“The car is packed enough. Do we really need that extra cooler of snacks?” your spouse asks while trying in vain to shut the trunk hatch on your SUV. You thought a bigger car meant more room, not a tighter squeeze. But you might have forgotten that more kids means less room.

You wonder if there will be a day that a vacation to the beach will actually be more like a vacation. Don’t worry—once you’re there, it will all be worth it. Here’s an idea of what you might need:

Couple’s Beach Getaway

Whether it’s your honeymoon, a celebration, or just a break from reality, heading to the beach with that special someone might seem like a great spontaneous idea. But when you get up and go, don’t forget a few essentials:

  • sunscreen—so easy to forget and hard to find when you need it.
  • sunglasses, because they aren’t always on top of your head!
  • water—it’s so easy to dehydrate.
  • beach towels for drying off and basking in the sun.

Young Family

When the kids are little, you might be at the peak of “equipment overload.” Here are a few of the essentials:

  • toys, otherwise there might be a lot of crying and “I’m bored” complaints.
  • sunscreen, because little ones’ skin burns easily.
  • wet wipes for removing sand from little fingers.
  • snacks—and maybe lunch.
  • a pop-up tent or umbrella for shade when needed.
  • a wagon to get it all down to the beach!

Older Kids

No one knows exactly when it happens, but there comes a time when the kids are a little more self-sufficient and need less (or maybe just smaller) stuff. You’ll still want to be ready for some family time, should the opportunity arise. Don’t forget to bring:

  • bikes, or an idea of where to rent them.
  • sunscreen, even for the kids who don’t think they need it.
  • insect repellent to keep away possible sand gnats and mosquios.
  • snacks, because they sure do eat a lot, don’t they?
  • water—stay hydrated!

Have it all? No worries. If you don’t have it, you can rent it here in Hilton Head. Take a breath now, and enjoy your day at the beach.