We recently took a family vacation to the beach for a week. I use the word vacation lightly because anyone with young kids knows a day at the beach isn’t relaxing for mom and dad. These 21 beach hacks for a fun family day can make it a little less stressful though.
If you are planning a beach trip soon, be sure to try out some of these tips and tricks. They are super simple and require little preparation so you can focus on making memories as a family and having fun in the sun.
21 Beach Hacks
Hack #1: Set a Timer for Applying Sunscreen
Sunscreen is SO important, not just for kids but for adults too. One of the best tricks I’ve learned over the years is to set a timer for every 60 minutes so you don’t forget to reapply. No one wants their beach trip ruined with a sunburn. Here are a few of our go-to sunscreens:
A tip from my esthetician is to always make sure your first coat of sunscreen is lotion. Then you can use the easy sprays when reapplying every hour for the best sun protection.
Hack #2: Use a Beauty Blender to Apply Sunscreen to the Face
Most kids hate putting sunscreen on their faces. Mine are okay with the stick sunscreens, but what they like even better is using a beauty sponge to apply it. This is an easy way to have them “help” apply their own sunscreen. I don’t know about you, but my toddlers but up less of a fight with they get to do it themselves. Next time you are struggling with yours, try this trick.
Hack #3: Freeze Drinks and Snack Pouches
One way to keep your drinks and fruit pouches from getting too hot too quickly is to freeze them halfway before heading to the beach. The hot sun will defrost them just in time for your kids to enjoy a refreshment when they need to cool down. This is perfect for bottled water, juice boxes, and even applesauce pouches.
Hack #4: Set Up a Baby Pool for Small Kids
Do you have really young kids that might not be a fan of the ocean and waves, but still love the water? A simple solution is to bring a baby pool and fill it with water. You can put the pool under a tent near your chairs to let your little one enjoy splashing in the water without having to go into the ocean. This one is pretty awesome because it comes with the tent already attached!
Hack #5: Transport Everything in a Beach Wagon
A beach wagon is a must for hauling loads of gear to and from a condo or beach house. If you’re anything like us, it’s hard to pack light with young kids when spending the day by the water. We pile all our things into the wagon which makes it so much easier to transport across the sand. Instead of carrying an ice chest, tons of bags, toys, and snacks, you can load it all into a wagon for one easy trip.
Hack #6: Create a Sand-Free Play Area
I saw this beach hack on Facebook a few months back and have been dying to try it. I’m sure you’ve already seen this beach hack on TikTok or Instagram, but if not you can use a fitted bed sheet to create a large play area with sides to keep the sand out. Simply use your bags, ice chest, or chairs to hold the four corners in place and it creates a sand-free play area.
Hack #7: Pack a Battery Powered Spray Fan
One thing you have to pack for a hot day at the beach is a battery-powered spray fan or mister. Being in the sun all day is a sure-fire way to get overheated, but with a fan, you can instantly cool off. I love both this one and this one. These are also great for hot summer days at home or sporting events!
Hack #8: Make a Hand Rinsing Station
The worst thing is when you are covered in sand and you need clean hands for something. Creating a hand washing station is the perfect solution. Designate one large bucket (those sand toys really do come in handy) as the area where everyone will wash their hands. No one can play in this..its only for dipping handsto clean them.
Hack #9: Bring on the Sand Toys
My motto is the more sand toys the better. We bring them all so if my kids get bored with one they can move on to another one. Our favorites are the ones made by Melissa and Doug, sandcastle molds, and this sand and water wheel.
Hack #10: Pick the Perfect Beach Bag
The best beach bags are ones that can be hosed off when leaving the beach. My favorites are Bogg bags for towels and personal items and mesh bags to hold all the beach toys. I also love the Bogg Burr bags which transform your bag into an ice chest.
To see what I keep in my own personal beach bag check out this summer essentials post.
Hack #11: Extra Sun Protection
You don’t want to rely solely on sunscreen for protection from harmful UV rays. Make sure you are dressing yourself and your family in hats, sunglasses, and SPF shirts, and beach clothes. Also, it’s a great idea to set up umbrellas or tents for added shade and protection from those UV rays.
Hack #12: Bring an iPad for Rest Time
While we try to monitor screen time as much as possible, if you’re planning on spending an extended amount of time on the beach it may be a good idea to bring an Ipad in a waterproof case. This is great if you want your kids to take a break and have a “rest time” under the tent.
Hack #13: Remove Sand with Baby Powder
If you’ve never tried using baby powder to remove sand at the end of a beach day, add it to your packing list. Just rub it all over your arms and legs before leaving the beach and the sand will easily come off.
Hack #14: Practice Water Safety
Water safety should be your top priority at the beach, especially if you have young kids. We obviously don’t let our kids anywhere near the water without an adult present, but for that extra added level of safety, we make Grayson wear a puddle jumper. Audrey is still too small for one, so I like this safety vest for smaller kids.
Hack #15: Don’t Forget the Tunes
A day at the beach isn’t complete without some good music. I love my portable Bluetooth speaker because it is waterproof and really loud. One good trick if you have young kids is to download a white noise app and play it through the speaker if they are napping on the beach.
Hack #16: Bring a Portable Potty
The last thing you want is to be stuck on the beach when your toddler needs to potty. We have this portable potty with the bags that we normally keep in the car. When we are headed out to the beach, we throw it in the bag. In an emergency situation, we can put the kids inside the pop-up tent and let them use the potty.
Hack #17: Bug Spray
Depending on the time of year and time of day, you may deal with pesky bugs while trying to relax on the beach. I always keep a small can of OFF in my beach bag in case they get too bad.
Hack #18: Use a Snack Spinner
These snack spinners are a must-have if you have young kids. They are perfect for the beach, in the car, or anywhere your kids may want to eat snacks. I love that they have five different compartments to hold a variety of foods, but only one section opens at a time to prevent everything from spilling.
Hack #19: Pack a Trash Bag
Pack a trash bag to use at your beach station throughout the day. You won’t have to worry about the wind blowing trash away or having to walk to find a can. Just tie it to one of your beach chairs and when it’s time to go home throw it in the nearest dumpster.
Hack #20: Bring Extra Everything
This one should go without saying. If you have young kids you know you should always be prepared. I like to make sure I back double of everything: water diapers, clean clothes, drinks, snacks, etc. If your kids need it, you should have extra just in case.
Hack #21: Hide your Valuables
If you are bringing money or other valuables to the beach, you want to keep them safe. I have heard of some people hiding valuables in a baby diaper. I also found this sunscreen bottle safe which is another great place to hide your things.
The next time you head to the beach, be sure to try out some of these beach hacks. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for lots more tips and tricks related to making mom-life a little easier! Thanks so much for reading!