Our new favorite weekly family tradition is to pack up dinner and trade dishes for washing off sandy bums when we get back from the beach. In the summer we’ll spend full days at the beach but, for now, a few hours in the late afternoon is perfect. We live about half an hour from the coast in Orange County and realized when getting out the door is easier, we are A LOT more likely to go to the beach.
We’ve gotten better at beach trips by having a designated beach bag packed (most of the time) and then we just have to load up the car. Here’s what we usually bring on any given beach trip:
Packing list for a beach day with kids
Beach bag: includes sunscreen (a spray for body and a stick for faces), a few random toys for Westley (mostly Hot Wheel cars), baby powder (great for getting sand off of damp bodies), diapers, wipes, and Westley’s swim diaper/ swim suit (for the rare occasion he wants to get in the water). If we aren’t packing a cooler full of snacks I’ll also throw some snacks in this bag.Cooler bag: Some kind of dinner. Sometimes this is just muffins and chopped veggies. On this particular trip we made cheese + turkey sandwiches and packed some grapes, veggies, and chips to bring along. I keep everything cool with a couple of frozen Capri Suns that the kids are happy to drink once they’ve thawed. Beach toy basketBeach Quilt Boogie boards x2Beach chairs x2 (we’ve had these cheap ones from Target for the last 4 years with no complaints) Towels Stanley cups full of some drink combo (current favorite is True Lime Black Cherry Limeade, 1 can of lime Bubbly sparkling water, and a dash of orange vanilla Mio water drops – mixed and then filled to the top with chilled water)Optional: Beach tent (I don’t bring this when I’m taking the kids to the beach by myself but we had my brother and Ben on this trip so it made the cut)
All kids are big enough now to walk from the car to our spot on the beach by themselves but, when they weren’t, I also toted our stroller. I’d load it up with bags, towels and a young toddler and drag it on the back wheels across the sand. This was also helpful if I needed to run back to the car to grab a second load because I could leave the toddler strapped into the stroller without worrying about him running away (I could always see him but having him not be mobile for 45 seconds is helpful). We’d also use it to walk around on the harder sand to lull a baby/young toddler to sleep if we happened to be there during nap time (throw a blanket over the stroller to block out light, turn on a white noise app on your phone, and whip out a bottle). When baby #4 arrives it will probably be time to invest in a wagon.
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