When the boys were little, we took road trips to beaches in Canada and the US. Through our experiences, I wrote a post about what to bring on a road trip to the beach. It has a few lists (for the car, for the beach and for the cooler). It’s meant for toddler age, but still handy as a guide for families of all ages.
Since that post, we have been to different beaches around the world. One trip we took this summer was to a very popular area in Italy. When I say popular, I mean literally all of Italy packs their cars and heads to this area (or similar areas) and enjoys family time by the beach. The food is incredible, the coast is heavenly, and we just love it. Since I know a lot of families are soaking up the last bits of summer break with a trip to the beach, I thought I would share my list of musts to pack for the day, as we see it now. Keep in mind, this is a list that is much smaller, since we are staying in a place right near the beach, so we don’t need to pack food and drinks, or things for the car.
Last time we visited this same location, I made a video of what was working the best for us (this is a live video stream that runs a bit long, the suggestions end around 15 minutes). I tried every which way to have it show directly into this post, but there was no having it. So if you are interested, click here to see it.
Please note: affiliate links are included – that means if you purchase any of these suggestions through the links, I will receive a small commission (thanks in advance!).
- Sunscreen – read my post about sunscreen 101. I have lots to say about sunscreen and this year, we are using Attitude’s natural care line. We are really happy with them. My favourite is the mineral sunscreen 30 SPF, it has a small hint of orange blossom scent and it’s lovely. For my face, I found Green Beaver’s face sunscreen with NO white mineral tint (thank goodness!)
- Sunhat – this was the year of spending much more on a sunhat. And since I have three boys, that adds up real fast. But I was really, really happy with them. I even bought one for myself. It’s really important to invest in a good sunhat that actually protects you from the sun’s rays and this is a great one. Our choice was the Outdoor Reach UPF 50+ hats.
- Sunglasses – Gowood gifted me with their wood designed shades, and I have worn them all summer. They are light, the UV is better than any I have had and they look really nice. Did I mention they are a Montreal-based company? (yes, you can support local businesses on Amazon!)
- Water shoes – depending on how comfortable you are in shell filled sand, you will want a pair. I lived in mine but my boys only wore them sometimes.
- Aloe Vera – pure gel works best for an itch and sun rash, or sunburn
- Benadryl spray – for mosquito or bug bites, as well as jellyfish bites (yes, it happened!)
- A small spritz bottle for water – handy to cool down, clean your feet from sand and this time around, it was used by my nieces to wet my hair as they braided it!
- A cooling cloth – this was an item my husband thought would be useless. Instead, it kept my family cool enough to enjoy a walk in the +30, hot summer weather. It’s also great for babies and toddlers so they don’t overheat. There are many options, but they all pretty much work the same.
- Mini first aid kit – loaded with Polysporin, Bandaids, Benadryl, Visine contact drops
- Waterproof case for cell phone to protect from water AND sand
- Portable speaker (waterproof) – our JBL waterproof portable speaker has been working for years, we love it.
- Beach friendly earbuds – without the silicon covers (because sand will stick to it)
- Zip plastic bag (to hold all the things)
- Light towel & cover up – thanks to fellow blogger, Vera Sweeney, I found out about MILO quick dry towels and I bought two towels and a cover up on a sale day. It was so worth it! Having a good size towel that is soft AND thin is great for travel because it doesn’t take up room in your luggage.
One thing I don’t mention in the video, is to have a good device to listen to music or a podcast on. That is something fairly new to us, and my boys appreciated it so much. Years ago, one of my twins was having a stressful moment (too many waves while he was swimming, too much sun, lots of people…it was a combination of things). He just needed a little peace and quiet. But we were all staying at the beach for a little while longer. So, I set him up with my earbuds and MP3 player and he lay down on a beach chair and listened to soft music. I tucked him in with a beach towel, and, you guessed it, he fell asleep.
It’s important to realize that everyone enjoys the beach differently and to have a little something for everyone in your family. It keeps everyone happy and it’s much easier than rushing around trying to please each person individually. My boys are at the age where they can decide what to bring (and carry!!) by themselves. It’s a new world for us!! But I remember very well when we had to pack it all for them and think of everything they might need or want.
So, for those parents that are carrying all the things, I solute you! Enjoy the beach time, my most favourite time of summer, with this handy list and peace of mind.