‘Backwards Beach Days’ Could Be A Game Changer For Your Summer Vacation

A mom with young kids coined the term, but the concept will appeal to people of all ages.
Switching things up could make your beach vacation more relaxing.
pixdeluxe via Getty Images
Switching things up could make your beach vacation more relaxing.

Going to the beach with little kids often isn’t all that relaxing for parents. But this one change to your approach can make it far more enjoyable for parents and kiddos alike.

Kelsey Pomeroy is a content creator in Kansas City, Missouri, and mother of two who has started doing “backwards beach days” when she vacations with her 4-year-old and 1-year-old. The basic premise is this: Instead of hitting the beach in the morning like most families do, they wait until the late afternoon after her kids have woken up from their naps.

She now considers herself a “p.m. beach person.”

“This realization has actually made me like going to the beach with small children,” Pomeroy said in an Instagram Reel explaining the concept that has racked up almost 2 million views since she posted it in February.

Growing up, Pomeroy told HuffPost that her family’s beach days would go like this: Eat breakfast, head to the beach for the day, come home before dinner to shower and get ready to go out to a restaurant. But after becoming a parent herself, she discovered “that is the literal opposite schedule that works for little kids.”

Pomeroy decided to switch things up so she could actually enjoy the beach with her sons. In the mornings, they now do quicker and easier activities like the pool or the park followed by an early lunch at a restaurant. Then they put their kids down for their naps. After they wake up, they head to the beach around 3 or 4 p.m. for a few hours. Dinner is a sunset picnic on the beach.

She swears by this schedule for a few reasons. For one, restaurants are less crowded (and less expensive) at lunchtime, and young children tend to do better eating out earlier in the day.

“I will do anything to avoid 6 p.m. dinner with tired kids,” said Pomeroy.

The beach is also less packed in the late afternoon and early evening when a lot of folks have gone home for the day. Plus, the UV index is lower at this time, and you don’t need to bother with setting up an umbrella.

“This realization has actually made me like going to the beach with small children.”

- Kelsey Pomeroy, content creator @kelsewhatelse

If your toddler struggles with transitions, there’s yet another upside of a p.m. beach trip.

“For little kids who have a hard time ending an activity, they can visibly see the sun going down, like, it is bedtime,” Pomeroy said. “That’s a very easy way to walk away. ”

It’s also a fun but low stimulation activity to tire kids out and helps them wind down for the night, she added.

“We just leave the beach, get them washed up and put them straight to bed,” Pomeroy said. “And they’re already fed.”

John Marshall is the father of four kids between the ages of 2 and 14. He called the backwards beach day concept “marvelous.”

“Having a wife that is very sun-conscious, we do try to limit sun exposure, and the backwards beach days concept simplifies it without losing any part of the beach experience,” he told HuffPost.

“Also, it allows families to engage in sights that are normally not so crowded during summer days, such as aquariums and museums, since everyone is at the beach. Having a family of six, we prioritize minimizing commotion, and being out at a beach full of other people is not how we visualize a good time.”

The backwards beach day was conceived with parents of young kids in mind, but it’s a great idea for anyone who wants to stay out of the sun, avoid overstimulation and large crowds, and save some money, too, Pomeroy said.

That said, a backwards beach day may not be right for every family or every beach location. For example, if you plan to go in the water with your kids, then you should do so when there’s a lifeguard on duty (if that’s an option at your beach) or during times of better visibility. Pomeroy’s kids generally play in the sand and on the edges of the water, but they don’t go in the ocean, so it isn’t an issue for them.

For kids who are old enough to question why you’re doing things differently than other families, Marshall said he’d share the reasons and use it as a teachable moment.

“Let them know not all drummer’s beats are the same and you and they are creating your family tradition and culture,” he said.

Don’t forget to snag these 35 useful items before you head to the beach this summer.

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A personal umbrella that clips onto the back of your beach chair
Available in two sizes and nine colors.

Promising review:
"My wife likes no sun, so this allows us to pull a beach chairs together and I can set it up and 'boom' no sun for her. The clamp holds up in wind and the adjustable angles that the umbrella has allows you to sort of aim the shade. Great product and it fits into a suitcase!" — Quarrelman
A waterproof cellphone pouch
It also comes with a lanyard so you can wear it around your neck and allows you to use your phone under water.

