Family Time Calendar: Get Out - iVillage

If you and the kids are beach-bound this summer, check out these tips from Emily Kaufman, author of The Travel Mom's Ultimate Book of Family Travel (Broadway Books, 2006).

If your family is anything like mine, you and your kids know that there's no better place to unwind or be active than at the beach. But before deciding where you want to go to spend your beach vacation, consider the following.

What time of year are you planning to travel? Of course, you may associate beach vacations primarily with summers by the seashore. And though summer is an ideal time to enjoy the sun, surf and sand, families can enjoy trips to some beach areas during the off-season. When you do travel outside the heavy-traffic months of June, July and August, you might find some money-saving options!

Where do you want to stay? Many families prefer to rent condominiums or houses on or near the beach, and most beach areas offer plenty of local rentals for both short term (one- or two-week stays) or long term (a month or two). It's true that some beach destinations are more naturally suited to a weekend visit and others attract families wanting to stay for longer stretches of time. Once you decide on your destination, you can look into local area condo or house rentals, as well as resorts, hotels, motels, camping and RVing options.

Beaches can be windy; beaches can be rainy. To be weather-prepared for a vacation at the seashore, I always slip in a sweatshirt and light rain jacket for kids. For myself, I throw in a couple of long-sleeve T-shirts, a beach cover-up, and a pair of long pants, which are handy both for cooler weather and to minimize sun exposure. I prefer wearing light terry-cloth or linen-like drawstring pants that can withstand being rolled into a beach bag or backpack.

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