With borders re-opening and school holidays upon us, many of you will be planning a holiday with your kids to try and capture some long awaited winter sun. And whilst a family beach holiday with kids in tow might never be quite the same as before (long lie ins, and uninterrupted tan sessions are probably a distant memory), with a little bit of forward planning, you can have just as much fun, if not more.
So read on for our tried and true tips for having an incredible kids beach holiday, and enjoy making memories together on the sand.
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 1: Shack up within easy reach of the beach
You may have noticed heading to the beach with kids is more akin to a military training exercise, than a carefree escape. They sure come with a lot of stuff, and most of the time they're not helping you carry it! If you're planning on leaving the car at home, make sure you're within easy walking distance from the beach. Not only does it making decamping in and out easier, but because the average beach 'session' tends to be shorter with little ones in tow. Someone will forget something, someone will need a nap. and little ones will simply run out of patience before you do.
As you're likely to be heading back and forth from the beach more often when kids are in the equation, being within an short walk or drive of the beach makes life easier for everyone. And if you've got the car, don't forget to check the parking situation - at popular beach resorts you can circle a too-small car park for ages before finding a spot.
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 2: Find accomodation that works for the whole family
We swear by self-contained accomodation when travelling with our little one. It makes managing nap times, meal times and all the other diverse schedules that come with a family that much easier. Plus, as we learned to our cost, you don't want to be stuck in a hotel bathroom with the lights out at 7pm because it's baby bedtime and you've nowhere else to go!
You'll certainly be spending more time in your accomodation on a holiday with kids, so it pays to look around for one that will keep you all comfortable and well set up. Many family-focused guest houses now equip travellers with everything they need, from a stair gate to the baby cot and high chair, allowing you to travel just a tad lighter - and every kg counts when packing for a holiday wth kids!
If you're book a hotel or resort, look for kid-friendly features like adjoining rooms, a kiddy pool, free extras like cots and rollaway beds and accessible amenities and activities for the little ones! Before kids, my idea of holiday hell was an all-inclusive resort with a buffet and kids club - now it's my idea of heaven!
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 3: Be season aware
Whether travelling in Australia or abroad, being aware of the seasons can make all the difference when it comes to a carefree family beach holiday. It's one thing being stuck indoors or getting caught in a daily downpour with a group of mates, quite another when you've got cooped up kids and only a hotel room to entertain them in. When it comes to a beach holiday with kids along Australia's incredible coastlines, it pays to ensure it's not stinger season if you plan on spending time on the water, and do keep an eye on your proposed month's average temperatures. Heat can be especially unpleasant for young children and babies, as can scalding hot sand!
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 4: Research your local beach conditions
Instead of relying on the map feature in your hotel listing (nearby patch of pale yellow? check!) do a little investigation into the local conditions. Is the beach full of soft sand or hard rocks? Is it home to a famous surf break, and too rough for little ocean lovers to play in? Is it known for having dangerous rips or tides? We love a beach inside a sheltered bay for the tiny babes, so they can dip little toes in flatter, warmer water, but depending on the age of your children you might want a little wave action for play time too!
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 5: Safety First
It might be a no-brainer, but it's hard to relax on holiday with kids if you're feeling a bit uneasy whenever you leave your accomodation. Some regions and destinations are certainly known for being 'safer' for families and kids than others. But even within otherwise 'safe' destinations for your family beach holiday, you'll certainly find some accomodations more appropriate for children than others. Not all countries require safety fencing around pools like we do at home, so it pays to seek out villas and accomodations where you can let kids roam free without having to worry. Similarly, looking for enclosed gardens, "safe" stairways and locations away from busy roads will help you all relax on your next family beach holiday.
Hot bonus tip if you're travelling to Bali like we are these school holidays: many of the villa pools are not enclosed but there are plenty of companies that will come and install a temporary pool fence for you for a very small additional charge. It's a small price to pay for safety and piece of mind!
