Family Summer Vacation Essentials!

Friday Focus: Family Summer Vacation Essentials!



If you are going on a vacation this summer, whether to the beach or just a weekend getaway at a cabin, you might want to take along some of these summer family vacation essentials!

1. Go Pro Camera

Before our Go Pro, my husband and I didn’t really have a video camera (besides our phones!). When I started researching video cameras, I realized that they don’t manufacture that many any more!  It seemed the Go Pro is the way to go for families that want something more than just their smart phones.

The Go Pro comes in a waterproof case so you can take it to the beach, pool, lake, canoeing, whatever. And it captures the action-packed moments that you will want to remember about your vacations (both photos and videos!).

Here’s a little montage from our recent vacation to Rosemary Beach:

(You can add filters and music, too, but I just went classic with my first one!).

Go Pros are lightweight, super fun to use, and have lots of accessory options (like an arm which makes it easier for filming). A friend that just went to Disney World said there were so many families walking around with Go Pros – taking them on rides and making selfie videos.

The newest option is the GoPro Hero 4. We didn’t want to spend that much (and aren’t that tech savvy!) so went with the lesser expensive Hero 3 and it works great! Any of these would be a great Father’s Day present!


2. Collapsible Wagon


The best invention since sliced bread! Whether you have children or not, you will love this collapsible wagon all year long, but especially in the summer! My sister and I both have one and we took them to the beach every day – filled one with with beach toys and cooler (and the other with tired children!) I saw several families with these at the neighborhood pool yesterday, too. It folds up easily in your car and has pockets on the side which are great for drinks!

Sometimes they have these at Costco/Sam’s so check there the next time you, but you can also get on Amazon here:



Target has free shipping this week with no minimum and they have a camo wagon for $99.

3. Yeti Cooler

In our collapsible wagons we always carried my dad’s or brother-in-law’s Yeti cooler. Yes, they are expensive, but they really do what they say. Ice would stay frozen overnight or longer in the Yetis, meaning we could just leave drinks and beer on the patio all night long, ready to go back to the beach the next day!

And several families on the beach had these new Yeti Cooler Hoppers. These super durable coolers are great for everyday use and hold up to 18 cans of beer/cokes and three pounds of ice. (Any of these Yetis would make a great Father’s Day gift and all ship free!):



4. Snack-Eeze

If you are going on a road trip with children or grandchildren these Snack-eeze are a must-have! Drink in the bottom, snack in the top! (Also makes a great friend birthday gift! because the price is great at $10-13!). My girls have the regular size ones (even my two year old because she wants to be like her big sisters!) but they have a junior size, too.


5. Picnic/Beach Blanket

A picnic blanket is great to keep in your car for last minute picnics at the park, for the beach, or maybe even a sunset concert. Really everybody should have a picnic blanket (or super large beach blanket!) so that’s why I think one makes a fantastic gift, too. Here are some good ones:


6. Great Tumbler 

My mom has always loved Tervis Tumblers. She gave everyone in our family the large tumblers with our respective college mascots on them prior to our beach vacation. I also love Yeti tumblers as well. And if you are needing a good water bottle, the Swell bottles keep drinks cold (like the Yetis!) for up to 24 hours and make great workout companions.

Here are some Tervis Tumblers:


These Yeti tumblers and Swell bottles ship free; the Under Armour water bottles don’t leak and are great for children!

7. Selfie Stick


Because you know you want one for the family vacay!  Attach a selfie stick ($20-30) to your smartphone and you’ve got instant family photos. Right now Target has free shipping on every order with no minimum so I’ve linked three below. I think one of these would make a great hostess gift for a family that asks you to their lake, beach, or ranch house for the weekend!


8. Sketchbook and/or Nature Journal for Children.

I recently wrote a post about this but each child should have his/her own sketchbook. In the summer they come in handy for long car rides, museum and monument visits, and more! I also love these nature journals ($6.74)  for children to learn about and appreciate nature more – whether it’s in your backyard or on a weekend hike. My girls love their nature journals I bought a few years ago! (Make great gifts, too!)


 9. Froggelz


One of my least favorite parts about going to the pool during the summer is adjusting goggles! I feel like it’s an exercise in madness, don’t you? Well, a friend told me about these Froggelz goggles and I’m going to order some for my girls. (They come in girl colors, too!).

10. A Few More Fun Summer Accessories

Some of these might just make your family’s summer even more fun!



Hope you found these summer vacation essentials list helpful! Please share on Facebook (link below) if you did! And tell me what things I left off below!

And don’t forget to read my guide to Rosemary Beach with links to more great accessories (and clothes!) here.

Happy Summer!






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Top Photo: Katrice Howell Photography

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