Deeeeeep breaths – family trips to the beach will never again leave you tangled in towels and draped in heavy diaper bags; we’re bringing you the ultimate beach packing list.
With this meticulously organized checklist, you will finally spend more time splashing in the waves and reveling in the sunshine than arguing over who forgot to pack Jimmy’s swim goggles.
Deciding what to pack for the beach when you have boisterous young kids to keep tabs on can be, at the very least, incredibly overwhelming. That’s why we want to cut out the whole frantic process entirely and make your packing system efficient and swift.
We’re breaking down this beach packing list checklist into bite-size pieces, so you can easily individualize your own version.
Our categories: clothing, safety, toys, must-haves, skin care, lounging, food + drinks, and misc. accessories.
While we go into intricate detail regarding absolutely anything and everything you may need, feel free to narrow it down and apply it to your children’s age ranges.
Your Go-To Beach Packing List
Shopping Tip: Check out Oakley, SwimOutlet & All American Swimwear for more swimming costumes and accessory products to buy online..
1. Swimsuit Cover-Up
- Avoid the hassle of changing clothes in a public restroom by dressing your kids (and yourself!) in swimsuit cover-ups.
- Being able to easily walk from the boardwalk onto the beach sand you’ll need a comfy pair of sandals for the kids and the adults.
3. Sun hats
- Children have especially delicate skin. Hats will shade their faces.
- A full day squinting in the bright sun can really strain you and your little one’s eyes. Look for pairs with UVA and UVB protection.
5. Swim Goggles
- Children often like to open their eyes in the water. Prevent the sting of salt water and resulting red eyes with swim googles.
- If you plan to extend your beach day into the early evening, be prepared for temperature drops and chilly winds.
- Pack a jacket for yourself and each child to stay cozy while you enjoy that beach bonfire!
7. Swim Diapers
- If you have a baby or toddler still in diapers, you’ll want to dress them in swim diapers at the beach. Your little swimmer will stay comfortable and clean. Brand we like: Little Swimmers at Huggies.com.
Be ready-for-anything by adding these safety items to your beach packing list.
Shopping Tip: Check out CVS, Target & Speedo for more swimming safety products to buy online.
8. First Aid Kit
- Whether it’s a burn, a cut from a shell, or a jellyfish sting … beach adventures sometimes require a little first aid care!
- Pack bandages, aloe vera, calamine lotion (for sunburns or itchy insect bites), and Neosporin.
9. Life Jackets or Arm Floaties
- Life jackets are a great choice for young kids who are still working on their swimming skills!
- Arm floaties can be a good swimming safety solution, as well, but first check the beach’s regulations to make sure they are allowed.
10. Backup Caretaker
- If you have several young kids (or your kids are bringing their friends!), consider either taking another adult with you or hiring a babysitter as a helper.
- As you know, kids love to run off on their own! To make sure each child is accounted for, you’ll want another pair of eyes and hands.
Beach Toys & Games
While splashing in the water and covering themselves with sand may just be enough to keep your children entertained all day, consider adding in a few of these favorite beach toys and activities!
Shopping Tip: Check out Toys “R” Us, Kmart & Walmart for more beach toys and game products to buy online.
11. Sand Toys S
- Popular items include: shovels, buckets, and sand castle molds.
12. Boogie Boards
- Great fun to surf the waves on a boogie board.
- When you have a light breeze why not try fly a kite on the beach.
- Feeling more energetic and want an activity to play on the beach with your kids or friends, try throw a frisbee.
- More advanced fun activity game to play on the beach is playing with a boomerang.
Beach Packing List Must-Haves
16. Beach Bag
- Make sure the bag is durable and provides enough space to hold all of your beach essentials.
- Best fabrics: mesh bags, canvas bags, and straw bags.
- Find beach bags of all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors at Target.
17. Portable Baby Changing Pad
- As a parent of a little baby, you are well aware of diaper changing emergencies! The same goes for the beach.
- Just in case there are no nearby bathrooms (or they don’t have changing tables in them), bring a portable changing pad.
18. Diaper Trash Bags
- Keep your beach lounging spot tidy and clean by disposing diapers in a trash bag.
19. Front or Back Child Carrying Pack or Sling Style
- If you have an infant and one of more older children to chase after, you’ll find a baby carrying backpack or sling to be incredibly convenient!
