Your Beach & Road Trip Tips Wanted

by jessicaturner on April 20, 2012

We leave for Hilton Head two weeks from tomorrow.

This will be our first road trip/vacation as a family of four, and our first vacation at the beach. (When Elias was about 15 months, we had a wedding on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so we did get some pictures of Elias on the beach.)

Today I want YOUR tips! 

Please share your best tips for road trips with young kids (our drive will be 9-10 hours, not including stops). What to bring, how to keep the kids entertained, what are the must haves, etc. etc.

I also want YOUR best tips for the beach! What to bring, what to do, favorite pictures to get, etc. etc. We will be staying in a condo with ResortQuest Hilton Head, so if you have any tips related to renting a condo, that would be awesome too.

I will then take all your comments and compile them into some awesome best tips posts!

Start sharing. :) I can’t wait for your insight.



{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley April 20, 2012 at 8:28 am

How fun! I’m happy y’all get to take a nice, long vacation. With little ones on the beach, we’ve found the best way to be able to spend extended time on the sand the most important thing you need to have is no shame about looking like you’re moving onto the beach permanently. :-)
Here’s my long list of what works for us: an EZ Up style tent, lots of sand toys, snacks and cold drinks (i.e., a cooler), and a small baby pool. We’ve used the smallest blow up baby pool they sell and fill it with a about five or six inches of water for the littlest ones in the family to be able to play in the shade for a while. Last summer my youngest stayed in the baby pool almost the entire time we were on the beach each day. She didn’t like the sand very much, but she was happy as could be in the baby pool under the tent. My older ones liked to be able to rinse the sand off of their hands in the pool and use the water for their building projects.
Good luck and have fun!

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Jessica Maples April 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Ashley, I am a native at the beach and am in the vacation rental business and this is probably one of the best tips I have ever seen for how to handle a baby on the beach… bring the baby pool to the beach… briliant! :o)

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jessicaturner April 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

We definitely plan to bring a blow up one. I agree. GREAT idea!

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Jess Cummins April 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

We just went on our first road trip with our two children {ages 6 & 3}. I was really worried about them fighting, kicking our chairs, getting bored…so I put together two boxes for each of them I bought two 8.5×11 flat plastic totes at Target. I filled each with books, small toys, snacks, window markers, stickers…They were not allowed to have their boxes until we started on our trip. These were the biggest sanity-saver. Not only did it keep all their toys and books in one neat place but with the lid on they were able to use it as a snack tray when we stopped at the drive-thru. They actually loved them so much, they asked me to leave them in the car. I did and they still use them :)

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Lori April 20, 2012 at 8:44 am

We’re traveling next week from NY to ME (about 10 hours with stops) and I’ve been reading up on tips for long car rides with young kids. I have an almost 3 year old daughter. I bought some little surprise gifts to give her every one to two hours. Some things that I got where – sticker books (numbers one and a Mickey Mouse one), silly putty, mini etch a sketch, pinwheel, a jump rope. The jump rope is the last gift before arriving in ME, so she can play with it when we are there. I also borrowed from my mom some of my daughter’s favorite small toys she plays when she’s at her house. I’ll split up the gifts to give her some on the way there and some on the way home. I’m hoping it helps keep her happy in the car!
Also this website had some helpful ideas: http://www.momsminivan.com/toddlers.html
Good luck planning, packing and on the trip!

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Nurse Bee April 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

As far as renting a house/condo (which we’ve done a few times with our kids), I always bring a water-proof mattress cover to put on the bed my older daughter will be sleeping on (she wears pull-ups at night, but just in case there is an accident!)

The farthest trip we have gone on as been 6 hours and we did all the driving at night, so our kids were asleep!!

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Jessica Kelley April 20, 2012 at 9:03 am

We’re going to Gulf Shores in three weeks, so this will all be very helpful! So far, I’ve purchased a baby beach tent for the baby and a car seat tray for my 3 yo (both from One Step Ahead), so she can color and stuff on the trip without (hopefully!) dropping things on the floor constantly! We tried it out for a two-hour drive the other day and she liked it a lot.

I’m planning to make a vacation countdown garland for our mantle with little things we’ll be taking to the beach marked for each day, so each day we’ll take down a beach shovel, a new swimsuit, a placemat map of the US to show our route, etc.

