Travel Gear

Must Have Baby & Toddler Beach Essentials

Sand bucket on the beach in sand
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As we navigate our way through the end of a pandemic, most will vacation in areas within driving distance or our own backyards. There will be road trips with kids and long summer beach days. So, I thought I would share my list of must-have baby and toddler beach essentials.

The long summer beach days are what my family is looking forward to the most. My son had his first experience with a beach in Lisbon, Portugal. He was so amazed by the sand on his toes and the sand running through his hands. Since that vacation, his love for the beach has only grown and our must-have beach essentials for toddlers have grown even longer.

Like any other travel with a toddler, beach days come with their fair share of planning. Things to consider when planning for a beach day: check the weather forecast, the time you will spend at the beach, especially if older children are going (it’s hard to pull them away), will you pack lunches and snacks or will you eat at restaurants in the area?

You will learn what items are essential and what works best for your kids. Here’s my go-to list of things to take to the beach with a toddler and you can use this as a baby packing list for a beach vacation.  

Beach Essentials For Babies And Toddlers

Of course, the number one item on the list for beach essentials for toddlers is sunscreen. Yup, no matter how much more melanin you have 😉 It’s still important and very necessary to wear sunscreen, especially for the little ones.

My number one sunscreen of choice is Black Girl Sunscreen For Kids. It’s a fantastic moisturizer and blends in without white residue. It’s cruelty-free, vegan, and reef-safe. So many wins! You want to be sure to use a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 15, no need to go higher than 50.

BabyganicsThis is another great sunscreen option for toddlers, especially like mine with sensitive skin. It’s available in three options:

  • Spray
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen stick.

You can learn more about the importance and proper use of sunscreen from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

 What To Bring To The Beach With A Toddler

  • Sunscreen
  • Sunhat
  • Toddler life vest
  • Beach towel
  • Portable Fan
  • Beach blanket
  • Swim attire
  • Water shoes
  • Swim diapers or a travel toddler potty
  • Wet dry bags
  • Beach bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach chair
  • Sandals and extra clothes, top & bottoms
  • Food | Water cup | Juice
  • Wagon
  • Cooler

Beach Essentials For Baby

The on-the-go Baby Dome is a must-have when thinking about baby beach necessities.  The dome is portable and can be used for both indoor and outdoor use.  Great for protecting your little one from the sun while having some playtime and it also can be used for naps. The baby dome folds flat with a handle for carrying. 

Recommended usage is for 0-5 months.  

Baby Beach Tent- The portable baby beach tent comes with a mini pool that can be filled with water to keep the baby or your toddler cool. It’s a pop-up tent so there’s no assembly required, is lightweight, and comes with a carrying bag. 

The tent provides UPF 50 protection so it makes for the perfect baby and toddler beach essentials.

Family Beach Tent-  When thinking about family beach essentials consider bringing along a large beach tent the entire family can enjoy.

The Veer family tent can fit 2 adults, kids, and all your family beach accessories.

  • No assembly is required.
  • A pop-up tent.
  • Portable and lightweight.
  • 3 Windows
  • Comes with 8 stakes.
  • Storage bag.

Portable Baby Bed- There are so many positives to this travel bed. It can function as a portable travel bed, pop-up beach tent, or baby travel crib. Going to Nana’s house for some playtime? No problem! Headed to the beach or camping this is one of the best travel beds for babies to do just that.

Best Baby Swim Essentials

Mesh Baby Wrap-The baby water ring sling is a good baby carrier option if you wish to get your feet wet with the baby or if you have other kids to play on the beach with. 

This lightweight breathable baby carrier makes it easy to strap the baby in and enjoy your time at the beach. Be sure to practice how to use it at home before playing at the beach. 

The weight range for usage is 8 – 30 lbs.

Baby Pool Float- The last two items on my list of the best baby beach gear is a portable baby float that provides shade to keep your baby protected from the sun and toys.

  • Removable canopy
  • 3 point adjustable harness
  • Handles on each side.

Munchkin Play Toys– Add these float play toys to the baby beach tent or to a kiddie pool for some baby beach activities.

  • Toys are inside each bubble.
  • Great for sensory play.

These are my top beach must-haves for babies.

