Beach Packing List

This summer will be forever known in our family as the summer we fell in love with the beach. In the past, Toby felt restless, Anton seemed too little, I got too hot and Alex was annoyed by all of us. But somehow this year everything clicked. We’ve discovered the awesomeness of Rockaway Beach in Queens, which is less than an hour from us but feels a world away.

One reason is that we’ve figured out what to pack. It has made all the difference. We bring a beach tent and two chairs, so Alex and I can relax while the boys splash around. Plus, a flotation swimsuit for Anton (I SWEAR by these; they work so well for toddlers), and Turkish towels that fold up paper thin and dry in two seconds.

We’ve also learned tricks from other parents at the beach. A mom-of-five told me her secret: She immediately digs a giant hole with a real shovel upon arrival. (That’s her handiwork in the photo above.) Then her kids will play happily the whole time while she watches over them and reads her book. Genius!

And a reader, Maureen, told us that sprinkling baby powder on yourselves at the end of the day will make sticky sand fall right off. I had never heard that! (Instead, our apartment is usually covered in sand for the week afterward.)

There are five more weeks of summer, and although you can always just bring a bath towel to the beach and go for it, here’s a little guide of how to pack like the Griswolds:

What do you pack for the beach? What would you add or take away from this list? Side note: Do you have a swimsuit (especially a one-piece) you love? I’m ready to switch from my decades-old white bikini. :)

(Instagram photo at Rockaway Beach in Queens. Grid layout by Miss Moss.)