Isn't it interesting how things can change so drastically once you become a parent? For instance, if you were talking about a genie pre-baby, you were most likely referring to a beloved Disney film. Now, when you say, "Genie," it is usually preceded by the word, "Diaper." Not surprisingly then, going to the beach has taken on new meaning. If you're still longing for the carefree days, "find beach hacks for moms" is probably at the top of your to-do list for next weekend's family outing.
Before you had children, you most likely took one tote bag filled with the essentials: a towel, sunscreen, a cover-up, and, of course, your phone. If you were planning a group hang, you might bring along an extra cooler with snacks and drinks or grab some speakers to listen to tunes.
Now, it's an entirely different ballgame. Besides being worried that your kid will get eaten a la Jaws (No? Just me?), you basically have to pack like you're getting ready for the zombie apocalypse to ensure you'll have everything you need for a trip to the beach with kids. If you're looking to simplify things—and who isn't?— then check out these top tips and tricks to make your next beach visit worry-free. Except for sharks. I still have no solution for sharks.
1. Sprinkle Baby Powder To Loosen Sand
This hack has been around for ages in my family. Living in Florida for nearly all of my life, I've come across all sorts of genius tips and tricks to make beach-going easier. So when you're getting ready to head home but your little one is still coated in hard-to-remove sand, sprinkle some baby powder in your hand and gently rub over the sandy areas to instantly and painlessly remove it.
2. Pull Double-Duty With Baby Oil
Any time you can find multiple uses for either your or your baby's items, it's a good thing. Lovely Indeed recommends using baby oil as a post-beach moisturizer for you and your little one. Plus, you can apply a small amount to the ends of your hair to prevent the salty air from drying your tresses out.
3. Freeze Aloe Vera To Soothe Burns
Sun burns are unfortunately pretty unavoidable when it comes to beach trips. Refinery29 came up with this genius hack. Squeeze Aloe Vera gel into an ice cube tray, bring it along in your cooler or insulated bag, then use to soothe any burnt skin.
4. Bring Unexpected Storage To Organize Snacks
If your kid is anything like mine, he cannot have his food touching. Rather than bringing loose bags of snacks, I picked up a cheap arts and crafts box which had plenty of dividers to keep things nice and organized. You can use anything from tackle boxes, tea bag storage, or more to make your own portable snack organizer.
5. Scope Out Parking To Avoid Delays
Mom and travel expert, Julie Blanner, wisely recommends on her blog that if you're in a new or unfamiliar are, you should check out beach-access parking options before you go. Nothing is worse than following your GPS to the beach only to find the nearest parking is a mile away.
6. Color-Code Towels To Minimize Confusion
If you have multiple children, you know that anything can turn into a competition or a fight over ownership. To avoid a literal tug of war, designate a colored towel to each child. Marie Claire also noted that the more unique or brightly colored your towels are, the easier they'll be to spot if you're down the shore or in the water.
7. Disguise Bulky Valuable With A "Dirty" Secret
This was a fun hack I learned from my mom. If you plan on joining your family in the water, you don't want to be worrying about the safety of your unattended belongings. My mom's trick was to take any large or oddly shaped items and wrap them in a (clean) diaper. That way, at first glance, someone would just assume it was a dirty diaper, and who would want to steal that?
8. Use A Mesh Bag As A Multi-Purpose Item
Whether it's sandy toys or soaking wet bathing suits, the car ride home can get quite messy. Parenting blogger Amanda Mushro, told Today to "use an inexpensive mesh laundry bag to load up all of your kids stuff . . . rinse everything right in the bag with an outdoor shower or hose."
9. Remember The Perks Of Reusable Bottles To Stay Hydrated
Just because the beach is surrounded by an ocean of water doesn't mean you can forget about hydration. A Pretty Life In The Suburbs wrote that packing reusable water bottles is key to staying hydrated if you plan on being at the beach for an extended amount of time.
10. Clip Hair Ties On A Carabiner To Prevent Misplacement
The number of hair ties I have lost in my life is surely in the triple digits by now. If you're heading to the beach, you're definitely going to want to keep your tresses tamed, and pony tailers are the go-to solution for many. To avoid losing them at the beach, simply put extras on a key ring or carabiner to make sure you won't misplace them.
11. Combine Stockings & Cups For Protected Speakers
You've probably already heard of the phone hack where you use a bowl or cup to amplify the sound, but nothing is worse than getting itty bitty grains of sand in your smart phone. Florida's Emerald Coast shared a tutorial where you put a stocking over a cup to make a sand-free speaker for your phone.
