My family and I are brand new to San Diego, but not only that: we’re brand new to beachside living. Okay, technically we’re not living near the beach, but when the beach is practically in your backyard, we figured we’ll embrace it as often as we can.
On a whim during our first week here, I dropped my husband off at work and I wandered around town with my girls (ages 3 and 1). We ended up at Oceanside Pier—mostly because the little one fell asleep three seconds after I strapped her into her car seat, so we needed a decent drive for her to snooze.
Once we got to the beach a wave of dread passed over me. I didn’t have anything beach worthy. No sunscreen, no hats, no towels, no swimsuits; shoot, and of all days, my kids weren’t even wearing flip flops for crying out loud. The only thing I had was our stroller—thank goodness—so we took a stroll along the pier, and then I let them put their toes in the sand, before I dragged them away from their happy place, promising we’d return soon.
After that experience I vowed to never show up to the beach unprepared again. So, I packed a small emergency beach bag—nothing fancy, but just the necessities if we happen to stumble upon the beach some day without planning it out first. I completely realize that this small assortment of stuff won’t work for an actual day at the beach, but for those spur-of-the-moment trips to the coast, it does its job.
Here’s what’s in our spur-of-the-moment beach bag:
This is number one on my list for a reason. Little kids—at least my fair-skinned girls—have such new and fragile skin that soaks up those sunrays faster than I can put sunscreen on them some days. I know there are a million articles out there discussing which sunscreen is the best, but I’m a firm believer that anything is better than nothing. Now I keep one in my beach bag, one in the trunk, and one in the driver seat back pocket, just to make sure all of my bases are covered.
If we were making a full beach day, I’d intentionally bring more than one towel, but since this is for those accidental beach trips, our bag only has one large towel.
My youngest daughter is basically bald, so until her hair grows in, I have a hat in the bag so her little head won’t get too toasty.
This is like a mom’s secret weapon, and I sometimes feel like crying when I can’t find any in my car. They’re great for containing trash, wet swimsuits, wet clothes, dirty clothes, dirty diapers, and even keeping things organized.
Change of Clothes
I have a simple change of clothes in the bag for the kids. They get extra messy with all the loose sand, mud, and salt water, so it’s nice to toss on some clean clothes at the end of their adventure. On the flip side, if they’re not really wearing beach appropriate clothes, now you have some handy.
A small package of wipes is always nice to have around. Sure, they’re great for wiping bums, but they’re also good for runny noses, cleaning sticky hands, and even giving mom a quick refresher when sweat is dripping down her face from “enjoying” the beach.
I’m not talking anything extravagant here, but I did pick up a small $3 bucket and shovel that buys me about five extra minutes of peace while they play together in the sand.
If I’ve learned anything from three years of parenting, it’s that you must always have snacks handy. I keep them in a trusty Ziploc bag so they’re not randomly thrown in the beach bag.
We always have water handy—it’s a necessity, especially when you’re playing outside. Also, water is an excellent way to get sand out of places you don’t want sand to be hiding.
Obviously you won’t see any beach chairs or umbrellas for a quick 30-minute dip-your-toes-in-the-ocean fun, but what items from this list am I missing for a quick jaunt at the beach?
Jessica is a recent transplant to San Diego by way of New Mexico, Georgia, and Italy (and back again). She’s a work-at-home mom who chases around her two little girls (3 and 1 years old) by day, she’s a blogger at naptime (or any other free time she can squeeze into her busy day), and she’s a Pampered Chef lady by night. Even with her hands full, this Air Force wife loves exploring her new surroundings every chance she can, tasting the delicious good eats that California has to offer, and spending time outside once the sun starts setting. You can follow her on Facebook, see what she’s up to on Instagram, and keep up with her musings on her blog at Jessica Lynn Writes.
Do you have something to share with us? Would you like to be a guest blogger for the San Diego Moms Blog? Fill out our guest post application here!