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Summer is winding down, but there’s still at least a few warm days left before the leaves start falling and the kids head back to school. Many families are taking advantage of the long Labor Day weekend to take one last trip to the seaside. Beach days are a great way to relax and have fun with the kids--if you prepare right. We’ve compiled five hacks to make your family’s day out--well, a day at the beach.

Have a “go bag.”

As soon as you arrive at your beach vacation, pack your beach bag and leave it in the car. This huge one made from recycled sails is super durable, waterproof and will fit all your necessities. This way when you are trying to get a squirmy baby in a bathing suit and out the door you are not also scrambling to make sure everything you need is packed and ready to go. Some key items not to forget to include in your beach “go bag”:

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- At least two beach towels to dry off with. These are great- they roll up thin and

won’t hog all the space in your bag!

- A few toys for baby to play with. Stackers, shovels, a bucket etc.

- Wipes to clean off sandy, messy hands

- Non- toxic sunscreen the whole family can share. Make sure you reapply every two

hours or after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating!

- An extra swimsuit and swim diaper. Because, well, poop happens!

- A thin beach blanket you can easily roll and fit into your bag. A great alternative if

you don’t want to carry baby and a chair!

Bring an extra chair.

Babies love climbing on beach chairs. Make sure you bring one for baby or you are sure to be sitting in the sand while she commandeers yours! A beach chair is also a good place to feed baby lunch or snacks and can eliminate sandy hands a bit! This chair that can be carried as a backpack is very useful to keep your hands free to carry baby and your beach bag.

Go big (umbrella) or go home.

Baby’s skin is very sensitive so make sure you provide her with plenty of shade. A giant umbrella is incredibly useful for protecting your family from the sun's rays. Plus the larger the umbrella, the less likely the wind is to topple it over!

Smoothies, not snacks.

No matter how hard you try it is virtually impossible to feed babies and children on the beach without them eating handfuls of sand as well. For shorter beach trips try packing a nutrient dense smoothie in thermos bottles instead of snacks. If you pack your smoothie with fruit, greens, nut butters or avocado they will satiate hungry tummies and be a whole lot less messy!

Tailgate Cleaning Station

At the end of your beach day clean your little ones off in the trunk or tailgate of your car before putting them in their car seats. This will help keep the sandy mess to one area of your car and prevent you from finding sand in every crevasse until Christmas! Keep a towel specifically for wiping sandy bodies, a pack of baby wipes and a bottle of baby powder in the trunk of your car and you will always be ready. Why baby powder? Shake a little baby powder onto sandy bodies and it helps the sand fall off with much less irritating rubbing!

Photo by Sara Jane Mercer.

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