Ever wondered where the locals go to spend a day at the beach? And how do they make it look so easy? I can guarantee that as a mom, I have never thought going to the beach with kids was "easy," but I have learned some tricks along the way that make it fun and enjoyable for us all. We are so thankful to call Laguna Beach "home." Some of our favorite beach days have been spent at Crescent Bay. The light shimmers through the aquamarine waters and the waves seem to crash joyfully at our feet. The kids always beg us to explore the tide pools but secretly we don't mind because the fun of discovering sea life tucked in the cracks of the rocks draws us back each time.
Crescent Bay is one of the many beautiful coves of Laguna Beach. The waves have carved out a large swath of sand and at each end lies rocks and tide pools. The waves are large enough for our adventurous boogie boarders, but not too strong to wipe out little kids as they toddle into the water. Snorkelers and SCUBA divers flock to the northern rocks to explore the underwater sea parks. We often watch them and think, "What treasures are they discovering below the surface today?" Locals and tourists alike have found Crescent Bay, just north of Main Beach, and return again and again because it is almost the perfect beach for everyone. If you can find parking in the neighborhood (free), and can make the trek down the steep hill, then you will find a large stretch of clean sand, perfect waves, tide pools, lifeguards (in season), clean restrooms, and showers. There is something for everyone at Crescent Bay!
Directions to Crescent Bay: Head North on Hwy 1 from the center of town or the 133. Turn left at the second Cliff Drive you come to (across from the gas station on the right.) At the end of Cliff Drive, you will see the ramp going down to the beach. Park in the neighborhood where spots are clearly marked and do not block driveways. Here are some tips and tricks (especially for parents) to make a day at the beach fun and enjoyable.
Apply a lotion sunscreen to kids before leaving home/hotel and reapply with a spray at the beach. Nothing is worse than trying to apply cream on sandy bodies! Consider hats, sunglasses, and rash guards for the whole family. A simple beach umbrella that can be screwed down into the sand is also important. Need to pick up these supplies? Stop in to Main Beach Toys or Coast Hardware.
Clothing and Important Elements
Footwear is important for everyone - flip flops are the easiest! Pack a towel and water bottle for everyone. Low-to-the-ground chairs are the most comfortable for a beach day - but remember that kids usually don't sit all day. So save your back and only lug one for yourself! Bring a ziplock bag to protect your phone and download the Visit Laguna Beach app to access a tide chart so that you can see whether the water level will rise or fall during your time. BEST TIP: Tide pools are best viewed at low tide
Pack easy-to-eat snack type items that are individually wrapped or prepared ahead of time in ziplock bags. Sandy hands dipped into a communal bag of pretzels can ruin it for everyone! Some easy ideas: pre-made sandwiches cut in half, squeeze yogurt and apple sauce, individual bags of chips or pretzels, cheese sticks, fruit strips, grapes, meat jerky, and juice boxes.
The real test comes when it is time to clean up. Bring a change of clothes for kids and help them change right there at the beach. Wrap a towel around them and get those wet and sandy bathing suits off. BEST TIP: Use baby powder to dust the wet, sticky, and sandy areas. Watch the sand magically fall off without a fuss! Rinse sandy feet at the showers before leaving the beach. Taking a full shower is usually a wet, cold, and miserable experience finished off by getting wrapped up in a sandy towel. Not fun!
How can you bring all of this stuff? Have kids pack their own backpacks with a towel, water bottle, change of clothes, and a few sand toys. In your own backpack, include your own towel, sunscreen, lip balm, ziplock for phone, and keys. Pack the food in a separate bag. Use boogie boards to carry items and be pulled across the sand. For parents of babies and toddlers, use a stroller with large wheels or a wagon to get things across the sand and back to the car.
Bring less - not more!
Consider what is essential and what is a luxury item and bring less. A great day at the beach can be had even if you are sitting on the sand without a chair or a great book to read. Lugging 50 pounds to the beach can ruin it for everyone - so only bring what you can carry. And make the same rule for kids - they can enjoy only what they can carry themselves! Trust me - they will find fun in the sand, water, and rocks - even without a shovel and pail!
Download the free printable from Trekaroo for the Ultimate Beach Vacation Checklist for Families and be fully ready for your next beach trip!