This Mom Says “Backwards Beach Days” Make Vacations With Toddlers Way Less Stressful

And that’s what we call a genius travel hack.

Kelsey Pomeroy is not really a beach person. When she plans vacations (and she plans a lot of vacations; her family travels about three months out of the year), she rarely chooses the beach. But it just so happens that Pomeroy’s parents live a quick walk to the ocean in Florida. So when she and her husband and their two sons, 2 and 5, head down there from Missouri, going to the beach is more or less inevitable. “Beach vacations with little kids is so hard,” she tells Romper. “Until I started doing backwards beach days. Backwards beach days was just my way of making the beach tolerable for me.”

The tip, which she posted on TikTok in February of this year and in 2023 in two different videos, has gone viral in parenting spaces, with families of young children seeing “backwards beach days” as a game-changer that make vacations that much less stressful. “Everything we would typically do in the afternoon on a beach vacation we do in the morning while our kids are still well rested and not overstimulated,” she explains in the video.

So rather than wake up early to rush to a crowded beach, the family wakes up slowly, watches TV, and then does a non-beach activity like play pickleball, go to the library, and/or swim in the pool before having some lunch. After naps (which are more possible because the kids aren’t covered in sand, salt, and sunscreen), her toddler is usually cranky and that’s when they head to the beach. “Nothing cures a toddler mood like sand and water.”

The afternoon is spent on a less crowded beach (with far less sun exposure). No worrying about bringing kids to a crowded, expensive restaurant with the dinner crowds just as they hit their witching hour: a picnic dinner on the sand is perfect, though other times they can just head home.

Pomeroy’s Instagram and TikTok accounts — @kelsewhatelse — highlight ways to make travel more accessible and enjoyable for families, but this particular tip seems to resonate with even more folks than usual. Reaction to this advice has run the gamut, Pomeroy says. “I’m getting a lot of, ‘That’s how we did it when I was younger.’ I get a lot of, ‘Oh my gosh, why didn't I think of that? I’m totally going to do this from now on.’ I get a lot of people who saw my video a year ago and are commenting, ‘We’ve been doing this ever since you posted this a year ago, and it completely changed our beach life.’”

She’s also had beach town residents urge her to stop giving away their secret and some nervous types pointing out that “sharks feed at night.” (Fun fact: you really don’t have to worry about sharks.) But for the most part it’s been positive, and that’s the goal: Pomeroy seeks to offer a perspective and tips to help make travel easier for families.

“[Parents] wait to travel until their kids are a little bit older because it's hard enough being at home with toddlers. It’s hard,” she says. “But little easy mindset shifts or little easy rearranging of your day can make it easier and more accessible for parents [of small children] to travel.‌”