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Sara April 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

Ooo, fun! Lori beat me to the punch on two things. The gifts every couple of hours are a godsend (works in smaller time increments on planes, too)! Also, that website has a lot of good info.

I’d suggest a package of wipes you can reach from the front seat (as well as paper towels). Bubbles are good for a quick reststop activity. Be prepared for dicey nighttimes with all of that driving — a roadtrip threw off our son’s schedule because he slept so much in the car. We learned from that and kept napping in check (insane to even type that). I’m sure it’s a given, but my kids love having their own pillows (they’re 11, 8 and 4) with them. Just put them in brightly colored cases so that they don’t get lost with the condo’s linens.

As for pics, I love the little baby feet imprinted in the sand. I have taken those of all three kids’ feet and they’re precious. I also like to get them from behind, looking out to sea. It seems so dreamy… Make sure someone gets you in some of the pictures, too. We have lots of the rest of the family and not many with me in there, too. A family beach pic would make for a nice Christmas photo (I love seeing sunny pics in the wintertime)! Keep a little sand from the beach for a keepsake… Safe travels and *have fun*!

Warmly,
Sara

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Lori April 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

Bubbles!! What a great idea, thank you!

Also, I’m bringing a square Gladware container (with lid) for her “plate” for food, so she has a something easy to hold on to for eating and can be closed up if needed.

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Katrina April 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

I’ve been on a couple of road trips trips to the beach with our three year old daughter and we have one planned in a month, so I will be glad to get some new tips. I know a lot of people are not fans of TV time, but we bought a portable dvd player for our first road trip with her and it was a life saver! We brought her favorite dvds to let her watch while we were in the car. My daughter also loves to color. Color Wonder makes this portable easel that they can use flat on their laps to color on. I bought one of those for our last trip and didn’t give it to her until she needed something. After we got home I put it up so it isn’t a toy she plays with regularly and will hopefully seem new again. Here is a link to it. http://www.amazon.com/Crayola-Color-Wonder-Table-Easel/dp/B004EBPRBS

For the beach, if you sprinkle baby powder on wet sand, it soaks up the water and you are able to brush it off of your body easier.

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Amber Greuel April 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

Well, there is a time and place for everything…in my opinion. I agree 100% with the portable DVD player. We only use it for long trips in the car. We too, will be traveling from WI to NC next month. One way, 12 hours with a 2 1/2 year old. I plan to start at night when he is sleeping.

I will plan to bring his Leaptop computer since he also enjoys that. Etch-a-sketch is also a great idea. I am going to check back for more ideas! I have seen a ton so far.

Good luck Jessica!

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Kristal April 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

I also agree with the portable DVD player. This has saved us so many times. Our 2 year old gets carsick, and without the DVD player, we have to stop for at least 10 minutes every hour to prevent the pukes. When your family lives a minimum of 6 hours away, that makes for very l.o.n.g. trips (we did a few that way…they were nightmarish). With our portable DVD player, we were able to make a 10 hour trip with only 1 incidence of car-sickness.

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Linny Best April 20, 2012 at 9:44 am

We LOVE road trips with our family! We have driven back and forth between Oklahoma and California twice now and enjoy the challenge and adventure. My best advice is find playgrounds and parks along the way and stop frequently. Have the park be a reward he can look forward to after sitting for a while. Fast food places are pod but he best is parks with grass for throwing a ball or places I climb…release some toddler energy and get some fresh air! Also, while in the car…bubbles! Enjoy the trip and make it exciting for him. We always make sure we communicate with Caedmon…giving him heads up about our next stop and what’s going on. Enjoy your trip!!

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Ashley April 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

Hilton Head beach is a very beautiful beach (previously lived there) It is also a very busy beach! They rent tents out so you don’t have to travel with a huge umbrella, because you’ll probably have enough with two kids 😀 I would stop to Target and get a coloring pad for about $4. Crayola makes one that uses water markers and color only shows up on paper anywhere else is just a water stain and the pages dry so Elias can color over and over. My husband and I travel to FL sometimes and this is what we use. My son also loves to sing along to music so we bring 3-4 Veggie Tales cd’s to listen to. Good Luck! Have a very safe trip!!! If you are looking for something to do outside the beach, try Riverstreet in downtown Savannah (kid friendly) right over the bridge, not even an hour away. Ask any locals they will tell you exactly how to get there. It’s a very popular place.

