Summer Bucket List: #4 – Go to the beach!

By: April Lukasik

No matter where you live in Connecticut, you’re likely within an hour’s drive of a beach. In the summer, with energetic children at home, the less time spent in the car, the better! (Trust us – we get it!)

We have some great suggestions to make your day in the sun a little easier. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even have some time to relax!

Which beach should we go to?

Connecticut has some beautiful beaches, and parking is free for residents. Here are some of our favorite beaches.

Ocean Beach Park – New London: This “sugar sand” beach has ALL the things! If saltwater isn’t your thing, there’s an Olympic-size swimming pool, as well as mini-golf, a game room, splash pad, playground, and much more! They also have a food court and gift shop, in case you run out of sunscreen, or someone drops their sandwich in the sand. (Maybe not exactly by accident…)

Hammonasset Beach State Park – Madison: Hammonasset is Connecticut’s largest shoreline park and features over 2 miles of pristine beach. The park also offers fishing, camping facilities, and concessions. There’s also a beautiful boardwalk to stroll along, as well as a nature center. Pop in when you need a break from the summer sun.

Silver Sands State Park – Milford: This beach has a somewhat remote location, which typically makes it less crowded than other Connecticut beaches. With over a half mile of shoreline and an all-weather boardwalk, this is a popular waterfront destination. Though there aren’t many amenities, the calm waters make this a great beach for families.

How will I keep the kids occupied at the beach?

Aside from typical beach activities, like swimming and building sandcastles, you’ll want to keep the kids entertained for the day. Packing a few extra items is worth the effort to help you get through the day.

Here are some great ways to keep the kids amused for hours.

  • Go on a scavenger hunt: Make a list of items for the kids to find.
  • Play soccer or kickball: If it’s crowded, just be mindful of others.
  • Bring a boogie board to ride the waves: Or for younger children, bring a float and parents can take turns in the water with them.
  • Collect shells: Bring them home to use for a rainy day craft project.
  • Play tic-tac-toe: Draw your board in the sand and use shells and other objects as markers.
  • Make an obstacle course or relay race: This is great exercise and can  be as easy as jumping over towels, running to the water to fill a bucket, or belly-crawling under an umbrella pole.
  • Take a walk along the water: Take in the sights and sounds of the beach. See what kinds of animals you can find!
  • Fly a kite: Beach breezes are great for this activity!

What should I bring?

You probably already know which basics to bring to the beach – sunscreen, towels, umbrella, sand toys, etc. But here are some things you may not have considered to help make your beach day drama-free.

  • Plastic baggies: Use these to protect your cell phone from sand and water, or for the kids to collect seashells.
  • Change of clothes for the kids: If you’ve ever seen a child throw a tantrum because of a grain of sand in their bathing suit, you’ll know why this is a great idea.
  • Baby powder: Even if you’re past the diaper days, you likely have some baby powder laying around. Sprinkle it on wet, sticky feet and dry off with a towel. Sand will miraculously fall off and allow the kids to get put their shoes on without tears.
  • Hats: Covering your head will prevent sunburn on the delicate scalp. It will also shield your eyes and face from the sun.
  • Collapsible wagon: This is an invaluable tool if you have kids. Pile the wagon with your chairs, bags, and floats and save your arms. Then break it down for easy storage in the trunk.

So pack up the kids and hop in the car – summer adventure awaits!

Create your own Summer Bucket List with this printable PDF.
There’s plenty of room for you to brainstorm fun ideas with your family. But most importantly – don’t forget to have fun!