So many of us are heading to the beach for a relaxing summer vacation, looking forward to the sound of the surf, fresh sea air, and a chance to catch up on the latest novel we’ve been meaning to read forever.
I’m a redhead, so for me going to the beach was always a big production. I needed a hat, tons of sunscreen, umbrella, and a long-sleeved cover up all to prevent sunburn. As I’m (well) over 40, I also now need a comfortable chair, towels, cooler with cold drinks and snacks, and at least one book, and someone strong to carry everything.
My husband on the other hand is happy to go to the beach with just a towel. No fuss, no muss, just the basics. He hates having to lug all the paraphernalia to the ocean- he hates having to buy it, pack it, unpack it, and carry it, and I can’t blame him.
I envy him his minimalism – but I can’t let go of the comforts I need to fully relax and enjoy a day on the beach. Add in children, and you have a perfect storm – the need to pack extra towels, sand toys, food, boogie boards, first aid kit, lots of water, and anything to prevent boredom from rearing its ugly head.
How to enjoy a day at the beach without the Clutter Monster attacking you?
Have no fear, my friends, it is possible! The key ingredient is - a beach cart. When my kids were little, we discovered that a Little Tikes wagon could carry everything, including a couple of sleepy kids on the way home.
Of course, now you can get one that is perfectly equipped to carry everything you need in an organized way, making it easy to get to what you need.
There are two great ones I like: the Tommy Bahama 2016 All Terrain Beach Cart which holds up to four chairs, a full size 48 quart cooler, an umbrella, beach bag, towels and whatever else you need. Then there’s the BeachMall Ultra Wide Wonder Wheeler Beach Cart with room for 4 beach chairs, large cooler, umbrella, large cargo are, and an external bodyboard pouch!
Easy to load everything up and find things easily. This makes a beach day a breeze (OK, bad pun)!
For a really relaxing day, prep for hunger, boredom, and thirst. These are my go-tos, especially with children:
Cooler – with edible ice packs like frozen grapes and frozen water bottles; cold cooked steak slices or drumsticks; pre-cut fruits and veggies; granola bars; and our traditional beach sandwich, PB&J (in a container to prevent squishiness). You don’t need a giant 150 quart – a 15-20 quart will do, even better in a lighter, soft-sided, version.
Water bucket and beach toys: What do you really need for sand play? Not much - go to the Dollar Store, pick up a beach shovel, bucket, measuring cups, spatula, a couple of paint brushes, and you’re all set.
Baby Powder. Did you know this is the best way to get sand off at the end of the day?
Shell Bag. Bring a couple of re-usable shopping bags to hold shells and other treasures you’ll find.
Games – beach scavenger hunts are fun for all ages (here are some printable lists from Ashley at Frugal Coupon Living). Add a Frisbee to keep the kids busy while you take a nap.
Take a Walk. Walking on the beach is super exercise, and gives you an opportunity for one-on-one time with your sweetie or child.
Swim! Of course! I like to bring boogie boards for surfing the waves – we used to do this for hours as kids! It’s great aerobic exercise as well.
Some people bring their phones in a plastic zip-lock bag. But – consider unplugging for a day. Enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and the company of friends and loved ones instead!
So plan ahead, take only what you need, organize for easy access, and you’re golden!