Promising review: "This product is incredible. I purchased to use while in Key West for an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 plus, and Galaxy S6 Edge and it fits perfectly for each phone (but a little more snug with the iPhone 6 plus). It is completely waterproof and takes great photos and video through the case but you have to press record prior to submerging the case underwater. My family went snorkeling and kept the case with the phone inside submerged almost the entire time and had no issues with leakage. My family and I got stopped numerous times being asked where we purchased this product. Perfect even if just on the beach and you do not want to get sand or sunscreen on your phone and want to still take photos/text/browse the internet while on the beach. I will be purchasing this for everyone in my family as it has become a travel must-have! I highly recommend this product." — Jennifer Roman

A massive sand-repelling beach blanket
Parents especially love this because babies and toddlers can lay on it without getting sand in their mouths.

Promising review: "I walk to the beach and the park with my baby all the time and was sick of my butt getting wet when we sat on the grass and the baby getting all sandy when sitting on towels. I decided to search Amazon for some kind of beach blanket. This blanket wasn’t really what I was looking for, but it did not disappoint! First of all it’s HUGE. I still haven’t used it open all the way yet. It’s compact and easy to carry, I love that there are pockets to weigh it down with sand, that sand rolls right off, and that I can just stuff it right back in the little bag without having to fold it strategically when I’m done. I can take the baby to the beach and lay her on her tummy without worrying about sand getting on her hands and face. Great product!!" — Adriana
A pair of slides that will bring the party
If you’re trying to infuse your beach trip with the most festive vibes possible, these cool waterproof slides are sure to do the trick — while still keeping your feet comfortable, of course.

Promising review: “The color pattern is unique. Same comfort and convenience, but the color pattern adds a different dimension.” — SuperStarSuperFan#1
A wide-brim sun visor
The wide brim provides much more UV protection than regular caps. Available in 14 colors

Promising review: "I have long hair and always avoided hats because I hate having my hair sweating against my neck in a low bun or ponytail. With this sun visor-summer hat combo, I can keep my hair in a top knot and still keep my face and neck protected from the sun while catching a nice breeze. This is perfect (although a little large in circumference and I have a big head 7 3/4 hat size) and it’s adjustable and can fit any head size. It rolls up well and has an elastic to keep it rolled. I’ll be recommending this item to all my friends!" — Amazon customer
A set of four beach cup holders
Promising review: "We just returned from the beach and used our cup holders. They're perfect! Very sturdy, too. I had monogrammed decals made for them. I highly recommend these." — Betty
A low-sitting beach chair
Promising review: "Love these chairs! Got two for a trip to the beach and they’re very comfortable. They fold up easily and are very compact and easy to carry/pack, just throw it on your shoulder with the strap on the bag and your hands are free to carry other things!" —Toni Wheaton
A "face-hole" chaise lounge chair
Plus, when you flip back over, there's a pillow that covers the hole to keep your head comfortable.

Promising review: "Perfect for the beach. I absolutely love it. It’s easy to carry and unfold. One of the best things I have bought for the beach. I would definitely recommend to anyone. And super cool to have the hole to put your head to lay on your stomach. I love it!!!" — Love hot reads
A towel designed to be fast-drying, lightweight, and sand-repelling
It's made of a polyester microsuede material that absorbs quickly and dries fast. It also has an anti-microbial finish to keep the towel clean longer.

Rumpl is a small business based in Portland, Oregon that makes stylish, cozy "sleeping bag blankets" meant for indoor and outdoor activities as well as packable beach towels.

Promising review: "This towel dries better than a conventional towel! Not only that but it was completely dry and ready to reuse in about 10 minutes. Normally we'd go through a stack of beach towels in one day. The towel itself is big but it packs up compact leaving more room in your bag for other things. It's soooo soft, made very well, and the pattern is gorgeous. I will be replacing all of my towels with these!!" — Danielle W.
A 4-pack of standard beach towels
Available in 10 color combinations and in a pack of 24.

Promising review: "We live just 300 yards from the beach and we go through beach towels quickly. We use them, out visiting family and friends use them, we use them around the pool as well. So many of the 'tourist' towels really don't stand up to the wear, but these do...they are actual towels and not beach front souvenirs! Absorbent and soft the colors stay vibrant; they're great towels." — Dr.L.

A pair of beach socks
Available in women's sizes 4–13.5, men's sizes 3–12, and 44 designs.

Promising review:
"These were perfect for my trip to Kauai. The beach we were near had hidden rocks in the sand — big volcanic rocks that hurt to step on, except for me in my fancy shoes. I wore them almost constantly for a week and they held up great under all kinds of stress. I'd totally buy them again. I only wish I had ordered them for everyone in my group." —The Vincents
Sea Star Beachwear
A pair of neoprene slingback water sandals
Available in women's sizes 6–12 and seven colors.

