Travel Travel Tips

Things to Bring to the Beach: Tips for Kids and Families

April 2, 2019

Few things get me more excited than preparing for a family trip to the beach! Being properly packed and prepared with all of the necessary things to bring to the beach is absolutely essential! After all, who wants to leave to retrieve a forgotten item once you’ve finally dipped your toes into the water?

This article will cover all of the things to bring to the beach when heading there with kids. Using my ultimate beach bag tips and beach bag packing checklist will ensure that you’re fully prepared for a day of maximum enjoyment! Take the stress out of planning for a family beach day by discovering the necessary things to bring to the beach!

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Things to Bring to the Beach

1.) A family beach bag

For any trip to the pool or beach that requires swimsuits, towels, goggles, sunscreen, etc, a family beach bag is an absolute sanity saver. Not only do beach bags allow you to tote all of your gear around, but they are essential for overall organization.

My personal preference in selecting a beach bag is that it is both stylish and functional! Stylish meaning that it is a solid color or classic pattern. Functional in that it is collapsible, over-sized (the bigger the better), and made of a breathable material that can dry easily.

I also prefer a few zippered pockets where you can safely store keys, money, your phone, and other loose ends.

These are a few of my highly-rated favorites, one with a bonus built-in cooler:

2. Waterproof flip-flops

Waterproof, yet durable sandals a necessary item to bring to the beach. Once a child’s feet are sandy and wet, the last thing you’ll want to do is to try to fit on a pair of tennis shoes. Instead, opt for breathable sandals that can easily transition from the sand onto the park or pavement.

3. Beach towels

This is a no brainer, but make sure that you have at least one beach towel per person. And don’t forget one for yourself!

If going on vacation, however, check to see if your resort or hotel supplies beach towels. If you happen to be staying somewhere that provides swim towels, don’t bother to bring your own and save yourself the space and the work of having to launder them later.

Additional planning tip: I love these beach umbrella hooks that are the perfect solution for hanging up wet towels between trips in-and-out of the water.

4. Sunscreen for the entire family

…And plenty of it if you plan on spending a full day at the beach or pool! Be sure that your sunscreen is 30 SPF or higher and blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Our family of 5 goes through 1 spray bottle of sunscreen every 3 days when vacationing in tropical climates. Likewise, I bring a sunscreen stick for the kids’ faces, and lip balm with SPF. My favorite sunscreen products are the Neutrogena Beach Defense products.

Apply sunscreen before getting to the beach or pool for maximum absorption and less hassle.

Additional planning tip: Beware. A healthy supply of sunscreen weighs A LOT (5-8 lbs.) and you will need to take this into consideration as it must go into your checked baggage if traveling by air to your family beach vacation.

5. Various sizes of Ziplock bags

No need to purchase expensive waterproof pouches. A Ziplock bag is great for putting cell phones in to protect them from getting wet.

Likewise, I use sandwich size baggies not only to keep cash (for tipping poolside and beach waiters at all-inclusive resorts) from getting wet but also, for the kids to put seashells in as they walk along the ocean shore,

And finally, keep your various sunscreens from falling to the bottom of the beach bag by putting them into a gallon-sized Ziplock bag.

6. Swim goggles

If your kids enjoy swimming like ours do bring along 2 pairs of goggles for each child.

It never fails that someone will accidentally lose a pair in the ocean or leave them by the pool, so having a back up will come in handy when looking to keep everyone happy.

Similar to toting around sunscreen, I store everyone’s swim goggles in a gallon Ziplock bag that is then stored in the beach bag for easy organization.

7. Sunglasses and hats with full UV protection

Consider dressing kids in sun-protective swimwear for ultimate protection from harmful UV rays.

SPF boys and girls rash guard suits continue to become more and more trendy each year.

8. Beach ball and sand toys

Take a trip to your local dollar store and stock up on inexpensive beach balls and sand toys before your next trip to the beach or pool!

