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Parental Guidance: How to survive a trip to the beach with kids in tow

A day at the beach can be fun, but it often involves logistical headaches for parents. TODAY's Willie Geist and Megan Colarossi share tips.
/ Source: TODAY

Surf’s up! It’s summertime, and that means logging a lot of time at the beach. There’s nothing quite like the sound of ocean waves crashing, the smell of a crackling bonfire, and the yelps from kids as their parents apply sunscreen.

The beach conjures up happy memories for most of us, but let’s be honest: Beach outings can be pretty stressful if you have kids in tow. From towels to chairs to toys to snacks, the list of what you need to bring to survive a day in the sun with children can feel endless. Not to mention that once you settle in, you experience constant worry as your kids dart in and out of the ocean. Let’s just say you can kiss the days of reading a book or a trashy magazine goodbye!

Even so, grab those boogie boards and pack plenty of sunscreen, because Willie Geist and I are going to make going to the beach a little more enjoyable and a lot more fun! Our approach is definitely “less is best,” but we highly suggest that you don’t forget a roll of toilet paper or paper towels. Confused? Well, then watch the next episode of Parental Guidance:

Here are a few other cool tips that didn’t make the cut:

  • Wandering child? Beaches are crowded and kids often wander off — especially little ones. Put a personalized, water-resistant tattoo on your child that has your contact information on it. Check out
  • Foggy swim goggles? Before you leave home, smear a thin coat of toothpaste on the inside of the goggles and then wipe it off. If you forget to do that, then just spit inside the goggles, rub and rinse. Crystal clear!
  • Sandy bags? There’s nothing worse than bringing home all that sand from the beach. Try using a mesh-bottomed beach bag so that you can shake the sand out of the bottom.
  • Ocean too big and scary? Try bringing a blow-up baby pool for your little one. Inflate and add salt water. It’s much easier to relax when baby is contained and happy, especially if you have older kids frolicking in the ocean.
  • Soggy towels? Use pull-on bath towels or thin bathrobes versus regular beach towels. Kids keep them on and grown-ups know they are staying dry. Plus, you won’t have soggy towels everywhere!

Do you have any cool ideas that will help other parents enjoy their time at the beach? Do you have an idea for an upcoming Parental Guidance? Please tell us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ParentalGuidance: @megancolarossi, @williegeist, @today_parents. As we all know, being a parent is the toughest job in the world, but it’s totally worth the wild ride — especially when we get a little help from a friend!