Promising review:
"I loved my first pair so much that I bought two more pairs! I have always loved classic espadrilles but can’t wear them in rainy weather. These you can wear no matter what. And they are soooo comfortable! That makes them perfect for traveling — especially as they are lightweight — but I want to wear them all the time so bought more.They look great with skirts, pants, jeans or beachwear. The stretchy fabric and stretchy sling back heel make for comfort no matter how much feet may swell in hot weather. I just love these and am thinking about a fourth pair!" — Merlyn Greenwood
A completely white cast-free sunscreen, perfect for deeper skin tones
This sunscreen is paraben-free, fragrance-free, oxybenzone-free, octinoxate-free, silicone-free and aluminum-free.

Promising review: "I used to dread wearing sunscreen because of that horrible ashy cast it gave my brown skin. Now? I actually look forward to putting this stuff on. I love how moisturizing it is and that it is completely sheer. What is advertised to do it actually does. I layer this on top of my moisturizer. You do need to work it in a little bit but it absorbs into the skin nicely. To all my brown/black ladies/fellas, what are you waiting for? Buy it!" — MD
A Beach Defense water resistant sunscreen
Promising review: "The BEST sunscreen I have ever used! I am always prone to burn any time i get out in the sun. I decided to take a trip to the beach this summer, and just went kayaking for four hours on the water in the BEAMING sun and in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY. I put sunscreen everywhere except for my chest. Wanna know where my skin is resembling that of a cherry? My chest. The rest of me? TANNING WITH NO BURN WHATSOEVER!!! I was shocked. I love this product and will forever recommend it for the rest of my life. Stay safe and stay unaffected from the sun you guys!!!" — Channing C.
A refillable roll-on sunscreen applicator
Promising review: "Trust me, this is worth every penny! I am going to be completely honest, when I saw how long the shipping was going to take, I hesitated, but I originally saw this item on TikTok and knew it would make life SO MUCH easier when it comes to putting sunscreen on myself and my kids. I have to say, I am NOT disappointed!! The wait was 100% worth it!! The sunscreen goes on so smoothly and evenly, and I feel like I will be saving soooo much sunscreen now that I'm not just squirting a huge glob in my hands and spending so much time trying to rub in a ridiculous amount into mine and my children's skin. Also, my sister-in-law hates the feel of sunscreen on her hands, so this was perfect for her. My only regret is that I wish I would have bought a couple more so that I could have different ones for each of the sunscreens we use! But I will be recommending these to everyone! THANK YOU!!" — Carmen
A rechargeable handheld fan
I bought this to take on a summer trip to Disney World and let me tell you — it's the only way I survived!! Every day got well into the 90s, but I kept this pointed at my face whenever I wasn't soaking up air conditioning. I was seriously impressed with how powerful it was and how I instantly felt less sweaty. The charge lasts about a day if you use it sparingly (or a few hours of continuous use) so make sure to charge it nightly if you're on a trip. The fan has three speed settings, and it folds so you can prop it up.

Promising review: "I am so happy I purchased this. It definitely makes my life slot cooler. Great for traveling or those occasional hot flashes. I love that it doesn't need countless batteries that die quickly. I can just recharge it. The battery lasts quite a while as well. It has three settings low, medium, and high, and let me tell you the highest setting really puts out some air. I was really amazed at the strength of the fan on the highest setting. It's definitely worth every penny. I like taking mine to work when I get overheated because I'm always hot or when I go to the beach. It always comes in handy living in this hot, humid climate." — Rae
A cooler backpack
Promising review: "This cooler backpack is absolutely perfect. I plan on bringing it to the beach every time we go. It's actually very comfortable on my shoulders. No leaks and it keeps our beverages and snacks nice and cool! Would 100% recommend." — Anjel
A kiddie pool-shaped cooler
Funboy is a family-owned small business based in Venice Beach, California that makes giant-sized pool floats and other fun summer accessories.
A set of eight beach towel clips
Promising review: "Meet your new beach/lounge chair’s best friend. I love that you can use these clips to hold your towels on the railing to dry in the breeze or at the beach and pool to keep your towels in place on the lounge chairs. No more fly away towels!" — BeckiCaesar
A tube of Burt's Bees After Sun soother
This product is formulated without parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS.

