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13 beach hacks for all the moms out there:
These “hacks” have saved me lots of time, frustration, and money! Please comment below and let me know what your favorite beach hacks are because I would love to expand the list to include YOUR great ideas as well!!
1. Safety (kit) first!!
Not exciting I know, but in my opinion the MOST important! The kit I grabbed has a nice water resistant case and is perfect to throw in the bottom of the beach bag! You can make your own by hitting up your existing supply and supplement with a trip to dollar tree. For you DIY mamas ( ya’ll rock ) HERE is a great link I found to make your own. I added chewable junior strength ibuprofen, chewable children’s acetaminophen, and kids liquid Benadryl.
NOTE: My husband laughs but we are on Day 1 of a vacation and I have already used items from it 3 separate times…..
2. Rash guards are a mama’s best friend!!!
I love a rash guard! It really reduces a lot of area for a potential sunburn! You can pick them up sooooo inexpensively at so many different retailers. I found several for Pierce at the end of the summer last year at Belks for a couple of dollars a piece. I just bought a size or two larger than he was at the time. I feel like so often with kids it is their chest and backs that catch the worst of the burn. It should also make your sunscreen go a little farther. We all know THAT stuff is not cheap!
3. Take a mesh bag or mesh pop up laundry hamper for toys and wet things!
It was always so frustrating in the past trying to haul around and keep up with a billion toys all over the place. Then when you throw them in your beach bag they get everything wet and sandy. UGH! I snagged a mesh tote for around $6 bucks shipped on Amazon to try but you can also grab a mesh laundry bag or pop up laundry hamper at the dollar store. I personally favor the mesh bags because of their ability to fold up. The mesh will allow the toys to dry. I just spray em’ off in the bag and let them drip dry on the porch and then they are all organized and ready to go for the next day!
4. Put a blanket under chairs and tent/umbrella!
I love the beach and I love the sand. But sometimes when you are on the beach you do not want sand stuck to every square inch of your body. Enter the beach blanket. There are some seriously fancy ( and kinda pricey) blanket options out there including one model where sand goes through the blanket. A cheap option is to use an old quilt. Another cool trick floating around is to use a fitted sheet ( could be old OR new). I came across the one above at kohls.com for a steal and so that is what I am using. I found one very similar to mine at Target here .
5. Buy toys in advance!
Sweet, smart, and resourceful mama, DO NOT wait until you get to the beach to realize you have to buy beach toys! You will bleed from your wallet! I have wandered into some of our shops near where we live and looked at the prices of boogie boards, toys ect. and I sort of died inside as I watched the pain on the faces of the poor parents at checkout. I won’t say we have never ever been suckered into this moment of weakness but what I am saying is a little preparation in advance and you can avoid this and save BIG bucks!
Next, we hit Dollar general where we got creative and scored a collapsible colander ( sand strainers were $8-10 online) and some measuring cups for a few dollars. Finally we descended upon Dollar Tree and had ALOT of fun for $11 dollars. We grabbed your traditional sand bucket with a small shovel, two water balls, a cute star mold, a scoop ( almost identical to the “kids sand scooper” I saw on Amazon for $8), two packs of clips to clip towels to chairs and hang up wet things, a beach ball, and a more industrial strength mop- type bucket for serious sand castle building.
Get creative and look around your kitchen to see if you have an extra or older items such as measuring cups, colanders, or molds. Also, an existing mop bucket is a GREAT sturdy alternative to the cheapy sand buckets whose handles always break. My smart sister-in-law Dana turned me onto this trick a few years ago -AND she was right in all her “two kids under her belt” mom wisdom.
NOTE: We tested out most toys today on the beach and the BIGGEST hit was the scoop from dollar tree for $1, dollar tree blue bucket with rope handle $1, and the HUGE shovel we found at Target on sale for $3. These three were played with the entire day. Just goes to show you don’t need to spend a fortune 🙂
6. Freeze your water bottles and juice pouches (NOT BOXES)
This is a great tip for anywhere (i.e. Disney) BUT it is definitely nice at the beach! Freeze them the night before and use instead of ice to keep everything in your cooler cold without get mushy!
I think it helps keep the weight down also by eliminating all of the ice and therefore makes the cooler lighter (and easier) to carry! Also I recommend the pouches as opposed to the juice boxes because they tend to get very soft in constant moisture.
7. BUY SMUCKERS FROZEN PB&Js!!!!!!!!!!
If you have read my blog you have probably noticed already I am a HUGE FAN of these sammiches. My good friend, Marielle, introduced these to me several years ago and I have been smitten ever since. I get a HUGE box of them at sam’s club for around $8 but every grocery store stocks them in the freezer section. Anyways, just keep these in the freezer of your hotel room fridge and then toss in the cooler on your way out the door.
While we are talking food, for the beach trips I am a huge fan of buying what you need for breakfast and lunch on the way to the beach and having those meals for the most part either in the room or pack to take to the beach. This allows you to splurge on dinner each night without overspending! Also have takeout pizza at the room one night as well ( I usually chose the first night because we are all so pooped from traveling) and this is a SUPER CHEAP meal. I tend to over order and keep the extras in the fridge as a option of things to munch on through out the next several days.
