Beaching with Babies - Destin & 30A

Discover tips for a stress-free beach vacation with your baby!

Posted on 6/7/2024

It’s never too early to fall in love with the beach!

Planning a beach vacation with your baby in Destin or along 30A might seem daunting, but it really doesn’t have to be scary. We promise! In fact, beaching with babies can create some of the best lifelong memories for you and your family. BUT, it does require a little extra planning (IYKYK). That’s why we created this simple guide to make your beach visit with your littles a breeze.

We’ve compiled some tips, tricks, and packing essentials to make it easy for you to prep for your next Emerald Coast beach vacay. Keeping it simple and stress-free ensures everyone enjoys the beach fun, from parents to babies to siblings. Which is exactly what you and your baby need to foster an enduring love for the crystal-white sands and emerald-green waters here on the Gulf Coast!

Tips and Tricks:

Book a Beachfront Vacation Rental
Paradise Pointe Beachfront Destin Home

Booking a beachfront vacation rental in Destin or on 30A can be a game changer when it comes to vacationing with little ones. While it might not seem like it at first, it really can make a difference for several reasons! First, you’re close enough to walk to the beach and back to your rental property at a moment’s notice. This means you can make your stay as long or as short as you’d like. If your baby is in a good mood, great—hop down to the beach! If your baby begins to cry or feel uncomfortable, no problem—head back up to your rental for a quick break! Easy as pie.

Another perk of staying close to the beach is not having to drive to the beach and find a parking spot. Instead, you simply slip your flip-flops on and take a short stroll to the sugary sands. Even if you’re close enough to walk—say, a five- to ten-minute stroll from the beach—it is more difficult to make that trek with a baby. Trust us, that ten-minute walk feels much longer if your little one gets fussy, has a blowout, gets overheated, or anything else.

A beachfront rental also reduces the stress of packing a car or golf cart, and making sure you remember to pack everything. Because let’s face it, when you have babies, it is easy to rush and forget things when heading out the door. And babies require a little bit more when it comes to packing for the beach, which means a greater chance of forgetting something you need. When staying further from the beach and you forget something, it’s a much bigger hassle to go back for the essentials than when your rental is literally steps from the shore. Plus, you don’t have to worry about losing your parking spot if you leave!

However, we understand that a beachfront rental is not always a possibility. If you are unable to get a condo or house directly on the beach, it’s not going to ruin the trip. In these cases, we suggest packing your car or golf cart ahead of time to reduce the chance of forgetting anything. If possible, you’ll also want to park as close as you can to the beach access to make it easy to unpack your things and minimize the amount of walking time with your kiddo. Parking is typically easier to find earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, as well, so keep that in mind when planning your day.

Pack Belongings in a Wagon

Packing for infants and toddlers is a little more intensive than packing for adults. It’s important to have everything you need to make them (and you, the parents!) comfortable. For this reason, we’d recommend bringing or renting a beach wagon to pack all your belongings in. This makes it easy to keep everything in one place, without having to haul it all in shoulder bags and in your hands while also managing your baby. And if there’s enough room, your little one can ride in the wagon as well—traveling to the beach in style.

Set a Timer for Sunscreen

There’s nothing sadder than a baby with a sunburn! Babies’ skin is particularly sensitive to the sun, so it is important to ensure they are sunscreened up and adequately protected from the UV rays. Setting a timer is a simple way to remember when it’s time to reapply sunscreen to your kiddos and yourself.

Create a Mini Beach

Create a mini beach for your infant by bringing a small inflatable pool and setting it in the sand. This idea is fun for both kids and parents. Your baby can spend lots of time splashing in the water, while you enjoy the picture-perfect paradise setting. And you’re sure to get some cute photos while they play! You can also place an umbrella or other shade over the pool to prevent your child from getting overheated. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get in the Gulf with your babies, because of course they’ll love that too! It’s just a bonus way to take full advantage of your time at the beach.

Bring a Pop-Up Tent

A little extra shade goes a long way at the beach, especially with babies. Those little cuties may get overheated much more quickly than adults, so having several shade options is a must. In our experience, pop-up tents are a convenient way to add that extra shade. There are several available made specifically for the beach, in which you can put sand in little pockets to keep the tent grounded and from flying away in the wind. Your baby will love playing in the sand with a bucket and shovel under this cool shade.

