5 Kid-Friendly Spring Break Ideas for Los Angeles Families

Holidays, Lifestyle, Travel

Hello, fellow LA families! I don’t know about you, but I’m already over our SoCal’s so-called “winter” and daydreaming about all the fun to be had when the temperatures warm up this 2023 Spring Break! I’m so excited about Spring Break that I’m sharing these 5 kid-friendly Spring Break ideas live on CBS-LA (KCAL; Channel 9) on Saturday, Jan. 28 during the Weekend Morning Show! If you miss it live, check back here after it airs to see the recorded version of the segment!

I know it’s only January, but as a classic Type A personality, I’ve already been planning our family’s activities and road trips for this year’s Spring Break for weeks. I’ve been researching across the internet and chatting with local event and travel experts to find the very best Spring Break ideas in March and April for Los Angeles area families. When planning my family’s Spring Break, I’m always on the lookout for the four E’s — Engaging, Entertaining, Enriching and Educational — and I’ve pulled together a list of five fabulous ideas that meet all of these! From local camps and theme parks to memorable nearby hotel stays, be sure to book one of these adventures for an unforgettable Spring Break!

5 Spring Break Ideas for Los Angeles Families:

1. Super Nintendo World Opening at Universal Studios Hollywood

The newest attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood is Super Nintendo World, opening February 17, just in time for families to explore during their Spring Break! What makes this SUPER (pun intended) exciting is that this is Super Nintendo World’s United States debut! The original is located at Universal Studios Japan, so it’s pretty rad that the first U.S. location is here in our backyard at Universal Studios Hollywood!

The new Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge ride at Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood

According to Universal Studios’ press release, this all-new, dynamic land will be a visual spectacle of vibrant colors and architectural ingenuity located within a newly expanded area of Universal Studios Hollywood. Super Nintendo World will feature the groundbreaking “Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge” ride complete with augmented reality (AR) goggles, as well as many thrilling and interactive activities designed to engage the entire family within the captivating Mushroom Kingdom. Along with themed dining at the Toadstool Cafe™ and shopping at the 1-UP Factory™ retail store, Super Nintendo World will be an inspiring, game-changing addition to the world-famous theme park.

Sneak Peek at Super Nintendo World!

When I read about the new Super Nintendo World, I got instantly excited while reminiscing on the old days of playing Super Mario Bros. and Mario Kart with my brothers and friends! The whole family will love exploring this new land within Universal Studios Hollywood!

Super Nintendo World is included with regular admission to Universal Studios. Visit universalstudioshollywood.com to purchase tickets.

2. Spring Break Camps: Kidspace Children’s Museum and YMCA of the Foothills

Camps are perfect for families whose children’s caregivers can’t take off work while their children are out of school or who want their children staying physically and socially active during Spring Break, and I have two outstanding options that will keep your children engaged and learning with their community!

Camp fun at Kidspace Children’s Museum

First, Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena is hosting a garden themed Spring Break Camp, April 3-7 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daily, for ages 5-8. Children will explore the world of soil, plants, and the worms, bugs, and other creatures who love them. Price is $575/week for general audiences, $550/week for members (members receive $25 discount plus 2 weeks of priority registration – camps tend to sell out!). Visit kidspacemuseum.org to register and follow @KidspaceMuseum on social media to keep up to date with registration openings.

Playing in the Arroyo Stream at Kidspace Children’s Museum Spring Camp

March and April are also Kidspace’s annual Butterfly Season where families enjoy exploring the lifecycle of butterflies. You can adopt a caterpillar, help nurture the museum’s community garden, go on a bug safari, and costume play with beautiful butterfly wings. There’s so much to explore at Kidspace in the springtime! My kids love Kidspace’s current Muddy Boots Farm exhibit where they pretend to garden with mini hoes and wheelbarrows, then weigh and sell their bounty at the farm stand. We’ve also made lots of great memories in the museum’s Arroyo stream where the kids splash, play and get messy! Don’t forget to bring a spare pair of clothes!

