Family Beach Vacation Sun Protection

Enhance Your Family Beach Vacation Sun Protection With These Savvy Strategies!

Beach vacation sun protection is important when planning a family vacation in the sun. I know for sure that you can never go wrong with a trip to the beach. Amazing beaches are everywhere! Did you know for example that Canada has over 247,000 kilometres of coastline, more than any other country in the world?

With a diverse array of activities like swimming and snorkelling, it’s no surprise that the seaside is a popular attraction for families on vacation. 

My previous article on famous beach destinations like Aruba and Turks and Caicos highlights things you can look forward to during a beach trip, such as the balmy weather and popular attractions.

But whether you’re heading towards the Caribbean islands, Hawaii or another destination closer to home, it’s important to bring sun protection for you and your family to avoid harmful effects like heatstroke or sunburn.

Below, we take a closer look at why sun protection is important during a family beach getaway

Sun protection

Understanding the Sun’s Impact on Skin

The science of UV radiation and its effects on the skin has been well-documented over the years. The sun’s rays contain UV-A and UV-B rays, which can cause damage to the skin in different ways. UV-A rays are responsible for aging effects like wrinkles and dark spots, while UV-B rays can cause sunburns and even increase the risk of skin cancer.

These harmful effects are amplified when at the beach due to factors like water reflection, sand reflecting sunlight, and less shade available.

Additionally, the intense heat and UV rays can lead to dehydration, sunburns, and even heatstroke if proper precautions aren’t taken. This is especially important for families with young children who have sensitive skin and are more susceptible to these effects.

It’s crucial to protect yourself and your family from the sun’s harmful rays when at the beach.

The Importance of Sun Protection

Sun protection is crucial during a family beach vacation because young children have more delicate skin that is prone to burns and other harmful effects. It’s also important for adults to protect their skin as prolonged exposure to UV radiation can lead to premature aging and an increased

Effects of sunburn 

While spending time at the beach and to relax as a family is great, it’s important not to forget that exposure to too much ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can cause sunburn. A sunburn can be a painful and uncomfortable experience that could end up ruining your vacation.

Sunburn can cause blisters and red skin that is sensitive to touch and, in severe cases, may even lead to nerve damage and require medical attention.

Additionally, children have a much higher risk of sun-related skin damage because kids have lower skin pigment, or melanin, than adults. They also have a thinner outer skin layer, making them more vulnerable to UV damage.

Overexposure to the sun can also cause premature skin ageing, like wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. Moreover, accumulated skin damage can lead to more serious problems like skin cancer in the long run.

To avoid these risks and need for treatment, make sure you have your vacation sunscreen spray and here are some more things to pack during your family beach vacation: 

Essentials for your beach vacation sun protection :

When planning for a beach vacation, sun protection should be at the top of your list to ensure you enjoy every moment without the worry of harmful UV rays. With these essentials for sun protection, you can help ensure a safer and more enjoyable beach experience.

Remember, taking care of your skin is not just about the immediate pleasures of a beach holiday; it’s about long-term health and skin care.

Sun Protection incudes sunscreen
Sun Protection incudes sunscreen


A trip to the beach or to a pool is not complete without sunscreen, especially because it contains essential minerals that block UV rays to prevent them from damaging the skin. If you’re heading to sunnier spots like Wasaga Beach or Kitsilano Beach in Canada during the summer, make sure to pack sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

The Sundance sunscreen is a viable option with SPF 50 for maximum protection, and they also sell a kid-friendly sun cream with the same SPF. 

Prescription sunglasses

Sunglasses are also essential to a beach trip because the eyes can incur vision problems like cataracts and macular degeneration due to UV overexposure. If you have family members who need vision correction, they don’t have to worry about being left out because they can get prescription sunglasses” from Ray-Ban.

With Ray-Ban’s virtual try-on feature, you can select which model best suits your face and even customize the colours of the lenses, frames, and temple tips based on preferences. They also have sunnies for kids to help protect your young ones from possible eye damage while on the beach. 