20. Small Plastic Bags for Valuables
- No one wants a sandy cell phone and wallet! Even worse, we’ve all experienced those sunblock explosions.
- To protect these valuables, put them in ziploc baggies.
- Many beaches have food stands with yummy treats the kids may enjoy (think ice cream sandwiches!). Often these only take cash.
- On that note, consider bringing quarters for parking meters.
Shopping Tip: Check out Whole Foods, Walgreens & Vitacost.com for more natural sunscreens and lotions needed for the beach.
22. Insect Repellent
- Unfortunately, many beaches attract pesky insects.
- In addition to insect repellent, consider bringing anti-itch creams and allergy medicine.
- Sunscreen is a very important item on our beach packing list, but many brands have toxic ingredients.
- Be sure to look for natural brands to protect your skin from the sun and harmful chemicals.
- Our favorite safe, natural brand for children (and adults!) is Badger Sunscreen.
24. Cleansing Wipes
- All this fun in the sun can rapidly turn into a mess!
- Bring cleansing wipes for a speedy way to clean up your kids before snack time.
- We like: Earth’s Best Toddler Wipes from Diapers.com, Seventh Generation Baby Wipes from Staples.com, Pampers Natural Clean Wipes from Walmart, and Burt’s Bee’s Baby Bee Chlorine – Free Wipes from Drugstore.com.
25. Hand sanitizer
- Gathering up all the kids for a journey to the beach bathroom can be tricky to pull off. Skip the hassle with hand sanitizer.
26. Lip Balm
- Long days enjoying the sun’s rays and the salty breeze can lead to seriously chapped lips.
- Choose a soothing lip balm with SPF to keep the children (and yourself) comfortable and protected.
27. Soothing Body Lotion
- Sunburn or not, your child’s skin will be dry and possibly irritated by day’s end.
- Choose a calming post-sun lotion with coconut oil and/or shea butter.
28. Beach Blankets
- While towels are a must, you might enjoy spreading out even more with a comfortable beach blanket.
- This is especially helpful when you’ve planned a picnic lunch!
29. Beach Chairs
- While kids most likely can go without these, why not treat yourself to a folding chair for extra comfort?
- Tip: Folding chairs make for easier eating if you are bringing food!
30. Beach Umbrella
- If you and/or your children burn or overheat easily, a beach umbrella is an excellent way to stay cool in the shade.
- If you can fit them, try bringing 1 or 2 extra backup towels.
- You’ll be glad to have a clean, dry spare when you see how covered in sand, water, and potato chips your little one’s towel is!
Food & Drinks
32. Cooler + Ice
- Keep your snacks, meals, and drinks cold and fresh with a cooler.
- Tip: a cooler with wheels makes for easy handling.
- Water bottles – every person should have his or her own water bottle. Busy beach days mean fast dehydration!
- Tip: Plastic water bottles leach harmful chemicals into your water. For a safe, clean option, choose reusable water bottles made of glass, like the Lifefactory Glass Bottle available at Amazon.
34. Beach Snacks
- Popular snacks include: grapes, apple slices, trail mix, watermelon, string cheese (keep in the cooler!), chocolate covered raisins, and carrot sticks.
35. Tupperware or Lunch Bags
- Avoid sandy food!
36. Paper Towels and/or Napkins
- Paper towels are easy and light to transport and environmentally friendly to throw in the bin at the beach after you’ve used them.
37. Plastic Cups
- Only needed if you plan to bring extra drinks in addition to your water.
38. Plastic Utensils
- Most likely unnecessary for snacks, but a must for meals.
Beach Packing List Misc. Accessories
On the chance you’re not overwhelmed quite yet, these extra accessories can be nice to have!
39. Soap/ Shampoo
- Heading somewhere straight from the beach? Clean everyone up at the beach shower.
40. Disposable Camera
- Yes, your cell phone is an option … but use it at your own risk! It’s all too easy to get grains of sand stuck inside.
- For a worry-free experience, choose a disposable camera. That way, you won’t stress if it’s damaged.
Now that you have a thorough beach packing list with absolutely everything you will ever need for those blissful beach days, make sure you also check our ways to save money when on vacation.
If you haven’t already, download our Giving Assistant Button, and we’ll make it even easier for you to automatically find the best prices online for buying all the beach packing products and supplies you need.
This way when you shop for your essential beach packing items you can save some money, plus, be able to donate to a worthy beach nonprofit like the Best Day Foundation if’d like too.