I REGRET opening a 529 plan back in 2000. My daughter has done well in school and applying to elite colleges that require the CSS Profile Consensus Method. So we were responsible by saving, and the 529 funds are being counted against us in the financial aid calculation!
For anyone coming into money, I would first pay off all debt. We have no mortgage*, no other personal loans (cars, etc.) If you are employed with a 401(K), max it out your entire life. The great thing about 401(K)s, you can take a loan out against it if you need to later on to pay for college, penalty-free.
*Note that home equity counts against you in the financial aid calculation so you may want to avoid having a lot of home equity when it comes time to pay for college. Not sure how far in advance you have to prepare for that -- the current year filling out forms or the "prior prior year" tax return forms that they are now requiring to send in.
The other option might be to put it in cash life insurance policies, but I read that although these are not technically counted, some elite colleges are asking for cash balances. (So maybe they are counting those funds against people behind the scenes.) I recommend reading all of the articles on Forbes.com for college planning strategies.