With warm temperatures and longer days, springtime is the right time to head to the beach! Take your umbrellas, beach chairs, snacks, and drinks — but be sure to Leave Only Footprints when you leave for the day.

Family days at the beach can be full of sandcastles, games, and dips in the Gulf. You can make the memories of a lifetime along the white-sand beaches. Children and adults alike love to frolic along the pristine shores and watch the surf’s hypnotic flow. Dolphins are also a big fan of the surf, and you can find them on the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach backwaters and bays as well as the Gulf of Mexico. Booking a dolphin cruise with a local captain is a really fun way to learn more about these curious creatures and see how our habitats connect!

Other educational trips around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach might be as simple as searching for sand crabs, exploring the local oyster and shrimping industry, or visiting an abundance of local museums and nature centers!

At the end of the day, when you pack out your gear and waste, always remember that little eyes are watching. Children learn more from watching our actions than they ever will from what we say. Any time you’re cleaning up is a perfect opportunity to teach kids to recycle and clean up their area.

When you’re eating a meal or snacks, for example, show your kids what you do with plastics and disposable items like food wrappers. You can make a game out of separating recyclables or safely racing to the blue bins you’ll see all along the shores. Your kids can also pick up other waste they see along the beach for pocket change or bragging rights.

Even your littlest ones can join in the fun, as you can walk up to recycle bins and trash cans. Use the pictorial images to help them learn how to identify recyclables versus landfill waste. Before you even leave the house you can start the simple routine of preparing your kids to recycle. When packing for a fun day at the beach, help kids identify waste and recyclables and talk about what you’ll do to clean up.

Recyclable materials include:

  • Paper
  • Plastics
  • Cardboard
  • Aluminum Cans
  • Glass of any sort (not allowed on beaches)

Encouraging your children to be thoughtful and use reusable containers is also an easy way to incorporate low waste principles into your parenting. Everyone can have more fun when the beaches are clean and are wildlife are healthy. Remind your kids that they will want to bring their own families someday and that you want the beach to be as beautiful then as it is now.