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A beach trip is normally a family favorite as it allows everyone to sit back, relax, and enjoy nature. However, knowing which toddler beach essentials to bring is key. Below are my kid’s beach trip must-have items.
Toddler Beach Essentials: Sand-Free Beach vacation
1) Sand-Free Mat
A sand-free mat is a key beach essential for toddlers. When I say this mat was a game-changer….Geez-O-Pete! For my twin’s third birthday we celebrated at Siesta Beach in Sarasota on a very windy day and there was little to no sand on the mat.
The mat isn’t one of those that allow sand to fall through the mat, as there were mixed reviews on that kind. This one is basically made of material that doesn’t allow sand to “stick” to it. So you can simply wipe off any sand that gets on it.
Plus, it comes with anchors and pockets you can fill with sand to keep the mat in place on windy days.
➡️ Click here to purchase a sand-free mat ⬅️
By the way, not only is Sarasota home to some of the most beautiful beaches, there is also an endless list of kid-friendly activities. Check out my “Things to do in Sarasota with kids” post for ideas.
2) Mesh Beach Bag
The last thing you want when returning home from the beach is sand all over your belongings. A mesh beach bag is a beach essential for toddlers as it will allow the sand to fall directly through, keeping all of your belongings clean.
➡️ Click here to purchase a mesh beach bag ⬅️
3) Beach Chairs
If sitting directly in the sand or on a towel isn’t your thing, a beach chair is a beach essential for toddlers. Now, bringing a beach chair is pretty much impossible to pack for a flight.
However, if you’re driving, consider bringing them if you prefer not to lay on the beach mat or you don’t want to rent one. This compact chair can be carried rather comfortably.
➡️ Click here to purchase a compact chair ⬅️
Toddler Beach Essentials: Transporting Toddlers to and from the Beach
4) Collapsible Beach Wagon- A Toddler Beach Essential
Normally there is a pretty decent walk to get to the beach itself, even if you’re staying at beachfront lodging. The last thing you want is to have to wrangle a kid while your hands are full.
Trust me, a wagon is a beach essential for toddlers!
Make sure to get a wagon that is specifically made for the beach. These wagons have wheels large enough to maneuver through the sand. This wagon is similar to the one I purchased at Home Goods.
➡️ Click here to purchase a beach wagon ⬅️
Pro Tip: If your kiddo doesn’t want to walk, you can always put them in the wagon along with some of your stuff. It’s also a great way to transport them through the airport and other excursions.
5) Baby Wearing Carrier
If you’re traveling relatively light for your beach trip, and a wagon seems to be a bit much, then a baby-wearing carrier is the perfect beach essential for toddlers. It could be a great solution to get your baby or young toddler from the car or resort to the beach, hands-free.
➡️ Click here to purchase a baby-wearing carrier ⬅️
Toddler Beach Essentials: Sun Protection
6) Sun Hat
If there is one beach essential for toddlers and babies, it’s sun protection. One of the best ways to protect your little one’s precious face from the skin is with a hat. These UPF 50+ wide brim beach hats are a beach essential for toddlers. Another great option is this baseball-style UPF 50+ hat.
7) Portable Beach Tent
A UPF 50+ portable beach tent makes the packing list for beach vacations with kids because not only is it a great way to protect a baby’s skin, but it’s also a great way to keep the wind from blowing sand around you and your belongings. Thus, a beach essential for toddlers!
Plus, after a few hours of play in the sun, everybody will be scrambling for the shade!
➡️ Click here to purchase the UPF 50+ portable beach tent ⬅️
Polarized sunglasses with a strap is a great way to protect your little one’s eyes and ensure they’ll stay on her head. Plus, don’t kid’s look so cute when wearing sunglasses?!?!
Practical and cute! A beach essential for toddlers for sure!
➡️ Click here to purchase polarized toddler sunglasses with a strap ⬅️
Toddler Beach Essentials: Swim Gear
9) Life Jacket or Swim Vest- A Toddler Beach Essential
Luckily, they make life jackets with all kinds of popular characters. My boys have the Paw Patrol-themed life jackets and they love them. I bring them on every trip where we might go into the water.
10) Inflatable Float
An inflatable float can be an essential beach item for toddlers, but especially for babies. It’s a great way for them to explore the water without getting directly into it.
The only issue could be transporting it when flying. Thus, you may want to get it when you land unless you’re like me on our first trip to the beach and willing to bring the inflatable and pump in your luggage (not really recommended).
➡️ Click here to purchase an inflatable float ⬅️
11) Portable Shade Pool
If you think the idea of an inflatable float or pool is a good idea, but the execution is too much, a portable shade pool is a perfect beach essential for toddlers. It dubs as a kiddie pool and shaded cover that folds for easy transportation.
➡️ Click here to purchase a Portable Shade Pool ⬅️
12) Beach Towels
If you’re staying at a resort or vacation home, they will most likely provide beach towels so you don’t necessarily need to put them on your beach packing list.
However, when I take day trips to the beach, our toddler beach towels are a beach essential for toddlers. Some even convert into backpacks for easy transportation. And anything that makes traveling with kids easier is a win in my book!
