Keep Your Beach Vacation Fun: Save Money & Less Stress

By Jenny Sites June 27, 2024

When planning a trip to the beach with kids, the list of items you need to pack can seem overwhelming. You might feel like the cost of the "extras" is as much as the vacation. Whether you're going for a day or a week, there are some ways that you can lower the cost and the stress of a beach vacation.

Photo Credit: Jenny Sites

1) Check the beach laws in advance.  

Not every beach has the same rules. Before packing, check the rules for the area you will be staying in to avoid unnecessary purchases and packing.

Here are a few rules we discovered on our beach trips that you may not know about.

  • Tents: Some beaches allow large shade tents on the sand during the summer, others only allow them after Labor Day and some do not allow tents at all. For beaches that don't allow tents, some do allow tents for babies, with certain size limitations.
  • Umbrellas: Beaches with lifeguards often require umbrellas to remain behind the lifeguard stand to provide them with a better view of the ocean. There may also be a limit on the size of the umbrella you can bring.
  • Floatation: Some beaches don't allow rafts, boogie boards, or surfboards in certain areas. Others restrict the types of floatation devices allowed in the ocean.
  • Pets: Some beaches have rules about when pets are allowed on the beach, so plan ahead before taking Fido. 
  • Alcohol: Some beaches have laws about consuming alcohol on the beach. Most beaches prohibit any glass containers on the beach.

Here are some examples rules at local beaches:  Virginia Beach, Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach

Image Credit: Jenny Sites

2) Ask what's provided.

If you are staying in a house or condo during your vacation, there may be items there that you can use. Before purchasing anything, contact the facility to find out if they have necessary items, such as high chairs, cribs, cots, baby gates, beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, sand toys, a beach cart or wagon, etc.

Some rentals contract companies who rent beach chairs and umbrellas. They even take them to the beach to set them up for you in the morning and take them down at night. This is a big help when you are traveling by air, have limited car space, or just don't have the hands to haul your kids and these extras to the beach in one trip.

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3) Borrow From Friends

Let's face it, most of us aren't lucky enough to go to the beach more than once a season. Instead of buying items you will only use once a year, find a friend or two who go to the beach at different times than your family and share items. Not only do you have to purchase less of the beach items but it also reduces what you have to store.

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4) Buy It There

Limit your stress by knowing that you are rarely too far away from a store selling beach items when you're at the beach.  While you may prefer to take everything you need, should you forget something, not have room in the car, or travel by plane, the beach stores have you covered. Plus, you're likely not far from a grocery store or big box store should you forget non-beachy items. Use their curb-side pick-up services when available. It will save you time, and prevent you from taking kids inside or buying unnecessary items.

Prepare ahead, stress less, and whatever you do, don't forget to put sunscreen on yourself! Been there, done that, wore a t-shirt for the rest of the trip.

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