Visit the Beach

Sun, sand and cool waters – there is nothing quite like a visit to the beach! Building sandcastles, splashing in the water, playing games and trying new activities are all fun ways to spend time together as a family.

Check out the tips below to help your family prepare for your next trip to the beach, and to discover how you can enjoy the magic of the sun, sand and water closer to home!

Greg Yap from Singapore / CC BY (

What You Will Need:

  • Swimsuit (swim diapers for toddlers)
  • Sunhat
  • Sunscreen
  • Beach towels or lawn chairs
  • Umbrella or sun shelter
  • Beach toys (bucket, shovel, etc.)
  • Day at the Beach activity cards
  • Snacks and cold drinks

Share Your Experience to Earn a  Beachgoing Badge! 

All you need to do is log into or sign up for your own WILD Family Nature Club account! Snap a picture of your family enjoying the sun, sand and water and upload it to the  Gallery, or share your own beach tips on the  Discussions page to earn a digital Beachgoing Badge. 

Sandbox Fun

If you’re looking for ways to bring the beach experience home, why not invest in a sandbox? A sandbox provides a fun space where kids can explore their imagination while enjoying a new sensory experience.

Whether you purchase a sandbox or make your own, all you need is a little sand, a little space and a few toys to create endless hours of beach-like fun!


  • Add seating and a workspace to your sandbox. This could be as simple as using a plank of wood to create a seat which can also double as a workbench.
  • Create a sand wall! Nail a piece of lattice to your sandbox, then attach a variety of containers and funnels using zip ties. Kids will have fun pouring sand in and watching it filter down!
  • Sandbox toys don’t need to be expensive. Kids will love using old buckets, bowls and kitchen utensil to play. Using natural materials like rocks and sticks can also encourage imagination!
  • Explore different sandbox activities. Make a construction-themed sandpit, hunt for buried treasure, or invite your kids on a backyard dinosaur dig!
  • When you sandbox is not is use, cover it up with a lid or a tarp to prevent rain, debris and bugs from getting in.
  • Every few months you may want to add some fresh sand to the box, as it does get dirty and little ones tend to spill it outside the box. You should also regularly rake or sift the sand to help clean out any debris.
W.carter / CC0

Spray Pads & Splash Parks

With fountains, sprinklers and other water features to enjoy, spray pads and splash parks offer a fun way for kids to cool off on a hot summer day, especially in urban areas!

Many of these water parks are designed to be inclusive of all-ages and all-abilities. With little to no standing water and non-slip surfaces they also offer a safe beach-like environment for kids to play in.


  • Many communities have spray pads and splash parks that are open during the summer months. To find one near you check your municipal website or contact your local parks department. Make sure to check days and hours of operation before heading out with your kids.
  • Put swimsuits on at home and have kids wear non-slip water shoes to prevent them from slipping, scrapping their toes and coming in contact with anything that may be left on the ground.
  • Pack the essentials. This includes swim diapers, towels, dry clothes to change into, and plastic bags to transport wet items home. You’ll also want to include lot of water and snacks!
  • Protect yourself and your kids from the sun by wearing a sunhat and applying sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside. Make sure to reapply every two hours.
  • Before they start playing, take younger kids to the washroom and plan to take regular bathroom breaks during your stay.
  • Remind little ones not to drink the water coming from the water features at the splash park.
  • Always keep a close eye on your kids to make sure they are playing safely. 
Ollios / CC BY-SA (

Beach Activities

Spending a day at the beach is a great way to take a break from technology and reconnect with nature as a family. Squishing the sand between your toes, playing in the water and observing local wildlife are all possible when you venture further afield to your favourite lake, river or seaside spot.

While heading out to the beach takes a bit more planning, the benefits far outweigh the hassle!


  • Go early or late. While mid-day might sound appealing, the sun is more intense and it may interfere with nap time for younger kids.
  • Protect yourself and your kids from the sun by wearing a sunhat and applying sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside. Make sure to reapply every two hours.
  • Pack sand-proof snacks, such as applesauce or yogurt. Grapes and blueberries are also better options than cut-up fruit because they can easily be rinsed off if they get sandy.
  • Check the tides and/or water level and be mindful of where you set-up for the day. Low tide is the optimum time for tide pool exploration, while it is safest to swim during a slack tide (about an hour after high or low tide).
  • Build your own oasis. Bring an umbrella or shade tent with you to protect your family from the sun while you eat and play. Stay hydrated by taking lots of water breaks.
  • Looking for things to do with young children at the beach? Check out our Day at the Beach Activity Cards for tons of family-friendly ideas!
  • Be respectful of the sea critters that call the beach home. While it’s ok for kids to examine things like crabs or seashells, always return these items to the spot you found them as they are an important part of the local ecosystem.
  • Make sure to follow Leave No Trace principles by properly disposing of any trash, leftover food or litter you have with you.
  • Support your local beach by taking part in a shoreline clean-up! By volunteering to help pick up trash, debris and plastics, your family can reduce water pollution and protect wildlife. Check out the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to find an event near you, or to plan your own!

Continue to Take a Hike »

Submissions (5)