1. Small Back Pack
Take a small back pack that is light weight (use one with wider straps if the string straps cut into your arms—you’ll be wearing it a long time!) Only take what you can fit into this pack (unless you have a stroller, of course!) A pack with at least one or two small compartments is better. Mine has a small zipper pocket inside the pack that I keep my valuables in and a small outer pocket for easy access to my phone. A side water bottle pocket is handy too. TIP: If the pack gets hard to carry after a while, wear it on your front instead, like you would wear a baby pack. You’ll see people at the parks doing this sometimes—it takes the strain off your back. Or better yet, get your kids to carry it for a while!
2. Essential Valuables
Only take the valuables you need. I take a credit card, debit card, driver’s license, and our season passes, my phone, as well as my car keys. All the cards and keys go into the “secret” zipper pocket inside my pack. The phone goes in the front pocket or in my back pocket. If you want to keep them closer to your person, wear shorts with a zipper pocket. Alternatively, you can put them in a waterproof pack if you plan on getting wet. See below for details! TIP: When you ride and can’t keep your bag with you, you can set your bag inside the fence that separates the ride from the rest of the park. Make sure to set it away from the fence if possible so no one could grab it while you are riding.
3. Waterproof Cell Phone Holder
This is perfect for keeping your cell phone and valuables (minus keys—one key would fit) on you at all times without worrying about getting them wet. It’s a completely waterproof pouch that hangs on a lanyard around your neck. I like to wear mine cross-body style instead of necklace style because it takes some pressure off my neck. It’s see-through, so put your valuables in so that no one can read the numbers. But the see-through is nice because it’s made so you can use your phone while it’s in the waterproof case. You can call, take pictures, whatever you want.
4. Towel and/or Jacket
When we go to the amusement park we can go to both the regular park and the water park in the same day, and we usually don’t go back to the car. To minimize what I have to carry, we just take one small towel to wipe our faces on if needed, and then just drip dry (usually not very hard in the summer!). We keep towels in the car if we need them when we get back. Another way is to go to the regular park in the morning, head back to your car at noon for lunch, get your bag of towels, and then head to the water park for the afternoon. Occasionally we go when it’s a bit nippy. Always tie a jacket around your waist on those days, just in case!
Don’t forget a water bottle! You should be able to refill them for free around the park. Some parks require you to only bring in clear water bottles that haven’t been opened, so check ahead. Most parks have an option to buy a refillable cup. These are pricey but can be worth it, especially if everyone is sharing.
When we go we just bring snacks in our little backpack—something that won’t melt: granola bars, lunch size chip bags, beef sticks, etc. If you want to bring something cold like cheese sticks, just put it in a soft lunch box that can fit inside your backpack. As you eat the snacks the pack will get lighter!! Then when we’re done for the day we stop at fast food on the way home. Another way we’ve done it is go to the park in the morning, go to the car for a sack lunch at noon, and back to the park. Of course, if you really want to make a day of it, the park will have plenty of fun food choices—just be prepared for the outrageous prices!
6. Water Park Gear
Wear your swimsuit under your clothes or as your shorts if you plan on going to a water park too. Don’t forget to throw some sunscreen in your pack. Most water parks have life jackets of all sizes available for free. Check ahead. A hat and sunglasses are really nice too. I wear my cap right into the water. It won’t hurt it at all to get wet and your face will thank you!
Of course if you have little ones a stroller is a must. This is great for storage, naps, and shade. Don’t forget diapers, swim diapers, snacks or milk, wipes, small toys…basically anything you would normally carry with you for your kiddo. A little water bottle with a fan on it is great to cool off for anyone, but especially babies, and they will love playing with it—the blades are usually soft so they won’t hurt themselves.