What to Bring to the Beach for Kids
Updated: Jun 7
It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting warmer, and summer is almost here.
One of the best summertime activities to do with your family is to go to the beach for a family beach vacation.
When taking your family to the beach, you must pack a lot of extra supplies to keep your family safe and protected from the sun, but also make sure they have a great time.
We’ve compiled a large list of some of the best beach gear to pack for your family beach trip for the ultimate beach packing list - kids edition.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
Swimming Beach Gear:
1. Bathing Suits
One of the most important items to include. If you’re going to the beach, you’re going to be swimming or sunbathing. I prefer to wear my swimsuit under my clothes, so I don’t have to find a place to change.
Check out Bathing Suits on Amazon.
2. Water Shoes
Some of the beaches near us are made up of mostly rocks, so walking around barefoot is not very comfortable. A good pair of water shoes for everyone in the family will help prevents cuts and sores on the bottoms of the feet.
Check out Water Shoes on Amazon.
While not necessary, if you have kids who love to go under water and open their eyes, it will save their eyes later. If you’re swimming in the ocean, the salt water could burn after a while. Even a lake could start to irritate after swimming underwater for a bit.
Check out Goggles on Amazon.
If you have a little one in glasses, prescription goggles are also a great option so you don’t risk losing a brand-new pair of glasses to the bottom of the lake or ocean.
4. Life Jackets
If you don’t have children who are strong swimmers yet, you could choose to have your child wear a life vest. You should still watch your child while swimming, but it could give you some piece of mind.
Check out Life jackets on Amazon.
5. Puddle Jumpers
Another option is to have your child wear a puddle jumper. Both of my children always wear them around any body of water at all times and I never let them swim without adult supervision. It helps me to feel more comfortable about taking them into a large body of water.
Check out Puddle Jumpers on Amazon.
6. Swim Diapers
My son is still in diapers so swim diapers are a must. They do not absorb water or become large and puffy in the water. Swim diapers are great to contain when your child goes to the bathroom because the water will most likely make them have to go.
Check out Disposable Swim Diapers on Amazon.
Check out Reusable Swim Diapers on Amazon.
Sand Beach Gear:
1. Beach Towels
Beach towels can have many uses and it is good to travel with a few extra. You can lay them out in the sand to lay on them and you can use them to dry off after you’re done swimming.
Check out Beach Towels on Amazon.
2. Foldable Beach Chairs
If you don’t want to lay on a beach towel, a foldable chair is a better option. You can still stick your feet in the sand and kick back to relax. You could bring your chair over to the water to sit with your feet in the water as well.
Check out Foldable Beach Chairs on Amazon.
3. Beach Toys
Since you are going to the beach with kids, you’ll need sand toys to keep them occupied. They won’t want to swim the whole time you’re there. I go into more details below on the types of toys to bring.
Check out Beach Toys on Amazon.
4. Sandals / Flip flops
The sand can get very hot while the sun is beating down on it. You may find you’re not able to walk across the hot sand barefoot. You could wear water shoes walking around, but your feet may get hot, or you may not want to swim anymore. A good pair of sandals or some type of beach shoes will help keep your feet comfortable.
Check out Sandals on Amazon.
5. Beach Blanket
If you want a bigger area on the sand to lay down, you could bring a large beach blanket. The bonus to using a blanket is your towel to dry off with will not be completely covered in sand.
Check out Beach Blankets on Amazon.
6. Cell Phone Dry Bag
A mistake a made over 10 years ago was bringing my digital camera on the beach. The tiny bits of sand got into my camera and made it impossible to use. I had to purchase a new camera. If you want to keep your electronics safe, put them in a dry bag.
Check out Cell Phone Dry Bags on Amazon.
1. Shovel & Pail
One of the most popular beach activities is building sandcastles. To do that, you need to bring a shovel and pail.
My son had a Blue’s Clues birthday party, check out his Blue's Clues Birthday Party Ideas Here. I purchased shovels and pails to hand out as favors to the kids. It went great with the Blue’s Clues theme and can be used at the beach.
Check out Shovels and Pail's on Amazon.
Frisbees are not just for dogs; they are fun to play with on the beach as well. Just try not to run over anyone relaxing on the beach.
Check out Frisbees on Amazon.
3. Beach Ball
Inflatable beach balls are fun to hit around to each other in the sand or in the water. If there's a net, you could even play beach volleyball with a beach ball.
Check out Beach balls on Amazon.
If your kids would like to look underwater, you could bring a snorkel for them to use. It may be more difficult to use if it's a shallow beach or if there are a lot of people at the beach though.
Check out Snorkels for Kids on Amazon.
5. Boogie Boards
There are many ways the kids could play with boogie boards while at the beach. They could use them along the shore or bring them into the water to lay on. There's no right or wrong way to have fun at the beach.
Check out Boogie Boards on Amazon.
Make sure when purchasing sunscreen, it's a good idea to get a sunscreen with zinc oxide. It is so important to continue applying sunscreen to your whole family all day. Remember to reapply every time you get out of the water. There is also a lip balm sunscreen you could get to prevent your lips from burning and chapping.
Check out Sunscreen for Kids on Amazon.
2. Sun Hats
Since you can’t sunscreen your hair, a hat is a great option to keep the head protected from the sun. You could look at baseball hats or a wide brim summer sun hat.
