Down the Shore 2021 + Updated Tips for Traveling with Littles

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

 I know there's no cure to the virus, but if there was a salve to soothe some of the hurt of this crazy past year -- time away from family, cancelled vacations, extra stress, etc. -- for me, it would be a week in the sunshine with the people we love most. And, somehow, that's just what we got a couple of weeks ago when we took an early-season trip to the beach.

We got the most beautiful weather for mid-May. I couldn't believe it! Each day was nicer than the last, warm but not *hot*, tons of sun. We enjoyed mornings and afternoons on the beach, the girls spent hours on end fearlessly splashing in the ocean (sometimes too fearlessly for this momma, haha) -- it turns out Isabelle is a beach baby too! They also loved catching crabs with their daddy... especially Hadley, who loves anything creepy crawly.

We went to the zoo, walked through the wetlands, went mini-golfing, took porch naps, played at every playground, went shopping in town, barbecued, ate delicious food from our favorite restaurants, and on the last night Steve and I even got to sneak away, just us two, to a Mexican restaurant on the bay to drink extremely over-priced margaritas and watch the sun set (our 11th anniversary was the next day!). So, yeah, all in all... pretty perfect. :) Truly, the week felt like a gift. One I was so happy and so grateful to receive. With all that said, here are some photos from our week:

Is traveling (even somewhere pretty close by) ever easy with small children? Nah. But after the first night (which is always an adventure), our kids actually really impressed us and did a great job being flexible and even sleeping throughout the week. We've picked up some best practices for traveling with little ones over the years that I want to share with you. I hope you have some type of trip planned this summer and that these tips help it go as smoothly as possible so you can enjoy it fully!

1. Lower your expectations, especially for the first night. The first night is always the toughest. The kids are excited, probably over-tired, and aren't used to their environment. This is not a great combo for sleep and I've found falling asleep that first night is usually the toughest. I have some tips below that will hopefully help, but my biggest tip is to simply lower your expectations. If you go into the trip thinking your kiddos are just going to fall asleep as they so easily do in their rooms at home, you're probably setting yourself up for disappointment. Grab a drink and a magazine and brace yourself for some bumps that first night.

2. Mimic the look and feel of home. I literally strip the kids' sheets and mattress protectors right off their beds and pack them as we're leaving so they smell like home. The sheets and favorite blankets, plus pillows, that they're familiar with are key! We also pack their night lights and sound machines, and of course any favorite stuffed animals or loveys. Basically, however your kid would fall asleep at home... try to mimic that as closely as possible!

3. Consider renting a crib. My kids would never tolerate a pack-n-play for overnight, especially for multiple nights in a row. We've always had great luck renting a wooden crib from a local rental place. It couldn't be easier -- I just "book" and pay for the crib rental in advance, and the company delivers it right to our door the day we check in, and then comes to pick it up the day we check out. If you're interested, try searching the town you're traveling to + baby rentals in Google to see if there's a rental place close to where you'll be staying.

4. Pack a few new activities and surprise them. I always hit up the Target dollar spot before we go on a trip to grab several super inexpensive new activities (think, coloring and activity books and those play packs, crayons, bubbles, etc.) for our trip. They come in handy in the car, at the house during any down time, and even waiting for food at a restaurant. Other great places to check for similar activities are the dollar store and craft stores like Michaels.

5. Hit up a grocery store for some food/drink staples. There's no doubt that eating out is one of the best parts of vacation! We definitely do plenty of that while we're away, but we also like to pack (or buy once we arrive) typical staple foods that we know our kids enjoy, and that are probably a bit healthier than all of the restaurant food we'll be enjoying. For instance, I pack plenty of foods for breakfasts and lunches -- bread, pb & jelly, string cheeses, applesauce pouches, carrot sticks, etc. I feel like regulating their eating a bit and balancing out the greasy foods and sweets with some healthier options makes everyone happier in the end!

I hope these tips were helpful! I'm putting together a separate "beach must-haves" post where I'll share our tried and true beach essentials for kids, so keep an eye out for that. ;)

Thanks for taking a peek at our trip down the shore! I'd love to hear if you have a trip planned this summer and, if so, where to!


  1. These are seriously great tips!! We always try to stick to the same bedtime routine and eating at the same time when we are away with Sophia...just a little bit of normalcy but also all the pool / beach time is no doubt great for tiring them out! xo, Biana BlovedBoston

    1. YES! All so true! It's so important to find a routine that works so that we don't dread travel with our kids, and instead look forward to it! :)

  2. Love these beautiful and colorful picture! Ladies are so cute! haha. Thanks for sharing these amazing tips.

    Love: Mariann Yip

    1. Thank you so much, Mariann! They're my trusty girl crew, for sure. ;) Hope you have a great week!


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