From time to time I like to deviate from all things “home” and share other bits of our life with you. We just got back from a fun family vacation to Hilton Head Island, and I wanted to tell you all about it! This was my first trip to Hilton Head, so I got to experience this adventure for the first time right along with our kids. It was Jonah’s first trip to the beach (obviously, he’s only 6 months old), and Jake’s first beach trip that he actually remembers. (We haven’t been in a couple of years.) Aiden remembers and has been asking to go back for a very long time, so needless to say he was quite excited! (Stay tuned for a few of my tips for traveling with babies and kids at the end of this post.)
We stayed at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa and we absolutely loved it and would go back in a heartbeat. There were so many amenities right there at the resort — pools, a spa (which this mama did not get to enjoy, but that’s ok), restaurants, outdoor games, hammocks by the beach, etc. The view from our room didn’t hurt either!
One of our favorite adventures was the Pirates of Hilton Head cruise. We headed to Harbor Town where we boarded the “Black Dagger” and our boys got to be pirates for the day.
This was our boys’ first boat ride ever, so it was extra exciting! They got to go on a treasure hunt; look for clues in the ocean; fight off “Stinky Pete,” the bad guy pirate who stole the keys to the treasure by shooting him with water cannons; and then ultimately find the hidden treasure.
Each child was able to bring some of the “treasure” home with them. The crew even caught a jellyfish which the kids were able to touch before they quickly threw him back in. Apparently this type of jellyfish doesn’t sting. Who knew?
This guy slept on me for half of the boat ride.
We didn’t make it to the Salty Dog Cafe (a famous eatery on the island), but we did enjoy eating at The Crazy Crab and the Old Oyster Factory.
The kids loved splashing in the pool too. (Poor Chris. Haha!)
Although this was Jonah’s first beach trip, we have traveled to the beach in the past with our other boys when they were babies too, so I have gathered a few tips which I’d like to share with you. Here are a handful of tips for traveling to the beach with babies/kids (affiliate links included):
- Rent or buy a beach wagon or cart. Babies (and kids in general) come with a lot of gear. Someone has to carry that gear. Just bite the bullet and get a wagon — your back will thank you. (Or your husband’s back.) In the past we’ve stayed at beach houses that had beach wagons available, but this time we were staying at a resort so we opted to rent a beach wagon for the few days we were there. It was well worth the $40 we paid for the week. Most beach cities have rental companies that have beach gear or baby gear available. (Many even have portable cribs, swings, high chairs, etc., if you don’t want to travel with all of that stuff.) Bonus: They provide delivery and pick-up. (This is the company we used in Hilton Head.) They dropped it off before we arrived and it was waiting behind the front desk for us. (Note: Some hotels and rental houses have Pack ‘n Plays available too.)
- When it comes to baby seating/lounging gear, bring a couple of options. They take up valuable space, so bring whatever is most portable. We recently purchased a GoPod Activity Station which I had no idea even existed until a couple of months ago, and now I’m wondering how I survived traveling with our other kiddos without it! It folds up and is super lightweight and portable, and was perfect for Jonah to sit in on the beach. We use it at home too when we hang out in the yard. It’s much easier than lugging the ExerSaucer outside. You can attach your own toys to it and it adjusts to three different heights.
- We also brought the Bumbo Seat which served double duty since I could feed him his baby food in it too, which eliminated the need for a booster seat or high chair.
- Bring a baby carrier. With the other two boys, we used a Baby Bjorn (which neither of them liked too much), and now I can’t live without my Moby Wrap. Chances are you’ll be walking some distance and most strollers aren’t too beach-friendly. My babies tend to be large and heavy, so once again my back appreciates it when I put Jonah in the Moby instead of carrying him long distances. This came in especially handy when we went to Harbor Town for the pirate cruise. (No stroller parking.)
- As for older kids, our portable DVD playerhas saved our sanity on car trips, and our oldest son just saved up his own money to buy a Kindle Fire to play games. (Technology can be your friend on car trips!) We recently started checking out DVDs from the local library; they’re free, and it gives our boys something new to watch on trips. This way, they don’t have to watch the same movies they’ve seen over and over again, and we don’t have to buy new DVDs every time we go out of town. (An iPad would be a great distraction too.)
- Snacks. Snacks. And more snacks. When in doubt, bring more snacks. Did I mention bring snacks?
- Save money by bringing groceries. (This applies whether you’re traveling with kids or not.) We decided that in order to save money on this trip, we would eat our dinners out but bring groceries for breakfast and have picnic lunches on the beach. (Breakfast at our resort was $18/person. No thank you.) We stocked the mini fridge with milk/almond milk, cheese, and juice, and brought things like cereal, muffins, bread, juice boxes, bottled water, peanut butter and jelly, etc., plus a cooler to take to the beach each day. It worked out great!
What are your tips for traveling to the beach with babies and kids? I’d love to hear from you!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
You can also connect with me here: