19 Beach Hacks So Families Can Actually Relax in the Sand

Take the stress out of your family beach day by using these out-sanding hacks!

Published March 10, 2023
Family whooping with joy at the beach

The salty ocean air blowing against your face, the relaxing warmth of the sun, and the rhythmic sound of the waves in the background; lounging on the beach sounds nothing less than perfect. However, with kids in tow, this calming escape can be a little more challenging. With a little prep and the right supplies, though, you can make it fun for everyone. We love these simple beach hacks for families to help you seas the day!

Tips & Tricks to Make Family Beach Day a Breeze

Make the most out of your coastal vacation or day trip to the beach with these easy beach hacks for babies, toddlers, kids, and even adults. Everyone in the family will enjoy the day a little more when you take the little stressors out of the equation. Get ready to relax with these beach tips!

Take Sand Out of the Equation

We go to the beach to spend time building sandcastles and wiggling our toes in the sand. The problem is that babies and young kids don't always enjoy this sensation. In fact, it can actually cause a sensory overload. How do you make sure that your child is comfortable without having to cancel the entire excursion? You take these sensations away.

All you need is a waterproof blanket and an old fitted sheet! The best part is that both items are compact and easy to transport. Simply lay out your blanket and then lay your fitted sheet on top. Then, place a large item in each corner of the sheet to create a sand barrier.

Shield Your Family From the Sun

Shade is also important for young kids. Straight-leg canopies are your best bet, but if you're on a budget, you can also rent a few beach umbrellas for yourself and then invest in a beach tent for your baby. This provides them with a safe place to lounge and even nap!

Boy's with tent on the beach

Bring the Water to Your Baby

Salt water is fantastic for the skin, but for the littler members of the household, the waves can sometimes be intense. Parents can easily remove this element by bringing along a mini blow up pool and filling it up with water when they arrive. Better yet, place this under one of your umbrellas to keep them safe from the sun!

Invest in Sun Safe Clothing

Did you know you can buy swimsuits, shirts, shorts, and hats that are made with sun protectant built right in? Clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protectant Factor) rating of 50+ actually blocks out 98 percent of the sun's rays. This makes it a great alternative to sunscreen for young kids who never want to sit still for re-application.

Of course, you still want to slather on sun protectant on the areas that aren't covered by clothing every two hours, but this apparel can greatly diminish the struggle of keeping their skin safe.

Stay Sun Safe With Brands Like Blue Lizard

Speaking of sunscreen, parents can make reapplication easier by purchasing brands like Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen. Not only is this product water resistant and broad spectrum, it also contains mineral-based ingredients.

However, what makes this brand truly special is that their patented smart bottle tells you when it is time to reapply. When exposed to harmful UV rays, it changes from white to either blue or pink. This makes it easier to remember this important part of a beach day!

Pack Your Delicates Bag

That small mesh bag you wash your unmentionables in is definitely worth a mention when planning for a sandy excursion. This beach hack for families allows you to store your kids' beach toys and prevent any sand from hitching a ride home with you! Just load up the toys and shake the sand away!

Load Up Your YETI

These double-insulated coolers are amazing at keeping things cool, even in the hottest of conditions. This makes them an ideal choice for a day at the beach. Stock up on ice and also freeze your water bottles to keep them extra chilly for when you and the family need to cool down.

Family packing car for trip to the beach
Helpful Hack

Don't have a YETI? Just grab yourself some bubble wrap. Then, line the inside surfaces of your cooler with this packing material. This beach hack for families on a budget is great for keeping everything cooler for longer.

Make Sure to Pack Baby Powder or Cornstarch

Sand is annoyingly sticky, and sunscreen only seems to make this problem worse. That is, unless you use a fantastic mom beach hack - cornstarch or baby powder! Once your kids have had a second to air dry, simply apply a generous layer to any areas where the sand seems to be stuck. Then, dust away the excess sand!

Head to the Beach With Dollar Sand Toys

Don't waste your money on expensive beach toys. Instead, peruse Target's Dollar Spot and make a trip over to the Dollar Tree! It might amaze you at how many super affordable items you can find. This also ensures that if something gets left behind, it's not the end of the world.

Save Your Breath With a Portable Pump

So you bought all the beach toys and the mini pool for your baby to lounge in, but did you think about getting everything set up? Make the most of your time at the beach by packing a hand pump. This allows for a quick set up so you can spend quality time with your family.

