If you start dreaming of the sea and sand every summer, you’re in great company. Research suggests that Americans make 2 billion visits to beaches each year, which is over twice as many trips as we make to all national and state parks combined!
For most of us, heading to the nearest beach isn’t a simple day trip. Between finding lodging and deciding how you’ll get there, planning a beach trip can be surprisingly complicated.
If you’re ready to head to the shore, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at eight things to consider as you start planning.
In this article
1. Start With a Budget
Before you get too far into your vacation plans, establish a budget. Figure out how much you can spend on the trip to ensure you aren’t scrambling for money at the end!
Depending on how you’ll get there, you may need to factor in the cost of gas, rental fees, public transit costs, or airfare. You’ll also need to decide how much you can spend on your lodgings. If you’d like to stay in a location with other attractions such as shopping, restaurants, and events, you’ll also need to factor in those costs.
If you’ll be renting equipment like surfboards or bikes, don’t forget to add those costs as well.
2. Decide When to Go
For most people, the clear answer to this is “summer.” The warm months are often the best time to visit the beach, as you’ll often find more ongoing events and attractions when most tourists are around.
However, avoiding peak times has its benefits as well. Avoiding major holidays and weekends can save you money on accommodations, for example, and it can also reduce the crowds around you on the sand. Heading to the beach in the late spring or early fall can also make the weather more manageable if you’re hoping to avoid the scorching summer heat.
3. Choose the Right Location
Your chosen location can often make or break your beach trip.
You’ll want to choose a location within your budget, of course, but there are also ways to stretch your money a bit further. Consider choosing a less popular beach off the beaten track for a quieter beach experience that may cost you less. You can also look at online travel advice for insights on picking the ideal destination for you and your party.
4. Consider Your Accommodations
If you plan to have a lot of downtime during your family trip, especially if you’ll want to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right place to spend your time.
Depending on your location, you might be able to stay in a hotel, condo, resort, rental home, or villa. You may also be able to camp in a tent.
Each option has its pros and cons, and you’ll want to weigh them against the type of trip you’re hoping for and the people you’re traveling with.
For a family vacation, consider choosing a family-oriented resort that has plenty of activities for kids to do when they aren’t at the beach. If you’re on a tight budget, camping can be a great way to see what nature has to offer and spend more time on the water.
No matter what you choose, you should plan to do as little driving as possible within your budget constraints. Commuting to and from the beach can be a chore, especially when you’re bringing sand into and out of your car. Choosing lodgings close to the beach is often ideal.
5. Don’t Over-schedule
Even if you’ve chosen a location with a huge range of attractions and amenities, don’t over-schedule your trip! Booking tickets in advance can be fun, but when the highlight of your vacation is the beach, you may want to spend most of your downtime on the water.
A crowded itinerary can also keep you and your loved ones from connecting on your trip. Worse, it can also take a relaxing beach adventure and turn it into a hurried rush of constant travel!
6. Know What to Pack
Packing for a beach trip can be surprisingly tricky. Not only will you need to bring clothes for your travels and outings, but you’ll also have to bring separate bags to carry your beach day gear while you’re on the shore.
Grab a beach packing list to decide how to organize your bags, what kind of luggage to bring, and much more.
7. Follow Safety Precautions
Before you go, make sure you’ve considered safety precautions for your trip. Though no one expects to be caught off-guard in a hazardous situation, it helps to know what to do in advance.
Start with research. Look into beach advisories that may crop up in your area, from harmful algal blooms (HABs) to pollutants. Make sure you and your loved ones know what to do if you’re ever caught in a rip current.
In addition, make sure you’re packing a first-aid kit. Bumps and scrapes are surprisingly common on the beach.
8. Consider Travel Insurance
Again, no one likes to imagine worst-case scenarios, but travel insurance can offer great peace of mind.
Whether you end up dealing with a canceled flight, lost luggage, or a medical emergency, the right policy can help. Your choices will vary based on your provider and your budget, so be sure to read the fine print before you sign.
Start Planning Your Beach Trip Today
No matter where you’re headed, planning your beach trip early can save you a lot of headaches down the road. From establishing a budget to focusing on safety, the right tactics can even ensure that you and your family enjoy every moment on the beach!
Want more helpful guides like this one? Be sure to take a look at our other posts for additional tips and tricks.