We’ve been on lots of weekend trips and a couple of bigger family adventures as a family of four, and our best times so far have been at the beach. I think the endless possibilities for the kids to explore and discover and the minimal ways for them to get hurt or in trouble (other than the obvious dangers of the ocean) allow us all to breath a little easier. And who doesn’t feel more relaxed and zen with the sand in your toes while looking out at a beautiful coastline? We will be taking our next big coastal adventure this summer as we road trip to the Nor Cal and Oregon coasts. So I decided to compile my favorite beach activities and tips that we have tried and loved, plus a few we’ll be trying out this summer!
Our Favorite Activities
- Playing in the sand – We have not started really building sand castles yet, but maybe this summer. Even so, the kids love digging, playing, and really just being in the sand. I bought these two sets of sand castle toys at Target in the outdoor play section. They are really high quality, and could potentially build some awesome sand castles.
- Running in the surf – Whether we stop at the beach for ten minutes or are there all day, we have to spend some time chasing and running from the surf. Even the colder waters are fun to kick around in! It’s invigorating and seeing the excitement in the kids really is one of my favorite things at the beach!
- Collecting seashells – every beach offers different types of shell finds, which makes it especially fun and exciting. We loved finding sand dollars in Morro Bay and are excited to see what will be washed up on the beaches further north! Shells also make great writing utensils for the sand.
- Digging for sand crabs – I don’t have any pictures of us doing this, but I have tons of great memories from my childhood of digging and catching these little critters in my hands as the surf recedes. I have started sharing this experience with my kids and they were pretty excited about it too! If you’ve never done it, stick your hands into the sand just as the water is receding, then slowly let the water and sand drain from your hands. You are likely to have at least one little crab tickling your hands as the sand clears. They don’t pinch or bite… kind of like rollie pollies of the ocean. Just be sure to leave them where you find them, as they cannot survive other environments.
- Flying kites – We bring kites to Morro Bay every year because the weather is unpredictable and often too cold to play too much in the water and sand. However, it is perfect for flying kites! Thus far, the grown-ups end up having more fun actually flying the kites but in the next year or two I think these kiddos are going to get the hang of it and love it! If you buy the inexpensive type of kites (pictured below) like we do, I would recommend waiting to put them together until you get down to the beach so they are easier to transport.
Activities We’re Trying This Summer
Our Favorite Tips
- Baby powder – No pictures here, but baby powder is simply magical at the end of a day at the beach. All of that sticky sand easily brushes off with no pain, thus no tears. I think I would have better childhood memories of the beach if my parents had known this trick!
- Fitted sheet – We don’t go to the beach enough to invest in quality beach equipment and blankets, so we are all about the hacks! To be honest, I forgot about this trick on our last trip to Morro Bay and I think we could have had a much nicer picnic on the beach if we’d remembered to bring a fitted sheet. We did this in Carmel when Kellan was a baby and it kept him and his stuff clear of the sand! Just bring a fitted sheet (I’d recommend a queen or king size for space) and then put ice chests/bags/ anything with a little height and weight in the corners. We even used Kellan’s portable high chair, and it worked really well. Although, this totally makes me laugh, remembering lugging this thing everywhere for him. I don’t know what we were thinking… but for this, it was perfect!
Tips We’re Trying This Summer
- Pack a portable training potty – check it out at Mama Cheaps
- Tons (23 to be exact) of great beach hacks – found at One Crazy House
- More great blogs about kids at the beach:“13 Best Beach Hacks and Tips for The Smoothest Family Beach Day Ever” from Joyful Messes and “The Ultimate Beach Guide” from What Mom’s Love
I will update this post later this summer with more thoughts on some of these activities, tips, and tricks based on our experience!