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Missy April 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

How fun! We travel several times a year, long distances in the car with two little ones. Here are a few of my tips. Get a DVD player or some other sort of movie device. Choose movies that will not make you crazy if you have to hear them over and over again. I wouldn’t get headphones, we tried that once and the kids would not keep them on, hence the previous tip. Make stops about ever two hours to let them stretch. Stops for us usually ran about 10 -15 minutes. Bring kid friendly snacks that are not messy. (Ours love carrot sticks, cheese sticks, goldfish crackers, etc.) Keep a cooler with ice and extra already prepared sippy cups with water, milk, juice, etc. The ice will keep them cool and you can just reach for a new one when you need it without stopping to refill a cup. Hope that helps! Have a great vacation!

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Erin April 20, 2012 at 10:48 am

Re condo life: stop in the last big town before Hilton Head for groceries. Groceries at the beach will have a limited selection and be way overpriced.

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Jessica Maples April 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Actually there are numerous great grocery stores on Hilton Head Island that are used by both locals and by visitors.. Publix, Harris Teeter and Bi-Lo are very convenient to the area where Jessica will be staying. Not over priced… :o)

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jessicaturner April 25, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Yay! :)

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Tracy April 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

We just drove 12-14 hours to California. I took lots of travel safe toys. I have a 4 year old and a 1 year old. I also took a protable DVD player. We left at 2am so they slept a lot of the way. The DVD player kept the 4 year old entertained for a good portion of the trip. She also has a Leapster and we took her games for it. I also took a scavenger hunt for my teen along with magazines. It was a fairly pleasant trip and we stopped to eat and let the kiddos run around.

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Amber Haines April 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

dvd player, hand sanitizer, little baggies of food you can toss, a few bags for trash, baby wipes,

and plenty of patience. Spruce up on Jesus Loves Me, too – just in case the wailing needs a song. :)

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Shelbie April 20, 2012 at 11:58 am

You have tons of great advice so far! We go on a road trip to the beach every summer and it’s about a 9 hour drive to get there from our house. First, we always drive overnight. My husband is great with getting up at 11pm or so and he can sleep easily during the day so he takes the first shift w/driving. I’m the super packer so I pack the car in the late afternoon/early evening. Yes we are tired when we arrive but we didn’t have to spend an entire day stopping to give the littles a break – my guys are 1 & 5 now. For the early morning hours we try to make sure we can stop at a fast food place, usually McD’s, as a super treat for breakfast. The big guy thinks this is fabulous. For daytime driving I make sure to pack a secret bag of new goodies to pull out…those water pens are the best thing ever. Doesn’t matter what gets drawn on. :) Accidents seem to happen in our car. I also put in some new hot wheels, fun snacks, new books, new music to listen to. We’ve been able to manage no movies in the car so far but we are prepared with that as well if we ever need it.
Condo living: The best ever! I hit up our grocery store before leaving to get any non-perishibles that I can to take with us. I know my store and can always shop faster there than in a strange place. I find the local shop for milk and fresh stuff when we arrive. We also take a small cooler to use for drinks on the way to and from and then it comes in very handy for taking to the beach if we will be down there for an extended period.
Beach: The baby powder thing is AMAZING. I buy the biggest generic bottle I can find before leaving and it never leaves our beach bag. It saves us. :) Last year we also got this collapsing half tent thing at Costco – about $35 if I remember correctly – and it’s fabulous. Has “windows” on the sides to let air come through and a floor. I love that we can put a couple of adult chairs inside the shade and we still had room for all of our junk and the kids. I’m also able to set this up and take it down on my own which I love. We also take “solid” sunscreen…it looks almost like a little deodorant stick. It’s so much easier to get on the busy kiddos! Especially their faces and ears. Be prepared for swim shirts and shorts to have sand embedded in them. I hit up Target or Walmart for a couple of cheap things that I don’t care if they never look good again once vacation is over.
Photos: We always plan one evening to get “dressed” and head down to the beach for photos. I love those sunset shots. :) We usually take the tripod as well. So fun to get some family shots together. This is the only time I take my DSLR. I tote my point & shoot otherwise. I’m paranoid that my good camera will be ruined with the sand. :)

Have an amazing time!! You are making me wish that summer was already here so we were heading to the beach.

