Now, even though I only live a few minutes from the beach my family needs a vacation too (not everyone goes to the beach for vacation, shocking, I know) and sometimes we go on what we like to call a stay-cation by taking in local events and activities aimed at tourists. There are a lot of free things to do at the beach if you know where to look, and when you’re vacationing on a budget it’s wise to make the most of what’s offered.
Start planning your activities before you leave home. Traveling long distances with children can be challenging and even exhausting, especially for little ones strapped in car seats for hours on end. When I’m organizing a trip with the family I like to plan ahead for long hours of boredom and the ever-so expected, “Are we there yet? ” with simple entertainment for the kids.
I like to create goodie bags filled with treats and activities that can be easily enjoyed in the car (and are quite too). If it's a surprise, fill the bag with subtle clues about where you're going, one's that aren't quite so obvious but will keep them entertained (for part of the trip anyway). For older children, include information about where you’re going or staying to give them something to look forward to. Also, give them landmarks to look out for throughout the journey to make things a bit more interactive. Of course, movies, coloring books, crayons, books, and tablet are essential. And let’s not forget blankets, pillows, stuffed animals for when they finally succumb to the boredom of the open road and fall asleep (yes!).
Research local events and activities before leaving home and create a planner (tentative of course) for your stay. Remember to look for free and/or inexpensive things to do. For a small fee you can visit any State Park and enjoy organized programs, and events, as well as self-led activities. If you’re coming to the beach, take the whole day and enjoy a cookout with the family. The Myrtle Beach State Park has picnic shelters, a playground, a fishing pier (fees required to fish), and biking trails. If the state park is not for you or in your budget, check out the Boardwalk in Myrtle Beach for free entertainment nightly. They’ll often have bouncables and face painting for the children. The Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet also provides free entertainment from local bands at many of the restaurants, as well as hula shows near the marina. The Pier at Garden City is another great place to catch live entertainment in the evenings throughout the summer and there is no charge to enter. To make it more fun for the kids, give them glow stick bracelets and necklaces to light up the night!
When you finally make it to the beach with all your gear, get your umbrella set up, the chairs in place, and the kids slathered up with SPF 110, there are all kinds of free activities like Frisbee, corn hole, football, and of course building sand castles, flying kits, or collecting sea shells (sharks teeth are really easy to find once you know what to look for).
Some tips for the adults, remember to put your smart phone in a sandwich bag. You’ll protect it from water and sand and the touchscreen will still work. A plastic soap holder/container makes a great place to store money, jewelry, and house/condo unit keys. Use baby powder to easily remove sand from you skin and hair. It will draw out the moisture and the sand will easily fall off. And finally, Aloe Vera gel ice cubes for those sunburns you’re gonna get from forgetting to reapply that SPF 110. Make the cubes ahead of time by freezing ice cube trays filled with 100 percent Aloe Vera gel. It’s soothing and healing.
Have a great summer!
- Kimberly Raley-Kimes
Advertising and Marketing Director
Garden City Realty,Inc.