We are quickly inching toward beach season and it’s time to make sure we have all the beach essentials we need for our next trip to the beach with our kids!
As parents with small children going to the beach is anything but simple. First, there’s the fact that we only have so many hands and when you go to the beach you need to bring a lot of stuff on top of carrying a kid or two. Then once you’re there you have to worry about babies in diapers, toddler’s who are potty training, sun protection, ocean safety, snacks, toys and entertainment, sand in mouths, sand in eyes, sand pretty much everywhere else…I think you get the point.
Going to the beach with kids is just not quite as relaxing or easy as it was once upon a time when you went to the beach with just adults.
However, if you are completely prepared and have all the beach essentials you need than going to the beach with kids doesn’t have to be so complicated. Bringing the right stuff can mean the difference between a beach trip with kids that’s actually enjoyable and a beach trip that’s miserable for everyone.
This list is extensive, so don’t think that you need every one of these things to have a successful beach trip. My goal with this list is to give you as many ideas of helpful things you could bring to the beach as possible. It’s up to you to decide which items you think will make your beach experience easier and which items would just be extra weight.
General Beach Essentials
Whether you choose a beach cart or wagon, you’re going to need some way to lug everything to and from the car. Although you cannot put children in either of these options, you can put everything else you need in them. They are meant for being pulled through the sand so they make it as easy as possible to bring as much as you could possibly want or need.
If you don’t plan on bringing a ton of stuff, just using a good old jogger stroller is an option. The great thing about using a stroller is that you can put your kids inside and then everything else can be piled on top or in the storage basket underneath. You can’t just use any old stroller because they will not make it through the sand very easily. You need a jogger stroller because it has large heavy-duty wheels that make it easy to pull through the sand.
Before having kids, beach days meant getting your tan on. After kids, beach days mean enjoying the beach from a nice shady tent. Having a cool shady place to sit is so important when you have a newborn or younger infant. They overheat more easily and their skin is still very sensitive. I like this tent because it pops open easily and doesn’t require any poles. If you would rather chill out under an umbrella, this one is great because it can be tilted as the sun changes angles.
Beach chairs are essential for breastfeeding moms. While it is completely possible to breastfeed your baby while sitting on a towel or blanket, it’s not very comfortable. Having a chair that you can rest your back on while nursing is wonderful. I think these beach chairs are awesome because there is a storage compartment the side, a drink holder, a headrest, and it has backpack straps to make it easy to carry.
This beach mat is way more than a beach mat. It’s a play mat, arts and crafts mat, picnic blanket, etc. It’s made of leather so it’s super easy to shake off the sand and wipe down to clean. Not to mention it’s gorgeous! Now it’s on the pricey side for a beach blanket, so it’s completely understandable if you’re like…no way Sydney! If that’s the case, this beach blanket is specifically made for the beach, super durable, and really affordable.
I don’t think I need to explain why I think towels are essential when you go to the beach with kids (or anyone for that matter) so I’ll just tell you which ones I like the best. These basic beach towels come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. If you would rather go the non-toxic route, these organic cotton bath towels would be perfect for the beach!
You are, of course, going to need some kind of bag to keep all your stuff (towels, sunscreen, snacks, book, etc). I like to bring tote bags to the beach because they are easy to get things in and out of. You can go with a more stylish cute beach tote or a bigger more heavy duty beach tote. I would go with the more stylish beach tote for a shorter beach trip with fewer people and the heavy duty tote for those long all-day beach trips when you generally need to bring more stuff.
Beach trips with kids include a ton of toys and you’re going to want an easy way to transport them. I love this mesh toy bag because you can shake the sand right out of the bottom. It’s also really big so you can fit all the toys in one bag, throw it over your shoulder and you’re good to go.
If you are planning on spending a long day at the beach with kids you’re going to need snacks. This cooler bag is so great because it’s large enough to fit a lot of food but not cumbersome or heavy like a normal hard cooler.
One thing you should always have in your beach bag when you have kids is plastic bags. They are perfect for putting wet swimsuits in at the end of the day, keeping phones protected from water and sand, etc. A better eco-friendly option is to get some reusable waterproof pouches (these are actually cloth diaper pouches). That way you can use them every time you go to the beach instead of having to throw away the plastic bags after one use.
