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Plan an Imaginative Family Beach Day

We’ve partnered with mommy blogger Chelsea Day from Someday I’ll Learn to help you create an unforgettable day at the beach with your family.

When I was in college, I tried to picture my life as an adult. Like many 18-year-olds, my perspective on the world extended about as far as my own backyard. At the time, living along the shores of upscale Santa Monica, I envisioned beach days spent lounging in private cabanas. The “future me” frolicked amidst perfectly-maintained yacht club sand that was expertly crafted into ornate castles deftly placed for my enjoyment.

I had a vivid imagination.

What I didn’t have was a job. Or children. Reality has a way of taking hold of your ideas and skewing them a bit. Nowadays, when my kids want a taste of beachside life, I don’t drag them into a cleverly-manicured environment. Instead, my family makes our own beach day filled with everything we all want from a shoreside sprawl. I pick and choose my favorite elements from those days I once imagined, and marry that with a fun-filled environment that my kids are excited about too.


A canopy is a nice idea, but it isn’t practical to bring bulky items that weigh us down. We DIY our own cozy spot by attaching a large bedsheet to the tops of four beach umbrellas. As a savvy shopper, I try to think outside the box and find items that can serve double-duty. A quality sheet can be easily laundered and used for bedding back at home, and outdoor pillows are stylish toppers for patio furniture plus travel light for comfy beach seating! This is as flexible of a setup as I’ve ever seen! It’s easy to pop open several lightweight beach umbrellas together to create a fairly large gathering space, or individually for fast and easy shade.

My boys love to build HUGE sandcastles, so for our latest beach day I got them several stacking planter pots from Tuesday Morning to serve as “upsized beach buckets.” They’re made of lightweight foam so they’re easy to transport, and serve a storage function back at home as opposed to just taking up space. I hooked those onto a planter carrier, and let our multiuse “buckets” double as a rolling tote to be filled with beach accessories. Then we pile chairs, towels or throw pillows on top.


We also loaded up on some fun kitchen accessories to customize our sandcastles.


Who needs traditional beach toys when you can get creative? We used a spiky silicone baking mat to press up against the edges of sand blocks to create “windows” in our sand buildings. A pasta server helped the kids burrow deep holes to get down to moist and pliable sand.


The toddler added a moat with his spoontula, and proudly filled it with water.


When the buildings were all in place, we added decorative details with cookie cutters and funnels!


After our sand city construction was complete, my husband kept a watchful eye on the boys as they waded in the shallow water.


I, meanwhile, kicked back in the shade to soak up the sounds of lapping waves.

In this peaceful moment, it dawned on me: this scene is better than I ever could have imagined.

Looking for more inspiration to build your perfect day at the beach? Check out our pinboard for creative ideas to try this weekend!

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Dining and Kitchen, Outdoor, Seasonal
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Tuesday Morning

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  1. Reply Gwendolyn Hunter

    I love Tuesday morning, every time someone ask me where I got something I always say Tuesday Morning.

  2. Reply Robin Rue (@massholemommy)

    We practically live at the beach in the summer time, so we are not strangers to perfect beach days. The kids love to play and I love to work on my tan 🙂

  3. Reply Michele

    I love the idea of using beach umbrellas and bed sheets to create your own personal mini cabana–ine where you can see what everyone else is up to is a big plus!

  4. Reply Shirgie Scf

    I can see how the kids enjoy your little beach hang out so I would like to congratulate you for that. I guess it’s an awesome experience for the whole family to have a fun activity in the beach.

  5. Reply Dogvills

    Love your tips! I love your creativity and I bet it was so fun using all those tools to create your sand buildings.

  6. Reply lisa @bitesforbabies

    I definitely prefer original toysa as opposed to traditional ones when it comes to the beach! I usually go snorkeling and bring the kids back hermit crabs and other little creatures for them to marvel at 😉

  7. Reply Jacob Fu

    That looks like so much fun! I used to love making sand castles at the beach! I’m going to have to sit down and do it again next time I’m in sand.

  8. Reply Lauren

    What a fun post! I love the great ideas that were shared for a fun beach day! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Reply Heather

    interesting perspective. We do not frequent the beach but maybe once every couple of years. Looks like you found a lot of fun to be had in the surf and the sand. 🙂

  10. Reply CourtneyLynne

    OMG I just love beach days! This was such a cute idea. You kiddos looked like they had a total blast!

  11. Reply rosemary palmer

    We are not big beach people but sometimes it feels like people are literally moving when I see families heading to the beach.

  12. Reply Joanne T Ferguson

    I used to live on the beach when I was little, so have many fond childhood memories! it is always fun to built sandcastles and love summer and summer outdoor activities with family and friends!

  13. Reply coolchillmom

    I never thought of kitchen utensils, ,but I will pack some for our next trip to the beach!
    You had such an amazing day at the beach, I do love the sand work your boys did

  14. Reply Jessica

    Your canopy is a great idea! Easy to carry too! I like to look for items for the beach at yard sales – you can find some neat stuff!

  15. Reply Susan Quackenbush

    We only live about an hour away from the Oregon Coast so we spend as much time over there as we can! That looks like it was an absolutely lovely trip, we’ll have to try something like that next time we go! 🙂

  16. Reply Yona Williams

    One of my favorite things to do at the beach is dig my toes into the sand. I have only made one sand sculpture in my lifetime…a woman on the beach that quickly got swept up in the tide, but I’ve always wanted to build an awesome sand castle…something to do with my nephew in the future, for sure.

  17. Reply Tiany

    I love Tuesday Morning, one of my favorite places to shop. You can find the neatest things in your store! Thanks for the great beaching tips!

  18. Reply William Petitte

    Looking to buy White Queen Size Sheets with pillow cases to be sent out.

    • Tuesday Morning
      Reply Tuesday Morning

      Hi William,

      We cannot ship products but you can use this link to locate your nearest store by entering your zip code: . Hope this helps!