About one year ago I took my 3-month-old to the beach and it was torture. He hated the sand, he hated the sun, it was too hot, too windy… it was miserable.
This year I took my 14-month-old to the beach and was excited for another go at this with an older child. Maybe, just maybe, I would get to enjoy it for myself this year.
One of my favorite beaches to go to is Ocean City Maryland. Yah, sometimes it can be a real dirty beach, there’s a steep drop in the sand to get to the ocean, and it is listed as one of the most crowded beaches in America. BUT having gone there with my family for last, I don’t know, 15 years? It’s still my favorite beach to vacation at.
What do I like to do on the beach? Sit in a chair while the ocean waves touch my toes, read, sudoku, nap, and chat it up with family while sipping an ice coffee. Literally none of those things are possible with a one year old – making my beach experience much different this year.
Thankfully, my little guy LOVED the ocean this year. He loved the sand… eating it, dunking his snacks in it, digging in it… you name it, he did it. Although he appreciated the water, he was not a huge fan of it until the very end.
There were a select few things that I brought to the beach that made the experience SO much more enjoyable for everyone involved. These are the things I would highly recommend splurging on if you have small kiddos and want a decent beach vacation.
- A tent. Amazon has this amazing tent that is ridiculously easy to set up and take down. There’s great ventilation and Little Buddy would walk right in to be in the shade and have a snack. Although this tent is a little pricier the convenience is priceless.
- Baby powder. Even though you “rinse off” in the ocean before packing up and leaving for the day, you still have that walk through the sand to get back to the car or house. Right before getting in the car I dump baby powder on Little Buddy’s feet and anything else that was coated in sand. It is a quick and painless process and something I cannot live without.
- A cooler. A nice cool refreshing drink or snack is one of the best things on a hot sunny day on the beach. This little cooler did the trick for us. The night before, I stuck some water bottles in the freezer to completely freeze and use as ice packs. Once they thawed, they were perfect for drinking.
- Snacks. Fresh fruit, gold fish/crackers, cheese sticks, and maybe even some cookies, were a perfect snack for my one year old. Even if he did dunk his snacks in the sand before consumption.
- One-piece bathing suit. This is a huge must for little ones. A one piece helped keep sand out of his diaper and minimized sand and sun exposure to his belly and back.
If you are new the beach experience, here are some other items you might want to include on your list.
- Swim diapers
- Babyganics sunscreen and bug spray
- Spray bottle of fresh water to clean off hands before snacks
- Sun hat to protect face and neck
- Swim shoes – sand can be very hot and broken shells/rocks are not comfortable on the tootsies
- Zip lock bag to put phone, camera & ID in
- Sand toys
- Cover up
- Sun hat (for yourself)
- Flip flops you don’t mind getting beat up
- Beach bag