Make a Sand-Free Play Area

Some babies love the sand, while others might not like it as much. For this reason, you should consider creating a sand-free play area. You can get beach blankets that are lightweight and sand-proof, which are great for making a little play area. If setting up an inflatable pool, you can add it to this sand-free spot. Another benefit of the sand-proof blanket is that you can use it for a beach picnic without having to worry about the gritty sand getting in your food and drinks.

Time Your Trips to the Beach

Timing your trips to the crystalline shores can be key in the success of beaching with your babes. Because temperatures are cooler earlier in the morning and later in the afternoon, these are great times to go to the beach with your little ones. It minimizes the chance of overheating, and extends the amount of time you’ll want to stay at the beach. You might also want to schedule your trip around your baby’s naptime. If they’re great at napping anywhere, this might not be a problem—we’d say that beach naps are the best naps anyway! But you know your baby best, so if they’re going to be happier napping at the rental and then going to the beach later, that’s the way to do it.

Visit the Natural Kiddie Pool in Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach off Scenic Highway 30A is a great place to bring your babies and toddlers for a fun and unique beach experience. Western Lake, one of the area’s rare coastal dune lakes, has an inlet that extends to the edge of the white sandy shores in Grayton. A berm of sand generally separates the lake and the Gulf, creating a natural shallow kiddie pool that is perfect for babies, kids, and families.

Packing Essentials:

Now that you’re ready to thrive at the beach with your kids, it’s time to pack the beach essentials. This list includes all the things you’ll find useful for your baby beaching adventure!

  • Sun protection—To keep baby’s skin and eyes protected from the UV rays, be sure to pack sunscreen, a rash guard, sunhat, and sunglasses.
  • Swimsuit—This one is a no-brainer! You’re at the beach, and baby is bound to get wet, so a swimsuit is a must.
  • Swim diapers—Unlike regular diapers, swim diapers are thinner and don’t absorb liquid in the same way. Both disposable and reusable swim diapers are made for water, and are a necessity for beach days.
  • Hydration—Whether your baby drinks milk, formula, or water, you’ll want to keep them hydrated in the hot sun.
  • Spray bottle and portable fan—These essentials will help keep baby from overheating.
  • Beach toys—Your littles won’t demand anything too fancy. A bucket, shovel, and sifter should do the trick!
  • Snacks, snacks, and more snacks—A fed kid is a happy one, so make sure you’ve got plenty of baby-friendly snacks on hand.
  • Baby powder—Sprinkling a little baby powder on your little one helps dry up moisture from the waves, and can also prevent diaper rash from the sand and saltwater.
  • Shade—Keep those babies cool with some shade, whether it’s a pop-up beach tent, sun umbrella, or other type of canopy.

On top of this list, you’ll want to add your typical beach essentials. This might include towels, beach blankets, drinks, a cooler, floaties, snorkels, and anything else you like to bring with you to the beach.

Other Activities to Do with Babies:

Besides the beach, this slice of Northwest Florida paradise offers many other fun opportunities for babies and families. If you’re looking for a break from the beach, or it’s a rainy day, check out these places to add to your vacation experience:

  • Rock, Paper, Scissors 30A—Enjoy hands-on arts and craft projects with your babies and toddlers at Rock, Paper, Scissors 30A in Grayton Beach.
  • 30A State Parks—Scenic Highway 30A has several state parks with nature trails, picnic areas, dune lakes, and water activities that are the perfect destination for a relaxed day with the family.
  • Village of Baytowne Wharf—This vibrant entertainment hub in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers a variety of dining, shopping, and activities for the whole family.
  • Splash Pad and Playground at the Destin Commons—The outdoor soft play area and splash pad at the Destin Commons retail center is a great free place to let the babies and kids play, while you watch them and enjoy an ice-cold drink.
  • Dolphin Cruise or Pirate Cruise—Take to the seas with your wee ones for a super fun adventure on the Gulf. Babies two and under receive a discounted admission of $10.
  • HarborWalk Village—Situated on Destin Harbor, HarborWalk Village provides lots of fun baby- and kid-friendly activities, including the Cubby Caboose, a mirror maze, bungee trampolines, mini golf, and more.
  • Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park—Kids two and under receive free admission at this exciting water park in Destin.
  • Gulfarium—Located on Okaloosa Island, the Gulfarium is a marine adventure park that features animal encounters, educational opportunities, and a conservation mission. Infants under three are free.

Traveling to Destin or 30A with your babies? No need to stress! Beaching with babies might take a little extra work and planning, but it is more than worth it for the memories you will make along the way. Browse our Destin & 30A vacation rental properties to find the perfect Gulf-front condo or beach house for your trip. We can’t wait to see you!

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