24 February 2015

What to pack when you go to the beach

Photo credit: Ben Prier

My tan has faded and my pedicure has seen better days. The laundry is folded and the Tommy Bahama shirts are at the dry cleaners. But I can't help think of hours spent on the beach, dipping our toes in the water and building sand castles.

We just returned from a vacation in Hawaii with our Boise "village." Four families (8 adults and 4 children, including ourselves) ditched the inversion and colder temps for the tropical island of Maui. We rented a home in Kihei with a huge yard and (very cold) pool. We spent most days at the beach, but also took a whale watching boat tour, went shopping in pouring rain in Lahaina and had two adult-only dinners out.

Mama's Fish House

This was the first time we had been on a beach vacation with a child (not counting the Dead Sea and Red Sea). It is a whole new, very sandy, experience.

Watching a toddler discover the ocean and waves and sand is pretty spectacular. Kiki showed a wide range of emotions, depending on the day. One day she was over the moon for the water and other days she wanted nothing to do with those loud, scary waves. She played in the sand. And she ate the sand.

With almost daily trips to a beach, I had many chances to think about what I had packed for these outings. I was so pleased with a few items, that I feel obliged to share. I added a few items to my wish list that I wish I would have had.

Favorite Item Packed:

Yes, she may look like a 1920's swimsuit model, but this one-piece surf suit from Boden was awesome. It protects more of that porcelain skin than a traditional swimsuit, it's easy-peasy to put on a wiggly, sticky body and keeps more sand out of those crevasses. If you're going to the beach with a toddler, buy one. (similar ones here). 

Kept things dry and organized:

This Grab and Go Wet/Dry Bag from Skip Hop kept items organized and dry. Before heading to the beach, I packed extra diapers and post-beach clothes in the bag. When we'd had enough of the sun and surf, it was easy to locate dry clothes and stow sandy, wet swim diapers and suits in the wet compartment. Once we were home, I simply turned it inside out, wiped the sand out and it was ready to go again. A great piece I will be sticking in my diaper bag at home, too.


Wrestling Kiki out of a wet swim diaper meant we were both full of sand. It is messy going to the beach with a toddler. I was always happy to have a cozy terrycloth cover-up to pop over her head at the end of the day. You can find them most anywhere, but I thought ours was really cute and easy to get on. 

What I wish I would have packed...

Large beach bag:

My trusty Sons of Trade tote made the daily trek to the beach, but I found it a bit cumbersome. I found that at the beach, you want to be able to get at things quickly without too many pockets to collect sand. I wished I had had something like this beauty.

Insulated snack tote:

Someone is bound to get hungry after spending hours playing the in sand and waves. We all packed portable snacks in our bags, but something like this would have been nice to keep the water, cheese sticks and fruit cold. This mini snack tote by Built would have been perfect. 

My dream...

If I could invent something for a beach vacation it would be a gadget to immediately remove sand stuck to one's body. I love the beach, but I never realized how much sand could get stuck on one adult after playing/carrying/swimming/wrestling a toddler. If you have a solution, I'd love to know!

We had a beautiful and relaxing vacation, but are so happy to be home in Boise. The sun is shining and it feels like Spring is just around the corner. We may be land locked for awhile, but it's good to be back in the mountains.

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