Promising review: "Whenever someone I know has a sunburn, I become that super annoying product-pusher friend. I tell everyone about the sun soother! Really, Burt’s Bees should pay me. It rubs into skin like lotion so you don’t feel greasy and can immediately put on clothes after application. A little goes a long way! It smells good without being overpowering (and I’m picky about scents!). Most importantly, it works! I’ve had everything from slight burn to looks-like-a-lobster-feels-like-fire and this sun soother has eliminated the pain/itch and drastically reduced the eventual peel. Highly recommend!" — Jessie Patterson
A tumbler with double-wall vacuum insulation
According to reviewers, it's even better than the more expensive brands of insulated tumblers! It comes with a flip lid, a straw lid, and two reusable straws. Available in four sizes and 24 colors/patterns.

Promising review: "Not to be dramatic, but I would die for this cup. I bought the all black version and it's beautiful. Not only that, but the interchangeable tops and two plastic straws!!! I'm so excited to be saving the whales and looking amazing in the process. I should ask for commission on the sales of this because all of my coworkers want one now. Another great part that I don't think the description mentions, there's NO condensation AT ALL. I also accidentally left half an iced coffee WITH CUBES in here for nine hours and when I came home the cubes were still there and the coffee was still cold. ALSO, I have tiny hands which sometimes makes holding things difficult. But the 16-oz size is tall and slim and easy to carry/fit in small bags." — jacklynn ramos

A set of beach toys
Promising review: "The toy set is solid. It has all the sand toys one kid can possibly need. I bought it for my 2-year-old boy. We go to the beach at least once a week, and the little homie doesn't even leave from under the umbrella because he's digging away at the sand. Of course, I gotta help him and I'm forced to play with this thing with him. Even for me, it's a lot of things, from the sand filter thingy to the castle-shaped thingy, I'm filling this thing up with sand, and I'm helping dig all the way down until we find China. Really, the best part is the plastic case with handle. I just dump all those things in there and I'm on my way back to the whip. Dump and keep it in the trunk, and I'm happy and most importantly the little man is happy. It's kid- and dad-friendly." — Lando Garcia
A pair of sunglasses that also function as a bottle opener
Available in three colors.

Promising review:
"Maaaannnnnn I bought these for Cancun and they’ve been used and abused here in the saltwater pool and beaches but they are worth the money in my opinion! Yes they feel a tad bit cheap but hey they’ve opened so many bottled beer and sodas and I like how they look. I’m happy with my purchase! Will be buying more to keep in my car and in my work truck." — Erik Perez
A foldable utility wagon
Promising review: "Every busy family needs this. We use it to carry our sports equipment, beach gear, and even our two young kids (1- and 3-years-old). The wheels are very sturdy. We've used it over grass and gravel, and it rolls without issue. The handle also extends out and it locks securely in place when not used. The whole cart also folds and unfolds easily and isn't too heavy when loading in and out of the car. I've seen this in stores, but it was a much better price here. Definitely recommend." — Jheneya
Abby Kass / BuzzFeed
A waterproof Kindle Paperwhite
Available in three colors, an ad-supported style or without ads, and in two storage sizes.

Promising review: "I've been an avid Kindle user for the past four years, but when I saw the new version, I knew it was time to upgrade. The main selling point is the fact that this one is waterproof. So waterproof, in fact, that it can be in up to 2 meters of fresh water for more than 60 minutes. Plus, it's lighter, has more storage, and the battery last for WEEKS. I took this on vacation with me and was so impressed. I was able to sit on the ledge in the pool and read without worrying about getting the device wet. And I even put it in the water to test, and it still works perfectly. Plus, I used it every day and didn't have to charge it the whole time I was on the trip. That gets a big gold star in my book." — Abby Kass, Buzzfeed

A 3-pack of collapsible sand pails
Promising review: "BEST BUCKETS EVER! I’ll be buying more! I love that they collapse! I bought them for the beach, and I loved that they didn’t take up room during travel. And now they don’t take up room in our outdoor toy bin!" — KB
A scalp and hair mist with SPF 30
Promising review: "I was so pleased to find this! Due to a few health issues my hair started thinning and I worried about parts of my scalp getting sunburn. This is a great product to finish getting ready to go out in the sun." — Joanie15
A portable safe
Promising review: "This safe has become a MUST-HAVE on all our vacations. We no longer travel without it. We put two iPhones, cash, and car keys in this little safe, locked it to a beach cabana, threw a towel over it and took off for a hour of snorkeling. Never once worried about our belongings. We now use several of these as room safes AND as 'hide a key' lockboxes outside our vacation condo for teens who come and go throughout the day. They are invaluable!" — KeepIT Reel
A folding table
Available in three sizes and two colors.

