Taking a toddler to the beach can be a lot of fun but you can also stress yourself out a bit before even hitting the road. I think it’s totally necessary to take a checklist of must haves when heading to the beach with kids.
Traveling with a toddler can be overwhelming. Between packing for a stay plus packing for activities, you end up thinking you’ll need everything in your house.
Remember the good ol’ days of bringing a towel, sunscreen, and sunglasses to the beach?
Nowadays we do over-pack, but as of our recent beach trip these are the things we definitely could not live without.
Here are my top must haves to take a toddler to the beach.
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- Bathing Suit, Rash Guard, Hat – An obvious must have. We love the rash guard swim suits for extra sun protection for our son. Is the rash guard necessary? Not quite, but good to have to help keep sand off skin if your child’s skin is a bit more sensitive. A hat is a must have for us as well. My son’s hair is light and patchy even at 2 years old.
- Sunscreen – Always apply and reapply sunscreen. While the rash guard, bathing suit, and hat will provide a certain amount of protection, it’s always best practice to apply and reapply every 90-120 minutes. I’m fair skinned and apply every hour. Call me crazy, but sunburn really hurts and I’d just rather avoid that for all of us.
- Baby Powder – I can’t believe how many parents don’t know the baby powder trick! I was one of those parents and I’m so glad someone mentioned this to me! We keep a travel baby powder in our bag when we head to the beach or play in any kind of sand.
- Baby Wipes – Because toddlers. Also helps with getting the baby powder off!
- Tent or Umbrella For Shade – I am so worried about sun exposure. When we’re out in the sun I like to make sure we all get some shade. The small tent folds up fairly compact making it easy to travel with. Umbrellas can be bulky and separate pieces. I love this tent that we have because it’s easy to set up and take down when it’s time to go.
- Snacks and Water – I’m not myself when I’m hungry and neither is my son. Bring a lot of snacks, food, and water for the trip. Our favorite beach snacks are a bag of Cheerios, PB&J, and crackers.
- Beach Toys – My son loves anything on wheels so a beach dump truck is perfect for him. He also loves cups to play with the ocean water as well as shovels and rakes. These items aren’t expensive and I wouldn’t be heartbroken if something was left behind.
- Toddler Beach Chair – I really thought I would never need a toddler beach chair but apparently I’d have to give up my seat. We have this cute folding chair that we use for the beach and the park for our son. We tried using the beach blanket but our son had very little desire if we both were sitting in chairs.
- Stroller or Wagon – This is for your child to sleep in if you decide to do nap time on the beach. I personally hate nap time on the beach so this is really for carrying all the crap we end up bringing.
- Swim Diapers – We bring two swim diapers with us, but may not put them on. We use regular diapers on the beach because swim diapers won’t do the trick for the day. Swim diapers are a must have at the pool, but may not be at the beach. Totally up to you.
- Swim Shoes – We love to bring swim shoes for the beach. They work well on the hot sand as well as down by the water where broken shells may be. I’d bring them just in case, but definitely not necessary if your child doesn’t have a sand aversion.
- Towels – Well. Duh. Bring towels! We always bring an extra and try to keep it as sand-free as possible. This can be used later on after a shower at the beach to change clothes!
- Jug of Clean Water – In addition to drinking water for everyone, we bring a jug of fresh water for cleaning the sand off or washing our hands. Bathrooms may be far away or non-existent on some beaches.
- Plastic Bags For Trash and Wet Clothes – Some beaches are great with trash can placement and others, eh, not so much. Bring your own trash bag or plastic shopping bag to collect your garbage for proper disposal on your way out.
- Change of Clothes – We all have sensitive skin and never want to stay in our bathing suit for so long. Sand can cause rashes in children so we make sure to always pack a change of clothes for our two year old so he is dry leaving the beach. Our go-to beach has showers so we always rinse off first.
Some of these items may be optional for you. If you’re renting a house or hotel room right on the beach, you might not need a change of clothes. You can check before you go about renting an umbrella at the beach, too.
What are your must haves to take your toddler to the beach?
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