Rainy Day Beach Activities With Kids

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A brief pause in the storm at Panama City Beach.

Beach trips are supposed to be about sun, waves, laughter and relaxation. As a parent, I’d say it’s one of the best trips with children in tow that allows mom and dad to still have some sanity. But what happens when it rains and the whole family finds itself cooped up inside? I wasn’t on a mission to find the answer, but a recent beach trip in Florida and a monsoon of more than 20 inches of rain forced me to find out what rainy day beach activities with kids we could come up with.

No one sets out for the beach expecting it to rain all week. Yes, summer humidity typically brings some sort of afternoon shower or thunderstorm, especially in the South. But unless you expect a tropical cyclone in the forecast it’s hard to prepare for absolute rain madness. Absolute rain madness is what we experienced this year as the first few days of our week were mostly sunny while the last few days saw more than 20 inches of rain fall on our little piece of beach paradise.

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Don’t let a long and drawn-out downpour ruin a trip to the beach.

We had lots of beach fun on this trip, including a great deep-sea fishing excursion. But I also had lots of activities in mind that the weather kept us from. So what did I learn from this trip with a 6-year-old boy and twin 3-year-old boys? Five Rainy Day Beach Activities With Kids:

Go to Movies:

Obvious one, right? We actually didn’t do this one, but you”ll see why soon. In general, summertime tends to be a great time for lots of new releases for kids. Summer movie releases aren’t just for the action-packed blockbusters. There are plenty of G and PG releases, more than a few of which are of the cartoon variety.

So my advice? Don’t rush out in the early summer and watch all the new releases. Save them for a rainy day at the beach. And if there isn’t any rain, enjoy them when you get back home.

Enjoy the Indoor Pool:

This is why we didn’t find ourselves at the movie theater. Our Panama City Beach timeshare has an indoor pool and we visited it. A lot. This proved to be the best way for us to survive the beach with kids and rain.

Living at the indoor pool as it stormed outside.

Living at the indoor pool as it stormed outside.

Now this isn’t an option unless your beach property has an indoor pool. Many of the newer hotels and condos popping up these days are adding at least a partial indoor pool, so it helps.

It's not a huge indoor pool option, but it is one nonetheless.

It’s not a huge indoor pool option, but it is one nonetheless. This is a new Hampton Inn property in Orange Beach, Ala., where the pool has a glass wall that can close it off during the colder months.

When our monsoon hit for the second half of our trip, we found ourselves camped out at the indoor pool. Amazingly, not a lot of guests at the property had the same thing in mind so it wasn’t as crowded as I thought it would be. Maybe you or your children only care about playing in the surf. For us, traveling with a 6-year-old who preferred the pool anyway, it worked out really well to have the indoor pool. He spent hours there everyday. I may or may not have had some fun too.

Even dads can have fun at the indoor pool.

Even dads can have fun at the indoor pool.

It’s not always possible to book a hotel or condo with an indoor pool. But the next time you’re looking at properties to choose from, keep the idea in mind. Even the notorious afternoon showers in Florida can end up lasting several hours. Would you rather be in a room full of kids whining about there being nothing to do, or watching them enjoy splashing in an indoor pool?

Go Shopping:

If your children are anything like mine this isn’t a real option for more than a couple of hours, but getting them out of the condo for a change of scenery is important for everyone’s sanity. Many beach destinations have some sort of shopping, whether it be an outlet mall or row upon row of tacky tourist shops. Teenagers probably want to be at the mall all day anyway, so consider this one of the few times to be happy your offspring has entered the teen years.

Shopping with younger children isn’t a real all-day solution, but it will buy you some time away from the cooped-up indoors. There are stores certain children enjoy. Our son is obsessed with the NBA, so he and I spent some real time shopping for hats at Lids.

Our son doesn't wear hats, but he stayed occupied for so long looking at them. And I couldn't resist getting a throwback of our hometown team.

Our son doesn’t wear hats, but he stayed occupied for so long looking at them. And I couldn’t resist getting a throwback of our hometown team.

Bookstores can keep the little bookworms busy. And fun souvenir shops and toy stores come in handy.

Chances are the shop owners at this little store don't make a habit of letting kids play these drums. But our son enjoyed his time there, and mom enjoyed being able to shop for a few minutes.

Chances are the shop owners at this little store don’t make a habit of letting kids play these drums. But our son enjoyed his time there, and mom enjoyed being able to shop for a few minutes.

My advice for beach shopping? Save it for a rainy day or when it’s time to get a break from the sun.

Visit an Arcade:

If your children are old enough to enjoy a video arcade make a beeline for the games.

And some beach arcades, go-kart tracks and mini golf palaces have indoor games beyond just the video variety. Indoor miniature golf and go-kart tracks are a god send on a rainy day. But be warned: it might get crowded.

Movies and Games:

Sometimes you just can’t escape the room. Maybe you have a beach house with no indoor pool, no shopping nearby and no arcade houses. You booked a beach house in a quiet area. Generally it can be the best place to enjoy the beach away from the crowds. But that solitude also means fewer options when the storms come.

When it's storming like these with violent winds blowing in from the sea, it's good to have some kind of indoor plan.

When it’s storming like this with violent winds blowing in from the sea, it’s good to have some kind of indoor plan.

So this is pretty simple: pack lots of movies, fun games and toys for the kids. When our son was 3 we spent a week at the same timeshare property in Panama City Beach. And just like this year it rained much of that week. It wasn’t solid downpours all day, but it was a significant amount that only allowed us to have a couple hours at the beach each day. On that trip our son was just as happy playing with his cars and trucks in the room while we enjoyed the views of the Gulf of Mexico off the balcony.

At the end of every storm there is a rainbow.

At the end of every storm there is a rainbow.

5 thoughts on “Rainy Day Beach Activities With Kids

  1. As a father of three ourselves, we always try to keep our kids entertained. Some great common-sense advice here. Some of which we’ll use. Even in Gran Canaria, it’s been known to rain.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…MoyaMy Profile

  2. Not a very flattering photo — or in focus, for that matter. I remember that day. It was absolutely brutal outside with wind and rain. It had been years since I last jumped into the pool as much as I did on this trip. I guarantee I had a few adult beverages in me too.

  3. Thank you for useful hints. Yesterday it was rain and thunder in Mallorca. I am visiting my six year old nephew – we used some of the rainy day to
    – Stroll along the road and jump the muddy puddles
    – Bicycle ride, took a break in the local pub to dry up and have a light meal.
    We have checked out some other options and i find this sympathetic:
    – Visiting a nature reserve, one in Alcudia bay seems to be like a “semi-zoo” where children can pat some of the animals. And there are not so patable animals too see, like bears.
    With proper clothes and/or the possibility to get indoors and dry up and/or change to dry clothes bad weater is not so bad at all.

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