You may have planned the perfect beach vacation. Then that storm takes an unexpected turn and there’s bad weather on the forecast. What can you do when there’s rain on a beach vacation? Read on for some fresh new ideas on riding the storm out.
Rain on Your Beach Vacation? 11 Fun Things to Do
1. Spa Day
2. Cook Up Some Fun
3. Board Games, Cards and Puzzles
4. Souvenirs and Scrapbooks
5. Book It!
6. Movies – Inside and Out
7. Museums and Art Galleries
8. Check Out the Local Coffee Shop or Ice Cream Parlor
9. Escape Room
10. Arcades and Laser Tag
11. Get Wet
I’ve been going to the Jersey shore every summer since I was a baby. Yes, that’s a lot of years, and that means I’ve seen more than a couple of days of rain on my beach vacation. (I won’t even go into the hurricanes….hello, Irene and Sandy!) My mother used to have a unique way of entertaining us when the bad weather kept us away from the sand. She’d hand us a Sears catalog and a pair of kiddie-safe scissors, and we’d spend the rainy day clipping out pictures of our favorite furnishings and creating the apartments of our dreams.
Well, Sears no longer publishes a catalog, but Mother Nature is still fickle. And like my mom, I still try to get creative when rain threatens our beach vacation. Here are some of my kids’ favorite rainy day activities. (They like some so well, they ask to do them on sunny days as well!)
1. Turn Your Rainy Day into a Spa Day
Sure, you can treat the whole family to a day at the spa. It’s a great, relaxing way to spend the day when a little rain keeps you off the beach. But it can also take a big bite out of your vacation budget (especially when you have a big family!).
Instead, we always bring along an “emergency spa kit,” which includes a tub of coconut oil, a fresh lemon, a cucumber and a variety of fingernail polish colors, all packed in a tub large enough for you to soak your feet in. Usually the kids “ran the spa” while my husband and I was customers; they would rub lemon into our rough elbows, put cucumber slices on our eyes, and so on. After a foot massage and fresh coat of polish (my husband passed on that), we’d all head to the kitchen for that ultimate spa treat – strawberry smoothies! (Bonus: if our vacation was a week of sunny days, we could still use the cucumber and lemon for our salad!)
2. Cook Up Some Fun to Battle Rain on a Beach Vacation
The first time you hear a raindrop, start gathering supplies for a family cook-off. Head everyone into the kitchen and hold your own Top Chef competition, challenging the kids to create their own delicious meals. Our favorite was the pizza challenge. Each person was given a ready-made crust (or roll out some crescent rolls). Then they had to create their own pizza using whatever they could find in our Top Chef pantry (the cabinets and fridge in our rental home). My husband and I got to be the judges – and we had to put aside our preferences for New York thin or Chicago deep dish to judge pizzas topped with fresh fruit, peanut butter and jelly, and Fruity Pebbles (a personal favorite).
If you’re not into pizza, bake cupcakes or brownies or create new sandwiches. Just get the creative juices flowing, and you’ll forget all about the rainy season.
3. Board Games, Card Games, and Puzzles – Oh My!
Sure, they’re the standard go-to when a last-minute downpour cancels your surf lesson. But we have to admit some of our best memories are of the times the entire family gathered around the dining room table in our rental home and played Apples to Apples while listening to the downpour. Our answers got outrageous, our choices comical, and our laughter deafening. What more could you ask for on a vacation?
With board games, you can choose the game that’s appropriate to the age of your kids. (I was so happy when we finally could put away that Hi Ho Cherry-O because the whole clan was old enough for Headbands.) A rainy day is perfect for a Monopoly marathon, or to gather around that thousand-piece puzzle. And if you’re stuck in a hotel room without a dining room table, remember that card games take up very little space. Little kids like Go Fish or Slap Jack, while teens and adults can bond over Pinochle or Poker (betting with corn chips, of course).
