What holiday could be more idyllic than a getaway by the seaside? Kicking back on a towel on golden sand with legs outstretched, ready to soak up the sun and enjoy the sound of waves crashing on the nearby shore…
However, the promise of sun-kissed relaxation can be sadly misleading when kids come into the picture, however, with the potential to turn your vacation in paradise into pandemonium instead.
Making sure the family stays entertained, hydrated, dry and not-too-sunburned can make your beachside holiday feel more like work. Here are our tips for making sure the whole family – you included! – enjoys your next beach holiday.
Pack your supplies
Taking a backpack to the beach may seem overly-prepared, but unlike the more popular tote bag option, the backpack’s revolutionary zip function means sand can’t creep its way into your bag. For further protection from the pervasive, pesky reach of sand, bring along a separate zip-sealed compartment for your phone, tablet and other valuables.
Make sure your sunscreen is in an easily-accessed pocket of the backpack as frequent reapplication is crucial to avoiding sunburn (not to mention long term skin damage and potential skin cancers). As for hats and sunglasses, these essentials shouldn’t see the bag until you’re safely in the shade.
When it comes to suitable beach attire, nothing but a swimsuit is a tempting option for maximising sun exposure – but longer, loose-fitting clothing is recommended for those with fairer skin. On the upside, in addition to optimal sun protection, this has the advantage of preventing unseemly tan lines. Children should wear sleeved sun (or ‘rasher’) shirts that can be worn in the water too, in order to protect vulnerable young shoulders from sunburn.
The lightweight esky
Never heard of an ‘esky’? The Australian term for what is known elsewhere as a portable cooler, the esky is a standard feature of the Australian summer – and with good reason. By keeping your pre-packed food and drink cool – little is worse than sun-warmed water on a hot summer’s day – the humble esky saves you from having to head to the closest store for water and ice creams every time a family member is thirsty. If you pre-pack lunch and keep it in the esky all morning, you can save serious dollars that would otherwise be wasted at overpriced local shops.
There are many lightweight models on the market, some even with wheels. Consider it a worthwhile investment for your beach holiday, making up for its cost in convenience and permanently cooled drinks.
Surfing the waves on quads
Now onto the fun stuff! When it comes to your kids’ enjoyment, the opportunities for merrymaking are constrained by the beach of your choice. If they’re too old for crafting sandcastles but still young enough to require adult supervision from the sand, body-boarding and surfing are two summer staples that every kid should try once. Why not book your children into surfing or body-boarding lessons and enjoy some quiet time alone on the sandy shores.
If you’re concerned about the safety of surfing, you’ll be glad to know that a range of surfing equipment can help. Quad fins from Surf FCS, for example, provide extra speed and a streamline flow for the surfer. That’s safer than it may sound, though, as quad fin surfboards are also easier to control and more predictable overall. This means you can maximise your kids’ safety on their boards without compromising on potential thrills – and they will thank you for it.
Getting dry quicker
As soon as they’re over the sun, sea and sand, and their time on the beach is up, some children enjoy making their feelings known through grumbling (and, if you’re unlucky, screaming). You’ll want to get out of there, and fast.
Meet the quick-dry towel, made from microfibres that enable optimal absorption and, as the name suggests, quick drying. It will get the salty spray off you and your family in record time.
Hopefully the kids will be so exhausted from surfing that you’ll be able to get them to bed early and enjoy having the balmy summer nights to yourself!
Author bio: Sarah Trevor is a freelance writer from Sydney who, through her love of travel, has enjoyed many a holiday at many a beach, often with younger siblings in tow.