So for this vacation, I sat back with a notebook and pencil one night and thought about ALL the years that we went to the beach and on vacation to the beach. I started to create a list of what we always brought to the beach and what we also had to buy once we were at the beach at either the super expensive gift shops or stores off the strip that we were able to find. Then with the help of my Mother In Law (MIL) and Pinterest, we refined the list to create a dream vacation list that I tailored to us. I was able to find almost everything on clearance (AHHHH! A perk to homeschooling and going on vacation during off season!)
What made our list and why?
Paper Chain Countdown
I had my kids make a paper chain countdown so that they could see how many days are left until we got to the beach. It was amazing! I told them that if they took off any extra chains, it did NOT mean that we were leaving any earlier.
I created custom magnets to use on the side of my truck for my 4 year old to place her hand on when we are getting out of my truck. She has to place her hand on the magnet until we are ready to go. It keeps her safe and she LOVES to look at them.
Sterilite Tubs & Duffel Bags
I decided to use bins to pack our stuff in instead of suitcases or duffel bags. I had heard that they are easier to pack, load into a truck, onto a dolly at the hotel and can be stacked in the room. They are also waterproof. Well, if you have the space these things ARE freaking amazing. I however, did not have enough space to pack 4 people, our clothes and all the other beachy things, plus all our food into a mid size SUV with room for us to actually breathe! So, I resorted to the duffel bags for clothes and our linens (Remember PTSD here, so yes we are taking our own linens). I have opted to pack all our food in the bins to help keep the food from being pulverized by all the other stuff.
When I go to the beach, I go for as long as I can. A tent offers us refuge from the beating sun without having to move it every couple of hours like we used to do with an umbrella. Our tent needed to be big enough for all 4 of us and super model simple to put up and down (Thank you…You Tube). Our pick was the Wenzel Fairweather 7’x7′ Beach Shelter. For about $50 on Amazon and free shipping on Prime, it was well within our budget.
Beach chairs are a lot more comfortable to sit on then the sand. I needed something that could fold down pretty small and was not $25+ per chair. The chairs that made my list were the Northwest Territory Sun Sport Beach Chair in Orange. I got ours for about $ 10 a chair.
I wanted to find super cheap little side tables to use in the tent or next to our beach chairs. These would serve as a great place to put our drinks, snacks, kids toys, books, etc instead of the sand. I found super cheap little tables at Toys R Us for just under $5. They sit low to the ground, are made of really cheap plastic and collapse flat. If they survive this yr at the beach, for that price…I am a very happy beach bum!
This one is a no brainer of course. However, I was able to get ours for about $3-$5 a towel instead of the normal $10+. Yea, you could say that I kinda stocked up.
Beach Toys & A Collapsible Hamper
Again this one is also a no brainer. It is something EVERY kid loves to play with in the sand. I was able to score ours at over 50% off of the regular pricing. Making my dollar stretch farther. MIL had a collapsible hamper for me to throw all the beach toys in so that they can be carried down to the beach easier and they can dry quickly.
All Purpose Blanket
I decided to get one of these babies to help protect the bottom of the tent and offer us extra padding as well. I scored ours for just under $8 online at Lakeside Collections.
This was a must with 2 kids and all the fun stuff we are lugging to the beach. Kmart had my beach cart for under $25. My bank account was happy with me!
Portable Potty Chair
This one was a MUST for us with my youngest. The one we chose is a trainer seat and a travel potty all in one. We are traveling in a truck for 4+ hours. If she has to potty, I can easily pull over anywhere and not have to worry about finding her a restroom. Once we are in our room, it easily converts to trainer seat allowing her to not fall in the toilet at the hotel. We are also taking it with us to the beach for her. We can close up the tent and she can go to the bathroom if she needs to. Amazon had this one on our list for the best price. I also got extra liners for it and the topper. Total, I spent about $25 for the potty, cushion, and liners.
Sunblock and Bug Spray
I am very careful with what I use on our skin. We have used Butterbean products for the last 2 years. They are organic and fair trade and are just plain awesome!
Yep, we are taking an inflatable pool with us to the beach. I know crazy sounding right? Actually, it gives my youngest a safe place to splash and play without me freaking out. She can throw sand in it etc and we are all ok! No worries about rip tides, waves knocking her down, etc. She can enjoy the salt water. Plus it gives the 10 and 4 year old something to do while we are setting up the tent. Filling the buckets with salt water and dumping them in the pool.
I am taking a backpack with us to the beach. It will hold everything I need from books, sunblock, epi- pen, first aid, to the potty chair and cell phone when we are on the beach to the goodies we will bring home when my kids get to enjoy spending money. My favorite bag is by Jansport. I have ALWAYS loved Jansport. They hold up incredibly well and have a ton of pockets everywhere!