➡️ Click here to purchase toddler beach towels ⬅️
13) Rash Guard
Rash guards are truly a beach essential for toddlers, and even babies. Swim Zip makes a great one that gives your little one UPF 50+ protection without any additional items. Plus they dry pretty quickly for the beach trips that you need to catch a flight or hit the road right after.
➡️ Click here to purchase Swim Zip ⬅️
14) Water Shoes
It may be wise to do a bit of research on the beach you’re planning to visit as some can be a bit rocky. Water shoes become a toddler beach essential as they help maximize comfort and fun at a rocky beach. If you don’t have water shoes, crocs are a great option as well as you can wear them on water and land.
15) Swim Diapers- A Toddler Beach Essential
Trust me, swim pants are a toddler beach essential, especially for babies.
The last thing you want is for your kiddo to be the one with a bubble butt because you forgot the swim pants. Let’s just say the material they use in regular disposable diapers swells in water and could swell to the point where it makes a giant, jelly-like mess. (I know from experience!)
If you choose reusable swim diapers, bring more than one pair in case your child has a bowel movement.
16) Swim Goggles
If your kiddo is sensitive to water in the eyes or you’re planning to visit a saltwater beach then swim goggles is a kid must-have beach item. This way baby and toddler can enjoy playing in the water without complaint.
➡️ Click here to purchase toddler swim goggles ⬅️
17) Change of Clothes
A day at the beach normally means you’ll get wet, sweaty, or full of sand. No matter which category you may fall in, the last thing you want is to bring any of the above back with you. Having a change of clothes, or a coverup at the minimum, gives you a bit of comfort for your return journey.
18) Wet Bag
It’s impossible to leave the beach without something getting wet or dirty. A wet bag is a simple and small family beach gear that can alleviate some potential frustrations of beach vacations with kids.
➡️ Click here to purchase a wet bag ⬅️
Toddler Beach Essentials: Beach Toiletries
19) Sunscreen- A Toddler Beach Essential
When planning a day in the sun, sunscreen is a beach essential for toddlers, and most definitely a baby.
I prefer mineral-based spray sunscreen for my beach vacations with kids. Blue Lizard makes a variety of sunscreens types.
➡️ Click here to purchase Blue Lizard Sunscreen ⬅️
20) Baby Powder
Yes, you read that right. Plain ole’ baby powder works wonders in getting sand off your skin. Here’s a great organic one.
➡️ Click here to purchase an organic baby powder ⬅️
21) Insect Repellent
On a hot day, going to the beach closer to sunset can be cooler and more comfortable, but around dusk is when the insects come out. If you choose to go around dusk, a natural, plant-based insect repellent is a toddler beach essential in order to protect your little one’s skin from insect bites.
➡️ Click here to purchase a natural, plant-based insect repellent ⬅️
Toddler Beach Essentials: Beach Beverages
22) Collapsible Insulated Tote
➡️ Click here to purchase a collapsible insulated tote ⬅️
Nothing is better than a cold beverage on a hot beach day. This is especially true for toddlers like mine who demand “ice-cold water.” If your kid is like mine, an insulated bag is a toddler beach essential.
Unlike a cooler which is impossible to pack in your luggage, a collapsible insulated tote will keep your beverages cold while not taking up too much space in your luggage.
23) Breastmilk Chiller
For the little ones who drink breast milk from a bottle, a portable breastmilk chiller is an essential beach item for a baby. This breastmilk chiller can keep 34 ounces of breastmilk cold for up to 20 hours.
➡️ Click here to purchase a portable breastmilk chiller ⬅️
Toddler Beach Essentials: Beach Entertainment
24) Collapsible Beach Toy Kit
As the kids get older, keeping them entertained at the beach becomes a bigger hurdle. This collapsible beach toy kit is a toddler beach must-have. It is an easy way to keep your toddler entertained at the beach for hours, without taking up a lot of space in your luggage.
➡️ Click here to purchase a collapsible beach toy kit ⬅️
25) Portable Waterproof Speaker
Nothing screams “good times” more than listening to music. Thanks to technology, waterproof speakers nowadays are rather compact and can easily fit in a diaper bag or backpack. This way everyone can listen to their favorite song while enjoying the beach.
➡️ Click here to purchase a waterproof, portable speaker ⬅️
General Beach Essentials for Toddlers
26) Portable, Rechargeable Fan
A portable, rechargeable fan can be a baby beach essential, especially if your little one is a bit sensitive to the heat of the sun. This is also a great fan for strollers.
➡️ Click here to purchase a portable, rechargeable fan ⬅️
27) Portable Potty
Beaches are notorious for not having readily available bathrooms. By the time your toddler tells you he has to go and you get to the potty, it may just be too late (this has happened to us before!)
A portable potty is an essential beach item for toddlers, even those who are potty trained. This allows them to potty quickly and get back to having a good time at the beach.
Keep this potty handy, as it’s useful on any trip with toddlers.
➡️ Click here to purchase a portable potty ⬅️
Final Thoughts: Beach Essentials for Toddlers
Overall, the toddler beach essentials that I recommended have made my beach trips with the twins much easier. But remember, every child is different.
As you’re preparing for your own trip, prioritize what you think you’ll actually use and enjoy, and don’t stress about the rest. Consider the items that will make your trip easier so you can focus on creating memories. At the end of the day, you’ll be laughing with your kids in the sun, sand, and beautiful ocean – and that’s what matters.