In case you missed it, yesterday I posted about our "glamping" trip to Chincoteague. But I also wanted to talk about how our beach adventures went. I posted last week about the Ultimate Must Have Beach Packing List. Well, I took that seriously and went out and bought several things from the list. I'll tell you what worked and what didn't.
The pop up beach shade tent. We actually went ahead and bought this (the above photo) based on my research for the Beach List post. And I'm so glad to tell you that it was awesome. The beach is REALLY windy but looking at the photo below you'd never know. But the best part was the bulk of the tent set up in about 3 minutes. Check out the video below to see how easy it is. The rest of the time it took to set up the tent dealt with the sand stakes which you wouldn't need to use if you weren't at the beach. And I didn't need auger stakes either. The ones included with the tent worked fine. I also bought 6 yards of terry cloth fabric and hot glued the edges to the floor tarp. If I had more time I would have added buttonholes and buttons so it would have been removable because the sand is so insidious and it would be nice to be able to shake it off and wash it later. In all, we couldn't have stayed so long at the beach without it SO this tent gets a big THUMBS UP in my book.
A kiddie pool used as a footbath. Honestly, I don't think I could live without this but it might not be for everyone. Blowing it up was kinda a pain BUT I later found these pop up kiddie pools that would be PERFECT. But I couldn't find any that sold in the US:-( All the US pop up pools I found were huge. Ideally it should be no bigger than 3' wide because it's going to take a couple trips with the bucket to get enough water in to wash your feet. You don't need to fill it more than a couple inches to get the sand off your feet but as you can see below, Eloise loved to play in it which was great because having her down by the waves stressed me out. Use a lavette bottle to get the sand off your legs and butt. They sell them at pharmacies.
Cooler with handle and wheels. My mother in law bought me this cute little collapsible soft cooler with wheels for my birthday and it worked out perfect for the beach. I didn't see the need to bring the heavy duty plastic one we brought for camping since we only need enough food and drinks for the afternoon. This said it held 45 cans (that's how you know how big it is) and it was more than enough room for our cold stuff even with the extra ice inside.
Honestly, this should be number ONE. The portable potty seat. Eloise must have asked to go about six times at the beach. If I would have had to take her to the public restroom each of those times I think I might have pulled my hair out. This was invaluable. I didn't have enough time to buy the one I listed in my Packing List post but the old one I used from my mother's house worked out fine. It was just a little more bulky. But I think I'm still going to buy this Fisher Price one because I love how compact it is and I love how you can attach a grocery bag.
Beach table and fold out chairs. Brian bought the beach table I listed in my Packing List post and I seriously love it. It was perfect. So compact, stylish, easy to set up and had a sizable area for eating. He bought it off Amazon Prime at a used price so it was only $37 (normally it's $45). I think $45 is a bit much for a portable table but maybe you can find it for a used price on eBay or Amazon as well. And I got the beach chairs at The Christmas Tree Shops for between $5.99-$7.49 a piece. The kiddie ones are great because they're not as bulky as the adult chairs and were cheaper as well;-)
Here were the rest of the things on my list. I'll tell you what I did and didn't bring, what I RECOMMEND, what I didn't necessarily need (EH?) and what I wish I would have tried (SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT).
Beach Cover Ups: Brought RECOMMEND. I bought these super cute cover ups for the kids at The Christmas Tree Shops for only $5 a piece. And one for me for only $8. They're nice for when you're walking back to the car and sitting a wet butt and back on a car seat.
Beach cart: Brought RECOMMEND
Giant Duffle for stuff: Brought RECOMMEND
Boogie Boards: Brought EH? I don't know if I recommend taking these if you live on the upper East coast. The water is almost never that warm. My kids are really too small to go out that far and I'm not about to take a dive in 65 degree water. Brrrr!
Beach Toys: Didn't bring SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT. The bucket would have been useful to fill the baby pool and I think the kids would have used the shovel and pail at times.
Beach Towels: Brought RECOMMEND Duh!
Pillows: Brought EH? I brought them but no one used them. But I HAVE used them in past years so it's kind of a toss up.
Battery Operated Air Pump: Brought EH? Mine sucked. Maybe my batteries were too low? I don't know but I ended up just blowing up the pool with my mouth. I recommend getting a pop up pool instead.
Baby Powder: Brought EH? With the baby pool it was never necessary and we never even used it. But if you don't have a baby pool it could be useful.
Empty Wipe Bottle for Hiding Stuff: Didn't bring. SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT. No, we didn't have anything get stolen but we could have. It's always nice to have.
Ziplock Baggies: Brought RECOMMEND. They were great for the wet sea shells.
Sunglasses for Everyone: Brought EH? I brought them but the kids didn't wear them. I did however. So I would recommend them for the adults.
Baby's Blanket: Didn't Bring. EH? The kids never fell asleep so I'm glad I didn't bring it but if you have a toddler that likes to fall asleep under the tent shade it can be nice for them to cuddle up with.
Trash Bags: Brought RECOMMEND. This is so necessary. Really, just one big one will do.
Waterproof Case for iPhone: Brought RECOMMEND. I love mine and used it on the beach.
iPhone Speakers: Brought EH? I guess it depends on what kind of person you are. I liked the speakers but no one else seemed to care. Here's a little tip, you can get a louder sound from your phone by putting it in a cup with the speakers aimed at the bottom. NO LIE, it really works!
Mini Grill and Lighter: Didn't Bring. SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT. At the end of the day I was wishing we had something more substantial to eat than chips, soda, pretzels and crackers. I was craving some real food. So either bring a grill and make some hot dogs or pack some sandwiches.
Food, Drinks, Ice: Brought RECOMMEND. But again, if you're going to stay through lunch, pack something more substantial than snacks.
Arm Floatees: Brought EH? The arm floatees I bought were dumb. They said 2-12 and were so big on Eloise that they fell off. How ineffective is that?! I only had her wear them because I was afraid of her getting sucked out by the waves so if you do bring them, make sure they are the right size and that they stay on without being in the water.
Waterproof SPF spray: Brought RECOMMEND Duh!
Books, Magazines: Brought EH? I brought my new David Sedaris book but going to the beach with small kids makes it impossible to look down for more than a couple seconds. So unless you're comfortable having your kids out of your sight, skip the reading material.
Conditioner for Hair: Brought EH? If the water would have been warm enough to swim in then this would have been great. But I ended up not using it.
Goggles: Didn't Bring. EH? Since the water was so cold there was never a time when they needed them.
Wipes, Paper Towels: Brought RECOMMEND Definitely recommend.
First Aid Kit: Didn't Bring. RECOMMEND. If I would have needed a band aid or medicine I would have wished I had it. What I would recommend is to keep this in the car and if you end up needing it you can walk back and get it instead of adding it to the pile of items to drag to the beach.
Change of Clothes: Didn't Bring. RECOMMEND. I also recommend bringing these but keeping them in the car. We decided to go out to eat after the beach and ended up having to go back to the campsite to get a change of clothes which wouldn't have been necessary if we had them in the car.
Binoculars: Didn't Bring. EH? We were never far away from the kids.
Cash: Brought RECOMMEND. The seashore we went to had a fee to get in. Most places either have a fee for entrance or a fee for parking. Chincoteague National Park allowed you to use your debit card but many places still don't.
Hand Sanitizer: Didn't Bring. EH? I'm not a clean freak but if you are this might be something for you.
Hope that helps! Have fun on YOUR next beach adventure this summer!