Wide-brimmed hat

Long walks on the beach can be irresistible, especially along majestic coastlines like Clam Harbour Beach. But like other activities, doing so can still expose the facial skin to harmful UV light, so pack enough wide-brimmed hats for your family members for extra protection.

The Panama Wide Brim is a good option if you’re looking to bring a comfortable hat, and it has a hidden pocket for extra storage, which is good for beach walks. You can also try wide-brimmed hats from Harlequin Kids for your children, which are available in a variety of colours and patterns for some fashionable fun. 

Trip Plan with Ease: 10 Essential Packing Tips for Stress Free Family Beach Getaways

Clothes with UV protection 

On top of applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing can also provide an extra layer of defence against skin damage. Opt for UV-protective clothing made of tightly woven materials to block UV rays from entering the skin.

Pack clothes with a UV protection factor (UPF) of at least 30 for maximum protection. Choose from brands like Lululemon and Uniqlo that offer clothing with sun protection technology to avert sun damage, or stick with a rashguard for basic protection for kids.

Going on a trip to the beach can be a great way to create memories as a family. To avoid skin damage and maximize your trip, make sure to pack these essentials and keep your family members protected.

How Often Should I Reapply Sunscreen When Spending the Day at the Beach?

When you’re spending the day at the beach, it’s important to remember to reapply sunscreen regularly. Experts recommend reapplying every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off. This is because even waterproof sunscreens can wear off with prolonged exposure to water and sweat.

It’s also important to note that the amount of sunscreen used and how often it is reapplied can affect its effectiveness. To ensure proper protection, use about one ounce (equivalent to a shot glass) of sunscreen for each application and make sure to cover all exposed areas of skin.

Additionally, don’t forget about those hard-to-reach places like your back and behind your ears. Asking a friend or family member for help in applying sunscreen can ensure that all areas are covered.

Another factor to consider when choosing a sunscreen is the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating. SPF measures how well a sunscreen protects against UVB rays, which are responsible for sunburns. The higher the SPF, the longer it takes for skin to burn in the sun.

However, it’s important to note that no sunscreen can offer 100% protection and reapplication is still necessary regardless of the SPF rating.

In addition to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays, using sunscreen regularly can also help prevent premature aging and reduce the risk of skin cancer. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher can significantly decrease the risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

When choosing a sunscreen, it’s important to consider your skin type and any specific concerns you may have. For example, if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne breakouts, look for a sunscreen that is labeled as non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) and fragrance-free. If you have dry skin, opt for a sunscreen that contains hydrating ingredients like aloe vera or hyaluronic acid.

Wasaga Beach in Canada
Wasaga Beach in Canada

Another factor to consider is the type of activity you will be engaging in while wearing sunscreen. If you plan on swimming or participating in water sports, make sure to choose a water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

These sunscreens are designed to stay on your skin even when you are in the water or sweating, providing long-lasting protection.

It’s also important to pay attention to the expiration date of your sunscreen. Over time, the active ingredients in sunscreens can break down and become less effective. Most sunscreens have a shelf life of about three years, so make sure to check the expiration date before using it.

When applying sunscreen, be sure to cover all exposed areas of your body, including your ears, neck, hands, and feet.

Don’t forget about commonly missed areas like the back of your neck and tops of your feet! You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.

Besides Sunscreen, What Other Measures Can I Take to Protect My Skin from the Sun While Enjoying My Beach Vacation?

Making use of antioxidants: Oral and topical options that enhance skin defense against UV radiation.

Seeking shade: Avoid direct sunlight during peak hours, typically between 10 am and 4 pm. Take breaks under an umbrella or tree to give your skin a break from the sun.

Using accessories: Don’t underestimate the power of a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from the sun.

Staying hydrated: Drinking plenty of water not only keeps you cool but also helps your skin stay healthy and moisturized in hot weather.

