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19 family beach hacks to improve your holiday

happy child on a beach with snorkel, bucket and rubber ring

Any parent who has done a beach trip with their kids will know that whilst it can be incredibly fun, the faff and the stress that goes along with it can sometimes be a turn off. We’re talking about the lugging of large bags filled with towels to a far flung spot your kids have decided will be your base (why is it always so far away!) and the way that sand gets into every crack and crevice of practically every item you have brought with you.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a ton of really clever hacks out there which can make a trip to the beach an easy and stress free way to spend a day, not to mention cheap! Say bye bye to kids complaining about sandy feet and hello to talc in a sock, instant shower curtain paddling pools and food hacks to please even the fussiest eaters.

We’ve got the lowdown on what you need for an epic family day out by the waves with this list of 19 brilliant beach hacks that you literally can’t live without.


Brightly coloured swim wear

You may have already seen the advice to pop your kids in brightly coloured swimwear so that they are much more easily visible in the water. This is also true on the beach. If you don’t want to have to constantly squint to see where they are, some bright colours or even fluorescent shades can make this so much easier!

Wrist bands for kids with contact number

This is a great idea for any day out as if kids get lost, they have your contract details on their person without having to remember. It is important not to put their names on it though, as for safety, you don’t want strangers knowing this information.

Take a picture of kids

When you arrive at the beach, take a quick snap of what your kids are wearing on that day. If for any reason you get separated, you’ll be able to remember what colours to look for and if needs be, you can easily share the photo with people who may be able to help you.

Check tide times

Sounds obvious but if you’ve been to a beach with a low tide with kids, you’ll know the trek you have to make to reach the waters edge. Depending on your destination, aim to reach the beach when the tide is either half way in or half way out so that you can make the most of your day.

Talc in a sock

Most people know the trick of using talc to get sand off easily, but it can be a bit of a pain when it clouds into the air or falls on the floor. Pop some in a sock (bring the talc and a odd sock with you and decant at the beach) and simply glide it along a foot or limb and watch the sand disappear!

Foundation brush to apply suncream

This is a gamechanger and not just for the beach. Any foundation brush, bristles or sponge alike, make a great sun cream applicator and chances are your kids won’t mind being painted with it. This is particularly good for toddlers and babies and it helps to avoid eyes too. Win win.


Freeze sandwiches

Whilst it is really fun to get food when you are out and about at the beach, you can’t always rely on what is available and so bringing your own is a great idea. To keep sandwiches cool, freeze them when you make them and take them out just before you leave. Any fillings that need to stay cool are more likely to do so and taste yummy when it is tea time!

Hot dogs thermos flask

This is another trick for any day out but is a lovely treat for the beach. Pop cooked hotdogs in a thermos and bring your rolls and ketchup (and other condiments you fancy) separately. When it is time to eat, they will still be hot (you could include some hot water in the thermos) and it is easy to quickly make the rolls up. Don’t forget to pre-cut them though before you leave!

Insulated cup with ice

There is nothing worse than luke warm drinks on a hot day at the seaside. Bring an insulated cup or thermos with lots of ice to cool kids drinks down or indeed your own! The ice is more likely to stay frozen if all in one place and you can easily pop the top of water bottles and add it in. Yum.


Shower curtain paddling pool

One of the quickest, cheapest and simplest ways to create a makeshift paddling pool for little people is to dig a hole in the sand, pop the shower curtain in, add some buckets of water and le voila, a small beach based play pool. They are super light and easy to transport too.

Collapsible buckets

These are not only super lightweight and so easy to carry but also take up next to no storage room, whether you’re at home or on the beach. They literally fold into themselves, like a concertina and can be whipped out on the beach for sandcastles galore. They’re easy to source online and last for ages.


Net or mesh bags so sand falls out

Sand gets everywhere and one way ot avoiding taking it all home with you is to opt for mesh bags which let the sand fall out. This is particularly useful for bags for any clothing you could bring or kids toys such as a bucket and spade. Simply pack up at the end and tap the sand out and you're good to go.

Fitted sheet, edges facing up

This is great for marking your territory on the beach and keeping as much sand out as possible. Let the elastic of the fitted sheet curl upwards and pop a bag or heavy item in each corner. You instantly have a barrier to the sand seeping in over the side. Easy!

Waterproof case for belongings

If you do want to head into the sea and don’t fancy chancing leaving your belongings on the beach, take a waterproof bag or case to keep your valuables dry. It is a small investment to make and the photos you could get with your phone close to hand will be worth it.

Ikea bags as holdalls

You often end up taking a lot to the beach and fitting it all into one bag can be quite an ordeal. Rather than carrying lots of individual bags, the big Ikea bags that are sold at the exit for very little cash are perfect. They are waterproof, light, have handles to hold or pop over your shoulder and do hold rather a lot.

Valuables in kids nappies

No one wants to touch other people’s nappies. That is just the way that it is! And so one way you might want to keep your valuable safe is by popping them in a nappy and then putting back in the packet or in a zip lock bag. It is worth pointing out that we’d always advise to keep your valuables on your person but sometimes, this isn’t always possible. The choice is yours.

Microfibre towels

Carrying lots of bulky towels to the beach, and back again, can be a real bore! Microfibre towels are super lightweight, excellent at absorbing water and generally easy to brush sand off if sitting on them. They’re probably not for every day use, but are a great investment if you plan to be going to the beach regularly!

Dressing gown/onesie

No one likes putting on damp sandy clothes when it is time to leave, and so if you can, take dressing gowns or onesies for your kids to change into. This is a particularly nice end to the day if it is a bit colder out or if the sun goes down. Dressing gowns are also great for getting changed underneath if you want some privacy.


Pop a bottle of wine in fridge before you go!

You’ll be so glad you did!


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