The good weather this weekend and the easing of restrictions meant that the boys and I could hop in the car and hit the road to get some beach time in lovely old Miltown Malbay; Spanish Point beach is our fave.
My parents live 10 minutes away from there so we have become pro’s at the beach trips over the past couple of years, and we don’t always need the sun!
I was flying solo this weekend which meant I had to be 100% on it for the beach trips: I would definitely suggest NOT taking kids to the beach by yourself, but it is doable if you are organised!
I had all my bits & pieces ready to go & was actually quite impressed with how successful the trips were despite not having my usual back up.
I thought it might be useful for some of you to have a read of what I bring and other things I take into consideration when hauling ass to the sandy shores for the day.
Not gonna lie, it seems like a LOT, and it is a lot, but having all your ducks in a row makes for a much more enjoyable and less stressful day out!
Tides; Check the tides online to make sure you don’t arrive as it’s coming in; the tides change daily so even if you went last week you will need to check again!
Timing;Plan to arrive off-peak so you can park as near as possible to where you want to set up
Buggies; Leave the buggy behind unless you are very familiar with the terrain; most beaches are just a recipe for disaster when it comes to getting buggies across them, trust me… been there and bought the expletive t-shirt…
Toilets; Will there be any? For smallies I would say bring a potty, line it with a nappy bag for more heavy duty potty use! And of course dispose responsible of the contents…
Towels; bring about double the amount you think you need; leave half in the car and take half to the beach; Hooded towels are ideal for ease of changing & keeping warm in between swims
Bags bags and more bags; clean bag, dirty bag, wet bag, snack bag, rubbish bag
On the point of bags; forget about bringing “nice” bags… sand hates nice things! You need good ole fashioned bags for life for this job! The light ones are perfect for wet gear, buckets, spades etc, and the heavy duty ones are brilliant for everything else, as well as being easy to carry
Ziplock bags are handy for keys, phones etc to make sure stray sand and splashes don’t do harm
Minimising the tears when the fun is over; Take shoes & socks off before you get onto the sand; stuff socks into shoes & keep in the “clean” bag, make sure all the dry clothes are kept well away or at least covered so that they are nice and clean (unsandy!) for after
Squirty bottles/sportscap bottles of water for rinsing feet & hands before getting clothes back on
Baby powder for getting sand off skin- still haven’t actually tried this but I hear it works a treat!
Setting up camp; Picnic blankets with a good quality underside will stay put longer than towels or regular blankets and are much easier to shake sand off at the end of the day
Pop up tents are brilliant for smallies to get shade & shelter from the wind
If you have man power then camping chairs would be peak comfort; I have yet to make it to this level of beach comfort!
Making camp near rock pools is always a huge help with smallies, it will save you needing to go with them to the tide 100 times if they can splash and play in a nice warm pool instead
Feeding time; pack ALL THE SNACKS; things that will keep and not melt; brioche, crackers, juice bottles, fruit (not berries), rolls etc will fill bellies quickly and easily without too much fussing.
Set out the boundaries from the get go; We didn’t go full on swimming and splashing this weekend as it’s just too much stress for me to be minding them both in the water & changing them afterwards (while they both complain about being TOO SANDYYYY!). I told them when we got parked that we would stay on the sand and just paddle; yes of course we all got wet but not saturated top to toe so that saved a lot of hassle.
There’s nothing like time at the beach and that sea air to put life into you, but man it is hard work. Being organised helps, and not being too fussy about a messy car helps even more!
Here’s hoping the Bank Holiday will give us all another go to fill up the lungs!