Kidspace’s annual Butterfly Season

Another wonderful camp option is the YMCA of the Foothills, which is hosting two Spring Break Camps: the first for Glendale Unified School District, March 13-17, plus a one-day camp on Monday, March 20, and the second camp for LAUSD, April 3-7. Camp is from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. You do not have to be a YMCA member to participate! Campers will be swimming, playing organized games, creating arts and crafts projects, participating in STEM activities and sports such as soccer, dodgeball, basketball and so forth on daily basis. New to camp this year is on-site adventures, like a reptile party, magic show and canvas painting. Camp is held at the Verdugo Hills campus in Tujunga, located at 6840 Foothill Blvd., for grades K-8. Price for Family Memberships is $270 and non-member program participants pay $300. Go to YMCAFoothills.org to register. What I love about the YMCA is that they will never turn away a family because of their circumstances. Financial assistance available, please contact Aazizian@ymcafoothills.org to apply.

3. The Seabird Resort in Oceanside

For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than a beach escape, and I love a destination that caters to families like The Seabird Resort in Oceanside. Newly opened in North County San Diego, The Seabird Resort was designed with families in mind, with grand coastal architecture, breezy living spaces, private balconies and stunning Pacific views that give off the vibe of a family beach house. The resort boasts an expansive pool deck, multiple dining options to watch the sunset, Sunny’s Spa for parents to relax and rejuvenate, and the famous Top Gun House right across the street (which my husband is stoked about!).

Surf lessons at The Seabird Resort

The Seabird Resort is ideal for kids with its Little Seabirds programming, offering year-round activities for your smallest travelers to enjoy during their stay, from building stuffed animals to craft hour and an art scavenger hunt, as well as surf lessons. The resort also offers a Little Seabirds Eat Free package that’s ideal for families, including a meal at Piper and a Seabird stuffed animal (for children 12 and under, limit two meals per child). Call the resort 855-413-7573 and mention that you saw this CBS LA segment and they’ll also throw in free parking!

The Seabird Resort Pool

The Seabird Resort is perfect for my beach-loving family, as its set directly on Oceanside Beach – close enough to see the surfers paddling out in the morning and hear the crash of the waves as you sip cocktails with the setting sun. The Seabird also has a vintage Beach Rambler set up right on the Oceanside strand, offering complimentary beach chairs, towels and umbrellas for a relaxing day soaking up the sun.

Making family memories at The Seabird Resort

Oceanside is easily accessible from Los Angeles by both car and train, with rail service from Los Angeles available on Amtrak and Metrolink. The Seabird Resort is conveniently located near the Oceanside Transit Center.  From The Seabird, Spring Breakers can also enjoy accessible attractions across the region, including Disneyland, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, Knott’s Berry Farm and more.

Nightly rates start at $299. Visit theseabirdresort.com for more information.

4. Mar Monte Hotel in Santa Barbara

Our family adores the quaint city of Santa Barbara, just a short drive north of LA. My husband and I were actually married there, so it’s a wonderful nearby escape to reminisce on our wedding and create new family memories with our children! I love the beautifully reimagined Mar Monte Hotel because of it’s Spanish-Colonial inspired decor blended with forward design and cutting-edge amenities. But, I think the hotel’s top selling point is it’s location, location, location!! Mar Monte Hotel is a short walk from the award-winning Santa Barbara Zoo, where families can enjoy hundreds of exotic animals, play areas for children, exciting exhibits and more. The hotel also is just steps from East Beach, which offers a beach playground for your little ones to let out their wiggles! If you’re looking for more to explore from Mar Monte, take a short drive or bike ride to the famed Stearns Wharf and Downtown Santa Barbara, where you’ll find the interactive MOXI Museum, dozens of restaurants, diverse shopping options and more.

Mar Monte Hotel’s fabulous location in Santa Barbara

The hotel’s ocean view rooms with balconies are perfect for families, and you’ll enjoy dining at the two on-site restaurants – costa Kitchen & Bar and Café Lido – and spending time in the heated outdoor pool. Families can enjoy the complimentary beach cruiser bikes and resort games, such as backgammon, checkers, chess, tic-tac-toe, bocce ball courts and a giant Jenga. You can also rent beach equipment and toys for an awesome day at the beach.

An ocean view room with balcony at Mar Monte Hotel

For Spring Break, I recommend booking Mar Monte’s Day at the Zoo Package on their website – MarMonteHotel.com – under their special offers page. Book by March 31 to get (4) free zoo admission, train rides, and giraffe feeding which equals a $150.00 value! The hotel’s average nightly rates start at around $350. For booking and more information on Mar Monte Hotel, visit MarMonteHotel.com.

