Packing the Beach Bag for Toddlers & Babies

Beach Bag collage

The dog days of August have hit us (or rainy days – it seems this summer!), and many families are making that last trek to the beach, lake, or pool before school begins.  We were fortunate to be able to travel this summer, and we completed a great road trip this summer with our toddler {Check out my Road Trip Tips here}, which included time at the beach.

We also lived in Florida with a baby/infant where we made trips to the beach and feel more confident in our beach packing abilities! Obviously, beach bag “needs” vary depending on child, family, and place being visited, but here are some tips that have made our trips easier!

Getting to a beach or lake or pool is certainly not inexpensive as neither is the “gear,” but I found that having a few good pieces can really make a beach trip enjoyable (and ensures they last from year to year).

1. Protective Covering

Having shade on the beach is so important, for many reasons, including having a child/baby nap underneath it.  Many families bring the large, tailgate tents (as we call them) which makes a lot of sense for a big group or family.  This “Sport-Brella” has great reviews on Amazon, is fairly inexpensive, and seems more conducive for a “nap” space, if your child will nap at the beach.
Sport-Brella Umbrella, Blue

2. Transporting Gear

The next thing parents may not realize is that often, getting to the beach front is a long walk and often, a hassle.  We like to try to do what is most efficient and lightweight; however, it is inevitable that our toddler will be too tired to walk back to the car.  So, having some kind of wagon is key to getting everyone off the beach.  There are so many varieties! This one is touted as lasting well over time, and it can fit a lot of beach gear on it!

Farm & Ranch FR110-2 Steel Utility Cart with Removable Folding Sides and 10-Inch Pneumatic Tires, 400-Pound Capacity, 34-Inches by 18-Inches, Green Finish

The Beach Bag: I love tote bags, but all I really want from our beach bag is that it is easy to use and clean! I recommend the Scout totes because they aren’t cloth (vinyl) and super easy to clean!

Scout Original Deano Tote, Piccadilly Circus

3. Beach Toys

Isn’t this pail and shovel set cute? Really, any dollar store pail will do and children will play alllll day in the sand.  This was one of the great discoveries of our child; beach time isn’t necessarily peaceful lounging, but it is sure FUN these days.

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Clicker Crab Pail and Shovel

4. Sun Protective Gear

Rashguards are genius; actually, all of the members of our family wear some kind of version of a sun shirt at the beach, now.  They are just easy and keep us cooler.  These are inexpensive – although, I recommend getting a darker color – our white one is stained after a few months of use.

i play. Unisex-baby Infant Short Sleeve Rashguard Shirt, White, Small/6 Months


From the Store/Drugstore:

Bottled Water – for everyone to keep hydrated! Best tip: freeze several of the bottles the night before – use to keep cold, and, by the time they melt – serve to drink!

Baby Powder – Have you tried this? The granules are smaller than sand, so rubbing baby powders helps rub the sand off – this works wonders for those babies who have sand everywhere!

Ziploc Bags – For snacks, to keep phones and keys dry, for wet swim suits.  Get the big, generic ones and keep them in your beach bags; trust me, the will come in handy!

Snacks – Well, it’s the beach! Our child won’t nap at the beach, even though I know many babies who will, so our schedule is head in around nap time after a long morning at the beach.  Usually, we end up having a late lunch, but we snack all day on the beach:

Fruit (easy, tastes refreshing)

Goldfish (a necessity in our house)

Chips, Cookies, Fruit Snacks

{We usually have “fun” snacks that we don’t normally keep in our pantry.}

 Tell us your tips or necessities for the beach bag! What do you always keep in your bag?