Follow the Forecast

Many beach locations have afternoon rain in the forecast at least a few days a week. This can spoil your fun if you arrive right when the rain starts. It can also bring the danger of lightning. Not only that, but humidity brings a higher heat index throughout the day, which can lead to dangerous conditions like heat stroke and dehydration.

Before you make your beach plans, check the local forecast. The best time to visit the beach with small children is normally in the early morning. That is because peak heating hours begin as early as 10AM and continue through the 4PM hour. Decide on the most ideal window of time to spend in the sun and then find alternate plans for when rain or heat will start to impact your safety.

Keep Your Stuff Safe

The beach is a spectacular place to have fun, but sadly, bad things sometimes happen in life. Keep away sticky fingers away by storing your valuables in a fake sunscreen container.

Beach Proof Phones

Parents and teens are likely going to have their phones at the beach. Before you go, do a little beach proofing of your phone. Simple things like putting tape over the ports so sand doesn't enter and having a Ziplock bag to store it in while at the beach will go a long way in protecting it.

Pack a First Aid Kit

Speaking of preparing for the worst, another important beach hack for families is to prepare a first aid kit. Waterproof bandaids, tweezers, gauze, Tylenol, antihistamines (like Benadryl), alcohol swabs, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer are all great to have on hand. Extra water is also key to preventing dehydration.

Woman carrying a first aid medical kit on a beach

Be Ready for Naptime

For beach babies, nap time may land in the middle of your fun. Don't let them spoil your time! Instead, bring your supplies for the day in a wagon or laundry basket. Pack a few extra towels and then lay them down in your makeshift bassinet. Just make sure that they have shade and a way to stay cool - portable, battery powered fans can be a wonderful choice for the beach.

Pack Things for Older Kids and Teens to Do

Older kids and teens might not be content to play in the waves all day like younger kids, nor will they necessarily be happy to sit and read a book like some of the adults. To make family beach day a success when you have older kids, tweens, or teens, try to pack things to keep them having fun all day, such as:

  • Frisbee
  • Football
  • Water-friendly balls like Wabooba
  • Splash balls
  • Beach-friendly games like boccee ball or Spikeball
  • Boogie boards or skim boards
  • Larger shovels or big-kid sand toys

Keep Sand Out of Your Snacks

Kids and adults alike are going to get hungry at the beach. Even if you plan to go to another location for lunch or dinner, it can be helpful to have some snacks to ward off the hanger while you're on the beach. To prevent having kids (or yourself) eat sand along with the snacks, put foods on skewers they can eat without touching it, or pack toothpicks or plastic forks they can use to spear the snacks. This can work for fruits, cheeses, meats, and vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, and baby tomatoes.

You can also use parchment paper or plastic wrap around sandwiches or wraps so kids can hold on to them without sandy hands. Elevate food on a foldable tab (or just use your wagon or top of the cooler) so they're not on the beach blanket and super close to the sand. You can set up a hand-rinsing bucket with fresh water and some sanitizer near the cooler, too.

Pack Your Bags

Grab a handful of plastic bags or resusable shopping bags for your beach trip. They'll come in handy for things like packing up wet and sandy clothes, gathering trash, and those few last sand toys that don't seem to fit in the beach bag the same way as when you packed them.

Bags can also come in handy for older kids to store the nonliving treasures they've collected on the beach.

Scout Out Bathrooms in Advance

Especially for younger kids, but key for all ages, is knowing where the bathrooms are. Before you set up on the beach for the day, make sure the family knows where restrooms are located.

Be Flexible With Your Family at the Beach

When packing for your beach vacation or day trip, take the time to think about your kids. Thinking about where you can be flexible and what you need to do to prepare can help make sure it's relaxing for all.

  • What sets your kids off? And what is their normal schedule? You can give it a little leeway, but sticking to typical nap and eating times can make the trip a lot more enjoyable.
  • Be prepared by packing extra hydrating snacks and drinks. Your kids will sweat more than normal and the heat can expedite dehydration. Make sure they replenish what they lose throughout the day! This can keep them happy, energized, and safe.
  • Walking in the sand, swimming in the ocean, digging to the center of the earth, and simply sitting in the sun are all activities that will drain their energy. If they're showing signs that they are tuckered out, don't push it.

The best hack of all is to be flexible. Read your kid's cues and follow their lead. In the long run, this is what will ensure a relaxing time away!

Simple Beach Hacks for Families Can Make It a Fun Time

Relaxing at the beach can be priceless. Have a great time without the added stress by using a few of these simple beach hacks. Then you can sit back, recharge, and make lasting memories with your family.

19 Beach Hacks So Families Can Actually Relax in the Sand