Check out Sun Hats on Amazon.
3. Pop-up Beach Tent
If the beach isn’t overly busy, you could bring a pop-up tent to give your family shade all day. This would make the area you’re sitting at feel cooler as well.
Check out Pop-up Beach Tents on Amazon.
I have very blue eyes, so my eyes are very sensitive to the sun. I find myself having to wear sunglasses every time I go outside in the summer. It can be a lot worse for me at the beach. Children should be wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes and many people forget that.
Check out Sunglasses for Kids on Amazon.
If your child wears glasses, you could look into prescription sunglasses or transition lenses. Check out my post on How to Choose the Best Glasses for Children Here!
5. Beach Umbrella
If you find the beach to be more crowded, you could use umbrellas instead of a tent to give your family more shade. You would have to find unique ways to keep the umbrella up or use a chair with an umbrella attachment.
Check out Beach Umbrellas on Amazon.
6. Bathing Suit Cover Up
If you’re not in the water, you should find a way to cover your skin to prevent burning. A cover up can cover the skin very well. They make so many adorable cover ups for over bathing suits.
Check out Bathing Suit Cover Ups for Kids on Amazon.
7. Rash Guards
If you want to cover up, but you want to still go swimming, you could opt to wear a rash guard. They make rash guards for children and adults, and they are great to wear to the beach. Rash guards are designed to protect against UV rays and are made of a breathable material you can swim in.
Check out Rash Guards for Kids on Amazon.
Food & Drinks
Stocking up ahead of time on snacks for the day is easier than trying to find food while everyone is hot and hungry. Some snacks could include crackers, chips, pretzels, goldfish, granola bars, fruit snacks, and more. I would also recommend packing heathy snacks for everyone to enjoy. You could make a fruit salad, yogurts, cheese sticks, and other easy to eat snacks for little hands for snack time.
You will need to serve your family lunch as well so packing easy lunches is a must. My children love sandwiches so packing peanut butter (or SunButter for our peanut-free family) and jelly sandwiches, turkey and cheese, ham and cheese, and other sandwiches that could be made before the trip. It would be hard to plate food on the beach, so anything that can be put into Ziploc bags and held to eat is much easier.
Looking for some great lunch ideas for your children, check out my post Well-Balanced & Kid-Approved Lunch Ideas Here.
3. Water Bottles / Insulated Cups
It is so much easier to throw some water bottles or sealed insulated cups with cold drinks into the cooler. You will want to have plenty of water, so no one gets dehydrated. You could fill a large sealable jug with water and use it to fill the smaller bottles. Small sippy cups for kids may be easier, as long as they can be washed easily if they get sand in them. You could also throw some juice boxes in the cooler to give the kids more variety.
Check out Insulated Water Bottles on Amazon.
4. Insulated Cooler
The insulated cooler is where you will store all your food and drinks. I like to pack an insulated cooler, even if the food doesn't have to be cold so it all stays at a nice temperature all day.
Check out Insulated Coolers on Amazon.
1. Bug Spray
If you like to spend all day at the beach until the sun starts to set, bug spray is very helpful to keep those pesky bugs away. Bugs tend to get pretty bad by the water at night, so bug spray is important if you plan on watching the sun go down.
Check out Bug Spray for Kids on Amazon.
2. Baby Powder
Adding baby powder to the list may seem odd, but it's a great way to get stubborn sand off your body when you are done at the beach for the day. Just apply the baby powder to the areas of your body the sand will not come off and then wipe the powder and sand off. This works well between the toes and in other strange places.
Check out Baby Powder on Amazon.
3. Spray Bottle Fan
If it is a very hot day and you don't want to spend the entire time in the water, you could invest in a spray bottle fan. You fill the bottle up with water and the fan takes batteries. The fan will run to cool you down and you have the added benefit of spraying yourself with water while using the fan. It instantly cools your body down.
Check out Spray Bottle Fans on Amazon.
4. Extra clothes
At the end of the day, it is nice to get all the sand off your body and change out of wet clothes so you're not covering the inside of your car with water and sand. It's even better for your children because car seats are hard enough to keep clean without having to take them apart to get sand out. It is also much more comfortable for the ride home to be in clean, dry clothes. I also recommend having some plastic bags or wet bags to put your wet and sandy clothes into.
5. First Aid Kit
Accidents happen, especially during a long day out in the sun. It's good to have a small first aid kit with you in case you need band aids, triple antibiotic ointment, pain reliever, an ice pack, or any other possible first aid supplies.
Check out First Aid Kits on Amazon.
6. Beach Bag
You will need a way to carry all your supplies. A beach bag would be the easiest because you can carry it across the beach to wherever you plan to spend the beach outing. A beach wagon is another option instead of a bag, but it may be more difficult to pull the wagon across the sand.
Check out Beach Bags on Amazon.
There you have it, a huge list of everything you could possibly think to bring to the beach for your kids to make it into a fun family vacation!
Spending a day trip at the beach can be very long and tiring for kids even if it is a short trip, so planning for everything is the best way to guarantee your kids had so much fun.
Make sure to stop for ice cream at the end of the day to finish out your beach day and to check off the final items on your beach essentials checklist!
Are we forgetting any important things on our list for our beach day?
What do you bring to the beach?