sun screen – it’s easy to apply both. Along with sun screen, an umbrella or some kind of shade tent for the kids. The summer sun can get brutal and your kids might like a break from it for a little while they eat or if you’re lucky, nap. Along with a shade protector and sunscreen, a hat can do wonders too. Baseball, sun hat, visor – whatever your style is, make sure everyone in your family has one.
Food & Drinks
I invested in a compact cooler on wheels and let me tell you, best $25 I spent! Pack it with some ice, throw in waters, variety of snacks, fruit (already cut up) in Tupperware, and sandwiches. The cooler doubles as an extra hand too – you can stack a couple chairs (depending how big they are) on it and wheel it right on to the beach.
Those are the 3 main things to worry about when thinking of spending the day at the beach. I know some might think of over packing so you always have everything “just in case” but I learned that the hard way, and you will end up using more energy just carrying all that crap and loose out on some of the fun the beach has in store for you!
An couple extra tips from The Anti-Mom:
Baby Powder – this is the biggest lifesaver you could ever bring to the beach! Cleaning off my sandy toddler after a day of rolling around in the sand is the biggest pain in the ass. After showering her off, there is still sand stuck in places. That’s where the baby powder comes in. Generously sprinkle baby powder all over then dust it off. Like magic, the sand is gone from all the nooks and crannies!
Reusable Diaper – I thought it was great using those Huggies Lil Swimmers, but damn are they expensive and for the amount of times we are in the beach or pool, I go through way too many. This season I invested in I Play Reusable Swim Diaper. For only $9.99 (cheaper if you buy it at Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us with a coupon) you can have a diaper that you can throw in the washer after using it. I spent almost $13 on my last pack of swim diapers and its almost gone. Ridiculous! You just snap these on and good for the whole day!
Outdoor Water-resistant Sheet – I bought this one on sale at Babies R Us (Multipurpose Clean Sheet Ground Cover) for bout $6 and it was the best deal I’ve found in a while. I lay it down for the kids to sit on instead of a towel that gets soggy and full of sand. When you’re ready to leave, just roll it up and pack it away. It resists water and you can shake the sand right off!
Remember – pack smart and you will get the most out of your summer beach day! and if you want to make life THAT much easier…totally invest in one of these.