8. Buy big bags of chips/snacks and separate in small plastic bags!
You can spend some serious dough on individually package snacks ya’ll! I went to the store and compared the price of two huge bags of family sized chips that were buy 1 get 1 versus the individual serving bags of chips and the cost of convenience is nauseating. You will not want to just take the huge bags of chips for example and let the kids just dig in because after three separate sets of little, sandy, wet hands go in that one bag it will be soggy and gross!! Instead snag a box of snack or sandwich sized baggies for $1 at Dollar Tree and go shop the sales for large family sized bags of snacks. I ended up with two huge bags of reduced fat chips in regular and salt and vinegar flavors! This would also work well for nuts, goldfish, and cookies or whatever your crew like for a beach snack! Everyone will be thrilled to have their own bag PLUS this will help with portion control!!! Which I definitely need help with!
9. Take a box of ziplocs and some baby wipes period!
Ziplocs have SO many uses at the beach. Everything from protecting your electronics, to storing snacks as mentioned above, to protecting certain food items in the cooler from getting water in them ( ex. Smuckers PB&Js), keeping all sunscreen together and organized, a place to put all of your shells and shark teeth, storing toiletries on the way to and from destination so you avoid a horrid mess, and the list goes on and on!! The point is DO NOT leave home without some. Grab some from your pantry or swing by the ole’ Dollar Tree and grab some for a buck.
Ziplocs have been EVERYTHING this beach trip because it has rained off and on through out the day. I have been storing all the cameras, cellphones, money, ect in these and they have weathered every shower without incidence!
Baby Wipes, just because they are awesome! And basically can clean up ANY mess you will encounter on the beach or otherwise 😉 You can never have too many of these and I stash them everywhere.
10. Take a kite!
Sometimes after being in the water all day you need an activity to break things up!! Last beach trip we went only husband suggested that we needed a kite. I never would have thought of it! But we quickly jumped the truck and set off in search of a kite. Before we ever found said kite I knew we would be really overpaying but it was last minute and we just wanted the kite. We found one for around $7 dollars at a beach shop in Daytona I think and it was not that much to look at however it did the job. But it was cheap plastic and really good for 1-2 uses. Today in the dollar store I think I saw the same one, so consider looking there as opposed to the beach shop.
Since our cheap kite from Daytona trip was out of commission, we went to Target and found one kite for both kids to share for about $10. If you want one to last for more than one trip consider looking beyond the dollar store. THESE , the pair pictured above, are $12.88 shipped for TWO and HIGHLY rated! There are some really amazing ones on Amazon and they can be used for many trips to come. THIS is the highest rated kite on Amazon and has over 1500 reviews with 4.5 stars out of five and runs around $13 shipped for comparison.
11. Take a small blow up pool.
This is such a great idea especially if you have really small kids that aren’t really big enough to enjoy the ocean that much. You can add water for them to splash about and cool them off or empty the water and use it as a way for them to have a safe and confirmed play space without having to haul the pack and play all the way to the beach. I suggest to get a very small one with little or no air needed if possible. These can be found at any dollar store or at amazon. If the pool requires much inflation you may wanna throw in your bike pump so you don’t pass out. HERE is one I found on amazon for $7.30 shipped. Dollar stores are also a great place to find these.
12. Flash light for ghost crabs
I saved one of my family’s personal favorite for almost last!!!!! Make sure you grab your flashlight OR grab a cheap one from the dollar store and take it with you! Take the flashlight and all the kids out on the beach at night after it gets dark and go looking for ghost crabs!! Ghost crabs are small clear/whitish crabs that are SO fast. All you need to do is simply walk slowly and quietly and cast the light of flashlight back and forth as you walk down the beach. My husband nor my stepkids had heard of this and we tried it one trip to Daytona and everyone down to the four year old LOVED it. This activity is FREE, save the flashlight and batteries which you more than likely already have laying around somewhere. It is so beautiful on the beach at night and there is no telling what other ocean life you might come across. Definitely give this one a try! Kids of all ages can enjoy this. HERE is an option on Amazon for $4.16 shipped currently for prime members as an add on item. You may be able to find something cheaper at one of the dollar stores too and it will do the trick!
NOTE: Be mindful of your beach’s laws and regulations regarding lights on the beach and sea turtles. Consult the sea turtle nesting schedule as well. In some beaches this might be prohibited to protect baby sea turtles especially during certain seasons.
13. Bring a wagon!
We have an AWESOME red ryder wagon that we took to the beach for several years. That worked ok for awhile but it was SO heavy and very hard for me to pick up and maneuver. The wagon would fit perfectly into my husband’s truck but I could never get it into my car. After awhile we started to leave the awesome yet heavy wagon at home for beach trips and just suffer through the long trips back and forth to the beach lugging everything we could in our hands. Flash forward to this trip which is our first vaca with this new beauty and hubby is already in love. It has made beach life SO much easier. I only regret not buying this sooner!! This particular wagon collapses so it can fit VERY easily in the trunk of any car. We have not had any problems pulling it on the sand which I was initially nervous about.
The very first night when we arrived to our hotel we realized that we were on the fourth floor and there was not a single luggage dolly in sight. With all of our stuff plus everything for two kids I started to panic. Resourceful husband whipped out the new wagon and viola problem solved. I can think of about a million different uses for this life saving contraption. Sports events, the park, picnics, antiquing/junking/yard sales, camping, boating, and the list goes on. There is a huge range of price points for these but no matter which one you go with I definitely suggest investing in one before your next trip.