1. Picking Your Destination– There are literally thousands of beach destinations to choose from. Make a budget, think of proximity or closeness, if you will be driving or flying and how long you are going to stay. If you are driving you want to keep it to a minimal distance so it doesn’t eat into your vacation time. If you have kids think of the availability of beach activities that would be important to you.
You can also save a sizable sum by simply heading to a lake rather than the ocean. Many lake resorts on large lakes have sandy beaches and nearly all of the water activities you can find at the beach.
A very important consideration is the weather. Many destinations may be too hot during the summer but not during the fall, however, depending on where you go it may be rainy season or hurricane weather…so check the weather report often.
2. Savings- Once you get to your destination, be sure to keep an eye for coupon booklets in the hotel lobby. These can provide discounts for restaurants and attractions to add up for real savings by the end of the trip. Fun Tip: Front Desk Staff at hotels can provide room upgrades or better rooms within your price range for people who make an extra effort to be nice or mention that this is a special trip.
3. Go Early-This is a good idea especially if you have children. The beaches are less crowded early in the morning. You also get your pick at a prime spot by the water. Additionally, if your kids get worn out, you can try to get in a nap under the beach umbrella or go back to your room and get a good amount of beach and play time before hand.
4. Bring or buy your own beach gear, don’t rent it– Here is another savings idea. Beach hotels will often charge a lot for beach equipment such as boogie boards, beach chairs etc..for just a few hours. Bring these items or buy them locally once your get to the destination, if it is something like beach toys and you don’t have room for them on the way home, pay it forward and give these items to another family.
5.Create Shade- This is important for long hours on the beach and can be a good land mark for your kids. Bring a bright umbrella and set up your towels and gear near a lifeguard station or jetty. It makes it easy for your kids to spot and find their way back if they lose track of where they are on the beach.
Another idea for good coverage is a tent. You can use it for naps, a place to keep your cooler out of the sun, a place for your kids to eat lunch. You can even put child-size portable potties in the tent and make a restroom area on the beach.
And of course, this keeps you from over exposing yourself to the sun for long hours.
6.Picnic- Plan for hunger and thirst on the beach. A well stocked cooler is a must. And can be kept in the above mentioned shady areas you create on the beach. Fill it with water bottles, fruit, lunch items, and enough juice pops for your kids and for sharing. It is also very important that you stay hydrated in the sun. There is no substitute for water to help keep you hydrated in the sun.
Also try to create a place to eat as sand free as possible. An idea would be to have a chair for everyone and a small beach table(they sell these at any retailer) for the kids to eat on.
7.First Aid – Bring one with your beach supplies. Also carry a small spray bottle with vinegar for any jellyfish stings.Also soaking the sting in hot water and taking Tylenol can help as well. And of course having the kit around for any scrapes or scratched with the seashells and hot sand is a good idea.
8. Tanning- Apply sunscreen often. For children, use high spfs as they are more sensitive to sunlight (at least 30spf or higher). Pack Aloe or sun care lotions to treat any areas of burns. The areas most susceptible to burns are feet, where your hair parts, under your nose, your chin, and any area of your body that has not been exposed to the sun in months.
9. Useful tips for beach fun(especially for those with kids)– Bring baby powder, sprinkle it on your skin and any clinging sand will fall right off.
For little kids, bring a tiny baby pool with beach water to put beside you in the shade for the baby/infant. Fill it with just a couple of inches of water with beach toys, the baby will keep cool and you will be able to keep an eye on the baby/infant.
If you can separated from your child always look “downwind”. This is a technique that life guards use as 9 out of 10 times the child will take the path of least resistance and travel in the direction the wind is blowing.
As digital cameras do not like the heat. Save the silica gel packs from your vitamin and medication bottles and tuck them in your camera case. Keep the camera in this bag while you are not using it and this will help decrease the effects of humid climates on your camera.
10. Be mindful of tides and currents– Last but not least, while visiting the beach inquire about tides and currents. Many beaches will have flags out as well. During high tides the shoreline may disappear or make swimming quite dangerous, this normally happens twice a day. Ask hotel staff or lifeguards about the currents and tides at the beach you are visiting to the keep the children out of the water at those times.
Have a safe and fun summer vacation on the beach!