Mar Monte Hotel Pool

5. Ojai Valley Inn

It’s amazing to think that Angelenos have been escaping to the iconic Ojai Valley Inn, located 70 miles north of LA in the secluded and scenic Ojai Valley, for 100 years! That’s right, the world-class luxury resort is celebrating its centennial in 2023, commemorating all the multi-generations who have enjoyed the idyllic retreat! 

Scenic Ojai Valley Inn

I love that Ojai Valley Inn has something for all ages to enjoy. The resort recently reopened Camp Oak, its fabulous kids’ camp that invites young guests (ages 4-12) to participate in outdoor adventure, arts & crafts, and learn about the region’s rich history through storytelling and science projects. Available for full days (9am-4pm), half days (9am-12pm), and night camp (5pm-10pm) Camp Oak kiddos enjoy immersive themed programming curated to the Ojai experience, such as science experiments, scavenger hunts throughout the resort grounds, and daily themed lessons such as Space Camp, Color Wars, Critter Connection, Around the World, and themes surrounding the Chumash Native American traditions and culture that define the region. Lunch, snacks, and dinner are included based on the camp package selected, so parents can sneak away to the spa or enjoy a romantic dinner while the kids are having fun! That’s my kind of vacation!!

Camp Oak at Ojai Valley Inn

The resort has additional family-friendly programming for a memorable Spring Break: Family craft hour at the Artist Cottage, moderate group hikes that are fit for most ages, in-room game night baskets for the whole family to enjoy, including popcorn, a picnic pack, Jacks, a classic card game, charades, Connect 4, Sorry, an in-room movie, and more. There’s also golf and tennis for a day of family sports, or for when mom and dad want to improve their game while the kids have a blast at Camp Oak!

Family s’mores at Ojai Valley Inn

For Spring Break, Ojai Valley Inn is offering a Spring Family Fun package that includes breakfast at The Oak, a picnic lunch from Libbey’s Market, and DIY s’mores roasting around a communal fire table. This package is available during select dates in March, April and May, and book soon before they sell out!

Family pool day at Ojai Valley Inn

Average nightly rates start at $689. For booking and more information visit ojaivalleyinn.com.

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Which of these Spring Break activities and/or trips would you like to do with your family? Any guesses what our family will be doing? I’d love to hear what your plans are for Spring Break in the comments below. Follow me on Instagram and TikTok for more family and lifestyle ideas!

xo Maggie

Our Favorite Children’s Spring Outfits from Janie and Jack

fashion, Holidays, Lifestyle

I have so many fond memories of springtime and the Easter season growing up in Texas and Tennessee. My mother always did an outstanding job creating holiday traditions for our family, and this time of year was especially fun! My mother encouraged us to help decorate, as she made an elaborate Easter dining table display, filled our fireplace’s mantel with porcelain bunnies, eggs and other fine collectables, and hung Easter eggs from our front yard tree branches. We made Easter bonnets, painted Easter eggs, and joined in on community festivities, like egg hunts, egg rolling races, egg-and-spoon races, Easter Bunny visits and more.

One tradition that I particularly loved was the importance of picking out our Easter clothes. If my mother didn’t hand-make our clothes (she once sewed the most darling pink smocked dress for me), we went to the department stores to select what would be the finest clothes in our closet to wear on Easter Sunday and throughout the remaining warmer months until we outgrew them. I remember how special it was to pick out a fancy dress with my mother, and I couldn’t wait to debut my new “big girl” dress on Easter Sunday. We’d celebrate the holiday with family, attend church and dine with a large Easter brunch afterward. Of course, there were Easter baskets, treats and egg hunts to make the day especially fun for young kids.

My babies in their Janie and Jack spring outfits | Photo credit: @hye.img

What I love about this “Easter clothes tradition” is that it taught me the importance of dressing up and how to wear and care for special, formal clothing. Growing up, we believed that how you dress shows respect for others around you, in addition to being a reflection of how you feel about yourself. We did not grow up rich – we were very much a middle class family – but my parents knew the value in looking nice, dressing for the occasion, and caring for the way we presented ourselves. My parents ALWAYS look nice: My mother has been known for wearing heels on her grocery store runs, and my father almost always dons a suit and tie to church. Back when I was growing up, our Easter clothes may have only cost a few dollars at JCPenny, but we treated them like gold cloaks. This approach to appearance and clothing may be an unpopular opinion these days, but I firmly believe this attitude has been an important factor in any of my business and life success. It’s always been important to our family to show up appropriately for the occasion and feel our best in our clothes, so I love passing down this Easter clothes tradition to my children.

