Family Beach Day Essentials

5 Ways to Reduce Stress and Increase the Fun on Beach Outings

By Sara Kendall

DogonBeach_8Packing up and heading out to the beach is a favorite excursion for many families (check out HFM’s “Best Family Beaches in Galveston” article in the June issue!). The chance to play and relax in the sand gives a family important together time. With just a little planning you can keep a beach day from turning into work, and avoid some of the unexpected annoyances that can dampen a good time. To have more fun and fewer hassles, here are five tips to incorporate into your planning to help make your family’s beach day more enjoyable for everyone.



In spite of the fact that we literally would not exist without it, the sun is no friend to our bare skin, so take the necessary precautions. Choose a UVA/UVB protection, water–resistant sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or greater. Apply a thick coat at least 15, and preferably 30 minutes before heading out in the sun. This will give it time to soak into your skin, maximizing protection. Reapply every 2 hours, after swimming or after you have worked up a sweat. Don’t forget those lips! Use a lip balm with a SPF of 30.


In addition to sunscreen, put up a couple of umbrellas or pitch a tent to provide protective shade from the strongest sun between 10 am to 4 pm. Having your own shade isn’t just protection from the sun. It can go a long way to erase sad faces if a brief shower interrupts your fun, giving your kids a place to ride out the rain.

Other items to pack are hats, long sleeved shirts and sunglasses. These are key items to reduce the chance of getting sunburned or to cover up with if a family member has gotten a bit too much sun. If your little ones are resistant to sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat is a good option.


The constant heat and never-ending activity drains everyone. Take time to cool off and replenish.  Stay hydrated by keeping everyone sipping on fluids. Having plenty of portable, healthy snacks to fill empty tummies will maintain everyone’s energy level and keep your kids smiling.


Stinging saltwater is a painful eye irritant for children hitting the waves. Masks and goggles are a great way to reduce complaints from frustrated kids. Bring extra pairs, in case a strap breaks or they happen to float away in a big wave. Having some saline handy to rinse irritated eyes will aid in clearing away the unpleasant saltwater.


Reduce unnecessary lugging by shrinking the amount of toys. Let the sand and waves be their entertainment. For kids ready to hit the waves, a boogie board or an inflatable boat are fun choices. A couple of small buckets and a few shovels can provide hours of creative activity for kids of all ages.

Let the Good Times Roll

A little planning goes a long way. Take the time to craft a smart game plan for your family’s beach day. You’ll score big points with your kids when you can instantly solve a lot of their biggest complaints. Plus, you will have more time to breathe in the salty air, feel the cool sand between your toes, and let gentle waves lap at your feet. Make your family’s beach day one to remember for the good times.


Sara Kendall is a freelance writer and mother of two daughters.