We recently got back from our first beach trip with both kids. We went to Bethany Beach,DE with our friends and their 21 month old daughter and we had the BEST time. We learned a lot about traveling with kids, multiple families, beach gear and how to balance everything and still manage to enjoy ourselves, too! We joked that by the last day we’d figure out exactly how to best do the beach with kids and I think that rings true. Today I’m sharing a few of the things I learned and tips for anyone heading to the beach this summer. We can’t wait to go back!!
This is the key to a successful beach trip! If you think you’re going to spend your days lounging on the beach for hours, reading your new beach read while the kids play you’ll be greatly disappointed when you learn that’s not your reality! We did pack magazines and books and maybe read one article during nap time…. but not expecting to have that time really helped with the mindset.
Avoid the beach crowds and prime sun and head to the beach in the morning before heading in for lunch & naps and then come back later in the day. I love the late afternoon on the beach – most people are packing up for the day and it’s just much calmer, less hot and it’s a great time for happy hour :) Bonus points to dads who get up early to set up beach chairs & umbrellas to claim a spot! We quickly learned that the max beach time for both our girls was 2 hours. This schedule actually worked out perfect, we’d leave our set-up out while we went home for lunch and easily came back after nap time for our second round of fun. This meant dinner was usually later but it was worth it!
Heading into our trip we thought we’d cook most meals at home and then go out to eat one night. Eating out with kids as we all know can be a hassle but we quickly learned that we did NOT feel like cooking and cleaning all the time while on vacation. We did carry out one night, cooked oven fajitas one night and then went out to dinner our last night. This was the perfect mix! Highly suggest the Dogfish Head Brew Pub in Rehoboth as it’s extremely kid friendly but also offers something for the adults (craft beers + delicious food)!
Put sunscreen on before bathing suits so you don’t miss any spots and it has a chance to absorb before getting wet. Don’t forget to reapply (a quick dusting of talc-free baby powder helps remove sand before reapplying)!
If at all possible rent a house or condo vs. staying in a hotel. It’s just sooooo much better when traveling with kids! It’s also great to find one that has umbrellas and chairs so you don’t have to bring your own.
Baby pools are KEY for kids that are not quite ready for the ocean but still want to play in the water. Our friends had this one and we saw a dozen other families with the same one. It’s the perfect size for one child (a little small for two) but made for a great play area for Camille. She played in it endlessly!
No matter what your snack philosophy is, do yourself a favor and allow ALL.THE.SNACKS. at the beach, just trust me on this one! I nursed Flora on the beach with my cover but also packed her an extra bottle too for when she started to get fussy – it bought us extra time and kept her happy!
Our rookie mistake #1 was skipping out on the beach cart. We were THOSE PEOPLE all hauling tons of bags and gear to the beach every day. I want to get this one for all future beach trips.
You definietly want to bring umbrellas to create a shaded area for yourself and the kids. We used this tent for Flora and it was perfect! When she wasn’t sitting in our lap in the shade playing with her toys she was rolling around (her favorite thing to do) or sitting up in her shaded beach tent. I put my
Keep it SIMPLE. You really only need a few buckets and shovels to play with and dig. Let the kids experience the beach!
It’s super important to have a go-with-the-flow mentality when you’re vacationing with kids and other families. We tried to be flexible with bedtime but tried to stick with our nap routine as much as we could since over tired and over stimulated toddlers and babies = no fun.
It will take you approximately 30 minutes longer than normal to get OUT of the house when heading to the beach or anywhere while on vacation for that matter. Just plan accordingly!!
Stay long enough at the beach to make all the packing and traveling worth it. We all decided that 4 nights would have been the perfect amount of time – giving us 3 full beach days and two half days.