Being properly packed and prepared with the necessary things to bring to the beach is essential to ensure a relaxing and hassle-free experience.
After all, who wants to leave sun, surf, and sand for a forgotten item once you’ve finally gotten settled in?
This article will cover all of the necessary things to bring to the beach whether you’re looking to spend a day or an entire vacation there.
The links on this page are Amazon affiliate links. If you click on links and purchase them, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Things to Bring to the Beach
When the sky is clear and the temperatures are warm, many families head to the beach for a day of swimming, relaxation, and building sandcastles.
Take the stress out of planning for a family beach day by discovering the necessary things to bring to the beach that includes items to promote shade, comfort, and fun.
Using my beach bag packing checklist and best tips for visiting the beach will ensure that you’re fully prepared for a day of maximum enjoyment at 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 your 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 waterproof, zippered pockets where you can safely store keys, money, your phone, and other loose ends.
I am so passionate about trendy and functional beach bags, that I’ve written an entire article about it. Check out my list (with links to shop) of the best beach for bags for moms right here!
2. A sand-free beach blanket
When heading to the beach, don’t forget to pack an outdoor blanket or beach mat that is easy to fold as well as easy to clean and shake off.
The idea is to create an area where you and your littles can hang out, dry off, picnic, and relax without the sand clumping up and getting into everything.
Our giant, oversized, sand-free beach blanket is our favorite multi-purpose beach essential that most families tend to forget.
In fact, during our recent family vacation to Siesta Key, we used our beach blanket to both relax and picnic on, as well as to mark our area and encourage 6-foot social distancing from others.
3. Sun-protective clothing
Dress your kids in sun-protective swimwear for ultimate protection from harmful UV rays.
For adults, hands-down the best UV protective clothing is made by Coolibar and we don’t head to the beach without our rash guard shirts!
Additional sun-protective gear that you should bring to the beach includes sun hats and sunglasses for the entire family.
4. Waterproof sandals
Waterproof, yet durable sandals are 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 tight tennis shoes that will be impossible to get on.
Instead, opt for breathable sandals that can easily transition from the sand onto the park or pavement.
A sturdy pair of sandals will also protect a child’s feet from unexpected glass or other dangerous items found in the sand.
In addition, it will provide comfort when walking across hard-packed sand such as that found on Daytona Beach, Florida.
5. 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: Perhaps just as essentials as a beach towel itself, are beach umbrella hooks. These handy hooks are the perfect solution for hanging up wet towels between trips in-and-out of the water.
6. 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.
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.
7. 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.
8. Swim g
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.
9. 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.
10. Beach shovels and pails
Every kid loves to dig and build when at the beach!
For that reason, be sure to leave room in your beach bag to bring along the necessary tools required to make a classic sandcastle or to execute an epic sand dig!
Having a beach shovel with a sturdy handle that won’t break mid-construction is a must.
If extra room is on hand, collapsible sand pails are a bonus addition to your beach bag essentials.
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! R
11. 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.
By remembering to bring a first aid kit with you when you go to the beach, you’ll be able to treat any bumps and bruises that may present.
Water – resistant 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!
13. 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.
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
Similar to road trip snacks, opt for snacks that are portable and mess-free when considering things to bring to the beach.
Insert all of your personal preferences when it comes to 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 an insulated tote or soft-sided cooler, along with any chocolate that will otherwise surely melt.
16. Sand Coasters
The following beach vacation accessory isn’t actually necessary, but they sure are nice to have.
We always bring along our sand coasters for a day on the beach, as they protect our beverages, cell phones, sunglasses, and sunscreen close by and free of sand.
Because of their convenience and compactness, our sand coasters have become a beach essential that we don’t leave home without.
17. 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.
18. A beach umbrella and anchor
Having a source of shade is absolutely essential if you are visiting the beach with kids. Therefore, if you are using personal transportation to get to the beach, bringing a portable beach umbrella is key.
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.
19. 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.
Best Beach Tips For Families
- Never take your eyes off of your kids. Watch for big waves that can unexpectedly take them under and be ready to react.
- During the hot summer months, plan your beach time for the morning, early afternoon, or after dinner when temperatures aren’t as hot.
- If you’re looking to avoid crowds, the best time to go to the beach is either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Most of the tourists hit the beach between 10am and 2pm, and then everybody starts leaving between 3pm and 5pm.
- Stay hydrated as the sun and heat can really sneak up on you and the kids.
- Wear loose fitting clothing.
- Plan ahead for where you’re going to park when going to the beach. At most public beaches, parking can be limited and spots fill up quickly. Have a back-up plan if the lot is full.
- Check ahead of time if the beach you are visiting has concession stands, chair rentals, public restrooms, and other things to do for kids such as a splash pad, playground, or adjacent swimming pool.
Did I miss any of your favorite beach or pool essentials or tips? If so, I’d love for you to comment below!Jen
If you like our article on Things to Bring to the Beach, click here to check out our Related Posts:
- Family-Friendly Dreams Playa Mujeres Resort Review
- Ocean Riviera Paradise Review: A Family All-Inclusive
- Family Vacation Packing Tips: How to Pack Like A Pro
- 11 Exciting Things To Do In Sarasota With Kids
- Things to do in Florida (That Aren’t Disney!)
- 11 Best Things to Do in Siesta Key While on Vacation
- The Ultimate Siesta Key Vacation Itinerary For Families
- Daytona Beach Family Fun: A Complete Guide to A Day on Daytona Beach
- The Ultimate Orlando Family Vacation Itinerary
*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*