I know that the beach is not for everyone, but our family loves it! Some beaches are better than others, and the same beach can actually change over time. I have found a few tricks to ensure an easy beach trip. If you are planning a trip anytime soon, I hope these tips and ideas for a great beach vacation will be of some help to you.
Tips and Ideas for a Great Beach Vacation
Our History with the Beach
When the kids were younger, our beach vacations usually consisted of sunburns, jellyfish, and sibling arguments with a lot of fun and love sprinkled into the mix! LOL! That does not sound like much fun, but it was, and now the memories are priceless.
As the kids became adults, we started doing full family vacations. Amazingly enough, we still had sunburns, jellyfish, and sibling arguments, but the fun and love was still there! Again, all of these left memories that we wouldn’t trade for anything.
It seems like every vacation has it’s own set of problems. A little planning and preparation can help prevent a few of those problems – good luck with the sibling arguments though.
What to Pack for a Beach Vacation
Packing can be one of the most stressful parts of the whole vacation. (I’d rather pack than unpack though!) Knowing what to pack ahead of time can take a lot of the pressure off of you. Kate from “Southern Home & Hospitality” put together a very helpful travel packing list. See her post here to get the download.
Some of the items we pack specifically for the beach are:
(Some of these have links for easy ordering. These are here for your convenience, but if you can get to a Sam’s, Walmart, or Costco, you can find some of these at a lower price.)
- Beach Towels
- Large and Small Coolers
- Beach Wagon to Carry Everything to the Beach
- Beach Chairs and Umbrellas It is important to get an umbrella with good UV protection!
- Boogie Boards
- Snorkel Equipment
- Sandcastle Building Toys
- Baggies for Collecting Seashells
- Books to Read – I keep hearing about The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, so I have it ready for the beach.
- A Set of Washers for Game Play
- LOTS of Sunscreen – We finally learned our lesson! This is my favorite sunscreen for faces, because I cannot stand a greasy feeling on my face!
- XL Waterproof Phone Pouch
If you are just starting out, you may have friends with some of these items you can borrow. I must warn you though, we have had to replace chairs and boogie boards that fell apart during a week of use. The friends didn’t require it, but we still felt the need to replace them.
On the Way to the Beach
How far away your destination is could determine how you travel. If the beach is within a day’s drive, we will either drive all the way through in one day, or drive halfway or more and get a hotel for the night. The next morning you have a shorter distance and can get there earlier in the day. Of course for long trips, you can always fly.
Traveling with kids can be a fun experience. We are always in two vehicles when it is the whole family. The two older girls used to trade out vehicles ever so often, so one would ride in the back with Jacob. Having Jacob and Caddy together for any amount of time was always a hoot!
Last year, Kristy and Evelyn (Jacob’s family) rode with us. Evelyn, who was 4 at the time, had her little travel desk with all sorts of activities to keep her busy. I have some of the cutest videos (secret ones of course) of her singing away! Precious!
Here are a few things to carry along in the car on a road trip:
- Snacks and Drinks
- Motion Sickness Medicine – We learned this one the hard way.
- Games and Activities for the Kids
- Phone Chargers
- Earbuds if you want to listen to something different
Photojeepers.com has some great tips on Road Trip Snacks for Kids. There are great ideas and another checklist. You know I am all about a list!
Ways to Cut Expenses While at the Beach
I have mentioned before that I am very frugal. On the first day that we get to the beach, usually while we are waiting for the condo to be ready, we head to Walmart to get groceries for the week. Over time we noticed a pattern for us. We would buy too many meals to cook during the week, which either didn’t allow us to go out as much as we wanted, or we had to take it all home. We have scaled way back on those purchases. Now we have the attitude that if we need to go back to the store, we will.
If you are looking to save money during your beach vacation, eating home cooked meals instead of going out will do it! We usually try to do simple things like spaghetti, pulled pork, crock pot meals, or casseroles. Many times different family members will take turns cooking a meal, and everyone pitches in to help clean.
On a side note, I am curious how the Walmart delivery and/or pick-up works in beach areas. If anyone has used this, please share. Now that we have Walmart+, I may have to give it a shot.
I found this very interesting and smart if you are a plan ahead person. Elaine Stone shared on her website that she makes her meals in advance at home and freezes them. They carry them in a cooler, and they have instant meals for the week. You can even find the recipes she uses here. It is a brilliant idea!
We have a friend who may be even more frugal than I am. He taught us to freeze water in large plastic bowls each night. The next morning you can break it up and add it to your cooler. We never buy ice any more.
I hope that if you plan a beach vacation for you or the whole family, you can relax and not have to stay on any sort of schedule. For some people, playing it by ear may be stressful, so keep in mind all of the different personalities in your group.
These are my favorite things to do daily while at the beach:
- Get up early while everyone is asleep
- Go down to the beach with my Bible, journal, and coffee
- Have my quiet time
- Take a walk looking for shells or other interesting finds
- Go back to the condo (while everyone is still sleeping) and eat breakfast
Unless there is a day or evening with specific plans, there is no schedule for the rest of the day! We eat when we feel like eating, read when we feel like reading (just me), get in the water when we feel like getting in the water, and go inside when we feel like going inside.
A Beach Momento for the Kids
Last year was Evelyn’s first experience at the beach, and she loved it! I wanted to do something special for all three of my little “beach girls.” Throughout the week they collected all sorts of shells. Somehow I ended up with them when we got home.
I was at Hobby Lobby one day and found large plastic Christmas ornaments. It got me to thinking about the ornament I bought several years ago, so I decided I would make them one from the very shells they collected.
Items Needed to Make Beach Ornaments
- Large Clear Ornaments
- Sand – Be sure to get enough while you are at the beach. I ended up having to get a friend bring some to me, because I didn’t think to get any while I was there.
- Paint Marker, Sharpie, or a Vinyl Printout
- Soak the seashells in bleach water overnight. Rinse them well and let them dry.
- Using a funnel, fill the ornaments almost halfway with sand.
- Add small seashells to the ornament.
- Put the top back on and tie a bow onto the top of the ornament using jute.
- Personalize them with the year, child’s name, location, etc. (Not Pictured Here)
There are many other ideas and ways to use shells besides the ornaments. See Heather Krout’s “21 Simple Ways to Decorate with Shells” for other decorating tips.
When you are on the beach, you can find some pretty interesting shells. Check out the “False Teeth” and Ear a friend of ours found! The next year Jay found another pair of teeth. LOL! We had a lot of fun with these.
Yes is the answer to your question! They really did put them in their mouth!
If you are headed to the beach this summer, I hope these tips and ideas for a great beach vacation helped in some way. Remember, the more prepared you are with what you can control, the easier it will be to handle the things you don’t have much control over, like sibling arguments. 🙂
If you have enjoyed this post and have not signed up for our email, I would love for you to join us! The sign-up is below.
Have a Grace & Joy-filled day!
disclosure: affiliate links are used on this page. Thank you for supporting Home with Grace and Joy. When you purchase an item, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
“When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy.” Psalms 94:19
Beach Vacation Related Post
Last year we were at the beach on the day of our son’s Christian birthday, so we all went out to celebrate it. See a post that shares that ideas here at, “Special Birthdays.”