BEACH MUST HAVES FOR FAMILIES
Every summer, for the last six summers, we head to Marblehead, Massachusetts. We leave NJ right at the end of school, and return in time for Labor Day weekend. My husband grew up in this beautiful beach town and my very generous in-laws allow my crew to invade their home each summer. The children do a few weeks of day camp on a special little island and they take a boat to get there each day. After that, we go to the beach- all day, every day. Clouds do not stop us and unless it is pouring or lightening, we can usually be found at our favorite little beach in town.
In the past six summers, I’ve learned a thing or two about long beach days with three little kids. Today, I am dropping all of my favorite gear in one giant guide. I hope you find this resourceful! I broke it down into four categories, and first up is gear.
Investing in solid beach gear is key for me. We are hard on our stuff and use it almost every single day in the summer. These are my tried and true, everyday gear items.
Sportbrella We love to use this tipped into the ground as a tent. It is super simple to set up and if you fill the pockets with rocks or sand, you never have to worry about your umbrella blowing away. It is extremely durable and the perfect place for your child to have lunch or quiet time.
Tommy Bahama Beach Chair I love a good beach chair. You know that meme floating around about how moms can never sit down at the beach? I beg to differ. If you play your cards right and follow along with my tips and tricks, your bum will be sitting comfortably in this chair.
Crazy Creek Chairs These are so versatile! Rather than lugging big chairs for the children, we bring these foldable mat-like chairs. They are also super durable, comfortable, and double as a rest mat. My crazy kids use them to protect their bums when they slide down giant rocks.
Turkish Towels These towels get really soft after a few runs through the washing machine. They are stylish, light weight, double as a sarong, and most importantly are big enough to make a beach chair fort-cover.
Beach Toys/ Tools for Beach Play
Want to keep your children playing, digging and having fun without needing to replace your sand tools every single summer? The materials here are great for a huge age range and will last for many summers to come.
Sturdy Bucket Skip the cute shovel and pail sets. They crack easily and cannot stand up to years of rugged beach play. This industrial bucket will be your friend for sand castles, transporting water, housing crabs, and lots more. Need another chair? Flip it upside down. You’re welcome.
Sand Scoop These are a little pricier than those useless little shovels that come in a pail-set, but they are fantastic for digging, safe for the youngest toddlers, and still very useful for older children.
Sand Shovel These stand-up shovels are great as your children get older. They are sturdy and great for digging.
Colander Slightly strange for a beach list, no? Trust me, this will see tons of action from children of all ages.
Wood Spoons These spoons double as diggers, but can be used to mix ‘soup’ and play the day away.
Condiment Cups I could write an entire post on why these babies make the most versatile toy for children. Get them, bust them out at the beach, you won’t regret it.
The Food Situation
We go to the same little beach every day. There are no facilities, so if we want to eat and drink, we need to bring it with us. We tend to stay on the beach for seven or eight hours on a typical day, so you can bet I carry A LOT of provisions.
YETI Cooler This is the Mercedes of coolers. It took a few years of experimenting with crappy coolers before we got wise and made the investment. This cooler holds up to the hype. If you spend tons of time outdoors, it is worth it. Bonus? They have great customer service. Our zipper busted last year and they sent us a new, upgraded model to replace it.
Bumkins Wet/ Dry Bag I throw all of our dry snacks in here and use the loop/ snap to attach it to the outside of the YETI. This way, everyone can access a dry snack without routing through the cooler.
Bumkins Snack Bags Rather than using plastic, I fill these awesome, washable snack bags with our favorite dry snacks. Remember, these bags are not for food storage, rather they are for snacks you plan to use that day. I also use them for art supplies, and my own personal items.
Sistema Containers These are the containers we use for fruit and veggies. They seal tight and are easy for little hands to open.
Reuse Bottles I originally bought these to use around the house so that the kids would stop using a new glass every time they need a drink, but we love them so much that we use them at the beach as well.
Yumbox Lunch Box This has become my favorite lunch box of all time. In the summer, I pack it with fruit, nuts, cheese, crackers and a small treat. I stow it at the bottom of the cooler and save it for the very end of the day when the kids are cranky and tired and hanging on until dinner.
Art and Quiet Time Bag
If you stay for long beach days like we do, your children are going to need a break from the sun and surf. I keep this bag fully stocked at all times and keep it at the ready for break time. Here is the list of what you’ll find inside.
Small Animals These are great for sand play and water play, but also for independent, pretend play.
Chalk My love affair with chalk continues at the beach. The children like to mix it with sea water to make paint and to color rocks and shells. Best part? It all washes off, leaving no footprint behind.
Clipboard I love a good clip board. The children use this as a hard surface for drawing, making bracelets or even eating.
Cardstock, cut into fourths. We use this for drawing, watercolor painting and chalk paint. It is sturdier than regular paper so damp hands can handle it without tearing. I cut it into fourths to make a little bit go a longer way.
Watercolors We use these on paper, shells, and to paint little toenails that wash off easily at the waters edge.
Colored Pencils I prefer these to crayons that melt and markers that dry out or lose their caps.
Books Some of my favorite beach memories of my kids are when we curled up under the umbrella with towels as blankets and I read to them while they rested or colored. Our favorite books to bring to the beach are Frog and Toad and George and Martha.