This year, when it came to picking out our Easter clothes, I took my 3- and 1-year-old children to Janie and Jack, because their classic styles and high-quality materials remind me of the beautiful clothes I wore on Easter Sunday growing up. This was the first time I’ve taken both children to a store to actually try on clothes in a dressing room, and we had tons of fun! I let both kids pick out three outfits each to try on in the dressing room, and they loved standing on the stool in front of the mirror to see how beautiful the clothes made them look and feel. The best part of the day was when my 3-year-old son tried on his spring-colored seersucker button-down shirt, looked in the mirror, gave a big smile and said, “I look handsome.” Be still my heart!

We left Janie and Jack with two outfits for each child, but I really wish I could have purchased the whole store! Below are our favorite pieces, which could be perfect for Easter Sunday, spring school recitals, spring weddings, a nice dinner on Spring Break vacation, or a dressy brunch!

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Girls:

I’m obsessed with Janie and Jack‘s color palette of pale pink, mint, and baby blue for little girls spring clothes! The bubble sleeves and smocked dresses are to die for! The shoes have so much beautiful detailing! Complete your little lady’s outfit with a quilted purse, beautiful sun hat, or pink floral barrettes! Every little girl should also have a classic white cardigan in her closet for those chilly spring mornings. Links to all the products are below!

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Little Girls

Top Row, Left to Right:

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Boys:

Classics never die, and that’s why I absolutely love Janie and Jack‘s styles for little boys. I was giddy picking out the blue oxford shorts, seersucker shirt and boat shoes for my little man. Plus, so many of these styles coordinate with the little girls’ outfits for a picture-perfect sibling ensemble! The sweater is so sweet if you live in a place where the winter chill can linger into spring, and your little guy will love accessorizing with these wayfarer style sunglasses! Links to all the products are below.

Janie and Jack Spring Favorites for Little Boys

Top Row, Left to Right:

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

What does your family do to celebrate spring and Easter? I’d love to hear about your family’s traditions in the comments below! Connect with me on Instagram and TikTok for more on modern motherhood, fashion, recipes and lifestyle!

Our spring family portrait | Photo credit: @hye.img

XO Maggie

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7 Ways to Workout When You Have Babies and Toddlers

Health & Wellness, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
A typical setup of me trying to workout surrounded by toys

Hey mama, I hear you… Finding time to workout when you have a baby and/or toddler in the house is HARD! I think it can be especially challenging for new mamas who are so exhausted from newborn middle-of-the-night wakings or simply trying to adjust to their new normal of never being alone! Believe me, I’ve been there!

One morning when I was home with my 3-month-old firstborn (who was colicky and a horrible sleeper), I got fed up with my life feeling controlled by a tiny human. I missed my workouts and I missed feeling like myself. So, I decided right then and there that my new motto moving forward would be, “Something is better than nothing.” What started as a few minutes of movement during his first nap every day turned into me really getting into the swing of finding time to commit to my workouts with kids in the house. Here’s my tips on how to do it!

1. Allow them to join you

This isn’t always easy, but I promise that the more you do it, the easier it gets! Your children may not like it at first, but soon it becomes a routine and they come to expect (and respect!) mama’s workout time. At our home gym, our son likes to pretend to workout with us, and our daughter likes to play with her toys around us. Yes, we have to stop and start our workout a few times to attend to their needs, but it’s much better than not working out at all. And, we get the opportunity to model for our children what taking care of our body and minds looks like and help instill healthy habits for them early! If you want tips on how to build a good home gym, I linked all our Amazon home gym products here.

2. Provide kids rewards for being patient during your workouts

I know it can be a challenge for babies and toddlers to entertain themselves long enough for you to get a good workout in. Before I workout, I’ll tell my children what fun we’re going to have after the workout so that they behave and have something to look forward to. I try not to make it revolve around food because then that’s a weird habit to start with so early (We’re going to workout so we can have cookies later?? NO!!). The rewards are usually that we get to go to the playground, library or even Target! Or, we’ll play a game that they love or watch a movie together as a family.

3. Try shorter but more frequent workouts

If your kids simply can’t give you a solid 30 minutes to get a workout in, try breaking up your workouts into two 15-20-minute workouts throughout the day. For example, I’ll do a 20 minute walk in the morning and then a quick 15 minute HIIT in the afternoon.

