Plan your Trip
Before you grab your beach towels and flip-flops, a little planning goes a long way to making sure that your family has the best day at the beach. Pre-kids, going to the beach required about as much preparation as going for a walk. Just toss a cooler in the back of your pickup truck and meet up with your buddies for a day in the sun. Things are a bit different now. You’ve traded in your pickup truck for the more family-friendly SUV or, gasp, a minivan! Just going to the grocery store is a production, much less a day at the beach. Let’s dive into a few ways that you can plan a day at the beach that will be carefree and memorable for the entire family.
Location, Location, Location!
You should select a beach that fits your family’s lifestyle and activity level. Families with younger children might find that a quieter location will offer the ability for the little ones to get acclimated to the water without having to worry about ending up in the middle of another group’s game of catch. Those with older kids might actually find a more crowded beach as an option for teenagers to meet up with their friends. What teenager really wants to hang out with Mom and Dad anyway?
So what happens when you get to the beach and it’s absolutely packed? Or the beach is closed due to unsafe water conditions? You can’t disappoint a car full of kids. When you select your beach location for the day, have another option in mind. In some locations, that much easier said than done, but it’s well worth your time to research alternatives to your prime destination. Whether that’s on the same body of water or just a lake within a reasonable driving distance, have a backup location so that you don’t end up taking the kids back home to run through the lawn sprinkler again.
Allow for Downtime
While a 10-hour workday might be okay at the office, your day at the beach should be as relaxing as possible. Especially if you have small children or if the temperatures are particularly warm, remember to spread out your beach activities throughout your entire day. Plan some time for everyone, adults, and children, to take a little nap or simply relax every few hours. This will prolong your day and make the entire experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Did You Remember the Mustard?
Okay, so forgetting the mustard for your sandwiches wouldn’t be the end of the world, but forgetting the sunscreen is a surefire way to ruin the day…and likely the rest of the week. As you start to prepare for your beach day, make a list of all the essential items that your family will need for the trip. It’s often helpful to gather up these items well beforehand. That way, if you are out of sunscreen, or even mustard for that matter, you’ll have plenty of time to order more before you head to the beach. In reality, depending on what types of activities you intend to partake in, spending a day at the beach can be one of the most simple and cost-effective ways to enjoy some quality time as a family.
What If It Rains?
You’ve planned this day for a month. You took time off of work. Your minivan is packed with everything that you’ll need for a week on a desert island. Your family day at the beach is finally here. There’s only one problem: it’s raining. Not a passing shower or a little drizzle. This is a full-on downpour. It will be a challenge just to drive to the beach, much less spend any time outdoors. The day is pretty much ruined. Or is it? Sure, you won’t be catching rays while digging your toes in the sand, but you have a few options to save the day. You could try locating an indoor water park. On a rainy day, you’ll likely have plenty of company, but these indoor playgrounds are a blast for children of all ages. Even if there isn’t a water park in your general vicinity, you could consider finding a local hotel with an indoor pool. It might not be the beach or even a giant indoor waterpark, but kids enjoy swimming no matter where they are. As a benefit for parents, you won’t have to clean the sand out of your vehicle when you head back home.
Document your day in pictures. No matter where you end up spending your day, your phone’s camera is likely as outstanding as the phone itself. Just remember to be careful as sand and water can ruin your prized possession. There are phone cases made specifically to protect your device should you accidentally drop it in the water or if your kids decide to bury it in the sand. It might be wise to invest in one of these cases before you embark on your trip.
Try Something New
A day at the beach typically means sandcastles, splashing in the waves, and lying in the sand. However, there are several other activities that you can enjoy with your family during your day at the beach. Many beach locations offer the ability to rent water sports equipment. For the more adventurous family with older children, consider renting jet skis for a few hours. If you have younger children or would rather have a more relaxing experience, then renting a paddleboat might be the way to go. Not only will paddleboats offer a way to navigate the water at a relatively slow speed as compared to a jet ski, but the larger vessels can accommodate anywhere from 2-4 riders. This could allow for your entire family to head out on the water together. Not to be confused with paddleboating, in which the riders use foot pedals much like a bicycle, paddle boarding might be the happy medium among all three of these activities. Paddleboarding is a great way to get exercise and can be utilized in activities ranging from yoga and fishing to cruising and surfing. This versatile piece of equipment comes in a variety of sizes for users of all skill levels and abilities. Paddleboards.com features reviews of inflatable standup paddleboards, or iSUPs, that are more easily transported and stored than their traditional paddleboard cousins.
Whether you enjoy a little time relaxing in the sand or a new adventure on a paddleboard, there is something for everyone to do at the beach. With a little planning and some basic internet research, you can be sure that your family’s beach outing will be a day that you won’t soon forget.