1) Pack light, but pack right: Nobody likes lugging a bunch of clunky bags, beach chairs and your kids around the sand – so why not fit most of it into a nice large backpack?! My personal go-to is the Indio Convertible Travel Tote. Set one side up for diapers/undies rolled up under some wipes and sunscreen; prep the other side with snacks galore! You and I know a hangry child (or mom) is a recipe for disaster. Some travel-friendly food fuel options include turkey jerky sticks, trail mix bags, tangerines, energy bars and hummus and pretzel packs. To save more arm space, I roll a picnic blanket up tight and attach it to the straps of my backpack in place of bringing beach chairs for each of us.
2) Keep hydrated: Instead of making trips to the drinking fountain or being pushed by your kids for expensive vending machine drinks, try some fun additions to your water bottle. I love freezing pieces of fruit into ice cube trays. The kids favorites are chopped grapes and strawberries, or straight-up apple juice ice cubes. My favorite beach beverage is a large water bottle with mint ice cubes and chopped watermelon.
3) Test toy-free activities: Raise your hand if you’ve almost lost your marbles packing up muddy sandcastle building toys! Save yourself some sanity and keep the toys at home. Sample out some new beach traditions like tic-tac-toe in the sand with sticks, scooping for sandcrabs with your hands, making sand angels, or good old I –Spy, beach edition.
4) Dress in layers: I use my same game-plan here that I do at the airport, layering up my kids and myself for almost every outfit we will need. Bottom is bathing suits, covered by shorts and a tee, towel-robes tied around the waist with hats on our heads. By towel-robe, I am talking about a hooded terry bathrobe – trust me, the kids will love them and you will love the added convenience!
5) Order dinner ahead with some quick and easy options for a back of the car picnic to make leaving a little sweeter. Saying goodbye to the beach can be the absolute worst for your kids, I am all about that timer life and then having some family-friendly restaurant go-tos at all our local beaches. Generally I give a 15 minute heads-up and I give the kids the option to come help me order their meals. There is almost always an option for sandwiches, sliders with fruit salad, pizza or more close-by and all can be packed to-go for a picnic (insert picnic blanket for use #2!) in the back of the car before a long drive home - where hopefully they fall asleep, because gosh darnit, you nailed that beach day!
Blog post courtesy of Jessica Stamm, dietician and mom of two.