Creative Child

Taking a Beach Vacation with Toddlers

by Sarah Lyons

Sunshine, blue sky, warm sand between your toes, and the calming sound of ocean waves hitting the shore. Doesn’t it sound wonderful and relaxing? Add a toddler or preschooler to the picture and it may not sound quite as relaxing, but a beach vacation with young children can still be wonderful with some patience and a little bit of planning.

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Choose the right location for your family

When picking a spot to set up for a day at the beach, choose wisely. Make sure that the area is family friendly. It is also wise to make sure there are public restrooms available. Picnic areas, public showers, and restaurants nearby are also a bonus.

Bring the basics

When packing up for the beach make sure you have the essentials--a stocked diaper bag, lots of water, snacks, towels, extra swimsuits, and sunscreen. If you are transporting little ones along with a lot of beach gear, figure out what stroller or wagon that would work best to drag across the sand. Use makeshift sand toys such as cups, plastic containers, or inflatable items that are easy to travel with.

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Sun protection

Apply a high level of sunscreen to protect everyone from sunburn and reapply frequently. Use hats and protective swimsuits so that a sunburn doesn’t ruin the rest of your vacation. Find a place with shade or set up umbrellas or tents to create a shady spot. This will make the day more pleasurable for everyone. Try putting a inexpensive baby pool in the shade to keep little ones out of direct sunlight.

Have a backup plan

Plan alternative things to do in the area in case weather doesn't allow for a beach day. Families may also choose to take one day out of the sun and sand. Many beach vacation destinations have other options for entertainment such as an aquarium, mini golf, shopping, go-carts, or water parks.

The type of vacation you take may change quite a bit after you become a parent, but it doesn’t have to stop you from traveling. Plan ahead, be flexible, and make the most of the time together. Whether your beach vacation is relaxing or not, it is sure to be memorable.


Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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