I come from pretty heavy beach roots. Ever since my great-grandparents migrated to California from Germany (with a quick stop in Milwaukee), my family has spent their lives on the beach. It’s always been this way and just because I have a couple of kids in tow doesn’t mean anything will change. Point being? I know how to pack for a day at the beach. And those two kids I mentioned? They only make me more efficient. I’m always keeping an eye out for things to make going to the beach easier, and this is some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen on the market lately. –Alex
The Original Umbrella Stand, $25.00
I never used to worry about bringing an umbrella to the beach–until I had kids. I quickly found that putting your umbrella in the sand–and making it stay there–is a science. You grab your kid’s plastic shovel, only to have it crack on you. You quickly toss it to the side and finish digging with your bare hands. Finally– the hole is deep enough to stick the umbrella in and you get in there, packed good and tight. However, five minutes later the wind blows it out and you have to start all over again. No longer my friends, no longer. The Original Umbrella Stand is SO easy–it has two spikes on the end so you just need to step on the bar to get it deep in the sand–and it holds. Put your umbrella in and it will stay until the sun goes down. The other plus is that it has two openings so you can put two umbrellas in for that extra shade coverage. Order yours here.
Igloo Icy Tunes 18 Can Cooler and Music Player, $50.00
Nothing makes the day at the beach better than some music playing in the background. But who wants to haul the stereo down? Worry no longer. This cooler holds 18 cans, has a MP3 hook-up, and for you old school folk, it also can hook up a portable CD player as well. The must have 2-in-1 product. Order yours here.
GoPro Digital HERO 3 Sports Wrist Camera, $131.00
This camera is not your mother’s disposable waterproof. First off, it’s digital, secondly, it can take video, and third, it’s the aforementioned waterproof. AND, the picture quality is good. Originally made for the big wave surfers of Northern California, the wrist strap will stay put no matter the conditions. So, if you find yourself running after your child, taking photos, and a wave takes her out (I swear this hasn’t happened to me), you won’t have to worry about saving your camera as you save her. Get yours here.
Deluxe Wonder Wheeler Cooler & Beach Chair Cart, $46.00
The biggest hassle in taking the family to the beach is . . . how do you get all the paraphernalia down there? This cart is your answer. Though I personally don’t have one (too many stairs or too much of a hike where I go to the beach), I have a few friends who do and they swear by them. You can pretty much haul everything, including the kitchen sink. And, if you do have a long walk through sand, the big back wheels make it easy to do so. Order yours here.
Breezy Mama Tip: Going to the beach with a baby or toddler? Bring a small, inflatable baby pool. Set that up under the umbrella, pour a couple buckets of saltwater in it, and wah-la, you got yourself a happy baby.
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Nice Alex! So, I don’t have to bring anything in a few weeks right?? ha ha j/k. Well, maybe Chloe can share the kiddy pool. :>
Another thing that works well for us…we have a big Radio Flyer wagon that my two kids are too big to ride in but we have kept it just for the beach. We have all our sand toys in a tub that fits right in side the wagon. There’s still room for a small cooler and some other goodies. We just keep it in the garage…when we go to the beach we load the entire wagon into the back of the van and have all our stuff ready to pull to the sand. Of course this doesn’t work where there’s stairs. Another great tip I learned from another mom to get sand off of the kids is – baby powder! Once the kids are fairly dry, rub some baby powder on those sandy feet and legs and the sand will fall right off. And then the kids smell good too! 🙂
great ideas!! thank you alex! getting that umbrella stand for sure!! don’t want my babes ending up as wrinkly as our generation of sun worshipers. 😉
Love this! I always dread going to the beach out here because it seems like just too much but these items just may make it easy enough to do! Thanks, Alex!
GREAT tips! I have not ventured YET to the beach this summer because just thinking of the work it entails. My two biggest obstacles: the umbrella and carting all of the stuff over the sand! Problems solved. I am getting the umbrella stand and the wonder wheeler FOR SURE!!!
One more thing…I LOVE the idea of the inflatable baby bath!!! Never thought of that before! Brilliant!
Like the mini-van…I also swear by my beach cart! We actually never unpack it – just leave it in the garage and throw it in the back of the van when ready to go. I keep it stocked with wipes, dipes, sunscreen etc. All the toys stay in it too. Who have I become…beach cart…mini van…how long will I have to wait for my 2 seater convertible BMW???
The Wonder Wheeler is WONDERFUL!!! I’m going to order the umbrella stand for sure! Thanks for the excellent tips surfer girl/breezy mama! 🙂
I can see that I’m reading this column a year after it was originally published, but maybe someone will scroll down and read this about the umbrella stand. It was originally conceived for soccer moms because how are you going to get shade on a hard-packed grass field? Just step on this stand and in it goes, easy as pie. Also good for sand, as Alex says, but it will not hold 2 unbrellas at once, unless they’re those tiny one that come in your mai-tai! The angled tube is to give you choices about shade coverage. Some people were worried about the exposed metal on the unused tube so we solved that by slitting a tennis ball and sliding it over the tube.