Promising review:
"I've now purchased two of these tables (both in large), and they are simply wonderful! They are light, compact, and easy to transport. Most importantly, they are sturdy: we've had one of ours for over four years, and it is still going strong — well worth the higher price in comparison to other tables. We used them at the beach to keep phones, food, speakers, etc. up out of the sand and they are the envy of the beach! We also use them when we are camping or just sitting around a campfire. The table itself has an accordion-style top with two strong elastic straps at each end to hold it in place when it is folded. It easily unfolds by sliding the straps off the ends and letting gravity do the rest. The base spreads apart like a scissor-jack, with two top pieces that snap into a groove to keep the entire base rigid. Finally, the top snaps into two grooves on each side of the top and you are done — 60 seconds or less after you get used to doing it." — Eclectic Mom
An extra-large multi-compartment mesh tote bag
Available in eight colors.

Promising review:
"Have used this for the beach and the pool and it works great both places. I was able to roll and pack five beach towels, a compact beach blanket and sunscreen without any problems. The pockets on the outside are great and I really liked the inside water-resistant pocket on the boat and kayak." — Letisha R Lynch
A mesh bag with one huge compartment
Promising review: "Ok. I never leave reviews but I HAD TO on this!!! BUY! BUY! BUY! We have six kids ranging from 2 months to 13 and our annual beach trip was coming up this past June. I wanted a beach tote that sand wouldn't collect in. I saw this and thought I would try it. I figured it wouldn't be as big as I needed. Fast forward to the day it came in...OMG it is was HUGE in person. Guys, I fit four sand buckets, four sets of beach toys, four small boogie boards in this thing and still had a TON of room to fit more! My only regret was that I didn't buy more than one! This would also be great for laundry, or anything!!!!!"— Amazon customer
A wind blown beach shade
Promising review: "This thing is fantastic! Light, durable, large enough to comfortably shade four or more adults either sitting on beach chairs or spread out on beach towels and blankets. We were in 15–20 mph prevailing SE winds off the Atlantic Ocean in Ft. Lauderdale and the Shibumi performed perfectly. Took less than five minutes to set up and break down. It was like carrying a handkerchief in your back pocket it was so convenient. I’m just mad at myself for not patenting and marketing it!! BTW — we were the only Shibumi in sight and we chuckled at the straining efforts and longer times it took others to set up their tents, canopies, flies or umbrellas in the stiff breeze. If you love the beach and you want convenient shade anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and you don’t own a Shibumi, tsk tsk. " — Nick Miller
A five-compartment snack spinner
Promising review: "I bought these before they were on Amazon. I’m obsessed. My kids think it’s a game, and they’re so intent on eating all the food inside. Even my picky eater. As a mom who absolutely hates to hand wash things, I’m so grateful that a) the entire thing comes apart for washing and b) it’s completely dishwasher-safe. This thing is awesome. One of a kind. I own five right now. Will probably be getting more in the future for when the baby is old enough to snack independently." — Jordan Christman
A 16-pack of SPF-reapplication stickers
Promising review: "I'm multiracial with tan skin. I burn when it's intense, but I get a great tan otherwise. My 9-month-old is fair, fair, fair. Blue eyes and porcelain skin fair. I reapply my own SPF 50 after a few hours, but I'm not consistent. I've never been great about sunscreen, but I was not going to let my daughter get burned. We live in South Florida and just a walk or park time is a potential burning hazard. This is a great visual for me to reapply her sunscreen or make sure she gets in the shade. They're an absolute essential for parents, especially the 'sun goddess' type." — FlightLife
Shadey Attachments / Etsy
A universal phone shade
Shadey Attachments is a UK-based small business that came up with this idea after seeing people struggle to view their phone while lounging in the sun. The shades attaches to most mobile devices by suction and fans out to protect your face from UV rays.

Promising review: "I ordered this last-minute for Christmas holiday, and I can honestly say, I now can’t use my phone in the sun without it! It took a second to get going and to realize you have to point it at the sun to put your face in the shade (also better for the wrinkles). It's literally the best thing ever for the sun." — Hayley Place

Before You Go

A personal umbrella that clips onto the back of your beach chair

Don't Forget To Snag These 35 Useful Items Before You Head To The Beach This Summer


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