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How to have a Successful Beach Trip with Kids

Updated on December 16, 2012
Playing at the beach
Playing at the beach | Source

Where Should We Go?

My husband decided he really wanted to go to the beach last weekend. I personally am not a beach person, I am a lake girl. I grew up on the lakes of Wisconsin and would rather sit on the pier of a lake and go water skiing and tubing than sit in sand. I am also not a sand person, i hate parks that have sand boxes. We live in the Chicagoland area and were trying to figure out which beach to go to. The problem is that I didn't really want to go to a city beach that would be crowded but free. The north shore beaches are all fee based with limited parking for us non residents. My husband wanted to drive to Kenosha, WI which has a fairly nice beach or Illinois State Beach which is extremely rocky.

I opted for the Indiana Dunes which has beautiful soft sand. While I wouldn't make this drive on a normal day of the week through traffic we went easily on a Sunday morning and there was no traffic which allowed us to get there in about an hour.

The Beach

sitting in the shade at the beach
sitting in the shade at the beach | Source

Packing For the Trip

I loaded up the car the night before all except for a few thing that we had to stop for in the morning like ice.

Here is what we brought

  • wagon
  • sportbrella (this is the best purchase we ever made, it gets used alot)
  • swimsuits
  • sunglasses
  • water bottles
  • juice boxes
  • snacks & lunch - fruit, chips, pretzels, & other
  • sunscreen
  • kids life vests
  • sand toys
  • closed Tupperware container to put keys, phones, etc in at beach
  • towels - 2 sets one for car and one for beach
  • Several microfiber wash clothes - brush sand off hands before eating
  • garbage bag - we also picked up any garbage found in water or beach
  • $$ - just in case
  • Ice

Items packed to be left in the car for afterward

  • change of clothes in a separate container left in car for afterward
  • aloe spray
  • Baby Powder
  • towels set left in car

Life Vests - Let's Chat

Yes I make my kids wear life vest in the water. We are the only family I ever see with kids in vests. We get weird looks from other people, BUT every time the guards come up to us and say how happy they are to see kids in life vests.

WATER WINGS are not a replacement for life vests. They give a child a false sense of security and will not save a child from drowning.

If you have young kids, whether they can swim or not they need to be in a vest in the ocean or large lakes. We were on Lake Michigan so there are plenty of undertows and currents that neither of my toddlers would have been able to swim out of.

Don't Forget the Sunscreen

Make sure everyone is covered in sunscreen or no one will have a great trip home. My hubby apparently didn't know how to use the continuous spray sunscreen and not looks like a striped lobster. The kids and I were fine since I did the three of us.

Why the Baby Powder?

Okay I know you looked at the list and thought what is the baby powder about. After the beach we always still have sand stuck to us even though we aren't wet any more. So this is for mostly dry skin that has stuck baby powder on it. Sprinkle on the baby powder and rub - and watch the sand fall off


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    • kthix10 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from IL

      Exactly, my kids always wear their vests so they are used to them. We invested in ones that are comfortable and the right size.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      kudos to you for the life vest policy! My husband and I both grew up on near the water and learned that this was the way it should be. Now when we go sailing or paddling, the life vest is put on as soon as we get out of the car. Because if you're on the pier and fall in and hit your head, knowing how to swim isn't going to help you!


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