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17 Bodyboarding Beach Hacks for Family Day Trips

Here are some practical bodyboarding tips and hacks so that you can and your family can enjoy spontaneous bodyboarding day trips with zero fuss.

Packing car to head to the beach for the day

There is nothing more satisfying than waking up to a beautiful day with excellent surf conditions.

To take full advantage for the summer days, we often spontaneously decide to head down to the beach for a bodyboarding day trip.

We live 1 hour away from decent surf so it’s more than just packing the bodyboards and off we go.

There is some planning that goes towards these last-minute trips and we’re here to share with you some bodyboarding hacks for no fuss day trips and how you can get you and your kids ready in no time at all.

Store Bodyboarding Equipment Orderly

All your bodyboarding needs should be stored away in easy, grab and go bags or storage containers.

For example, all our beach needs from towels, sunscreen, hats, etc. are always packed in our beach bag. Our bodyboarding hardware is all in our bodyboard bag with the leash, fins, fin sock, flippers, chafing gel etc.

Our wetsuits are stored in a special storage box, which is right next to the bodyboard bag and close to the beach bag.

Having almost everything we need in close proximity to each other just makes it so much easier to organise ourselves without having to run around looking for everything we need.

It does also mean we don’t forget things, which we always do when we’re disorganised or short on time.

Pack Up Properly

In order to allow you and your family to be spontaneous, the storing of all your bodyboarding needs, must happen after your last outing.

I totally understand that the last thing you want to do is to be organised after a big day or weekend of bodyboarding. Everyone is tired, kids are hungry and you’ve probably done a lot of driving.

But packing everything away properly and in a well-planned manner will make it easier to grab things and go whenever you want to.

All your bodyboarding accessories should be washed, dried and packed away.

It is so important to wash your gear with fresh water as salt water and sand can cause your things to corrode. After everything is treated, they should be placed back where they belong.

This does also include the kid’s bodyboard, even if they are those cheap foam boards. As it is, they won’t last longer but by washing them properly, they will last even longer.

Also, they tend to be stored with the adult’s bodyboards and you don’t want the salt water and sand to rub on the really good bodyboards.

For us, this is our most useful bodyboarding tip and has time and time again proven to work for our family.

Man washing bodyboarding equipment

Storage Container

If you store your wetsuits in a storage container that isn’t too big and will fit in your car, bring it along. Ours is too big so we have a smaller container or tub with a cover for beach outings.

At the end of the day when you’re taking your wetsuits, swimmers or board shorts off, they will be wet and sandy so the container is the best thing to house them all until you get home.

This will save you a lot of unnecessary boot cleaning.

Packing wetsuit in tub in the boot of the car

Rubber Mat

When we arrive at the beach, we usually park in a car park or the side of the road. We have these cheap square rubber mats which we bought from a car accessory store and we place them on the ground to stand on to get in and out of our wetsuits.

If you can’t get these rubber mats, you can even get those really cheap yoga mats from Walmart, Costco or Kmart and just cut them up into a few pieces. It will evenly disintegrate but they are cheap enough to be negligible.

They are great for kids as sometimes the concrete, sand, pebbles, rocks etc.. hurt the kid’s feet.

I find it particularly useful at the end of the day when our feet are dirty and our wetsuits are drenched. Just so much more comfortable standing on something soft and clean while we strip off, pack the car and clean our feet.

Father and daughter putting on wetsuits in the car

Water for Cleaning

We always pack a couple of large bottles of water to clean our feet at the end of the day before we get in the car.

Not all the places we go have a shower or cleaning facility and having the ability to clean up a little before the long drive home is just so much more comfortable.

Water bottles in the boot of the car

Water for Drinking

Always pack extra water for drinking in the car. We find sometimes we run out, dropped the water we did have or its all sandy. Never hurts to have extra water. We find it always comes in handy.

This is of course in addition to the water we bring down to the beach. Sometimes on a particularly hot day we just go through the water too quickly.

Dust Pan Brush

This is weirdly enough our favourite bodyboarding hacks if you’re driving.

Get yourself a dust pan brush for the car. This little hack was introduced to me by a good friend who was sweeping the boot of the car after a long day at the beach.

As we were away for the weekend, we had no access to a vacuum cleaner so it was so useful to have this brush to get rid of sand! It now has a permanent home in our boot. And it costed less than USD $1!

The brush is also really useful for brushing off sand from the bodyboards and even from the bottom of our feet.

Cleaning boot with the brush

Chafing Gel

Always carry chafing gel. Nothing worse than having salt water rubbing on your skin and becoming red raw. Chafing gel really works, especially around the neck area when you’re wearing a wetsuit.

We get ours from our local chemist or drug store. You can also buy them in some of the local surf shops.

Buy a Bodyboard Bag

Ever get out of the car and you have so many things to carry? Bodyboards, chairs, esky/ice chest with food and drinks and on top of that you’re juggling your kids. By the time you get to the beach you’re exhausted!

Getting a bodyboard bag was one of the best things we ever did. It fits our 2 bodyboards, a kid’s bodyboard, fins, fin socks, leashes, wax and chafing gel.

It’s like a big backpack but it frees up our hands to be able to carry other things or look after the kids.

This bag was also used to travel. We did a short domestic trip which was about a 1-hour flight and we checked in this bag and it made it unscathed.

At the end of the trip, after everything is washed and dried, it all goes back in the bag and put away so all we have to do is grab it and put it in the car for the next trip without having to think about it.

Man carrying a bodyboard bag to the beach
Andrew loves being hands free when we’re out for day trips.

Lunch and Snacks

Lunch and snacks for us are always no fuss. Lots of whole fruit, some biscuits and just sandwiches.

As we’re so active out in the water for so many hours, you don’t want a super heavy lunch anyway.