Remember, even if you take all these precautions, it’s still essential to regularly check your skin for any changes or unusual spots. If you notice something out of the ordinary, make sure to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

Club Med Sandpiper
Club Med Sandpiper

Kids and Sun Safety: Special Considerations

As parents, we often worry about our children’s safety and well-being. When it comes to sun exposure, it’s essential to take some extra precautions for their delicate skin. Children are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of sun exposure because their skin is thinner and more sensitive than adults.

To keep your little ones safe in the sun, here are some special considerations and tips:

Pediatric Sun Safety Guidelines for Kids

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends keeping infants under six months old out of direct sunlight entirely. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen, and they can quickly overheat in hot weather.

For children over six months old, the AAP suggests seeking shade whenever possible and dressing them in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs. Hats with a wide brim can also provide extra protection for their face and neck.

Choosing Sunscreen

When it comes to sunscreen, it’s important to choose the right type and apply it correctly. Look for broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. This will protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which can cause skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer.

It’s best to apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside, so it has time to absorb into the skin. Be sure to cover all exposed areas, including the face, ears, hands, feet, and back of the neck.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily. Water-resistant sunscreens are a good option for those who plan to be in the water or sweating a lot. Remember, sunscreen should always be used in conjunction with other sun protection measures such as seeking shade and wearing protective clothing.

In addition to regular sunscreen, there are also options for sensitive skin and children. These formulas are gentler on the skin and have less potential for irritation. Look for labels that say “fragrance-free” or “hypoallergenic.” And don’t forget to check the expiration date on your sunscreen – expired products lose their potency and may not provide adequate protection.

Keep them out of the sun when you can

Engaging activities that encourage children to stay in the shade and wear protective clothing can also help promote healthy sun habits. For example, creating a fun game out of applying sunscreen or letting kids choose their own UV-protective hats and sunglasses can make sun protection more appealing.

And remember, it’s never too late to start protecting your skin from the sun. While it’s best to establish good habits early on, incorporating sunscreen into your daily routine at any age can significantly reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

In addition to using sunscreen, it’s important to monitor changes in your skin and check for any new or changing moles or spots. If you notice anything unusual, consult with a dermatologist who can provide advice on proper skincare and perform regular skin checks.

So whether you’re spending a day at the beach, playing sports, or just running errands outside, don’t forget to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Making beach vacation sun protection a fun and interactive part of your routine can make it feel less like a chore and more like a game.

Remember, taking care of your skin now will pay off in the long run. So go ahead and make sunscreen a daily habit – your future self will thank you for it. And don’t forget to spread the word and educate others on the importance of sun protection. Together, we can all work towards a healthier and happier future for our skin.


In conclusion, it’s essential to remember the key points that help safeguard your skin while you enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. Employing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is crucial, as it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn and long-term damage.

Reapplying sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating, ensures continuous protection. Wearing protective clothing like wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, and long-sleeved shirts made of UV-blocking materials can significantly decrease your exposure to harmful rays.

Additionally, seeking shade during the peak sun intensity hours between 10 am and 4 pm can greatly reduce your risk of overexposure. By combining these strategies, you can enjoy your beach vacation to the fullest while minimizing the risks of sun damage.

Remember, effective sun protection is not just about a single product; it is about a comprehensive approach that includes awareness, proper planning, and the consistent use of multiple protective measures.

FAQs About Beach vacation sun protection

1. What SPF should I use for a beach vacation?

– Aim for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for optimal protection.

2. How much sunscreen should I apply and how often?

– Apply a shot glass-size amount every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating.

3. Are there environmentally friendly sunscreen options that won’t harm marine life?

– Yes, look for reef-safe sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone and octinoxate.

4. Can I use the same sunscreen for my body and face?

– While you can, it’s often beneficial to use a facial sunscreen designed for delicate skin.

5. How can I protect my hair and scalp from sun damage?

– Wear a wide-brimmed hat or apply a hair- and scalp-specific sunscreen product.

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