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Living in Southern California has it’s perks. One of our family’s favorite summer activities is going to the beach. Going on the weekends is always best for us because having Fernando there means an extra pair of eyes and hands to help me out. But most of the time, it’s just me and the kids. The girls are old enough to help out now, but it’s still hard to bring absolutely everything to make our experience a perfectly perfect day. After years of taking little ones and struggling to hold everything, I’ve been able to minimize our list down to basics and make it easier on myself. Here are the absolute essentials that you need to make your beach day a great one.
- Towels and clothes. I pack one towel for each person. I throw one extra towel in the trunk for an emergency, or in one case, one time a giant wave once came out of nowhere and drenched absolutely everything we owned. We had nothing dry except the towel in the car. Because of that, I pack a bag of clothes for the kids to change into and also leave that in the trunk. I don’t bring beach chairs if I go by myself with the kids. They are bulky and heavy to carry across the sand while herding little kids. I rarely sit while at the beach anyway. I’m constantly keeping tabs on the kids or playing with them, or in some cases, saving them from waves.
- An umbrella. You will need shade. When the girls were little, I never brought one because it was hard to carry. But I quickly realized that without shade, we got more dehydrated and tired from sun exposure. And let’s face it. If you go by yourself, you may miss a spot of skin on your back with the sunblock and you’ll leave with red burned patches on you. True story. It’s happened to me. The shade will at least lessen that problem.
- Water and snacks. Water, water, water. Sometimes I throw a couple juice boxes for the kids, but ultimately water is what you need. If you freeze them the night before, they will be icy cold for the beach which will be refreshing after being in the sun. I pack easy snacks like chips, beef jerky, grapes. Sometimes I’ll pack a pbj sandwich for the kids. Because they will have sandy hands, snacks that can be grabbed with two fingers is best. I like to pack paper cups for easy snacking.
- Sand toys and sunblock. Self explanatory. Toys to keep kids occupied and sunblock so you don’t burn to a crisp. I make the kids carry the toys. If they don’t want to, we don’t bring them.
When I pack for the beach, I use a backpack for easy carrying and pack diapers and wipes, sunblock, frozen water bottles wrapped in a plastic bag (so they don’t get everything wet), my wallet, keys and phone, and I throw the snacks on top. One backpack to carry makes it so much easier. If your kids can carry their own towels or the sand toys, assign that job. I used to get a big reusable bag and roll up the towels in it so I only had one bag of towels, but now the kids are old enough to carry their own. The umbrella can be carried in one hand and the extra clothes stay in the car.
Side note: when I remember to, I pack a bristle paint brush and baby powder in the car. Sprinkle som powder on to the kids and brush it off with the paintbrush when you get ready to leave the beach, it takes all the sand off. True story! My kids hate sitting in sand for an hour or two on the ride home so I brush them off before we come home.
And that’s it! Have a great time at the beach! Your littles will love it!