Going to the beach with kids is a ton of fun if you are prepared! After 3.5 years of taking the kids to the beach, I have finally mastered what to bring (not too much, but just enough!) There is nothing worse than feeling like you are bringing your entire house down to the beach! *This post has been updated since I had our second child and I found more and more parenting hacks! So here is my updated checklist with beach stuff that will make your life easier and for some tips on making the most out of a beach day!
What to Bring to the Beach with Baby
Unless your baby is going in the water right away, keep them in their regular diaper. Seriously, you will get peed on! Swim diapers only catch poop (they don’t absorb anything,) so if they pee in it it will go everywhere. Change them into a reusable swim diaper right before you go in the water. Here are some of our favorites: Honest Co. swim diaper and iPlay swim diaper.
2.) Sun protection:
Bring sunscreen and a hat, and bring some sort of shade for the baby. We were handed down a similar beach tent, and have used it every year. Last year, to make room for both kids and give grandparents somewhere to sit with the babies, we bought this one. To get a good deal on one I would recommend looking at Zulily and also on your favorite online store 😉 The babies have loved napping in the small one and when they are awake playing under the big one. We love these two sunscreens for B. We use them too but they are very thick and don’t rub in well but they are natural and safe so weight your options. If you are an Honest Co. subscriber, your cheapest option is to include sunscreen in your household bundle. It comes out to $7 a tube which is half the price of Badger from the store. Honest’s new and updated sunscreen is also available at Costco and the new formula is much lighter than the old one. We love this hat for keeping the sun out of B’s eyes. It has a nice firm brim that shields but doesn’t get in her way. We have since bought a second and third hat for Jack! For a full list of safe sunscreen check out EWG’s list.
3.) Swimsuits and change of clothes:
Plan on bringing a pair of clothes that are easy to get on because little ones often won’t want to stay put in wet bathing suits. Gap and Target are my two favorite sources for swimsuits that are affordable for kids. Below, B is wearing one from Target which is available this summer too!
4.) Beach toys:
Ok, so when you just have a baby you don’t really need beach toys. Stick with teething toys that are simple and don’t have nooks and crannies for sand to get caught in. So we stuck with simple wooden teethers, a skwish, and Sophie (who I could just rinse off.) When B got older, we started bringing real beach toys. Last year, we bought these cheap toys from Ikea, but Green Sprouts also has a cute collection which is made out of recycled plastic bottles which I think we will add to our collection this year!
5.) Beach bag–
I picked up mine from a Scout for Bungalow. Here is a similar print of the same bag. L.L.Bean has their classic boat totes which are great too. What I look for is a washable or rinsable bag that carries a lot!
6.) Waters and Drinks:
Make sure to stay hydrated and bring snacks for the littles. It is way too easy to forget how long it has been. A soft-sided cooler is a great way to keep your drinks cool. This one looks like it will fit all of our snacks! I always bring water bottles for the kids, cheese sticks, some fruit, and napkins.
7.) Towels and a large blanket:
I am dying to pick up some Turkish towels because they are so compact but we love our Lilly Pulitzer towels. I try to keep our towels matching so I have a set of Lilly Pulitzer ones and a set of Target Nate Berkus ones. I think it is a great way for a family to keep their towels separate from others. We learned this growing up. My aunt’s are always yellow and my mom’s are pink. That way we never walked off with someone else’s and we always knew where to return the towels. My aunt’s cottage is next door to my parents’ so it wasn’t a big deal but with 19 cousins someone could easily lose a lot of towels.
To provide a nice big surface to sit on, I like to use our waterproof blanket. Here is a similar model to my current large blanket that folds up compactly (it is water proof) and being such a large surface it seems to harbor less sand than multiple towels would lined up.
8.) Beach chairs:
these are the most comfortable beach chairs. They weather extremely well, but are definitely a little heavy. We need to invest in some that we can keep at our house. The upside of lugging a big old stroller to the beach–easy to transport the chairs!
I swear by my Kaenons because growing up sailing they had the best polarization which would allow you to see the wind on the water more easily. But for B we are going to order some Babiators. At first I scoffed at the idea of paying $19 for baby sunglasses but B loves putting on mine and E’s and it is important to protect her eyes. Also these have a one year replacement program if they are lost or broken. And they are made out of rubber so they can’t break! I figure this itself is worth the extra money and it pays for itself if they do in fact break or are lost.
We use the Boba nonstop when the kids are little. For the beach where it would be hard for a stroller to go, and when we often have the dogs off leash the baby carrier gives us the most freedom. For the days when I take both kids to the beach solo, I take our stroller down to the beach which helps with lugging the bags and getting the kids there! But I always have my baby carrier.
Can’t wait for a wonderful summer to start!