Just in case you’ve never been to the beach with small children, I thought I’d take advantage of my vast experience (which, yes, consists entirely of yesterday’s trip) and provide you with a detailed tutorial of just how to do it.

Here’s my list of the top 10 supplies you’ll need:

1. Grandparents (preferably the kind that actually, genuinely like your children and will therefore do things like help the cranky, missed-her-morning-nap toddler with her sandals no matter how many mixed signals of, “Shooooooee,” then, “Nooooooooo,” she wails)


P.S. My mom is 61. I’m hoping I look as good as she does now when I’m 40.

2. Proper headgear (if it happens to come with the world’s cutest chubby cheeks, so be it).


3. SNACKS—preferably the variety with lots of artificial orange “cheese” dust, the better to make streaky marks all down your white cover-up (because if you’re going to the beach with small children, you don’t want to come out looking too pristine, or no one will think you really worked for it).


4. Patience. (and strong neck muscles). Bring extra of each.


5. Sunscreen (SPF 1,000)—because when you buy a “new” (okay, Goodwill) set of swim-trunks for your middle child, and they actually sit on his hips, whereas the tan line from his last set seems to indicate that they were a tad Urkelesque, it’s going to take that much SPF power to keep him from turning into a little walking Neapolitan Sundae.


(This point would be so much better illustrated with a shot of his back since that’s where the line was most obvious).

6. Pacifiers—either for the aforementioned nap-less toddler or, perhaps, for you if you get desperate.



7. A decent pedicure—because when you’re the ONLY pregnant person for miles and you’ve already got three little critters running around, you need something to prove that you sometimes do get out of the house and are not, therefore, entirely to be pitied (just don’t expect pretty toes to completely quell the, “Poor woman. She obviously has no clue how she keeps ending up in this state“ glances).


8. A camera—so you can be sure to capture such priceless moments as the following:


(And no, I don’t have a clue what’s happening here, exactly, but I laugh every time I look at this picture)

9. At least 6 pair of goggles—because the first 3 will be the wrong color, and the straps on at least two more will break


10. Lots of sand tools—because after she’s spent the first three hours doing this:


(That would be huddling under the umbrella and gazing distrustfully out at the big, bad 6 inch waves)

…and reacting like this at even the prospect of walking on hot sand:


…the toddler will suddenly decide, in the last 1/2 hour, that the beach is her favorite place on the planet and not want to leave when it’s time.


(I realize that in this pic, it looks like her little arms are fricasseed, but it’s an optical illusion because she barely got out from under the umbrella and was wearing SPF 1,000 the whole time).

And that concludes my detailed tutorial on how to survive and, yes, thrive on your next foray into the land of sun and sand with small children in tow.

Do share if you feel I’ve left any essential supplies off the list.

P.S. We had an absolute blast, and I was totally surprised by how easy the trip was. (That whole “grandparents” thing being first on the list was not an accident, though!)

P.P.S. Try not to hate me for my oh-so-glamorous beach hair. : \


  1. Love the post! The only thing missing is baby powder! Sprinkle a little over the sand and the sand rubs off super easy! I absolutely HATE getting in the car or putting on clothes over my suit with sand all over me so this little trick is my life saver!

  2. You are blessed to have HANDS ON grandparents. I think you need to be like a boy scout when you have kids and be prepared for anything!! My daughter was born living at a small country beach town – the first time I look her to be beach she screamed when she saw the surf and sand. I can remember saying to her “Oh Cait, you better get to love the beach because we live here!!” Now my kids say how much they loved growing up at the beach – they are 18 and 15. I always said to my friends with kids lets keep it SHORT AND SWEET. In other words visits anywhere, to the beach, to friends houses, shopping were best kept to a short time frame. That way mummy and kids are likely to say happy. Your photos are gorgeous – great memories for your family.

  3. Too true! But you forgot sand in all places, LOL. And we spent a whole day at the beach with my high school friends and then had an evening bbq (SO fun!) but the girls were way overtired and cranky, and we had one meltdown over a s’more. They did not want to leave when it was time either. Your post totally cracked me up. Your mom looks great!! You are looking great Abbie. Looks like you had a much needed break away too. 🙂

  4. OMG! I almost didn’t read your post because I thought it was going to be one of those “young” Mother tutorials and I’m a Grandma like your Mom…the OMG is for your Mother…I thought she was you! I’m 63 and I look like HER Mother! LOL! You don’t have a thing to worry about….you have great genes!
    I laughed SO hard…..you are so funny and it brought back so many memories of when our kids were little and yes…of course you always take the Grandparents. Who can have enough eyes in their head for the beach? Your family is beautiful! Have a wonderful, safe 4th of July! I’ll be back for sure! I had 4 kids who are all grown (physically now…not real sure about the mental part). So, I’m glad you have such a great sense of humor……you’re going to need it! LOL!

  5. too funny! haha! We haven’t been able to take ours to the beach in quite some time since it is a 12+ hour drive……bummer! I know they would love it. But, I totally relate to fussy baby girl….that is how my 15 mos old baby girl would be for sure! The duck on the sand photo is too cute. And others are cute in a commiserating sort of way cuz that could soooo be me 🙂 Glad you are getting some vacay time…..and vacay time w/ the grandparents…..priceless!

  6. Love the post, your mom is so pretty,now I know where you got it. Also loved the pacifier remark. Looks like you had fun!

I love hearing from you guys!