As the mercury starts to boil, or at least as we all start to melt, the inevitable summer dilemma with little ones comes into play: to bask in the sunshine and run the risk of a hot, irritable, not to mention overexposed little one, or to stay cool indoors and miss out on outdoorsy, sunny fun.
Instead, find yourself a River Beach.
River Beaches are the answer. Good for babies, toddlers, older kids and adults alike; the combination of a blissful hot day, shade from trees overhead and water to splash in are as synonymous as Gin & Tonic and a slice. A win for all.
The best bit? We’ve revealed a couple of our favourites and done all the homework so you just have to worry about getting the kids in the car and setting off. So sit back and get ready to enjoy our magnificent county.
Here are our top 3 places to be instead of the beach when the sun is out. Click on the title for more info.
A National Trust woodland walk with a number of river beaches along a tributary of the river Bovey. Shallow waters and a gentle flow make it perfect for toddlers and the first two are only a 10-15 minute walk from the car park to get there.
Beautiful grassy high banks alongside the East Dart River. The car park is just 100 meters away (but camouflaged by the evergreen trees) meaning this is a very convenient place if you travel with clobber. Stepping stones, high banks and a deeper river lends itself to more than paddling so older kids will love it and the grassy river banks are perfect to throw a blanket down so babies can be free to shuffle about (just not too far). Lots of space so all can head on down and enjoy a day of it.
Along the River Otter from Budleigh Salterton to Otterton are a number of river beaches some more accessible and shaded than others, some deeper parts and some shallower. Take your pick and enjoy your time in the dappled light.
What to pack
- Pack to get wet. Both you and the little one! Splashing is always so much more fun that way! (So extra clothing, extra nappies if needed)
- Sandals – the stony river bed can be uncomfortable underfoot (that said, my toddler refuses to wear hers when paddling)
- Play toys for the water, optional. Could simply be the stacking cups or plastic jug to pour water, or a ball to throw for the dog or your little ones might be happy with the sticks and stones they can scavenge)
- A mat/towel to sit on as the river beaches can have small gravel-like stones – if your little one will allow you respite (expect it to need a wash!). We love the Lifeventure towels.
- Picnic /snacks/ water
- Sun cream
- A camera/camera phone. Such beautiful spots need to be captured.