If you're family is like ours and you're lucky enough to live close to the beach (truth be told, I'd rather live AT the beach, but a forty-five minute drive will do), the upcoming summer break will no doubt be filled with several trips to the beach to play in the Ocean and put your feet in the sand.

The beach is my all-time favorite place to go. I could spend hours and hours there, walking along the shoreline, splashing in the ocean, sitting in the sand and watching my kids build sandcastles. It's where my imagination runs wild and I'm full of creative thoughts. The beach is where I go to get inspired.

If you're a beach-going family like we are, you definitely don't want to be without these on your next beach trip!

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There are certain things that you know you're going to need when you travel to the beach, but there might also be some that you hadn't really thought about. Having the right essentials is so important and will save time, money, and sanity once you're there.

Here are a few summer essentials that we always take when we travel to the beach, and a couple that we always seem to forget!

Tote Bag– This of course is a necessity since you'll be bringing tons of stuff and you have to have a way to haul it all! I've had my eye on this tote for awhile now and would like to get it before our next beach trip. I love that it comes in so many pattern and color choices!

Towels– Another must for beach-going. At our house we have specific beach/pool towels that we always bring (usually the ones that are very worn out, tattered and ripped), not sure if anyone else does that or if I'm just weird (as hubby always says, “a towel is a towel!”).

Extra Clothes– Yes I've learned this the hard way, thinking maybe we won't get wet or dirty…ha ha! I know, what was I thinking, right? Having an extra set of clothes for the kids (and adults as well) means that you can play freely and know that you can go change before you go out to eat in a restaurant. Even though at the beach, I'm sure they're used to a little sand on the floor!

Extra Shoes– Even though we usually wear flip flops so we can easily shed them once we hit the sand, I always bring an extra pair for each family member just in case. Flip flops usually seem to break when we're out of town for some reason!

Snacks– Kids are always hungry. Even if you've fed them lunch and are going out for dinner, they're sure to need nourishment in the four hours between, because…they're kids! Bringing crackers, cheese, granola bars and whatever your kids like will help you avoid the “I'm soooooo hungry” whining that comes when you forget to have food on hand at all times!

Sunglasses for everyone– This is the  only way Mommy can actually wear her own sunglasses is if everyone else has a pair of their own.

Blanket or Beach Chairs– We actually forgot these once, got down to the beach and everyone looked around like “Now what?”. Yes, it was okay, we sat in the sand and had a great time, but it's nice to have a place to sit and rest, and leave your stuff on if you go exploring a bit.

Sand Toys– My kids love playing in the sand, and bringing along their sand toys is a must- shovels, rakes, buckets, sifters, and molds, all carried in a big mesh bag so the sand filters right through (and into the trunk of my minivan if it's not shaken out good enough!).

Water bottles – They will get thirsty, and usually don't want to share. So yeah, another must for every member of the family.

Sunscreen– This is one I'm constantly forgetting ( I know, bad mama!) probably because it's not always sunny at the beach here in Oregon. It's still important to be protected, so always sunscreen up before you go, then bring it along for added protection later on, especially if the kids will be going in the water.

Hand Wipes– I know they're going to get dirty in the sand, I get that and I'm totally okay with it, but you never know what you will run across or what messes they'll make in the car on the way  there and back. Plus, many restrooms near the beach don't even have soap, so I always like to make sure we have clean hands after bathroom breaks and before eating.

 

Well there you have it, a few summer essentials that you might want to consider bringing on your next trip to the beach. If you can think of any more must-haves, leave them below in the comments so we can all be prepared for our next beach outing.