PSMB Survival Guide: Beach Vacation With A Toddler

Thursday , 20, June 2013 5 Comments

My family and I recently got back from a weeklong vacation. We went to Miami Beach for 5 days and then drove up to St.Augustine for the last 2 days. It was a wonderful trip but it was also the first time we traveled with a 15 month old; needless to say I learned quite a few things…I thought I would share with you guys what to do and what not to do to have the perfect stress free getaway!

1. Whether you are flying or driving, make sure you have plenty of entertaining activities for your toddler to do! Especially if you are traveling during the day and he will be awake for most of the time. A busy toddler is a happy toddler! (Its a good thing I am a pack rat, i brought way too many toys..but he ended up using EVERYTHING)

2. I cannot express enough the importance of SNACKS SNACKS SNACKS! I made the mistake on the ride down to only pack some goldfish and a bottle of milk. BIG MISTAKE! We traveled at night, so I assumed he would sleep through it. He did sleep for about 7 hrs but was awake for 3 hours or so and he was hungry!


3. Download plenty of iPAD apps prior to the trip! I dont know about other moms out there, but I admit it, I let my 15 month old play with the iPAD. It is my go to when I need him occupied. And it was actually a lifesaver on the ride back, since at that point he had just about had enough of the car seat. Santi loves these apps: Baby DJ, Kids Doodle, Neon Paint, Kiddie Fingers, Fisher Price Play & Learn.

4.  Bring something for your child to sleep in, like a Pak N’ Play. Our hotel offered complimentary baby cribs at your request, but I did note an asterisk at the bottom of my reservation page with really tiny writing saying based upon availability, not guaranteed. That was a big gamble for me, since he will not sleep in bed with us. Against my husband’s arguments, I stuffed the Pak N’ Play in our trunk anyway(just in case). Surprisingly, the hotel did have a crib for us and it was all nice and already set up in our room when we arrived. BUT the Pak N’ Play came in handy in St.Augustine where the hotel did not have any cribs.

5.  Depending on where you are going plan ahead for noise. We brought our white noise machine and it helped TREMENDOUSLY! Of course, if you are flying there is no room for that. You can check with your hotel and see if you can get a room that is higher up, it should help with any outside noise.

6. SUNSCREEN- Another must when hitting the beach with a baby. Make sure you slather your little one with plenty of it! Try to do it before you leave your room, while he is calm and content, you never know what will happen once he gets to the beach. Remember to reapply every few hours or according to package directions!

7. Make sure you have some Beach Toys on hand for that first time. I feel like it made the experience a whole lot easier. It was Santi’s first time seeing the ocean. He loved it. The only problem was that he kept getting sand between his toes…he did not like that. It took a while to get him to sit down on it without crying but I was able to convince him with some toys and plastic cups I had brought along. Before long, he was having a blast throwing sand at us, at himself, and even trying to put it in his snack cup for later. (also have snacks for hubby on hand to entertain him!)

8. Have a big sunhat for your baby. This is necessary when on the beach and also when sightseeing. No one likes the sun in their eyes when trying to take a nap!

9. Try to follow your baby’s normal nap schedule as much as possible. It does help if their day is not completely altered by missing naps too…The first few naps for us were a battle but he did adjust after a few days.

10. The last tip I can give you – Make sure you make some time for the Man in your life. Not the little man, but the husband! If you are able to get a sitter and do a date night then try that! Some one on one time is bound to make the vacation all the more enjoyable. If you cant get anyone, try and have a little date night in your own room once the kids are down. Enjoy some wine and conversation and if you are close enough to the pool, sneak out for a quick swim!

If this is your baby’s first trip to the beach, be patient! Remember the ocean can seem like a scary place to a little one. Dont force it on him, let him take his time and take it all in at his own pace. But remember try to relax and just have FUN!!! 


Happy Travels 😀

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  • Robbie says:

    Great tips! Our first beach trip with our little girl a few years ago was a bust. She hated the beach, screaming her head off while we were trying to soak in the summer rays. I would add to skip the stroller and babywear. Saves space and much more convenient. I was even able to still play mini golf and wear her while walking along the pier (this was comforting to have her close while over the deep water). When she was older, I also carried along a blow up baby pool / shade combo for her to sit in while on the beach. The sand can get a little toasty. Ahhh. All this beach talk and I can’t wait to take my kiddos to the beach soon.

  • Emily says:

    Thanks for all the tips. We will be driving to South Dakota with our toddler this summer. I am going to check out the apps you listed!

  • Jamie says:

    You don’t have to carry a big sound machine! I have an iPhone App Easy Relax Ultimate (ER Ultimate) that has LOTS of choices for relaxing noise! I’m sure there are probably others.

    I would add to take baby monitors–especially if you’re going to go outside the room to the pool!

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