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Janna April 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

We have five kids and have done a lot of traveling and all without a dvd player! Some of our favorite things–
-The Psalty CD’s (Familiar with big blue singing book? He’s on CD now!!)
-A cd with some relaxing classical on it for the “hairy” times–somehow always seems to calm them down
-A bag of pipe cleaners for some “sculpting” (fun and no mess)
-Pre-packaging simple snacks in plastic baggies (pretzels, etc)
-Packing fun picnics to enjoy at rest stops (like egg salad on croissant . . .) ;o)
-Books on cd
-Making sure each kid has a bag of some favorite things, books, coloring, stickers, etc. Always fun to stick in a few new surprises!
-Those big 15×10 jelly-roll pans make nice trays to play on, either for little boys to drive cars, trains, etc or to play with some fun magnets–and of course they could be used as a coloring surface etc (but clipboards are also great for that)
-Kid atlases or maps for the older ones so they can plot where we are at as we travel

Just a few things off the top of my head! Hope you have a fun trip!

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bev April 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Jessica my kids are parents themselves now. We took many trips, each year we would drive from Co to Mi (22 hours in the car) We would always buuy the girls a few new toys that they could open on the road. This would keep them entertained for hours because the toys were new. We would save one or two for the way back. We didn’t have VCR’s and ipods and hand held video games my kids had to use their imaginations. We would put singing tapes on here and there and we would all sing along!!! They do much better than we do!!! I think you can over think and over plan these days and then be dissappointed!!

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Rachel B April 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I don’t have kids but just read this post about road trips with kids that may be helpful to you:

http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-survive-long-car-rides-with-kids.html

Have fun!

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becca holt April 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm

How fun! We head to California every summer for a week at the beach and it’s the most enjoyable vacation that we have as a family together! We have a DVD player in the car and this is the only time that we allow it to be on. With a 5 year old and 1 year old, they both still take naps so we manage about 1 cartoon movie along with some coloring time and nap time and then we are there!

Beach Gear: This summer will be the first time there with my son walking so it will be a whole new world, however the Kidco Peapod Travel bed http://www.target.com/p/Kidco-Peapod/-/A-14015256 has been a lifesaver for us the past 2 trips. He was constantly eating sand and wouldn’t stop so I could put him in this and zip him in with some toys, and he was protected from the sun and sand free. He also took naps there. It folds down super small and is lightweight and easy to set up. It is awesome for pre-walkers at the beach and totally worth the money in my opinion! We found ours on craigslist for $35. I also choose to put my kids in head to toe UVA/UVB sun protective shirts and pants in addition to sunscreen and hats. We get them at Costco every year for $20 and totally worth every dollar. My kids are super fair and I would hate to think that my forgetting to reapply sunscreen caused them to burn and put them at higher risk for skin cancer as they get older. We also have learned to put all our sand toys in a mesh laundry bag. That way we can shake out the sand and it’s easier to carry for us.

Snacks: We pack a soft sided cooler with lots of snacks & drinks for the car and for a day at the beach so we don’t have to get out or leave for any reason except for the bathroom. Some of our favorites foods are the tuna fish packets, go-gurt, fruit cups, string cheese, laughing cow cheese wedges, hummus & pita chips, etc. We also try to time our days so we eat just before heading to the beach. Don’t forget to bring paper plates or something hard to eat your food on to the beach – we forget this almost every day!

Pictures: I bring my good camera and tripod for one night of great pictures on the beach. Some years they have turned out awesome and others not so much, but it’s important to me to try. I just need to learn how to better use my camera in manual mode so I can take advantage of the amazing sunsets in our pictures! I plan in advance what our entire family will wear so everyone knows what to expect. My favorite has been denim with white shirts or dresses. Perfect with a cloudy colorful sunset! And I try to get the kids to laugh and have fun & make funny faces – those pictures always are my favorite. I bring my point & shoot to the beach everyday and the best days for pictures are cloudy & overcast. And some days I choose to bring my DSLR with me to the beach on play days. I figure I have a great camera and want to get great pictures so if I have to spend $30 to clean sand out of my camera every year, it’s worth it to me to have those great beach pictures :)

I hope you have an amazing time and I can’t wait to read everyone else’s tips and see your pictures! Have a great time!

