5 Padre Island National Seashore Beach Packing Tips


Our family loves the beach, but truth be told we avoid the crowded beaches like the plague. We prefer to pack up and head down the National Seashore for relaxing fun in the sun.

Here are my top 5 packing tips to hit the Padre Island National seashore with kids. 

1. Sunscreen

Perhaps the most obvious for a beach trip to the National Seashore. Sunscreen. I prefer to slather my kids in a lotion sunscreen of spf 50+ right before we head out the door. At the beach, I follow up with a spray waterproof sunscreen for the body and a stick sunscreen for the face. This is of course to prevent sunburn. Very important! A burnt child is a miserable child! Keep them happy and not pink!

2. Inflatable Pool and Air Pump

Yes, I bring a pool to the National Seashore for my little ones. Sometimes here in the Coastal Bend, the waves get overwhelming, not only for the kids but for parents like me who have multiple kids to keep an eye on. Now, I pride myself on having eyes in the back of my head, but even with those, I won’t chance it. Save yourself from going crazy and buy an inflatable pool. We set up our beach canopy and then inflate the pool with an air pump that plugs into our dc connector in the car. You can also use this pump to quickly inflate beach floaties too! Voila my friends! Set your chairs up under the shade and along the pool to watch your little one have fun all while you are able to keep an eye on your older children. 

Padre Island National Seashore

3. Five Gallon Bucket

I know, I know, why bring a bucket when you are already hauling tons of sand toys which includes sand pails? Well, it has multipurpose use. First, you can use it to fill the pool. Yes girl, this will save you multiple trips back and forth from the water to the pool. Second, you can tether it to a leg of your sun canopy. Again, we live in Corpus Christi Texas, the wind does not care if it is your beach day, it will blow your canopy away! So, tie and weight it down with the bucket of water. Third, if you are the fishing sort, you can throw a few sea creatures in it so your children can take a closer look and have some fun. Fourth, after we pack up from our time on the National Seashore {where there are no showers to rinse off,} we bring the bucket to the side of the car, and all the kids dip their feet in before they get into the car to rinse off the sand.

4. Potty Seat

My husband and I usually drive for miles and miles down the National Seashore until we can not see anyone. Yes, a few cars drive by from time to time, but we like that we are alone away from the crowds. Being this far away from “civilization” means that their are no stores, showers or bathrooms, so bring a potty seat. Trust me. When nature calls, your kids can not wait to get packed up to drive miles back to the restrooms. Line the potty seat with trash bag that you are able to tie and toss in the dumpster on the way out of the Seashore. {You can thank me later.}

5. Snacks

The water makes kids ravenous! So be prepared. We make sure we bring plenty of water and sports drinks so no one gets dehydrated. We pack serving sized snacks in individual baggies, so sandy hands do not contaminate the entire packed container. We love to bring fruits and vegetables to snack on. Chips and crackers tend to get soggy and attract my worst enemy… THE SEAGULLS. The best snack we pack are frozen grapes.

If you have any other beach tips or tricks, feel free to share them in the comments below!


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