With this beach trip checklist, your day at the beach will be perfect.
Summer vacations are meant for fun day trips to the beach! But when you have kids, it can be hard to remember everything you need to go. And if you forget something important, it could mean your day ends early. I recently took my kids to the beach, and I created a beach trip checklist to help me remember everything I needed to make the day perfect.
Beach Trip Checklist #1: Plan the Food.
All that fresh air, running around, splashing, cool water and hot sun? My kids were hungry! So you have to plan to feed them, even if you’re not planning on a full meal at the beach. Pack lots of snacks.
Don’t forget the drinks!! You’ll want plenty of water, and maybe juice or ice tea.
I packed cut vegetables, crackers and cheese, and granola bars. I also packed sandwiches and pudding, so that we could picnic lunch at the beach. I also made sure that we had our refillable water bottles filled and ready to go. And I bought a pack of water bottles as well, just in case.
Consider whether or not you need or want to keep your food and drinks cool. If you do, you’ll need to pack your stuff in a cooler, and that means you’ll also need to think about carrying it. If you’ve got a cooler on wheels, you may want to use it. Otherwise, try a thermal cooler bag. You can get them from grocery stores, or buy them special at a department store.
I knew we’d eat our picnic lunch within an hour of arriving at the beach, so I didn’t pack it in a cooler. I just used a backpack to make carrying it all easy.
Beach Trip Checklist #2: The Clothes.
Obviously, you need your swim suits and towels. That’s a given. So before the day of your trip, make sure you track down all the swim suit pieces, and try them on, especially if this is the first trip of the season. You don’t want to be surprised at the beach if someone’s suit no longer fits them.
How long are you planning to stay at the beach? If you’re only going for part of the day, bring a change of clothes. I recommend bringing slightly warmer clothes, such as t-shirts with sleeves rather than tank tops, and longer shorts or skirts. After a day in and out of the water, kids can feel colder than normal.
If you’re going to spend the entire day at the beach, perhaps bring pajamas. Your kids will be all ready for bed as soon as you get home, and they may even fall asleep on the ride home.
We brought extra towels to wipe feet on. And I put some blankets in my van as well, so the kids could snuggle in after our day. And we have a special picnic blanket, with a waterproof bottom and a fabric top, that we can either use a table cloth or to spread out on the grass.
Beach Trip Checklist #3: Toys for the Beach.
Beaches are fun places to play with the sand! So don’t forget all the sand toys. We have ours in a great tote bag that’s easily cleanable and carry-able. Pails, shovels, sand molds, rakes and sieves turn sand-castle building into a work of art.
But playing on the sand doesn’t just mean building sandcastles. You could bring a Frisbee or a beach ball to play catch. Or a volleyball for beach volleyball.
And there’s all kinds of water-based toys to bring too. There’s floaties and blown up toys to splash around with, flippers and goggles to swim with, or maybe you and your kids have bigger toys. You could try a raft, canoe or paddle boat too.
For some more unconventional fun, bring some bubble solution and wands. Or squirt guns and reusable water balloons, for an old fashioned water fight.
Beach Trip Checklist #4: Safety Stuff.
If you have swimmers that aren’t that skilled in the water, make sure you bring life jackets or personal flotation devices. Water wings aren’t really the best substitute, and always make sure an adult is close by for your weaker swimmers.
And all that fun in the sun requires frequent, regular application of sun screen! For my family, I use a spray on, water resistant sun screen, that’s 40+ SPF.
If you’re at a beach near woods or marshy areas, you may also want some bug spray. Ticks and flies aren’t fun to deal with, so best to just try to prevent bites.
On our recent trip to the beach, one of my daughters got stung by a bee. I was glad I always carry my first aid kit! Even if you don’t have a full first aid kit, at least bring along some antiseptic spray or gel, and bandages. Scraped knees and elbows can happen anywhere.
Beach Trip Checklist #5: Somewhere to sit.
If you’re going for the day, you want to make sure you’re comfortable. So bring along what will help keep you comfortable.
I brought our lawn chairs. A friend of mine brought a sun tent for shade. You may want some pillows, or a beach umbrella.
One cool idea is to use a fitted sheet. When you place heavier items in the corners, you can stretch the sheet out with the corners and sides up, creating a little nook, that helps keep sand, grass, bugs and other annoyances out of your sitting and eating area.
Beach Trip Checklist #6: Carrying it all.
So now that you’ve got all the stuff gathered up and you’re ready to go, you’ve got one last thing to figure out. How are you getting all the stuff and the kids from your vehicle to the beach itself?
Unless you want to make more than one trip, maybe bring along a wagon or large stroller to help transport everything. As a bonus, the wagon or stroller makes a great place to stash a kid if they need a time out, or a safe place to sit or nap. It also creates a visual signal that wherever you set up is “home base” while you’re at the beach.
Going to the beach is fun, as long as you’ve got a beach trip checklist.
When you’ve got children involved, you’ve got to plan ahead for everything. Make your beach day a day to remember for all the right reasons. Use this checklist to help you remember everything you need.