How to Day Trip to the Beach with Little Ones

We have lived both 3 hours and 1.5 hours from the coast and we have day tripped with and without little ones.  And despite impressions, day tripping with little ones doesn’t have to be so stressful if you follow my tips.

  1. Go Early
    1. We leave so that we can be on the beach by between 8:30 and 9. This helps you avoid the late rising vacation crowd and the traffic is light this early.
  2. Plan Your Location
    1. Know where local beach access points are and we usually pick one that is the 3rd or 4th down from the main road to the beach.
    2. Make sure there are public restrooms and read reviews for cleanliness and make sure they have a shower
  3. Lunch – Brown Bag It (we eat early at 11)
    1. I pack a cooler with extra milk (I buy the Horizons milk that is in the non-refrigerated section to avoid worrying about if it gets too warm), but I have a huge cooler loaded with the big ice packs that last 8 hours. I bring sandwiches and for the little one rolled turkey and cheese pinwheels.  I bring yogurt that I have frozen in the tube for a treat.  I feed the under 2-year-old in their stroller and we bring and umbrella for shade.  We use the cooler as a table for my 4-year-old.   Our folding chairs (which have back pack straps) have a drink holder.
  4. Sunscreen
    1. The number on the bottle is how long before you should reapply in minutes. I like 50 for the kids (because I find I can reapply every hour, and I prefer the spray kind for everything but the face – I buy the Aveeno baby in the tube for that)
  5. Nap
    1. After lunch the littlest one can nap in her stroller (I have a City Jogger and it will go on the beach easily and lays back flat for her. It also has a huge canopy to cover her from the sun.
    2. We let the older one play until about 2:00 (This is perfect, because now the beach is getting crowded with the post lunch crowd and you are going to leave)
  6. Get Ready to Go Out
    1. Shower Off – you really can shower there with your swimsuit on – just to get the sand off (remember you made sure the place you entered the beach has one)
    2. I then take the kids back to the car where we get them dressed
    3. Style and I take turns in the bathroom getting dressed
    4. I add a touch of make up in the car and I put my hair in a French twist
  7. Visit a Beach Shop or something of Interest
  8. Go Eat (Because who can go to the Beach without seafood) – we go to Dinner at 4 (which is why we ate lunch at 11) – you most likely will get early bird pricing and you are going to beat the crowd
  9. Go Home
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