I keep seeing posts on social media about what are the must have to bring to the beach with my kids. The comments are filled with a lot of nonsense and some practical items. However, unless your trip to the beach (with your kids) comes with a cabaña boy I would rethink all those cool gadgets. I mean, coolers, baby powder, wagons, tents, pools (for the baby), play pins, jugs of water (to clean off with), foldable booster seats, and inflatable bathtubs are just a few of the things I’ve seen suggested. Mommas, you also need to carry your children, towels, chair, sunscreen, snacks and drinks. It seems like you will spend most of that hauling things around and you will be so tired you wont enjoy the day.

The truth is that sand will get everywhere, in your car, in every crevice of your body, and your snacks. Remember less is more. Your child will be eating the sand, playing in water, and not caring about all the cool things you brought to the beach that day. I’m native to Wilmington and have spent many days on the beach as an adult, mom, and oldest sister to 4. Believe me when I tell ya less is more, you will thank me later. Here is what I suggest:

Lets talk first about the necessities:

Towels: everyone needs one and they make kids ones that they can wear like a poncho. See…..already less things for you to carry.

Sunscreen: that’s obvious but remember to put it on the kids before you leave the house. Rubbing sandy sunscreen on isn’t pleasant and your children’s do not want to wait around for you to put it on once you arrive. Aerosol canned sunscreen is a waste of money… half of it gets blown to the wind. Just use the lotion kind.

Toys: one bucket and shovel per kid and they have to carry it. If they’re to young to carry it…… do not bring it. All those cool sand toys get left behind or lost in the ocean. Not to mention its one more thing you have to collect, clean, and carry at the end of the day.

Attire: The sand is hot and flip flops fall off and still touch the sand. Instead use water shoes that fully cover your feet. This is also helpful for when the shore is “shelly” ya know those tiny little shells that cover the entire area even in the water. Get your kids a rash guard shirt. This will help with blocking the sun and prevent rashes from wet sand. Hats….everyone needs a hat.

Snacks: Here is the real truth…. even with a cooler…. its all getting sandy. All of it. AND if anyone tells you differently they lie. Drinks get hot and half drank. Snacks get soggy and sand crunchy. My solution is frozen fruit. It fills you up when you need a little snack and helps when you’re thirsty. Plus side is you don’t have to lug around a cooler. Just toss some containers (not zippy bags we don’t want to harm sea life) in your bag and they can thaw out on the beach. I would bring one bottled water only to use to rise a child’s mouth out who decided to eat the sand that day. Also, feed the family a good breakfast or lunch before heading out.

Solutions to the problems:

Sandy kids: If you want to clean your child off after the each then go to an access with bathrooms and/or water to do just that. Carolina Beach has this at the Boardwalk, Fort Fisher has an amazing area near the south end (aquarium area), and Wrightsville Beach at Johnny Mercers Pier. Don’t make it harder on yourself by lugging around jugs of water to clean off with.

Babies: Those little pools are the cutest, but just let your baby explore the water and sand. You could set up at the beach close to shore line and just dig a hole/pool type thing and use the ocean water to fill it up. Baby powder is great and really does work. BUT unless you’re changing a diaper and need to clear off the sand, why waste all that powder on all the family. You will still end up with sand everywhere.

Chairs: Now, if you are at the beach with children, you will not be relaxing in your chair getting a tan. However, I use a small low to the ground chair to sit in. I usually will bring it to the shore where the kids are playing so I am close if something happens, but I can still be comfortable.

Older Kids: if they bring it they carry it. Boogie boards, surf boards, balls…whatever. They Bring it They Carry IT… The End.

ONE LAST THING TO REMEMBER……. PICK UP YOUR TRASH OR JUST DO NOT BRING ANYTHING THAT WOULD NEED TO BR THROWN AWAY!!!!