Becca

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Ashley April 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Lots of great advice so far! When we traveled 19 hours with our then 20 month old the best thing we did was to use stops for getting out energy. It was cold so we stopped at Targets along the way. They have bathrooms and a toy section. We let our daughter run around and play with toys. Since it’ll be warm the park is a great place to stop.
Eat in the car instead of restaurant. It keeps the kids busy and you don’t waste time sitting when you could be getting energy out.
We always leave around 5am so the kids sleep a little at the beginning. Allow lots of extra time so you don’t get frustrated when stops take so long.
Good luck and have fun!!

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Jenn K April 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hilton Head sounds like a great idea this time of year! We have been taking my now 13 year old son to Edisto every summer since he was 8 weeks old. Make sure you have the basics, sunscreen, snacks, drinks, some sort of shade (we used to tote an old playpen down to the sand to put under the canopy for nap time), sand toys, etc. Since HH and Edisto are close geographically, I might would pack some stuff for jellyfish stings. I don’t know if they are as bad now as they are in July but if someone gets stung, it’s better to have it.
Hilton Head does have a Walmart so you can get groceries and other necessities once you are there. Have a great trip!

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Michelle April 20, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I have done the presents every few hours (or less) also. I wrap them with tissue paper to add a little fun to it. THe best things are those that can be used right away- a mini magna doodle, stickers and little book, mini notebook and mini markers, books. I always get a new movie too- Bernstein Bears has a cute going on vacation one.

Not sure how busy Hilton Head is at this time, but I agree with shopping before you get there. We have been to Waves, NC and the grocery store will be bare after the weekend rush. Shop as much as you can before you get on the island for better prices and better selection. Even though we were on vacation, I would choke on paying $5 for cream cheese or a dozen eggs!

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Bree April 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm

1 – Road trip tips…….do you have books on CD/Tape? If not – borrow from the library. They will be especially interested because they are new (if you get from the library). Pack Snacks – less stops, less money, and really – what kid doesn’t love snacks? and….if you can stand the odd hours yourselves, then yes – I recommend overnight or at least super early in the morning. The more you can drive while the kids are asleep, the better. Also – when we stopped, we allowed time to run around so that the boy wasn’t so annoyed to get strapped back in. And lastly – I just resigned myself to using the DVD player more than I wanted, because once we were at our destination, we were so busy having fun, we didn’t watch much tv/movies so then it didn’t seem so bad. To me, it was too many hours in one day, but when I spread all that time out over the week, it was actually fine.

2 – Beach….bring a mini first aid kit in your beach bag – I needed one last summer, for myself – the adult. Use large ziplock baggies in your beach bag to keep things from getting sandy – change of clothes and diapers, sunscreen and lotions, etc. You can reuse the baggies each day. Pack lots of snacks again- kids get voracious at the beach – all the fresh salt air and running in the water. Also pack more drinks they you think you need. For removing sand off feet without messing up your towel- baby powder, so get a little travel size one walmart.

3 – renting a condo…..bring your favorite sharp knife from home cause I’ve never found a sharp knife in any rental, and a dull knife can lead to big accidents in the kitchen. Also – throw your most used spices in baby food jars and bring along – why buy new ones? I also pack extra dish towels, tupperware, plastic kids cups and plates – typically everything in a condo is glass or ceramic. we bring our own coffee because we are picky and can’t always find Dunkin Donuts coffee grinds in our travels. And yes – DEFINITELY shop before you get on island. We actually typically bring our dry/pantry goods with us – in a big plastic tote. Then you can bring home whatever you don’t use, so if you think about it, that all just comes out of your weekly/monthly groceries, rather than your vacation money.

Have fun – can’t wait to see your pics!

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Bethany April 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm

For the drive – I recommend taking Elias to Wal-mart or the grocery and let him pick out 4-5 different types of snacks that you don’t usually buy on a regular basis (save some for the trip there and others for the trip home); portable DVD player; leave in the early, early morning around 3 or 4 a.m. – the kiddos will sleep for 3-4 hours while you drive; pack a cooler with picnic food and stop for meals at rest areas – the kids will love to picnic and it gives them a chance to run and wear themselves out a bit before getting back into the car; get a few new books or magazines and they’ll be interested longer; and lastly let them pack there own little backpack with the stuff they want to take. You’ll be surprised at how well they will do.

For the beach – take gallon plastic bag to keep your camera in safe from blowing sand, umbrella is a must, take small cooler for picnic on beach saves trips back and forth to condo carrying all the beach necessities, take a kite for flying on the beach, take a sheet instead of a blanket as it is easier to shake off and folds up very small size, sand toys & dump truck. You’ll have a blast!

