10 Reasons to Enjoy the Beach Before the Summer Rush

A toddler doesn't care if it's July or November...
A toddler doesn’t care if it’s July… or November.

Ah, the beach. Where we grab a good book, sit back in our chair, and maybe even put our board in the water to catch a few waves before we take a nap in the sun…

Okay, so this was the beach before we had kids (and we’ll be back there someday, I think). But for now, trips to the shore take on a life of their own. If you live near the ocean you are all too familiar with the car-full of sandy toys, flip flops, rusty chairs, beach wagons, diapers, swim diapers, snacks, drinks, coolers, multiple outfits, and towels that may or may not have been washed after the last trip. I know that sometimes just thinking about getting the kids there, especially on your own, can be traumatic. However, it doesn’t have to be.

I know you don’t believe me, but here is the key…go now. Go before the temperature rises. Go before the tourists start coming in droves. 

Since we moved back to New Hampshire few years ago, we make an effort all year to enjoy everything the “603” has to offer us – ski mountains, hiking trails, lakes, the city, and the beach. Hearing the waves and breathing the salt air has always brought me a sense of calm and I didn’t want to give that up. After living in Ohio for three years, I was craving days at the ocean. However, my first summer back, I quickly realized just how popular our little 13-mile stretch of coast is. I’m talking walking a mile in the heat, eight-months-pregnant, carrying a huge beach bag, because the lots were full popular. I just wanted to put my swollen feet in the cold water — how was EVERYONE at the beach? It was painful. So, although we still brave the hot summer days, I’ve learned to embrace the off-season and the evenings — and it is wonderful!

Here are 10 reasons to enjoy the beach before the summer rush:

  1. It makes your summer last longer. If you’re waiting for true New England “summer” to begin, you may wait until July or August. Head to the beach now and you’ll feel like your summer just got a whole lot longer. By July, you’ll have so many beach days under your belt, the process of getting your family there will seem simple.
  2. The kids (usually) stay out of the water if it’s colder. This means less sand stuck to their little bodies, fewer wet bathing suits to wash and dry, and less time with numb feet.
  3. You can actually park. No circling for a spot. No carting the kids down the road full of traffic. No paying $25 for what could be 10 minutes if your kid is have a meltdown (which we all know has a high likelihood of occurring at some point). This alone is enough to make me want to go before it hits 90 degrees.
  4. No crowds. In the summer, a beach packed full of kids, umbrellas, and noise just adds to the stress. Going before the crowds hit greatly reduces the number of times you think – “F*&! – where did my kid just go?”
  5. The beach is still the beach. The people and traffic may be sparse, but you know what’s not? Shells, rocks, sand, fresh air, and space for a picnic lunch. Instead of spending time toweling and cleaning off sand, you can take your time collecting shells and rocks with the kids. Sure, kids enjoy the ocean, but most toddlers don’t like the cold water and waves anyway.

    What better way to spend a Saturday in June than at the beach with the family.
  6. Less sunscreen! Heading to the beach in the spring, fall, early morning, or evening means you don’t need to chase down kids to re-apply sunscreen every 30 minutes. Put some on at home, dress them in long sleeves and a hat, put the bottle away, and head to the beach.
  7. Dogs are often allowed in the off-season and during off-peak hours. This makes the beach time better for our family in two ways – one, we can bring our dog and let her run free to shed some of her “winter weight;” and two, my kids are entertained by watching all the other dogs walk by. Check out the overview of the dog-friendly Rye area beaches here.
  8.   The beach wears kids out. Visit the ocean after work for a picnic dinner and your kids will most likely be so tired they fall asleep on the way home. Pajamas are always a necessity in my bag.
  9. More social time for you. On hot summer days, you spend most of your time watching the kids, keeping up with sunscreen, fixing hats, and messing with an umbrella that keeps blowing over. In the off-season, your kids can play in the sand and you can enjoy some adult conversation with your friends – which we all know is a rarity when you have little ones. (Hint: If you must go when you need an umbrella, try out the Sport-brella or something similar (this is a lifesaver for me when I go by myself with the kiddos).
  10. Make memories. No matter when or where you go, building a sandcastle with your children, watching them splash through the water, and seeing the smile that comes across their face when they find the perfect seashell, creates memories that you’ll all cherish forever.
If this is the beach in May, I think these three would go every day.
If this is the beach in June, I’ll take it.

Here are some of our amazing New Hampshire spots. Try them all out or pick a favorite! 

There’s also a great article in the recent Yankee Magazine that highlights the New Hampshire Seacoast if you’re interested in learning more.

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Hello, I’m Laurie! I live in Exeter with my husband and two kids, am a co-owner of YOGASMITH, teach Health & Sport Sciences for Capital University, and always enjoy a good evening of surfing followed by a cold drink on the beach. Since childhood, I’ve found joy and strength in getting outside, being active and competitive, and seeing the world. I found my passion studying Exercise Physiology at UNH (go Wildcats!) and Health Education at BU. I spent a decade in Boston teaching others how to live healthy lives before coming back to NH. Thank God for the Downeaster Train that gets me back to Boston when I need a fix! Now that I’m a mom, I realize that the best thing I can do for my children is to teach them a love for being outside, staying active, exploring the world…and cheering for the Red Sox, of course.