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I realize now that is is probably silly to expect a relaxing vacation on a vacation with littles. But before we left for our trip, I was thinking just that. Sure, it’s not the same as before kids. But it’ll be great! At least we’ll be at the beach!
And that’s the mantra that I kept saying while we were there. At least we’re at the beach. Because as peaceful as the ocean is, it definitely was more work than I realized.
Honestly, though, I can’t complain, because, hello? We get to go on vacation. And it was a great trip – I’m so glad we were able to get that time together as a family. Few casualties and everyone being relatively happy marks it a successful trip in my book.
Planning a trip of your own? Here are some tips for taking your babies to the beach:
1. Go with a group. We went with another family, plus two awesome just-out-of-college ladies we know and trust to help. It is so tremendously important to have eyes on the kids at all times near the water. Plus, it was great to have extra hands as we carted a lot of stuff (and then kids, too) to the beach and back. These ladies kindly babysat for us so we could get a couple nights out, which was a huge bonus.
2. Bring your own shade. The canopy we borrowed from a friend became an absolute lifesaver, with constant coverage, plus we rented umbrellas. (Here’s a similar, and inexpensive one.) Be sure to check local beach rules about big beach items like canopies, tents, and umbrellas, though. Myrtle Beach, for example, has pretty strict rules about what and were you can set up.
3. Beach chairs win over towels. Since they don’t just lay on the ground getting absolutely covered with sand. They make for a much better spot to sit.
4. Beach wagons make life easier. With all the stuff there was to tote to the beach, including our kids, I was so glad we had our wagon with us. Major bonus points: it also became a perfect napping spot for the baby! This one is almost exactly the one we have – it’s foldable too!
5. Bring snacks and water. Unless you want to be going back and forth between your house and the beach. A big collapsible cooler is helpful because it takes up less space once everything’s gone.
6. Use sunscreen, and keep reapplying! Babies have incredibly sensitive skin and are not used to the UV exposure. Slather in sunscreen, and reapply after an hour or so, especially if they are playing in the water. This brand is our favorite, and I usually go for lotion rather than spray because I always miss spots with the spray!
7. Use hats and rash guards. Again, sun protection is key. My littles lived in their hats at the beach. I love our hats because they have a strap that makes them hard to pull off.
8. Don’t forget you, too. It’s easy to make watching the kids the only priority, and forget to protect your skin and hydrate as well. Make sure you have sunscreen on, and you drink plenty of water! This moisturizer with SPF is my go-to.
9. Utilize, but don’t depend on floats and lifeguards. Our toddler lived in the Puddle Jumper while we were at the beach. And it was nice to have lifeguards nearby. But the ocean is not the pool, and rip tides happen. So make sure you are with them when they approach the water!
10. Sand gets everywhere. And I mean…everywhere. Keep an eye out for bottles, pacifiers, etc. And be sure to wash off well after you’re done at the beach.
What tips do you have for taking toddlers and/or babies to the beach? How do you make it more of a relaxing experience (if you can)?