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Christy April 20, 2012 at 8:27 pm

HHI is one of my most favorite places on Earth! We are going the end of June. Last summer we went to Gulf Shores with Kendall who was 1 at the time. We were lucky that she drives in her seat well. I think this has already been mentioned, but we went to the grocery at home to get any non perishable items that would be a lot less expensive in our home grocery. I don’t know if everyone believes there is a difference between night diapers and the regular diapers, but we put Kendall in night diapers while we travel. I feel they hold more than regular diapers (I might just be crazy!) We also had a small cooler up front with milk because she is a big milk drinker. I wish I could be more help, but we were just really go with the flow when we traveled with Kendall. We reminded ourselves that we were on her time, in no hurry to get to the beach, and stopped as needed. We made no plans for the way there so that we couldn’t be stressed to get to a certain place by a certain time. I also made sure to pack a few of Kendall’s favorite toys (we probably took way too many toys) but the beach got extremely hot and we did spend a few hours everyday in our condo and Kendall enjoyed playing with her toys! Can’t wait to hear all about your trip:)

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Monique April 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm

We road trip frequently with our 4 kids. My best driving tip is to bring a sterilite 3 drawer container and give each child their own drawer. Everything they bring to do in the car MUST fit in their drawer. Before we get out of the car for breaks everything must be put back in the drawer. It keeps my car very tidy and we can always find belongings. I also put a mini trash can in the back for my kids.

We do tons of beach vacations too and my must have item for the beach is swim shirts. Everyone in the family should have their own color and wear their shirt every day. It makes spotting kids in the ocean really simple. Sheets are better then towels for lying on the beach. Take a hat for everyone too. Have fun! Hilton Head is one of our favorite places in the world!

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Marty April 21, 2012 at 12:22 am

When we only had two and they were probably 8 and 4 we had a 4 hour trip to the beach. I would pick up inexpensive yard sale toys or dollar store goodies and wrap them individually to open on the way there, maybe every 30 minutes or so. It kept them occupied and gave them something to do in the car. I’d spread them out a little longer for your trip! As far as the beach goes, have a plastic bag for sand toys and such that can be rinsed out for the trip home. Keep to a schedule that works for you. If naps are scheduled, schedule them at the beach! We usually just all took a nap together (or tried to). Avoid the hottest part of the day by going early in the day and later in the afternoon. Have snacks in baggies to take down to the beach and water bottles or cups for thirst. And lots and lots of sunscreen! Have a great time!

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Lisa @ A Little Slice of Life April 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I am a big fan of the Magna doodle for car trips. Even the smallest kids can write and erase all by themselves. They aren’t messy and the “pen” is attached.

For the beach remember your umbrella, hats, and protective sun gear. Keeping your kids safe at the beach also means limiting their sun exposure. We put all our sand toys in a mesh bag you can rinse the whole thing or just shake the sand out. No matter what you so sand will be everywhere, so get over it. You are at the beach. Fruit is a great snack to bring because there are no wrappers to blow away.

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Nicole LeBlanc April 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Someone may have mentioned this…
Be sure to bring a large baggie or something you can put your camera and video camera in. Sand is not good for cameras and if kept in a plastic bag it will stay safe!

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Amber April 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

You must go to the Hilton Head goodwill!!

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Emily @ The Pilot's Wife April 21, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Lots of good tips so far!

I like the rash guards that have SPF in them. Less skin to slather in sunscreen. And I usually use a high SPF lotion in the morning before heading to the beach, but I like the spray variety for reapplying b/c the lotion is a mess when you’re covered in salt water/sand.

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@nicolewick April 22, 2012 at 11:07 am

We rent a house or condo every year in Orlando and we LOVE it!! In fact we’re leaving for our trip on Friday.

When our kids were little we always made sure we had plenty to do in the car. Let Elias help pack his own bag of car toys and treat. He’ll love it. Also, a car DVD player may be the best $99 dollars I’ve ever spent. We only put it in the car if we are going on long vacation trips so it’s special and they love it. Adeline is too young but you may want one in a few years.

As for the condo, I’m always afraid of my kids making a mess or breaking something. The first thing I do is get all decorative plates, vases, etc. out of harms way. Also, I make sure I’m buying snacks and drinks/juice boxes that will be easy to clean if they are spilled.

