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Traveling With Kids: The Beach

Updated on April 30, 2009

A beach vacation is one of the best things you can do for your children. If you don't live near the ocean, a trip there is an amazing adventure that kids will never forget. In fact, they may beg to return every year!

Where to Stay

For many beach locations there will be a wide variety of choices for accommodations. Depending on preferences and budget, you may stay in a hotel, a condo, a private home, or you may go the RV or camping route. The most important thing is to consider each member of the family and what will make for an overall pleasant time for everyone. It may be more difficult to "rough it" with younger kids. A beach house is not as expensive as you might think, especially if you can share with other families or family members. VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) is a great online resource to find not only beach accommodations, but any type of vacation getaway around the country.

Think about what type of amenities are important. I highly recommend the outdoor spray down/shower area. This will save many sandy floors inside! Also, a lot of people like to have a pool available. Others just want to play in the sand and surf. It's all a matter of preference. Do you want to be close to attractions and restaurants? Or far away on a secluded private beach? Think carefully about what will make the best memory for your family. And remember, location, location, location!

What to Take

What you take on your beach vacation will depend a lot on where you go. If you have kitchen facilities and plan on preparing many of your meals, you'll want to take as many groceries as you can. Food is expensive in resort locations.

Pack massive amounts of sunscreen. You will be re-applying this stuff many times a day. Also, invest in a good facial sunscreen. You don't want everybody breaking out from where the thick, waterproof stuff on their faces.

Take at least two of the following:

  • Flip flops - one for the beach, another for going out
  • Towels per person - you'll want to dry off, plus you'll shower a lot
  • Bathing suits - make sure to wash with soap after being in the sea

Other than that, for clothes you should be able to get by on shorts and t-shirts. All but the finest restaurants in a beach town will accept you in super casual mode.

Capture Your Memories

A digital camera is a must. If you don't have one, budget that in as part of your vacation expense. There are so many ‘Kodak Moments' at the beach. Plus, you'll want to take that beach family photo. (Don't forget to bring your matchy-matchy clothes!)

A great photo is to shoot people from behind, walking along the surf. Have people hold hands. Also, experiment with early morning and dusk shots. The light is softer and sort of glowing then. Write things in the sand and take a picture - this one's great for scrapbooks.

What To Do

Most beach towns offer more amusements and shopping than you'll be able to take in during your stay. Keep in mind that the beach is a wonder of its own and doesn't need a whole lot of extras to make it special. Ride the roller coasters and go-carts if you must, but make time for wave jumping, crab hunting, stingray spotting, dolphin watching, sand scrunching, castle building, and plain old lying around in the sun. In short, don't forget to relax! There's nothing like the sound of the waves to lull you into a state of mellow happiness!

More Reading:

Cheap Momma: Saving Money on Summer Fun

Keep Kids Safe From Strangers in Summer

Traveling With Kids: The St. Louis Arch

Traveling With Kids: Monterrey, Mexico

Traveling With Kids: How to Fly With Kids


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