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Family Fun in the Sun: Tips For Stress-free Summer Beach Trips

June 5, 2010

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With the start of June comes the official start of beach season. Spending time at the lake or beach is the perfect family outing, no matter what your kids age. But between remembering the sunscreen and trying to pack snacks that are healthy (and won’t melt in the sun), getting ready to go can be more stressful than getting the kids off to school on time. In an effort to make your beach adventures more stress free this summer, we have compiled the ultimate checklist and guide for a perfect day of family fun in the sun.

Family Day at the BeachPhoto by Yarden Sachs’ via Flickr

The Night Before

Packing the Car: Filling up the trunk of your car the night before will save you immense amounts of stress in the morning. Here’s a list of things that you may want to include:

  • A 24 pack of bottled water
  • 4-5 beach reads for the kids, along with a great book or magazine for you
  • Beach towels: 2 per person – this will allow one to lay on and one sand-free towel to dry off with
  • @karla522 suggests a jug of water to wash off sandy feet before getting in the car
  • Flotation devices
  • Antibacterial wipes for use before/after snacking
  • 2 garbage bags – one for trash and the other for wet towels

Beach Bag: Put together a bag of plastic sand toys, along with some frisbees and balls to toss around when you’re at the lake or beach. Designate this bag for “beach use only” and tuck it away in a closet when you get home for the day. This way you will never be scrambling for those floaties or shovels as you try and shuffle excited kids out the door.

Before Hitting the Sand

Fuel Up: The morning of, everyone is always anxious and excited to get the waterfront. However, making sure everyone has a good, filling breakfast will deter those last minute drive-through trips once you hit the road. If it’s a long drive to your destination, a box of granola bars makes a great mid-morning snack on the road.

Slather On
: According to @RunLeanGreen, sunscreen is a must! Make sure to apply 30 minutes before leaving the house. This will allow it enough time to properly absorb before sun exposure. Look for a waterproof formula and then make sure to re-apply every two hours. Also, budget brand sunscreens are just as effective as name brands, so put the additional dollars towards a great beach chair instead!

While Enjoying the Sun and Surf

Hydrate: When at the beach, drinking water is less fun that playing in it – but is incredibly important. According to, children need 4 to 8 ounces of fluid before beginning outdoor activities and 5 to 9 ounces every 20 minutes while they are outside. If your kids aren’t big water drinkers, a sports drink like Gatorade or juice boxes are great ways to encourage them to stay hydrated while outside.

Bon Appetit: All that playing is bound to work up some big appetites, which isn’t a problem when you pack your cooler with the below essentials.

  • Graham Crackers
  • Pre-made Flatout wraps cut into pinwheels. Just made sure you layer your dressing between a layer of meat and lettuce, which will keep the wrap from getting soggy
  • @TryingToHeal suggests packing lots of fresh fruit – which is great when precut and mixed in Tupperware for easy snacking
  • Flatout Crisps and cheese slices
  • Frozen Grapes

Hopefully these tips will make your beach-filled family adventures a breeze this summer!


We’d love to hear your fresh perspective!

  • Do you have any family-friendly beach tips or tricks?
  • What is your favorite lake, beach or pool front activity?
  • What is your favorite beach or lake memory?

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