4. Workout during their nap

This can be tough in the early infant stages when you’re so exhausted from night feedings and the adjustment to life with a newborn! Even though you’re tired, I recommend working out during the baby’s very first nap of the day. It’s usually their most routine and longest nap of the day (so you could potentially workout AND nap!), so it will give you a guaranteed workout time every day. I know all you want to do is nap when they nap, but if you move a little bit first thing in the morning during that first nap around 9am, I promise it will make you feel better and give you more energy for the rest of your day! Even if it’s only a quick 20-minute workout!

5. Take turns with your partner

My husband is great about this! On the weekends, one of us stays with the kids while the other gets to have their own solo workout time. It’s typically when we do our most intense workouts of the week, because we’re able to focus without child distractions. We take turns. Afterward, we usually do something active as a family, and it’s a really rewarding day!

6. Add more movement throughout your day

If you’re really struggling to find time to workout while caring for your children, try to find all the small opportunities to move more. Take the stairs, play “tag” with your kids, have a dance party with your kids, park far away so you have to walk further to get to the store or work, stand when you’d normally sit… anything!

7. Stay up late or get up early

I’m only mentioning this because I know so many have had success with working out before their kids wake up or going to the gym after kids’ bedtimes. This isn’t for me now, but I hope it will be in the future. I used to always workout at 6am but that changed when I had kids, because I have early rising babies. My husband has a very demanding job, so I remain the kiddos #1 caretaker while he gets ready and leaves for work super early. I go to bed at 8:30 so the idea of squeezing in a sweaty workout at 8 p.m. sounds dreadful – LOL!

I hope these tips are helpful! You can do it mama! If you’re looking for more ways to optimize your health and wellness as a parent, check out my post on small changes that make a big difference here.

Let me know what you do for your workouts in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO Maggie

Must-Have Items for Safe and Fun Family Beach Days!

Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Travel

School’s out and everyone’s ready for fun in the sun! After being in lockdown last summer, I know many families are eager to visit their local beach or travel to a beach destination for vacation!

Living in Southern California, my family goes to the beach all the time. We absolutely love it. My husband surfs, I paddle board, our kiddos dig in the sand and dip their toes in the water. Needless to say, we consider ourselves professional beach goers.

My baby Lucy and me on a recent family beach day

The best part about a family beach day? All the sweet memories playing in the sand and jumping over waves with your little ones!

The worse part? All the STUFF you have to haul to the beach to have a safe, cool and fun beach day. Seriously — why do kids need SO MUCH STUFF?!?! Before kids, my husband and I showed up to the beach on our bikes with two towels and a water bottle. That was it. Man… those were the days!! Nowadays, with two kids under 3 years old, we arrive to the beach with our SUV trunk full!

Let me back up a bit… When my husband and I were kidless, we’d lay in the sand watching all these families struggle hauling all their stuff to the beach, and we swore to each other we would NOT be those people! We’d cringe as we watched dads dragging wagons full of gear back and forth across the sand from their car to their spot on the beach. Moms had their arms full of babies and shoulders weighed down with packed bags. Big kids would drag bags and toys behind them. Watching them go back and forth multiple times in the hot sun looked painful. I always thought, Can’t you just make one trip? The sight itself served as birth control for a few years. We did not want to give up our simple beach days that we loved so much!

Fast forward to today… After a few disastrous beach days with kids (and painfully going back and forth to the car to drag all our stuff to the beach), we finally got it right. We are now SMART about our beach days and have all the best portable gear to keep us cool, safe and, most importantly, have FUN!

While our beach days today aren’t as simple as our lives pre-kiddos, we still love them. And, I want you to love your beach days with your family, too!! Here are my must-have product recommendations to have a great, easy beach day with your family!

SHADE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

CoolCabanas Large CoolCabana 5

First and foremost, shade is a top priority for your family beach days – especially if you have little babies like us! You need a space that is cool and comfortable so your kids can get a break from the sun. I love CoolCabanas because they’re lightweight and easy to setup – even for one person! Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your style. Our family has the medium size in navy stripes and the large size in lemon scarletta – both feel super chic and summery! Use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order at http://www.coolcabanas.com!