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 6: Pack smart!
When taking a holiday with kids, there's certainly no such thing as travelling light! Whilst most resort towns in Australia count on essential amenities like supermarkets, pharmacies and the like, it certainly pays to come prepared especially if going somewhere smaller, quieter or more remote. Not least because opening hours often aren't quite what they are in major cities. If travelling outside Australia, we recommend travelling with all the essentials in your suitcase (and a few in your carry-on, just in case your suitcase gets lost!). Even if you're able to get suncream, nappies and the like, they can come at quite the price, and often aren't up to the same standards you can expect at home. Last but least, don't forget to pack your favourite sustainable kids swimwear: designed to make family beach days as carefree as can be!
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 7: Get a head start on the hordes
Battling for a spot on the sand is not the stuff family holiday dreams are made of! Since those leisurely lie ins are likely a thing of the past anyway, we recommend heading to the beach with the kids early to find the perfect spot. You know, the jackpot setting that's close to the car park, within easy reach of the shade, and if in a monitored beach, between the flags.
And when it's time to hit the beach with kids, the smoothest days come with a little preparation the night more. For our essential downloadable packing list for family days on the sand, click right this way.
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 8: Set your expectations accordingly
If you've got this far, you've certainly realised, holidays with kids are not quite the same as without. Incredible, amazing and so much fun, but when it comes to hitting the beach with kids you're certainly not going to be spending long, leisurely days sunbathing on the sand with your book. A family beach holiday likely means shorter bursts on the sand, and slightly more 'active' beach past-times. But arrive with the right mindset, and all the right gear, and you'll soon find that the memories you make together are ones you'll treasure long after you get back home.
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 9: Look beyond the sand
Depending on the age of kids, for your next family beach holiday it's worth thinking how you'll entertain them beyond just hitting the sand. Pre-kids, we sought out the most unspoiled beaches, and authentic towns, but with our little one in the mix that's just not ideal anymore. You'll want a town where it's easy to get an emergency sun-cream stash, or see a doctor should someone get in a scrape. Plus, older children will always enjoy time at a playground, a local water park or a visit to the markets.
Beach Holiday with Kids Tip 10: Be prepared to go with the flow a little
This one was a hard lesson to learn for me, as I am a chronic over-planner when it comes to travel. Pre-kids I wanted to ensure I squeezed every last drop out of the destinations I visited, and certainly have been known to travel with a spreadsheet! On a family beach holiday, over-scheduling is certainly not such a good idea. There will be days when someone didn't nap well, or the kids just aren't into your carefully curated daily itinerary. That's OK: a family beach holiday is exactly that, a holiday for all the family. Keeping the right mindset and being prepared to roll a little with the tide will ultimately ensure everyone has a much better time.
Beach Holiday with Kids BONUS TIP: Consider teaming up with another family
Whilst we were lucky to squeeze in a few family beach holidays during the peak Covid years, it certainly meant travelling with a group was out of the question. Yet the few holidays with kids we've taken since the world has opened up have been a game changer, and that's because we've gone with friends. It's one of those mystical phenomena of parenthood, but sometimes more kids really does equal less "work". We've found teaming up with another family with similar age children has been a winner for all. Not only do you understand each other's schedule, and likely have the same approach to travel, but the kids entertain each other, and you've got company to enjoy during the inevitable evenings and lunchtimes in. As an added bonus, by inviting friends along to your family beach holiday you can take it in turns to cook, baby sit and have a little swim when you're out at the beach.
So there you have it. With some smart planning, a child-friendly destination and the right mindset, holidays with kids can cease to be stress free, and become the scene of some of your favourite family memories. If you're taking a family beach holiday this season, we hope you find these tips useful, and wish you the most incredible time.
Don't forget to put some gorgeous, sun-safe and sustainable kids swimwear in your travel bag. Shop our range of eco-friendly kids swimwear, designed to care for your little beach lover and the ocean they swim in, here.
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