Different from a beach bag, I use this giant sand toy bag for day trips to our local beach.

9. Heavy-duty beach shovels and collapsible pails

If you have to bring one or the other due to limited space, definitely opt to bring the shovels. Every kid loves to dig and build at the beach so a shovel with a sturdy handle is a must.

If extra room is on hand, collapsible sand pails are an added bonus!

Additional planning tip: You may run into a family on their vacation departure day who offers to give you their sand and/or pool toys.

This is a win for them to not have to haul them home, and just as good for you to score some new stuff! Remember to ‘pay it forward’ when it’s your turn to leave and go home.

10. A small first aid kit

It never fails that someone will need a bandaid or other simple first aid supply…especially if you happen to come across a rocky beach or slippery pool deck.

11. Waterresistant speaker and headphones

One of my favorite beach bag essentials is my water-resistant Bluetooth speaker. Our kids also love bringing along waterproof headphones.

My family loves to listen to music quietly as we are relaxing on the beach and it is important to have equipment that can withstand accidentally getting wet.

If they have friends hanging around the pool, they love playing music then too! This JBL Flip 4 speaker is a perfect travel size, and has amazing sound quality!

12. Hair ties and a tangle-free wet brush

One of the best things to bring to the beach with kids is a detangler hairbrush! Likewise, don’t forget hair ties to free you or your child’s long hair from the water and wind.

13. Outdoor blanket or beach mat

Use whichever version you prefer. Either way, pack one that is easy to fold as well as easy to clean and shake off.

I absolutely love this outdoor blanket by JJ Cole that is durable and water resistant!

14. Baby wipes

Perhaps the most universal product when traveling, or doing anything with kids for that matter is a handy pack of baby wipes.

Need a quick clean-up after a messy snack? Need to soothe a runny nose? Regardless of what you use them for, you’ll never regret having brought them along.

15. Snacks and bottled water

Insert all of your personal preferences for fun and healthy snacks and beverages to keep you and your littles hydrated and fed. Meanwhile, keep food safety in mind by making sure that perishables are kept chilled in a cooler…along with any chocolate that will otherwise surely melt.

16. A bag for trash

Save yourself several trips to the garbage by bringing along your own trash bag that you can easily dispose of on your way out.

17. A beach umbrella and anchor

If you are using personal transportation to get to the beach, bringing a beach umbrella is a must if you plan on being there the whole day.

Keep in mind, however, that it is just as essential to bring the right gear to hold your umbrella in place during those unexpected gusts of wind.

With this handy sand anchor, you can safely secure your umbrella’s pole into the sand with just a few twists.

18. A safety floatation device

If you have young kids who aren’t fully capable swimmers, bringing along a floatation device is a wise choice.

Whether it’s a full life jacket or a Puddle Jumper, fit them snuggly around your child and you’ll feel more relaxed when they’re around the water.

Did I miss any of your favorite beach or pool essentials? If so, I’d love for you to comment below!


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These 18 things to bring to the beach are absolute essentials for a trip to the beach or pool! We never travel to the beach without a beach bag complete with the following items! Get all of our secrets here! #thingstobringtothebeach #beachbagessentials #thingstobringtothebeachforkids #familybeachbagessentials #whattopackforthebeach #familybeachvacation
These 18 things to bring to the beach are absolute essentials for a trip to the beach or pool! We never travel to the beach without a beach bag complete with the following items! Get all of our secrets here! #thingstobringtothebeach #beachbagessentials #thingstobringtothebeachforkids #familybeachbagessentials #whattopackforthebeach #familybeachvacation
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    Hi, I’m Jen!  Welcome to Travel With A Plan!

    I’m an avid adventurer who is always planning the next family vacation for my husband and I, and our three boys!

    As an advocate for family travel with kids of all ages, I am a firm believer that traveling together helps keep families healthy and happy at home!

    Here is where I share our best family vacation itineraries, resort reviews, and family travel tips (incuding Disney!).

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    TMOM Travel Writer
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