4. Souvenirs and Scrapbooks
Sure, you’re still on your vacation. But if a little rain is causing some downtime, why not get a head start on your souvenirs and scrapbooks for this trip? Send the pics you took so far to a 1-hour processer, pick them up and start scrapping! Or string the shells the kids gathered so far into necklaces, gather them in display jars (use the empty Ragu jar from your pizza challenge), or paste them on cardboard to make picture frames.
SheBuysTravel Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a beach vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
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Read More: Have a Hotel Scavenger Hunt on a Rainy Day!
5. Book It
A rainy day at the beach is perfect for snuggling up under a blanket (or sitting on a covered porch) and catching up on your reading. And if your kids are like mine, that summer reading list has been left untouched. Now is a great time to put a dent in it!
If you didn’t pack a paperback with you, take a trip out to a local bookseller for the latest best seller. Or, better yet, visit the local library. You can spend the full day there perusing the magazines, reading a paperback, or even catching a special event.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Before your trip, visit the local library site. You’ll be surprised at all that’s going on!
6. Movies, Inside and Out
I guess most people think of heading to the movie theater when it starts to rain on a beach vacation. And with so many fun summer movies to choose from, it’s a natural choice. (Even better – those nice plushy seats many movie theaters offer these days!)
If you don’t want to drop a lot at the box office – or if the weather is keeping you totally inside – you can still have a movie day right inside your hotel room or rental. Thanks to the magic of Netflix, HBO, and DVDs, you can always find a family favorite ready to roll.
7. Check Out Museums and Art Galleries When There’s Rain on a Beach Day
Just because an area is known for its beaches doesn’t mean nothing else happened there. You’d be surprised to learn about the museums and art galleries in a tourist area – from historical societies and local showings to marine mammal stranding centers and even aquariums. Check out the local listings in your area to find out all the offerings.
8. What’s Going On Locally
Particularly in touristy areas (like beach resorts), the local coffee shop can be a cabaret of entertainment, and often it’s family-friendly. So get a round of frappes or lattes and settle in to listen to live music as the rain passes.
Ice cream parlors often do one better – they offer afternoons of karaoke, magic or trivia challenges. Our favorite in Ocean City NJ even offers a family sock hop day. And this entertainment goes on rain or shine, so make your rainy day a “sundae” at the local ice cream parlor.
9. Escape to an Escape Room
To be honest, my family hasn’t done an escape room together (though a couple of my children have). But my husband suggested it for the next rained-out beach day, and it sounds like a great idea! A competitive game that emphasizes teamwork and strategy sounds right up our alley – and like a perfect way to spend a rainy day. There are Escape Rooms popping up all over the place, so check online to find one near your beach town.
10. Arcades and Laser Tag
No matter what their age, kids always seem eager to go to the arcade, so why not? They may race to the latest trendy game while you’re still pounding the pinball machine, but at least you’ll all be together, connected and having fun. Last year during when a little rain kept us off the beach, we held a family and friends elimination Skeeball tournament. Such fun, we didn’t even mourn the day without sunshine.
Another indoor idea is laser tag. As long as none of your crew is afraid of the dark, nothing can make a rainy day at the beach better than shooting at each other with neon laser guns while hiding in a futuristic set.
11. Give In and Get Wet When It Rains on A Beach Vacation
Okay, here’s the disclaimer – only suggest this idea when you’re absolutely sure it’s safe to do so. Meaning, when it’s just a passing sun shower, not the next tornado to hit. Because your kids are going to love this idea. If it’s raining, why not go to the beach anyway? Sure, the lifeguards may ban your boogie boards and you may not be allowed to go in past your ankles. But since you’re going to get wet anyway, why not play some games on the wet sand?
We’ve made soggy sandcastles, ran slippery races by the water, and even had pool noodle fights as the tide came in. Do you know what they say about dancing in the rain? Well, building sandcastles in the rain can be just as much fun.
There’s no reason to let a chance of rain ruin your vacation plans. Instead, choose an alternate way to enjoy the rain on your beach vacation – and remember, the sun should be shining the next day!