Kellye Fox | 

17 Beach Hacks to Know Before Your Summer Adventure

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Going to the beach is supposed to be relaxing, even with kids … right? Yes! Stop dreading all the sand and start looking forward to your seaside family vacation. Use these brilliant beach hacks that are perfect for parents … and kids.

If you’ve ever packed for a beach vacation or just for a simple trip to the pool, there’s typically more stuff than room for it. The key here is planning, using what you already have, and settling on essentials, like floaties and sunscreen.

One hack that always works for me is laying out my kids’ nighttime clothes before we leave so bedtime is easier when we return. After they get cleaned up, have them slip right into their pajamas. As far as beach hacks go, it will depend on what your family likes to do. Is it sand castles? Just swimming? No matter what, enjoy the break.

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1. Keep sand out with this fitted sheet beach hack.

Man sitting in beach chair with to kids playing with toys in the sand

This fitted sheet beach hack is one of the best ways to keep sand out of your bags. Use it as a sand blanket by propping the corners with toys, coolers, or beach bags. When you’re done, just shake the sand off and fold it.

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2. Freeze aloe vera gel in ice cube trays to make literally one of the coolest hacks for sunburns.

woman squeezing aloe vera gel into ice cube trays, freezing the cubes, then placing into a ziploc bag.

How’s this for one of the coolest hacks of summer? Store premade aloe vera cubes in a Ziploc storage bag so they’re ready to go. Not only do the cubes help with sunburns, but they’re gonna feel really good on a hot day. Next time, be sure to reapply sunscreen often.

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3. Use this sled beach hack to pull all the supplies you need across the sand.

Man pulling a cooler and beach supplies with a sled.

This is one of my favorite summertime hacks for the beach. The last thing you want to do after a day in the sun is walk back and forth from your car to a picnic spot. Use a sled instead! Just pile on your stuff and drag it.

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4. Turn baby powder into a summertime hack to get sand off your skin.

man putting baby powder on girl to get off sand on her legs next to car

Sand is a great exfoliant for crusty heels, but when it’s time to leave the beach, you just want it off. Using baby powder as a beach hack will absorb any excess moisture — aka sand glue — from your skin.

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5. Entertain the youngest kids at the beach with their own kiddie pool.

Baby sits inside a kiddie pool at the beach. The baby is holding a plastic toy and a pair of sunglasses

Parents love this idea because you can keep the kiddos cool without worrying about salt or waves. This tip is great for toddlers who aren’t accustomed to the crowds or are wary about sand. Be sure to add a kiddie pool to your list of cool beach gear.

If packing a kiddie pool just isn’t your thing, here’s another option for little ones at the beach. Take a shower curtain liner and push it into the sand (in a circle formation) so that the sand forms a mound around the edges. Fill the “pool” with ocean water and add toys.


6. Lie on a yoga mat instead of a beach towel for waterproof cushioning.

family playing and relaying at the beach

Since yoga mats are waterproof, you won’t have to worry about lying on a damp towel. If you do a couple of leg lifts, count it as exercise on your beach vacation.

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7. Create a cooling beach hack with a DIY sponge lei.

colorful sponges that have been cut and created into a necklace

Looking for one of the coolest hacks to help prevent kids from getting overheated? Cut up sponges and use a large sewing needle to string them onto stretchy cord. Soak the sponges in water, and your kids will stay cool while playing.

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8. Keep drinks cold by freezing them ahead of time.

Dog drinking from dog bowl while on the beach

On a hot summer day, a cold drink sure hits the spot. Instead of dragging around a cooler with a bag of ice (which is extremely heavy), freeze your drinks ahead of time. The sun will melt them just in time for you to want a drink. Hello, Capri Sun slushies! Bringing your fur baby to the beach? They’ll enjoy a cool drink, too.


9. Keep things in your cooler cold with frozen sponges.

woman putting a sponge into a cooler bag

Freeze a sponge and stick it in a Ziploc bag to keep moisture contained. Simply soak the sponges in water, sprinkle salt over them (because salt helps it freeze faster), and pop them in the freezer. This beach vacation hack puts your mind at ease and cools your perishables.


10. Use King’s Hawaiian Rolls to make your beach summertime fun utensil-free.

King's Hawaiian bread at target

Family vacation lunches just got so much easier courtesy of King’s Hawaiian rolls. Just assemble, cut, and pack. Who doesn’t love finger foods? Grab some chips, too.

As a general rule for food at the beach, anything dairy-based should be avoided because hot mayo isn’t tasty, and it could make you sick if it’s not eaten within a couple of hours. But if you pack it right (use those frozen sponges), you’ll be safe and satisfied.

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11. Carry beach toys in a mesh bag so you don’t bring sand home with you.

man putting beach toys in a mesh bag on the beach

Mesh bags should be listed as one of the best beach gear items for 2023 (or really any year) because they’re lightweight, dry quickly, and most importantly, they keep the sand out. Perfect for toys, sandals, and bathing suits.

mesh bag with sand toys being washed in the ocean water

These bags go for at least $5 online, so head to your local Dollar Tree to score one of these babies for only $1.25.

mesh bag full of toys held over ocean water

12. Use a pop-up tent to find shade from the sun.

Child at a beach pplaying with sand under a small tent

The beach is fine and all, but too much sun can make the vacation a nightmare. Be proactive and bring a lightweight pop-up tent to offer some summertime relief. It’s also a great spot to eat snacks without sand blowing in your face.


13. Make and bring a DIY emergency kit.

Holding a baby wipe container that's been turn into a first aid kit

Nothing dampens a beach vacation like a bloody finger or anything to do with blood. Since injuries are bound to happen, pack a zip-top bag or empty baby wipes container with these essentials that the National Safety Council recommends:


14. Hide valuables in an empty sunscreen bottle: the ultimate beach vacation hack.


Sun block and sunglasses on a beach towel

No one will ever suspect that your sunscreen is your secret safe. Start with a wide sunscreen bottle that’s empty and clean. Unscrew the top, and insert your watch, credit cards, cash, and keys. Try this beach hack with an empty deodorant stick or a stainless steel water bottle. Or opt for a waterproof fanny pack.

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15. Stay cool with this beach hack — spritz your body with green tea!

someone spraying green tea on a girl at the beach

When you’re headed to the beaches in summer, you gotta stay cool. Steep one to two bags of green tea in cold water and transfer to a spray bottle. Keep the spray bottle in your cooler until you’re ready for more sprays. The antioxidants in green tea will refresh your skin and keep you cool.



16. Give yourself a temporary tattoo with sunscreen.

a sunscreen heart on a woman at the beach

Okay, this isn’t really a hack per se, but it is something fun to do. Use sunscreen to draw hearts or smiley faces on your skin or your family members’ skin. My teenage kids love this beach hack!


17. Use a permanent marker as a summertime hack to remind yourself when to reapply sunscreen.

a spray bottle of sunscreen with times to reapply written in permanent marker at the beach

When you’re at the beach, time goes by so fast. Using this tip helps you remember when to reapply your sunscreen. Check out these popular sunscreen brands (and coupons) to save before your beach vacation.


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