Small items to graze throughout the day I find is best. This also minimises prep time and how much you have to carry down to the beach.

Beach Tents

It is quite useful to bring a simple tent down to the beach. For us, we mainly use it to dump all our stuff in there as we spend most of the time in the water.

Of course, they are great for shade and also on particularly windy days and it’s cold while you’re having lunch.

You don’t need a super fancy tent. We have a very portable one that is easy to fold, light in weight and hardly takes up much room at all.

Leave Beach Towels in the Car

We leave our main beach towels in the car as we strip off and dry off at the car at the end of the day. No sense in carrying them all down to the beach as you’re probably not going to use them.

We take one small towel with us to the beach just wipe our faces and hands when sandy or wet.

Carry Hand Towels

We have dedicated hand towels for bodyboarding days which we carry and leave in the car. We find that after drying ourselves with the beach towels, they become super wet and sandy.

As we get in the car, just before we swing our legs in, we use these small hand towels, which are dry and clean, to clean our feet. We then chuck them in the storage container in the boot.

Leave Clothes in the Car

After you’ve changed into your wetsuits, leave your dry clothes in the car. There is no need to bring them down to the beach if you’re only stripping off in the car park. Even if you want to get out of your wetsuit on the beach, you can just hang out in your swimwear.

For girls/women, beach dresses are the best outfits to wear as you can put them on and change your swimmers underneath without a towel. I used to find trying to manoeuvre that with my daughter so tricky. Was so much easier changing her in a dress instead of a trying to keep the beach towel in place.

Sunshade for Car

Carry a sunshade for the car so that it’s not stifling hot when you get back after a whole day out on the beach. We have found that this really makes a difference!

Have Snacks in The Car

Are you always super hungry after a day out in the water? Despite having packed a good lunch, our daughter is always super hungry. So, we always have extra snacks in the car for the long drive home.


After a long day in the water, our faces are always so dry. We pack moisturiser and lip balm just to ease the tightness. As home for us is always about an hour away, it’s all about being a bit more comfortable.

Routine at Home

Establishing a good routine when you get home between the 2 parents will make the end of the day that much more bearable. In our home, I am in charge of our daughter while Andrew is in charge of unpacking and cleaning.

I get her into a shower, changed and fed. If it’s late and bordering bed time, I would also put her to bed. And I always thank for a wonderful day.

I would then come back down and see where Andrew is at. Anything that I can unpack and clean inside the house I’ll take over if he hasn’t already done it. He’s too busy washing all the bodyboarding accessories and putting them out to dry outside on the deck or garden. Once dry, he will pack them away neatly for our next trip to the beach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to care for cheap foam bodyboards?

If you would like your bodyboards to last the test of time, they must all be well cared for, irrespective of what they are made of and how much you paid for them. Foam boards may not last as long as good quality bodyboards but you can certainly prolong its life if you look after them properly.

Is it worth getting a roof box?

If you do a lot of road trips with your family, a roof box is one of the best investments you can make. Especially if you have a smaller car, have 3 kids in the back seat and have a lot of equipment to carry. A roof box is essentially another boot and this way, you don’t have to make the painful decision of what not to bring because you have run out of space.

Are bodyboarding day trips only worth it if it’s all day?

Absolutely not! You can go for as long or as short a time as you wish. The whole premise of bodyboarding day trips is that it’s spontaneous and fun. It’s something you can do with your kids without having to really plan the whole day. If the weather is great and the kids are having a good time, stay longer. If the surf is too rough and the children are getting tired, pack up and head home.

What age can kids start bodyboarding?

There is no real minimum age for kids to start bodyboarding. By the time they are 3 or 4 years old, they start catching their own waves. Never too early to get them use to the idea of a bodyboard.

Bodyboarding with kids is so much fun but for that to happen, the process needs to be seamless and quick. While this list may seem long and a little daunting, I promise that it will be so much easier after the first time.

The ride home is often when they are exhausted so having a clear idea of how to make the end of the day as comfortable for everyone as possible, will make these day trips all the more worth it.

What’s worth it is when we check the surf report and it’s a great day. I sneak into my daughter’s room to wake her up and ask her if she’d like to go bodyboarding for a couple of hours. Never seen a child jump out of bed so fast! We’re in the car within the hour, beach bound with great anticipation.

We understand however this doesn’t always work so seamless especially if you have very small children in your family. This will perhaps require a little more thought and so these additional beach hacks may also come in useful.


bodyboard101.com Amy and Andrew at the beach

We’re Andrew & Amy and we are a small blended family that love to bodyboard! We’re here to share everything we know to help you with your bodyboarding adventure as a beginner, with your family or if you’re transitioning onto intermediate level. Let’s go!

24 thoughts on “17 Bodyboarding Beach Hacks for Family Day Trips”

  1. The rubber mat idea is pure genius! I’ve been to the beach so many times, and it always leaves my car a sandy disaster. Love these tips.

    1. Hahah! Yeah, the car can turn into a little disaster and if you have a long drive home, especially if you have kids, it’s not fun if you’re not prepared. Glad you thought they were useful!

  2. The rubber mat is a good idea. Someone told me baby powder gets rid of sand but I haven’t tried it. I don’t want to have to get rid of baby powder that fluffs around everywhere, lol

  3. I like the idea of bringing the rubber mat. I’ve heard to bring baby powder to get rid of sticking sand instantly, but I don’t bring it because I don’t want loose powder to worry about, lol.

  4. Your post is so thorough. I feel as if you spoke to every possible scenario to get to the beach and to get home again while keeping everything clean, organized and find.

    1. Thanks Elise! Yes, ultimately that was the goal so I’m glad you could see that. Just trying to make the experience less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

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