Traveling out of the house with a baby is never easy because babies require so much stuff! A beach vacation is no exception. However, you may need less stuff than you actually think. A beach vacation with baby doesn’t have to be a hassle – if you follow these essential tips.
Essential Tips for Enjoying Your Beach Vacation With Baby
Is there anything cuter than a little baby crawling around the beach? I think not. They are too adorable in oversized floppy hats and sunglasses. I can’t resist a tiny little beach bum. All that cuteness is needed because taking a baby to the beach isn’t always easy. That’s why I’ve put together this list of essential tips for taking a baby to the beach. Save money by not buying a lot of stuff for your trip because you really don’t need that much!
Go at the right time
Since babies can’t regulate their temperatures as well as adults, it’s best to go to the beach during the cooler hours. If you time it right, you may even be able to hit the beach while it’s shaded by nearby buildings.
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The best times to hit the beach with a little one are the first four hours after sunrise and the last three hours before sunset. Any other time and the sun is too high and a little too hot and dangerous for that super delicate baby skin.
Heading to the beach at the right time also allows for your baby to take a routine nap. A rested baby is a happy baby. The last thing you want is an overtired baby at the beach. Trust me on this one. Been there, done that. It does not make for a peaceful beach experience.
Only Bring the Essentials
My packing list below only includes the essentials because when you are at the beach all you need is the sand, water and a few beach toys to entertain babies and kids. You really don’t need that much for a baby. It’s best to pack as light as possible so you can leave at a moment’s notice if the baby gets too fussy.
Here are a few things you should skip for your first trips to the beach with baby:
- Floats- it’s just as easy to carry your little bundle of joy into the water
- Tents- the sun moves which means the shade in the tent moves too. They are heavy and take time to set up. Since you shouldn’t be in the heat all day with a baby anyway, skip the tent.
- Coolers- put extra ice in your water bottles and pack snacks that don’t need to stay cool
It’s tempting to pack everything you could ever possibly need for a day at the beach. Don’t do it. It’s best to pack light. If you do the beach correctly, you only need the following items with you:
- 1 beach towel
- 1 thin blanket, such as a sheet or Turkish towel
- water (at least one bottle for each person)
- snacks- we like apples, oranges, bananas and granola bars because they are easy to toss into a beach bag.
- 1 diaper
- small pack of wipes
- 2 grocery bags (one for trash and one for wet clothes)
- sand toys
- 1 chair if you are nursing (if you aren’t nursing, ditch the chair)
Of course, you’ll want to pack an extra bag to keep nearby in the car. This should include:
- a change of clothes
- extra towels
- extra water and snacks for the car ride home
We always only bring one towel, even when everyone in our family is going swimming. It makes it much easier to carry things back to the car. Pack an extra bag to leave in the car and include extra towels for kids to dry off even more once you make it back to the car.
Grab the change of clothes from the car and change before you head home. Or even better, put the towel down and drive home a little wet and sandy if your drive isn’t too far.
Encourage Your Baby to Play
Moms spend lots of money each year on sensory activities and toys. The beach is the perfect free sensory activity!
Encourage your little one touch the sand. Let her feel the difference between wet sand and dry sand. Put her feet in the water and let her experience the waves coming to shore. Point out the birds, clouds, and shells. Your baby is learning so much just by being at the beach.
Keep an eye out for small shells that could be chocking hazards. While a little sand ingested can’t hurt (believe me, he’ll poop it right out), the shells are a different story!
Keep baby (and yourself) hydrated by offering lots of water. I often times feel like my bag is only heavy because of all the water I carry.
Be Smart with Sunscreen
Sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months. It’s best to keep their skin covered with a hat and long sleeved swimwear.
For babies over 6 months make sure to reapply every hour. Sweat and water can make the sunscreen not as effective.
It’s hard to relax near water while taking care of a baby, but it will be much more fun if you find a way to enjoy the beach too. Put baby in a carrier and walk the beach, or pick up take-out coffee on the way. Whatever you do, make sure to have fun too. Vacations are meant to be enjoyed!