Open for business! It’s that time of year on the Outer Banks and the doors are open, the homes are filling up and the memories are being made. It’s officially my busy season and I’ll be honest, the hardest part about being an Outer Banks mom is that as the school year dwindles down, my work ramps up. While our kids are excited to start making summertime memories, I know that peak season on the Outer Banks is my only time to make a living so our schedules always experience some conflict. I’m grateful for the work and I am grateful that my children get a break but sometimes I really feel like I miss out on the summer memories. Over the years I have realized that with a little bit of preparation, I am able to pack the summer months with a healthy balance of work and fun and squeeze in some beach time in the middle of the day when I'm able to take a break from my photography business.
I’m always trying to share some of our secrets to a simple summer and the folks over at Parents Magazine caught wind of my blog. A few months ago they reached out to me to ask me if I would share some tips and of course, I jumped at the chance. The June issue of Parents Magazine came out last week and you can find it on stands now to see how they used my advice. A few years ago, Parents Magazine shared a post that encouraged parents to take a beach vacation with their kids and it went viral. Parents were commenting left and right about how difficult and miserable the idea of taking the kids to the beach was and I couldn’t believe it! So, sharing a few of my simple beach tips is a small way that I hope to encourage parents to share the beach with their kids.
Since my husband works full time, if I want to go to the beach during the day, I’m flying solo with the kids so a simple beach haul is always key! Aside from beach towels and beach chairs, only 6 things make it into the beach bag that I carry.
I take along a big water bottle. I love this 64 ounce Yeti version because it stays cold for most of the day and the kids and I can share it. I also love that it eliminates any trash that could blow away.
Next, I bring a small pack of sand toys. I kind of cringe when I walk through our local big box store and see the massive packages of plastic beach toys. My theory here is that the more toys that I take, the more that I have to rinse off and round up before we leave. This kit from Love Lotte Toys is the best one that I’ve found and the mesh bag makes it so easy to eliminate having a bag of sand at the end of the week. It’s also biodegradable! I love that this kit only includes 4 pieces and that the price and quality is a little bit higher than the cheap plastic sold in stores because I think it makes us much more aware of where each piece is so we’re unlikely to lose or mistreat them!
Of course, I bring snacks! All of the snacks! One thing I’ve started doing is packaging individual portion sizes in bags. When I bring a full bag of pretzels or goldfish, it’s inevitable that a little wet and sandy hand will ruin the entire bag. I have used reusable bags for years and they have stood the test of time. Again, I don’t have to worry about plastic blowing away on the beach.
Last summer I found this great little beach tent by G4 Free that pops up in a pinch and can easily fold back down and fit in my beach bag. It’s not our go-to family tent for a full beach day but it provides some shade should we need it!
Sunscreen! I’m the mom to 3 fair-skinned kids and I always apply their sunscreen before we leave the house but I also set a timer on my phone for every 90 minutes to reapply. I’ve come to find that when we’re having fun, sunscreen is the first thing that we forget about!
Finally, my camera! I truly try not to leave home without it. I use my professional camera and capture family portraits all summer long so bringing a good family camera like the Canon Rebel and not relying on my iPhone is one way that my professional and personal life collide.
Of course, this isn’t what we take when we’re heading out for an entire day but it works perfectly for a simple beach trip if I’m heading out without my husband! What are your go-to beach products that make a day at the beach a little bit easier with your kids? This is what Outer Banks Dad looks like when we're heading to the beach for an entire day with the big haul!
I’ll be sharing more over the next few weeks about our beach tips and tricks over on my Facebook page, Outer Banks Mom.