Heading to the beach is always at the top of my family’s summer to-do list. But sometimes organising all of the right equipment, food and small people can take a fair bit of preparation and patience.
I’ve shared beach times with my family while living in Singapore, Thailand and now Australia, so I feel like I’ve got beach prep down to a fine art – here are some of my favourite tips to make sure beach time equals fun time.
Planning is key
Yes, it would be fun to decide to spontaneously decide on a beach trip – but once you have kids, it becomes clear that we aren’t able to live life like it’s an Elvis movie. Put in the planning. It’s 100 times easier to pack a bag at home than to source things at the beach.
Best tip is to get bags ready the night before, including your sun shelter or umbrella, shoes, towels, toys and hats. It will mean you get away easier and earlier in the morning - no one wants to be hunting for the missing goggles or that second flipper at the last minute…
Don’t skimp on the towels
Towels and sarongs can play a lot of different roles – they’re not just for drying off. At various points of the day you’ll be using yours to mark out your family’s territory on the sand, as a tablecloth, to wipe salt water out of eyes and excess sunscreen off hands, to mop up spills, and (if you’re veeeery lucky) to nap under. Don’t bother thinking kids will share a towel either - that won’t help when they come out of the water shivering.
I always have one for each family member AND an extra one or two in the car boot. If you like your towels to be super-handy and also look beautiful, check out these quick-drying options for adults and kids.
Respect the sun
Being at the beach without all the sun-protection essentials can be annoying at best, and a health risk at worst. What works for me is having a dedicated beach bag that never gets totally unpacked during the warmer months. The bag always contains sunscreen and hats, and I re-pack our rashies and old t-shirts into it, once they’ve been washed after a day at the beach.
The right footwear is also important, if you want to avoid hopping over hot sand, so think about some light and water-friendly beach shoes for adults and kids – they’ll also come in handy for exploring rock pools.
Don’t fight the sand
You will not win in the war against sand. Instead, pack some essentials to help you feel like you’re (slightly) in control over just how much of the beach you leave with. Protect keys and phones with zip lock bags, take wet wipes for your hands and face, and leave a change of clothes in the car so you can ditch or cover up sandy swimmers for the drive home. One beach bag essential for me is baby powder – does anyone else use this? Sprinkling it on the kids’ arms and legs will help you brush off excess sand more easily, so you don’t trek it home in the car with you.
Bring the fun
Depending on how old your kids are, expect to get involved in their crazy, beachy adventures. Whether that means hunting for shells, showing off your cricket skills, or building an entire sand village, get involved! It’s a great idea to have options available, so keep some balls or beach toys (such as these scrunchable, lightweight buckets) packed in your ready-to-go beach bag. This is, after all, the perfect time for everyone to let loose for some sandy, outdoorsy fun – and to make some new family memories along the way.