Here’s the shade mistakes we made before getting CoolCabanas:

  1. Regular beach cabana – The metal frame of a regular beach cabana is SO HEAVY!! And, it takes more than one person to set up. If it’s really windy out, just forget it!
  2. Beach umbrella – Not enough shade for the whole family, especially if you have active kiddos! My 8-month-old is exploring and crawling, and I can’t keep her under a tiny umbrella!
  3. Three-sided beach tent – If it’s really sunny out with little wind, these tents can trap the air inside and get so hot! We were trying to protect ourselves from the sun but ended up sweating nonstop in the shade of this tent!

Do yourself a favor and make family cabana setup easier by getting a CoolCabana! Check out all of CoolCabanas options at http://www.coolcabanas.com, and be sure to use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order!

STAY HYDRATED AND KEEP COOL!

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Everyone knows YETI makes the most legit durable, high-tech equipment that can withstand all sorts of crazy outdoor adventures worthy of praise from people who live the wildest life. That being said, YETI is our go-to brand for everything we do outdoors because we know we can trust it to last a long time and, most importantly, WORK!

After a few trips to the beach with a couple soft coolers that leaked and didn’t keep our food and drinks cold enough for all day in the sun, we turned to YETI and discovered the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler… It’s a backpack, y’all! GENIUS! Like, why didn’t I think of this?! Instead of lugging our former coolers on our shoulders (with all our other shoulder bags that we take to the beach), we’re now hands-free with an ergonomically designed backpack that promises superior cold-holding, a 100% leakproof zipper, a tough shell and can hold up to 20 cans of soda or beer! Get with the program and get this cooler!!

YETI Rambler and Rambler Jr. Water Bottles

Keep your water cold all day long with YETI’s amazing Rambler Water Bottles. My favorite is the 26 oz. size with chug cap for easy drinking. I love that YETI has a Rambler Jr. for kids, too! And, as a well-deserved convenience to parents, its straw cap is leak resistant when closed and both the bottle and cap are dishwasher safe. I’m so grateful for one less kid/baby item to hand wash!!

PROTECT YOUR SKIN!

Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen + Supergoop! Sunnyscreen

The face sunscreen made popular by celebrities and influencers now has a sunscreen for the whole family! I started using Supergoop! CC Screen years ago and fell in love with the brand for its clean ingredients, non-greasy feel and effectiveness, so I was thrilled when I found out they have a sunscreen for face and body, called PLAY, that our whole family can use. The SPF 50 formula can be used on face and body, it’s water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes and made with reef-safe, clean, cruelty-free ingredients. It also smells amazing! It comes in a spray, a lotion and a large 18 fl. oz. pump bottle for the whole family to share.

We like to take Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen in the spray bottle to the beach for the whole family to use!

I’m also so happy that Supergoop! has developed a sunscreen safe for little babies called Sunnyscreen. It’s 100% non-nano mineral formula checks all the boxes, meaning it’s pediatrician tested, hypoallergenic, & fragrance & silicone free. Sunnyscreen comes in a spot-on sunscreen spray, stick and lotion. I personally prefer the spray for our family, because its the simplest to use on my little 8-month-old.

KEEP KIDS SAFE IN THE WATER!

Splash About’s Go Splash Swim Vest

Our toddler was gifted this Go Splash Swim Vest for his 2nd birthday, and it has been one of the best items of our summer! It has a built-in float system that helps kids learn to swim as they’re splashing around in the pool or ocean. As a former swim instructor, I love that this swim vest encourages kids to use their arms compared to other floaties that keep arms lifted. I need to note that this is NOT a lifesaving device, and you should still always monitor your child when wearing this swim vest in and around water.

My son Landon in his Go Splash Swim Vest

One of the best things about this swim vest is that its lightweight and lays flat, so it’s packable! We brought it with us on vacation to Hawaii recently, and our toddler wore it every day! I was so thankful we packed it with us in our suitcase!

DON’T BRING THE BEACH HOME WITH YOU!

Tesalate Sand-Free Beach Towel

When you go to the beach, sand gets everywhere – especially when you have kids! Luckily, Tesalate has made the ULTIMATE beach towel! Made with AbsorbLite Microfiber, Tesalate’s beach towel is engineered for sand to slip off easily. It’s also ultra-absorbent, retaining up to a liter of water, and it dries in half the time as regular beach towels. I love that its compact and light, so easy to pack – no more bulky towels! Our family has two XL sized towels, which are great to lay next to each other for our whole family to spread out. The towels come in individual and XL size and a variety of beautiful designs. The regular size are $59 and XL are $99 and available at http://www.tesalate.com.

