Are you dying to get your toes in the sand this summer, but fear it’s not worth the trouble with little ones in tow? I’m here to tell you that it can be done! And it’s so worth it! My husband and I both grew up taking summer vacations to the beach every year. That was instilled in us early on, so once we had children, we didn’t waver from that. Don’t get me wrong; traveling and taking children to the beach is a lot of work, but it’s definitely doable!
Let’s look at some of the benefits from traveling to the coast with your kiddos.
In the grand scheme of things, beach trips tend to be cheaper than trips to Disney World or big cities. I know saving money is important when you’re raising little ones. We LOVE Disney, but that’s not feasible financially to do every year, and quite frankly, it’s exhausting. You can relax at the beach, and most of the time, it won’t break the bank. The bulk of your expense is going to come in the form of lodging. Whether you chose a hotel or condo, oceanfront or across the street, that will be your big ticket item. After that, it’s relatively inexpensive. The ocean and pool will keep your kids entertained for all day long, and then they’ll be so exhausted, they’ll take a great nap for you every day!
Like I mentioned above, it’s super easy to keep your children, young and old, entertained at the beach. Playing in the ocean, swimming, collecting seashells, building sandcastles, and taking walks on the beach will fill your days with fun in the sun and lifelong memories. We often travel with our families, and our boys love spending time at the ocean with their cousins and grandparents. There is literally so much to do that you don’t even need to leave your hotel/condo! If you’re looking for more things to fill your time though, beach towns are typically full of activities like mini golf, movies, boat tours, boardwalks, piers, state parks, lighthouses, and ice cream joints.
Thanks to the great location of Chattanooga, you can be at a beach within six hours! The closest one is Tybee Island, and it’s beautiful! It’s right beside Savannah, so you’re really getting a two for one experience when you go there. The coast of Georgia has some breathtaking beaches. South Carolina, Florida, and Alabama also offer a quick drive to the coast. In our parenting tenure, we’ve been to Daytona Beach, Destin, Dauphin Island, Jekyll Island, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, New Smyrna Beach, and this year we’re going to Sanibel Island. Besides Dauphin Island (it’s very small and remote), there were tons of things for families to do at all of these locations. The best part: we were able to drive to our locations and have enough time to still get in the ocean before it got dark. The good thing about having beaches relatively close is that you can make a long weekend trip out of it just to get your feet wet (no pun intended) if you feel that a week is just too much for a little one.
Packing for trips with young kids can be a daunting task, but do to the simplicity of beach trips, packing is pretty straightforward. Water toys, bathing suits, sunscreen, and swim diapers will take up the bulk of your car space, but since you’ll spend most of your time in the sand, you don’t need any fancy strollers or carrying contraptions. We always take a wagon to haul our stuff back and forth in, and we always take a tent to give the boys a spot to hideout when the sun is just too much to take. We’ve bought both of those items at Costco in years past, and I’ve already seen them on display this year. When our boys were infants, we took smaller tents for them to nap in, but the good thing about infants is that they’ll pretty much sleep anywhere. There’s no tired like beach tired, so the same is true for toddlers as well. I’ve held many babies in my beach chair while they sleep.