How to make the most of the beach with kids

How to make the most of the beach with kids.

Summer 2023 might well be remembered as the July that saw a winters month amount of rain (98mm to be precise), a stark contrast to last summer’s soaring temperatures, and the hottest July on record (elsewhere), if you can believe it.   But it will also be the summer that our kids (4,6,7) tried body boarding for the first time (now that they actually enjoy going underwater), and the summer that I discovered ‘the wetsuit…’

I loathe being cold, and it was comically noted what a ridiculous amount of clothes I bought to the beach. But if you hate being cold, then dry clothes after a swim solves 99 of your problems, or so I thought.

We’re just back from an awesome few days with one of my best friends down in Cornwall. 2 mums and 6 young kids between us, here’s what happened…

Day 1

We braved the unusually warmwater for this time of year, (think cold shower) in a mixture of hand me down and borrowed wetsuits for two of the children, and myself and Alfie braved the water in our swimmers.

The white water waves for the kids are super fun. Sandy underfoot and the right depth for them to be able to stand, it was all smiles and laughs as we helped them catch their first few waves. It’s an absolute joy watching them out there, until the goosebumps, chattery teeth, tummy rash and purple lips arrive…

We lasted about 30 mins in the sea, and those in wetsuits far outshone us. Then depending on the wetsuit, there was evening more endurance to be had… next out was the shorties and the thin wetsuits. In for the longest, and wanting to go back for more, the CSkins Legend wetsuit, really, really living up to its name. I looked at she who wore it in awe.

‘It’s amazing the difference a really good wetsuit makes.’

Day 2

Wanting to give the kids the bodyboarding bug / not screwing up their first time to ruin it for evermore, and to make the most of our days outside - in something reminiscent of my own childhood (see pics), we went to the local surf shop to hire the swimmers each a wetsuit. Alfie and I were decked out in some C Skins wetsuits, and were pumped for the next few days ahead of us.


Turning a blind eye to the grey day, and its accompanying summer rain, we took the paddleboard down to the nearby beach (deserted), and it was life-changing!

I barely even felt the water. I happily played with the kids in the sea, and this time there was no complaints from the smalls now in wetsuits. I did not feel cold. I repeat, did not feel cold. I was happy! What went from a fairly miserable summer day, with lacklustre enthusiasm from anyone for anything, was miraculously transformed into a 5 hour session on the beach ALL THANKS TO A GOOD WETSUIT. It was a stark reminder that kids don’t really care about the weather, as long as they are in the right clothes.

Stella had a turn of Alfie’s hired wetsuit, and was in the rain/water with her friend for hours. Another joy to watch in our world of increasing screens and spending.

My wetsuit not only kept me warm, but didn’t require me to need a towel. It doubled up as the perfect combo. No more clothes required at the beach. I am a changed woman!


Day 3

Another (and still not final) trip to Seven Bays Surf for a final wetsuit hire, in anticipation for our last day in the sea. Even the sun decided to shine for the finale. And to the waves we took, and for hours did we play, and even after lunch did we go back for more? Yes we did. We were gloriously happy, did I mention I was warm? I was so warm.

I’ve worn wetsuits before, so I am not sure why this all feels like such a revelation, but for some reason, this weekend above them all was the big gamechanger in my beach game. It was the first time the kids had wetsuits so I am guessing it’s something to do with that, and in wanting to join in with the fun they were having, required me to get stuck in to. On the final day, when I took my phone with me to take some pictures of the kids in the rock pools Alfie said, ‘Mum why didn’t you come in the rock pools with us and enjoy the fun?’ – and I guess it was because I had my phone to capture the moment. Lesson learnt. I was parading around in a wetsuit though, of course.

So there we go, a wetsuit is on my Christmas list, and then it’s UK beaches here we come! I feel completely convinced that I’ve cracked the code for some endless days, whatever the weather, on the beach.


 Thank you Seven Bays, don’t think we’ll be forgetting about you in a hurry!

Wetsuits saving the day since circa 1988