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I love the beach.
No, really, I do. I’ve never really been much of a beach person, but I still love the experience. I love the excitement, the fun you have while you’re there and everything in between. I won’t lie to you, though. There are things I really don’t like about the beach. I don’t like how hot it gets in these southern summers. I don’t like that I can’t wear my glasses or I’ll get sticky sea spray on them. Either way I end up blind as a bat. Along those same lines, I don’t have any prescription sunglasses so I just end up squinting the whole time.
I hate the feeling when you’re leaving. My skin feels sticky and sandy and just disgusting. My hair is frizzy and gross and I’m probably a little bit sun-burnt. I am in no way the gorgeous beach goddess that you see in magazines (really, who is)? I don’t feel pretty at the beach. Driving home in the hot car feeling frizzy, sticky, and sun-burnt is one of my least favorite experiences, ever.
The exception to this disdain for a long day on the beach is if I am staying somewhere I can walk back to after my ocean experience is over. If I don’t have to get into the car, I’m good.
Having a baby has changed my view of the beach so much.
I think I was born not being a ‘beach’ person. My son is the opposite! I think he gets it (somehow) from his Aunt Angela. My sister is the biggest beach bum I’ve ever met! While Leopold still hasn’t been to the beach with my sister, somehow it got into his blood. I swear that kid would just walk straight into the ocean until his feet didn’t touch the sand anymore if I let him! Leopold loves the sand, the water, the sticks, everything. He isn’t phased when a wave splashes up and gets him all wet. The kid doesn’t even mind being sticky and sandy. I love his love for the beach.
We are fortunate enough to live only about 2 hours away from the nearest beaches (around Charleston. So Folly, Edisto, Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, etc). This summer we have been two or three times already and I hope to go a lot more!
I made up a list of essentials to bring when you’re just heading to the beach for a quick trip with your toddler. This list is mainly stuff for your kid, so don’t forget to take care of yourself too!
This is pretty much everything I packed for Leopold for the day. I prefer to over pack if I have the space. I’m not hopping a plane so why take the bare minimum? Babies are unpredictable! I’m going to break it down for you now!
Probably the most important thing at the beach is sun protection (for you too)! My favorite sunscreen is by Aveeno (but I couldn’t find ours so this is actually just lotion). Leopold is pretty good about letting me put sunscreen on him, luckily. For extra coverage you can dress baby in a rash guard as well as their regular bathing suit (especially for boys who generally don’t have tops to their swim trunks).
We received a SunSnapz blanket from a fellow ‘Leopold’ mama and entrepreneur that I met on Instagram. This blanket is so comfy and as a bonus it protects baby from harmful rays! It’s got snaps all around the perimeter so you can use it for almost anything. Leopold isn’t tiny anymore but this worked great for us when it was still a little windy and chilly on the beach the first time we went. I didn’t prepare for it to be that cool so I snapped this blanket around him like a cape and he loved it!
You can also use it for a nursing cover, car seat cover, stroller cover, etc. Basically anything you need covered…the sunsnapz blanket is great! It’s super lightweight too which makes it easy to pack!
Bring a towel!
That’s pretty obvious but sometimes the obvious things are the easiest to forget. I took this one and one for my husband and myself. We didn’t get in the water but you can’t be too careful! I used one to lay him down on when I needed to change him, so they came in handy!
Diapers and wipes, duh!
You have a baby in diapers, you need to bring diapers. Bring more than you think you need, because if you bring 3 I can almost guarantee you they will have a blowout or two and need more than you anticipated. I don’t have one pictured but remember swim diapers as well! We love our reusable one from Target!
A hat and a change of clothes. Two pair of shoes.
The hat is just added sun protection. Like I said, you can’t have too much! We went out for dinner after playing on the beach so it was nice to have a comfortable outfit ready for him to change into. I took two pair of shoes, sandals for before and after and water shoes for during. Our first beach trip we didn’t end up using the water shoes. Having your toes in the sand is one of the best parts of being at the beach so I let him enjoy it. For our second trip a week later I wish I had taken them because there were hundreds of jellyfish washed up on the shore. We found a patch that didn’t have any jellyfish eventually but I was too paranoid to let him run like he wanted to!
A Water bottle
Remember to stay hydrated! This goes for you, too! I like our Contigo bottle because it’s easy for him to use, doesn’t spill, and holds plenty of water for a couple of hours. For me personally I prefer my camelbak or my tervis water bottle!
Plenty of snacks!
We love all of our awesome snack containers! We received these two planet wise reusable snack bags to try for free and they are seriously awesome. For this trip I put strawberries in one and pretzels in the other. The strawberries weren’t the greatest idea because as the day went on they got soggy and gross and then leaked out of the zipper area. The rest of the bag held the juice in just fine but it got flipped over in our beach bag! Once we got home I sprayed it with Shout, threw it in the washing machine, let it air dry and it was good as new! These bags are great. I use them all the time for Leopold and E, the little girl I nanny. They love carrying their own little bag of snacks around when we are running errands.
We also took the much loved Munchie mug because Leopold loves carrying it around to eat his snacks. I just filled that up with cheerios and it lasted for the entire day.
Something to wear on the beach
Like I mentioned earlier, it was a chilly day out so I had him in his swim trunks and a tank top (mostly because I didn’t realize how chilly it would be). I’m glad we had the Sunsnapz blanket!
The beach is great just on it’s own but sometimes it’s nice to have a few extra toys for building sand castles or playing catch!
Not Pictured: Baby Powder! It’s supposed to help get the sand off before you hop back in the car. We tried it and it worked okay, but nothing I’d write home about. Have you tried this? Did it work for you?