I wanted to share our tips and tricks for going to the beach with littles! Cash is 5yrs old and Ace is 15months. First and foremost, we OVERPACKED.
I wanted to give a breakdown of what did and didn’t work, so maybe I could save you some time and space.
My mom and I ventured down to PCB (Panama City Beach) with the boys for 4 nights while Aaron stayed back and held the fort down at home. We packed lots of snacks for the ride down and stopped numerous times so the kids could get out and stretch their legs. For lunch, we grabbed Chick Fil A and had a picnic lunch outside (most fast food restaurants are still closed inside) and the kids loved it! We just found a shady spot with trees and spread a quilt out to eat on. Our second stop was in south Alabama at the cutest roadside stand called Sweet Creek Farmers Market off Pike Rd. They had free range chickens, peacocks, produce, a restaurant, clean bathrooms, and live music! The kids loved the animals and now I believe we may have to get chickens soon. They had a couple acres for families to walk and enjoy the scenery. It was a great stopping point.
Once we arrived at 5pm, we went straight down to the beach. The boys LOVED it! Ace wanted to run full steam ahead straight into the ocean. He also loved sand, which I’m glad he didn’t hate. You never know with babies what their reaction will be. In fact, he loved it so much he dumped it straight on top of his head! The look on their faces made the 7 hour drive time worth it. Both kids were soaked by the time we came in.
On average our days looked like this:
The kids were up 6:30am.
Breakfast at the condo
We packed our beach bag & buggy
Head to the beach by 8:30am
Play until lunch
Head back to have lunch poolside
Dinner by 4:30
Our kids for the most part are on a schedule with lunches/nap times. I tried not deviate too much from them just because Cash started kindergarten the following week and we didn’t want things too thrown off!
Our Food Packing List:
We packed WAY too much food.
The first day my mom made a Hashbrown Casserole that we all ate on the next couple days.
Apple & Yogurt Squeezers were a must along with Uncrustables!! Our kids love the pbj sandwiches and ate them poolside. SO EASY. And when you travel with kids, you need it easy and not over complicated!
Frozen Fruit! Take with you in the cooler to the beach.
Adults did Pimento Cheese Sandwiches & chips for lunch
Collapsible cooler for all snacks and drinks
1 Set of Sand Toys - the kids will share!
Handheld Net for finding seashells
Life Jacket for Ace - floppy hat, sunscreen, extra swim diapers and wipes
A large Quilt instead of the “sand free” beach blanket I purchased🤪 honestly, they don’t work anyways with little kids!
Goggles & Snorkel
Sun Shirts - there’s nothing worse than a sunburnt baby at the beach. Keep them covered!
And a spray bottle of water! This is a lifesaver hack to quickly rinse little kids hands before snack time. Also a bucket of water can help with this too - Ace just loved to dump it out!
We packed a tent, but did not use it at all. We had intentions of Ace being in it/under it, but he was too on the go!
Also, a pack and play for Ace in the condo.
We are officially apart of the senior citizen crowd and eating by 5pm. It worked best for the boys and we avoided long waits and large crowds.
For dinner we ate at:
Another Broken Egg
All restaurants were great with wonderful service. A mama trick I’ve learned is to pack Ace’s own sippy cup and some snacks to occupy him before dinner comes. If you also throw in some small toys, it doesn’t hurt either. It felt nice to dress up and go somewhere new. Of course I had the kids in their matching outfits which Cash loved too. We went the first week in August and it wasn’t packed at all and really enjoyable.
For souvenirs stop at an Everything a Dollar store. It’s chain and they have them throughout the strip. All Cash wanted was a shark tooth necklace and he got three there. Along with gator teeth and a magnet for dad!
We had a wonderful time and I’m so glad we got to experience it! Traveling with little kids can be tough, but it can also be really rewarding. I hope you find this helpful on your next trip. Let me know if there's something that you have learned along the way that helped you travel with children.
Til Next Time Sunshine State,