When I moved to California from Iowa almost 25 years ago, I was sure I’d be at the beach all the time. Constantly. At least once per week. But reality didn’t match my expectations. In fact, for the vast majority of those years (20 of them) I barely even visited a beach once per year.
Here is the truth: it is HARD to go to the beach. Being at the beach is fun! Getting ready to go to the beach is tons of work. There are so many necessities to gather up, children to dress in swimsuits, and snacks to pack. Sometimes it feels like I spend more time preparing for a trip to the ocean than we spend at the beach itself!
Or at least it did, back in the olden days. A few years ago, I figured out a trick that streamlines beach prep and makes it simple to just get our suits on, grab a few towels and GO.
The key is to pack a big bag with all the essentials for an afternoon at the beach at the very beginning of summer and then leave it in the car at all times. I stuff mine with toys, sun protection and portable snacks (we love the snacks from Horizon Dairy because they are yummy and convenient), then stash it in the trunk.
BONUS: with the exception of the sand toys, the stuff I keep in our beach kit is the exact same stuff I take to the swimming pool. Double time saver!
Here’s what I keep in my beach kit:
- A beach blanket (background in photo above) — I picked mine up at a tourist-trap, road-side store in New Mexico when we drove cross-country ten summers ago. Because it’s made with a loose weave the sand shakes out easily and it dries fast too.
- Floppy sun hat — I only keep one of my hats in the bag because the kids wear their baseball caps pretty much all the time.
- The beach bag — Bigger is better. I wish mine was slightly larger so I could throw all our beach towels in it when it’s time to go, but it’s not too bad to put them in a second bag. I also wish it was a little cuter, but it was a freebie so I’m not going to complain.
- Snacks — A must! We all get hungry really quickly running on the beach and playing in the water so I always keep snacks in our bag. Horizon Fruit Snacks and Apple Fruit Crunchers satisfy our sweet tooth and because they’re individually packaged they keep well even if they’re stowed in the trunk for a few weeks at a time.
- Baby powder — The best sand remover in the world! Rub some on your sandy feet and legs and it just falls off.
- Sunblock — This bottle stays in the bag at all times
- Toys — A ball for playing catch, shovels for digging, and some smaller cups and containers for building sand castles. I often raid our recycling bin for the cups — the bigger sour cream containers are good scoopers and yogurt cups are great for adding details to sand castles.
- A towel — We grab our big swimming towels along with our swimming suits if we are making a dedicated trip to the beach, but I still like to keep one towel in the bag for spontaneous stops when we are heading home from somewhere else. We use it to dry our feet after wading or to dust the sand off after a walk. (And you wouldn’t believe how often you’ll use a towel in the course of daily life if you have one stowed away in your trunk.)
- Goggles — These also live in the bag full-time so they don’t get misplaced in the house. We use them occasionally at the beach, but we always use them at the pool.
Once everything is stuffed into the bag, I tuck it in the corner of our trunk where it’s out of the way. I keep a few bigger sand toys in there too. (Yes, we have FOUR buckets. Wanna make something of it?) And this summer I bought myself a beach chair which I am also keeping in the trunk. Unlike my beach bag, the chair is kind of in the way, but it is so comfortable when I’m sitting on the sand that I’m willing to put up with it.
When we return from our outing I wash anything that needs washing, replace the snacks and then take it right back out to the car. Easy peasy!
How do you streamline trips to the beach or pool? I’d love to hear your tips!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Horizon Organic. The opinions and text are all mine.