How to Survive the Beach with Kids


The beach.  You long for it all year but when you get there, there’s a serious disconnect between your expectations of smooth sands and long drinks and the reality of lathering kids with sunblock, helping them dig holes (while you look longingly at your unread novel), and making sure they have enough snacks and drinks to keep them quiet and hydrated. 

So how do you survive?

Because I am a big believer in organization, we invited Barbara Reich to do a guest post this week on CloudMom.  Barbara is a professional organizer and her terrific book, “Secrets of an Organized Mom,” is on shelves now.  Barbara is a fan of extra plastic bags and having your children help you tow the heavy bags (music to my ears) and has many other good ideas for making a mama’s life easier… 

How do you get organized for going to the beach with kids? 

beach checklist

Mom’s Checklist for the Beach

The summer season is kicking off and that means it’s time to get ready to hit the water. Whether you spend your days at the beach, local pool of on a lake, having and packing the right beach bag, as well as the right supplies, is essential.   Try the tips below to make your days on the water a little easier.

  • Beach bags should be large and lightweight. Even when you travel light, you’ll need a least a few towels and t-shirts.  Avoid any unnecessary hardware on the bag that would weigh it down.

  • Use brightly colored cosmetic bags for smaller items that you want to keep dry such as such as your money, cell phone, keys, lip gloss, band aids, hair ties, and ibuprofen.

  • Carry only what you truly need.  Bags get heavy, so eliminate what’s unnecessary.  You might want one sunblock for your face and one for your body, but you don’t need any more than that.  You may want to leave your wallet at home and just bring cash, identification, and a credit card.

  • Let your children carry some of the load.  Even young children can tote water toys, a shovel and pail, and blow up rafts. This shouldn’t be in your beach bag!

  • Keep essentials stocked.  Leave the sunblock and lip balm packed in the beach bag, so you can be ready for a day at the beach in minutes.

  • Plastic bags come in handy.  Use one for dry clothes, one for sunblock (in case it drips), and keep a few empty ones for wet bathing suits.   There also great for keeping your book, magazine, or kindle dry!

  • Baby powder isn’t just for babies.  It’s the best way to rub sand off your body before travelling home.

Moms: What are your tips for keeping it all together at the beach?

And here’s another goodie: have trouble getting organized?  Email  secretsofanorganizedmom@gmail.com with your photos and problems and Barbara will troubleshoot solutions for you.  Tidy bags and peaceful days await, mamas… Secrets of an Organized Mom Cover

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check back for more! xo


  • Linnea

    I rolled each of my kids’ change of clothes into their hat so that it was easy to spot which set belonged to each kid when they were ready to change. Sharpie names on sand toys too! Would love to win and read this book!!!

  • LoriS

    Rather than having the extra hassle of packing up a picnic lunch, we like to stop at a sandwich shop along the way to pick up lunch, then eat it right away so we don’t have to worry about keeping things cold. We went to our little beach by the lake just today actually, and learned another important lesson. If it’s a windy day, pack or buy drinks in resealable bottles instead of those flimsy cups used for fountain drinks. We lost a couple drinks when they tipped over in the wind.

    • Great tips — headed to the beach right now and taking you up on the sandwich shop idea, sometimes you just have to make things easier on yourself!! Hope all is well with you, Lori! xo M

  • tracyd

    I put clean clothes together in smaller bag and bring an empty sack to store the dirty ones. I also bring extra store grocery bags for garbage at the end. I store beach toys in a mesh bag so that the sand can fall out of it….before it hits my car.