PROTECT EYES, EARS AND FACE WITH AFFORDABLE, PACKABLE SUN HATS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I was younger, I often purposely left my beach hat at home simply because I didn’t have a place to pack it in my suitcase or didn’t want to have to carry it around all day. Now that I know better about the importance of protecting my skin, I refuse to step out of the house for a day in the sun without a hat. Luckily, there are so many great packable hat options out there nowadays, and tons of options can easily be found on Amazon for an affordable price!

Lucy and me rocking our packable sun hats on vacation in Hawaii!

When shopping for sun hats for your family, it’s important to find one that has a wide brim to cover your face, ears and neck. Here’s a few great packable sun hat option for the family:

For Women: FURTALK Rollup Packable Visor

I love this visor because, not only is it packable, it’s super cute! It’s especially great for really hot days when I want to wear my hair up off my neck or if I want to swim around without getting my hair wet. It’s rolls up, so it’s compact and easy to stash in your beach bag or suitcase. It comes with an adjustable velcro closure, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing the correct size!

For Men: Quicksilver Bushmaster Bucket Hat

Okay, I know bucket hats are coming back around in style, but I have to admit that its been hard for me to jump back on the trend I used to wear in the ’90s. One great thing about bucket hats, though? They’re soft, so they’re easy to pack! I like this Quicksilver option for men, because it’s wide brim will protect the back of guys’ necks – something the usual ball cap or trucker hat does not do!

For Babies: SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat

Both of my babies wore this SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat, which offers UPF 50+ UV ray sun protection! I love that it comes in a variety of colors to match their little swimsuits or outfits. My favorite is the white eyelet for little girls!

WIPE OFF SAND AND KEEP LITTLE HANDS CLEAN!

Yipes! Wipes

How is it that little kids always find the yuckiest things to get their hands into?! With all the digging in the sand at the beach, kiddos hands can get particularly yucky! And that sand sticks! To clean little hands, I’m really excited about this new brand of wipes called Yipes! because they were developed to help foster a culture of hygiene while making it fun and approachable with their mascot, Yolanda the Yipes! Yak. They even created a kids’ board book about hygiene featuring Yolanda! And, it’s a product that parents can feel good about while being 94% biodegradable and made with 99% plant-derived ingredients. Yipes! are available in large canisters, as well as in individual, easy-to-use pocket-sized sachets (sold in pouches of 12), which are ideal for on-the-go—perfect for lunch boxes and beach trips! Find them at http://www.YipesWipes.com.

Here are some other important tips when taking your family to the beach:

  • Go early! Don’t wait until high noon when the sun is at its strongest. Plus, the earlier you go, the the less crowded it will be, so you’ll have an easier time finding parking and a great spot in the sand. Early evening also is a nice time to go for same reasons.
  • Don’t skimp on water. We always bring more water than we think we’ll need. And, we typically end up drinking all of it!
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! There’s something about being near water that makes kids (and grown-ups!) extra hungry! Make sure you have enough to go around!
  • Be wary of the ocean, as most waves may not be manageable for little children. Our family is very familiar with SoCal beaches, so we know what to expect with our waves. I recommend watching the ocean for its wave size and take time to understand the strength of the undertow and which direction the current is going.
  • Appropriate shoes! On hot summer days, the sand can get really hot! I recommend buying water shoes so your little ones can run around without burning their feet. Sandals and flip flops are too challenging for little kids to keep on their feet in the sand.
  • Bring some fun beach toys that encourage exploration! For my kids’ ages (an almost 3 year old and 8 month old), we stick to toys that can be used to play on the sand rather than the water. We put all the toys inside one large sand bucket to make carrying them manageable. A blow up beach ball is also a great idea, because its inflatable which makes it easy to pack.
  • Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go to the beach. Little ones get too excited once they arrive to the beach to slow down and put on sunscreen. Plus, you risk giving them an accidental exfoliating massage, because they’re likely to get sand all over them immediately!
  • Remove sticky sand with baby powder. If you don’t want to take your baby into the ocean or under the public showers to rinse off sand, sprinkling baby powder on their skin and hair removes moisture and helps sand dust off easily.

Do you have any questions or additional family beach day tips? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.