Have fun!

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Ashley April 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

We head to coast frequently….4 hours away and family there. I try to arrange my traveling for nap time. I always have her pillow, favorite blanket and stuffed animal. Even at age 4, she can still nap for 2 hours without upsetting her bedtime. I also have her portable DVD player with headphones (Fisher Price makes some that restrict decibel levels). When offering movie choices, I try to pick one that fits within our time. A 30-minute episode won’t cut it if we’re still 2 hours away.

As for traveling course, I actually chose the directions that are longer. In terms of time, it’s about the same because of Interstate driving. The important factor is the number of easily accessible bathrooms.

While at the beach, plan nap times for the hot part of the day. We go out in the mornings come in for lunch and nap (and a bath to get rid of the sand). We are fair-skinned so the 11-4 hours are difficult for us in terms of sun exposure and burning. I wear SPF 75 usually and NOTHING below SPF 50…ever. Umbrellas, tents, etc. are also with us. The late afternoon and evening is usually reserved for pool time.

Just a word of caution: young ones who play in the sand and ocean will ingest some. This can cause upset tummies. One of our most memorable stories from my daughter’s first beach trip (just over 1 yr. old) involved a BOX of wipes, an ineffective diaper, soiled clothes and car seat and an “explosive” surprise.

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Ashley April 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Oh, and according something I read on Pinterest, baby powder will get sand off skin. It’s worth a try!

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brie. April 23, 2012 at 4:16 am

menu plan! we honeymooned on hilton head and we just returned from a condo vacation in florida, and while it’s just the two of us, we enjoy having the extra space of a condo and the flexibility of eating at home a bit. we do half our meals in and half out, but i find it’s great to get an idea of what you’re going to cook and have a grocery list when you hit the store:)

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Arley Worley April 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

This sounds kind of crazy – I know – but if you have time to put a little cd together of yourself, hubby, and even the kids – singing songs, reading books, stuff like that – it’s awesome if you get tired of talking & entertainin. AND kids LOVE listening to recordings of themselves & their parents! Have a blast!

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Holly B April 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Purchase or borrow one of those small infant sized tents for your daughter. We took my son to the beach at about 5 months and this was ideal. He could nap right on tge beach without worry of the sand, sun etc.
Swim shirts! Less sunscreen.
Take advantage of naptime. I relaxed by pool while he slept in a bouncy chair (in the shade). Try to split some time with Elias so you and your hubby both get some relaxation.
Kind of obvious but do the beach at their happy time. We used to be late morning and afternoon beach people but my toddler has a much better temperament in the morning so we’ve had to adjust.
Water shoes in case she doesn’t like the texture of sand on her feet. Also helps when the sand is really hot (for older kids that are walking).

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Laurel April 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Pack a bunch of snacks in small individual ziplocks, and put them all in one larger zippered bag. Makes it easy to hand a snack into the back seat without much fuss. Make a separate one for the parents so you don’t have to share.

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Larissa April 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Whenever we go on a trip, whether car or plane, I always buy some new small “quiet” toys for my two girls. The trick is to not let them see them before the trip and then strategically dole them out while on the road or on the plane. Coloring books are great – when they were younger I did “color magic” the ones where the ink only works on the special paper, but found that because of the novelty they used up all the paper really fast and then had useless markers, crayons etc. Now I buy them artistic coloring books with intricate patterns and new art supplies. Legos were popular for a while with the girls. My girls are a little older so they like to read, but before they were really good readers I’d buy new picture books. We have also used books on CD that we check out from the library in the car (Chronicles of Narnia, The Secret Garden, and the Harry Potter series). We have a travel bingo game and play variations of “i-Spy”.
When the kids were younger, we’d also decide ahead of time what music we’d listen to. The Beatles work well for all of us – because as much as I like Laurie Berkner, as an adult I can only listen to “We are the Dinosaurs” so many times before I’m ready to seriously loose it. Now that my girls are older they have MP-3 players (that we’ve loaded with appropriate music) and they can listen to whatever they want.
Plenty of snacks and water. Plan stops along the way so you and the kids can stretch.
At least your kids are too young to start the “Mom, she’s looking at me!” When I bought my latest car the guy asked about what options I wanted – I asked if they could install limo privacy glass between the front and back seats. He looked at me like I was crazy – obviously he’s never been on a road trip with 7 & 10 year old girls.

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