I think that having a portable fan at the beach, especially with younger infants, is such a good idea. It’s great to have something to reach for if anyone is feeling a bit overheated. I like this battery-operated portable fan because it has a handle to make it easy to hold and a rechargeable battery.
Obviously, no trip to the beach with kids is complete without lots of sunscreen. If you’ve read any of my other posts you know that I am very passionate about using non-toxic products on my daughter and sunscreen is no exception. My favorite sunscreen is this Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Sunscreen. It’s non-toxic and also smells amazing. As with any natural sunscreen, it goes on a lot thicker and takes a little bit longer to rub in. However, if you get the spray, it goes on a lot easier and thinner.
Apparently, you can easily get sand off of skin by rubbing baby powder on it. Since the sand factor is one of the most difficult parts about going to the beach with kids this is such a helpful tip. However, most baby powder contains talcum powder which is a known carcinogen and I never use it for anything especially when it comes to my daughter. You can buy talc-free baby powder but since those options are more expensive I wouldn’t want to be pouring it on all over at the beach. Cornstarch is a lot cheaper, non-toxic, and apparently just as effective.
One of the obstacles to being at the beach with kids is that you don’t have unlimited access to fresh water, which as a mother you know is essential for constant messy hand and faces. One thing you can do, besides bring lots of wipes, is bring a spray bottle with tap water inside. Then you have clean salt-less water with you whenever you need it.
Beach Essentials for Babies + Toddlers
Going to the beach with infants can be hard because of the lack of convenient nap space. Of course, they could always nap on a blanket on the sand or in your arms. However, this portable baby dome is perfect for baby beach naps because it has a sunshade and protective barrier.
This infant play seat is basically a portable activity play gym and I really wish I had one when Lily was younger. It’s lightweight so it’s easy to transport. It also has a sunshade attached so your baby will have a shady spot even if you don’t bring a tent or umbrella.
These little Melissa and Doug toddler beach chairs are so adorable. As the mother of a toddler who loves having her own chair, I can vouch for the fact that these chairs will be a hit with your toddler.
Anytime your child is out in the ocean they should be wearing a lifejacket. These puddle jumpers are easy to strap on and coast guard approved. They also come in a few different designs.
Just because you have a small infant doesn’t mean you need to sit on the sand for your whole beach trip. Put your baby in this floaty and go hang out in the water with them. Not only will it be a great sensory experience for them but it will be fun for both of you!
No trip to the beach with kids is complete without a bunch of sand toys! Beach toys are all pretty much the same. You’ve got buckets, shovels, sifters, etc. My choice for beach toys is these Green Toys that are eco-friendly. They are made out of recycled milk cartons! How cool is that?! They are also BPA and Phthalate free.
Next time you go to the beach bring some frozen teethers for your baby to chew on. It will soothe their gums and keep them cool!
If you’ve decided using reusable cloth diapers in your day to day life is not your cup of tea, then using reusable swim diapers at the beach can be a great opportunity to be a little kinder to the environment. Since going to the beach is not an everyday occurrence it’s not a huge undertaking.
Being at the beach with a toddler who is in the middle of potty training can be stressful. You are usually not near a restroom and once your toddler realizes they have to go to the bathroom they just might not make it before it’s too late. This travel potty can save the day. It’s small, comes in a travel bag, and super easy to set up in a pinch.
If you are nervous about letting your infant or toddler get into the ocean you can always bring a small inflatable pool to let them splash around in upon the sand. Another option is to put whatever you are bringing to the beach in a plastic storage bin, then it can serve double duty and be used as a little pool for your baby.
Beach Extra’s for Older Kids
If you have older kids, they will probably want some more riveting entertainment than sand toys. The items below are geared toward older kids and sure to provide lots of fun!
I don’t want the take away from this post to be that you need a million things to have a successful trip to the beach with kids, because that’s not true. However, if you found a few things that you know will make going to the beach with your kids easier, than my job here is done!
Now let’s all go to the beach!
If you have/get any of these items please share your experience in the comments below for everyone else to see!