Yesterday when we were driving home from our mommy group there was a man with flippers strapped to the back of his motor bike, a towel under his bottom, and his swimming trunks were dripping from the swim he had just taken. Here in Athens, it is officially swimming weather, and today I want to talk about taking a day trip to the beach.
Growing up in Southern California, the beach has always been an extremely fond summer memory. Now that we live near an ocean again, Travis and I have made it a priority to make this free and fun destination a pleasant memory for our girls as well. But if you want to have truly enjoyable days resting on the shore while your little ones build sand (or in our case, pebble) castles, there are a few things you need to think about in order to maximize fun and reduce sunburn and fatigue.
If you carefully select high quality items you should be able to use them over and over again for several summers to come, so don’t always buy the cheapest beach stuff you can find. This is especially true when it comes to beach chairs! We have had so many break. Of course it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on beach toys, which will inevitably break no matter what you do. If you are planning on making the beach a regular destination, take time to think about which items you really want to invest in, and which ones are not as high of a priority on your list.
Here are the 10 things you should consider taking for a day at the beach:
1. A Cooler. This is a perfect place to keep your water and snacks. Remember that keeping hydrated while at the beach is going to make a huge difference when it comes to fighting off that beach drain that can so easily occur.
2. Sunscreen. I cannot emphasize the importance of sunscreen enough, especially when it comes to young children and chromatically challenged people such as myself (yes, that’s just another way of saying I’m super white). In fact, here is a whole article about the stuff and how to use it properly.
3. Sun hats. This is especially important for the kids, although Travis and I wear them too. It helps not to have your head beat down by the sun all day, plus our kids are blonde and fair, and tend to get sunburnt on their heads if we don’t try to keep the hats on for most of the day.
4. An Umbrella. You need one of these for the same reason you need a sun hat, to escape the intense rays of the sun. If you are planning on being at the beach all day, it is really important to have part of that time out of direct rays. Now there are even nifty umbrellas with SPF built in.
5. Towels and mats. For laying down, drying off, and relaxing of course. I usually lay down while the kids are playing on the shore. If they are in the water, I am in the water with them the whole time, since they are both still small and haven’t mastered swimming.
6. Snacks and water. I already mentioned these in the cooler area of this post, but they are worth mentioning again. Stay hydrated and take time out for a snack. This will be especially important to your kids, because trust me, if they are playing at the beach, they are working up an appetite!
7. Beach chairs. We can usually get away with one or two, and take turns sitting in it. It’s nice to get up off of the floor for a little bit. It’s also a great place to have the kids take turns eating because they are less likely to scoop a handful of sand into their sandwich if they are slightly elevated up off of the ground.
8. Water shoes. Since our beaches have pebbles instead of sand, water shoes are an absolute must if we don’t want to end up with raw feet. There are also a lot of sea urchins in the water that we all want to avoid stepping on.
9. Swimmies. If you are going to be somewhere without a lot of waves, swimmies can be extremely fun. Just make sure you are always with your children when they are in the water, because swimmies don’t prevent against drowning. In fact you have to be more careful if your children are using them because it gives them a false sense of security. I do not recommend flotation devices for children where there is some surf. It is best for you to hold onto your kids, and to make sure not to go out too deep in this type of water situation.
10. Insect repellant. Depending on where you are, bugs may or may not plague you. When we were visiting Thassos Island in Northern Greece I wish I would have had some kind of repellant because the bees there were very aggressive and kept landing on me and the kids, not to mention the mosquitoes that were out at dusk.
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of things we take to the beach with us when we are planning on staying all day (which we usually do).
May your summer be filled with many beach (or lake) days this year.