12. Splurge On A Disposable Camera To Avert A Costly Crisis
Travel writer Natalme suggests picking up a disposable waterproof camera to guarantee that you can capture fun moments without worrying about ruining your camera.
13. Turn Your Steering Wheel For Ouch-Less Driving
This may sound silly, but I've had the unfortunate experience of searing my skin on the burning hot steering wheel of my car that's been sitting in the sun for hours. A super simple solution is to just turn your steering wheel when you park so the regular part will stay cool in the shade.
14. Sub Bottles For Ice In A Cooler To Bypass Leakage
The mom from Noreen's Kitchen has a great tutorial on how to pack your cooler for the beach. Instead of worrying about ice making a melted mess by the end of the day, use frozen water bottles instead. Bonus? You can just drink them when they defrost.
15. Use A Frozen Sponge For Stings & Burns
Growing up in Florida, I'm no stranger to sun burns, jellyfish stings, and other beach-related injuries. Ice packs may seem like a necessity, but they can drip everywhere once they defrost. A trick my grandmother used was freezing a wet sponge and placing it in a ziploc bag. That way, even once it "melted," the sponge would just absorb any moisture, leaving everything nice and dry.
16. Pre-Plan To Save Money On Food
Especially if your beach trip is part of a larger vacation, it can be super tempting to splurge on snacks or purchase food on the go. As Back To Her Roots has suggested, bringing your own food not only saves money but it guarantees all your little campers will have the munchies of their choosing.
17. Keep Drinks Cold With Sideways Containers
Life hack vlogger Rclbeauty101 came up with the genius hack. Freeze a half-empty bottle of water on its side, then you can pour in the beverage of your choosing and still have it be icy cold. A great idea especially for kids who love juice and moms who hate messy juice pouches.
18. Opt For Clothing To Maximize Sun Safety
Protecting your child's skin is a top priority for any parent at the beach. The trouble with sunscreen, though, is it requires frequent application and children often squirm when you try to put it on them. According to Healthy Women, using long-sleeved swim shirts and other sun-protective clothing will offer long-lasting coverage for your little one's sensitive skin.
19. Put Down Pads To Protect Your Seats
As a kid, I used to hate sitting on a damp or wet seat for the whole ride home. I've since found that inexpensive puppy pads or mattress protectors (depending on the size of your car or child's car seat) are great for keeping both your upholstery and your family dry and comfortable.
20. Slip On Water Shoes For Comfort & Safety
From sharp shells and jellyfish stings to burning hot sand and littered parking areas, you'll want to make sure your family's feet are protected. That's why I totally agree with Mama Challenge's suggestion that (surprisingly) affordable water shoes are worth it for beach safety.
21. Bring Your Baby's Bath Tub For Convenience
This is really helpful if you have kids of various ages with you at the beach. While the older ones can play in the surf, your littlest one won't feel left out of the aquatic adventures when you let them splash in their portable bath tub. Chances are you already use one at home, so there's no extra cost and clean up will be a breeze.
22. Quiz Kids To Ensure Security
Travel expert and fellow parent, Mommy Has A Life, shared that her best beach hack is making sure her children know vital information—phone numbers, addresses, names, etc.—if a worst case scenario of separation were to occur. It may be unlikely, but you'll have peace of mind knowing they're prepared.
23. Let A Wagon Do The Work For You
Whether you have a stroller (which is impossible to get sand out of) or you have kids who will undoubtedly be too tired to walk at the end of the day, a good ol' wagon is a great trick for easy transportation. They're easy to clean, don't get stuck in sand, and can be used for storage when you're packing up the car.
24. Set Up Near A Lifeguard To Ease Worries
The folks at Greatist hit the nail on the head with this one. Plenty of parents, whether first-timers or seasoned vets, can still miss out on making carefree memories if they're constantly concerned about their child's safety in the water. According to an article from Greatist, picking a spot near a lifeguard can calm even the biggest worrier.
25. Blow Balloons To Reduce Ear Discomfort
Swimmer's ear or uncomfortable ear pressure is never fun, but it is especially hard to alleviate symptoms in children. One hack I picked up from my son's swim coach was to let him blow into a deflated balloon so his ears would "pop" on their own. Bonus? Balloons make great distractions.
26. Reuse Old Bath Toys For Beach Fun
That old rubber duck and other long-forgotten bath toys can get a new lease on life when you use them as beach toys instead. My toddler hadn't seen some of his older bath toys in so long that he thought they were new. A #parentingwin for sure.
27. Bring To-Go Containers For Small Items
You know what I've found is the single most difficult thing to get and keep clean? Pacifiers. But any small object can easily become sandy or even misplaced at the beach. That's why I always grab a few to-go containers to make sure I've got some sand-free storage options.