Red bucket in sand at the beach

Beach Accessories For Toddlers

Of course, swimsuits are toddler beach vacation essentials.  Most of us look for the cutest swimsuits for our kids or even matching mommy and me swim but what’s most important is protecting our children’s sensitive skin from the harshness of the sun. The best baby and toddler swimsuits that provide sun protection for toddlers at the beach are rash guards. 

You can purchase a one-piece or 2 piece set. Remember rash guards are made to fit snug so keep this in mind when deciding on size. I always size up for Joakim because I want him to be protected and comfortable. And as fast as children grow certain items I like to make sure it will last him a while.

Toddler Beach Wear

Simple Joys boys’ rash guard 2 piece set.

Lemon print girls’ 2 piece rash guard set.

  • Sizes -12 months – 5 T
  • UPF 50 + sun protection
  • Long sleeves
  • Drys quickly

Girls’ one-piece swimsuit

  • UPF 50+
  • Long sleeve one piece.
  • Made with zipper to the back.

Toddler Life Jacket- Water safety is incredibly important and while life jackets are certainly, a must-have baby and toddler beach essentials every parent needs to be aware and knowledgeable on the best life jacket for their child. You can read all about the U.S. Coast Guard recommendations on choosing the proper vest for your child here.

Swim diapers or an on-the-go potty 

Swim diapers are must-have beach essentials for kids. They are elastic around the waist and leg area, which provides a great fit for a baby or toddler. 

If your child is not potty trained, these swim diapers can hold in solids and they do not hold water so your baby won’t be swimming with a heavy diaper.

The bonus is these diapers are reusable!  

If your child is potty trained, 3 on the go potty options are the 3-in-1 fold-able portable toddler potty with a carrying bag, the OXO Tot 2-in-1 go potty with refill bags and a travel urinal are the best on the go potty choices for toddlers.

Having a potty is a necessary part of toddler beach essentials because when they have to go they gotta go!

Wet/Dry Bags- If you know me, you know we don’t leave home without wet dry bags. We were a cloth diaper family, and we quickly learned how much they come in handy. We used them for swim lessons, during potty training, dirty clothes, water parks, or on a beach vacation with our toddler.

Wet dry bags are must-have beach items for toddlers, especially at the beach or potty training.

Toddler Beach Sandals

Cat & Jack sandals are an inexpensive alternative to Birkenstock, ideal for summer play and style. After all the water play at the beach, you’ll need a dry and easy sandal to put on. The back heel strap makes it easy to get these sandals on.

Zion Sandals-  Another toddler sandal for boys is Cat & Jack Zion sandals.  These are also very easy to keep clean with a tap or two to get the sand out.  The Zion sandal is open-toe with velcro closure.

You can see our Zion sandals in my LTK shop.

Baby and Toddler Beach Hat

Another summer toddler beach essential are sun hats to protect babies’ and toddlers’ heads and faces from the sun. The Matisaurus straw toddler beach hat fits true to size, has a large brim with a chin strap and it’s pretty stylish. 

A more basic option is a bucket hat for sun protection.

Related: Road Trip With A Toddler

Toddler Beach Shoes

We’ve tried many water shoes. Apolter water shoes are currently our favorite. These non-slip water shoes for toddlers come in a variety of patterns.

  • Ergonomic design
  • Breathable material
  • Slides on like socks
  • Reasonable priced

You can see ours on my LTK page.

A second option with the same great features is the Store Of Baby water shoes.

Toddler Beach Chair

This travel booster seat is ready to travel with you and your toddler. It comes with a washable removable tray and a washable chair cover. It also functions as a portable high chair.  Great for having lunch at the beach with toddlers.

  • Ages 6 months to 3 years
  • One hand release buckle
  • 3 point safety harness
  • Carry bag with strap

Beach Towel

You certainly don’t have to go out and purchase a toddler beach towel but they are truly a better option for beach gear for toddlers than bringing along a regular bath towel although many do. The children’s hooded towel for the beach is a better option because of its absorbency, versatility, and its UPF 50+.

Best Beach Bag For Moms With Babies and Toddlers- The F- Color over-sized mesh bag is the perfect choice for moms headed to the beach with kids. This bag should be able to hold all of your beach stuff for kids.

  • Large inside space
  • Multiple extra pockets on the outside
  • Mesh material to prevent sand buildup
  • Lightweight

Portable Fan- The SkyGenius clip fan is one of our favorites because of its ease of use, it’s rechargeable and clips onto many different items such as strollers and tents. It comes with a replaceable and rechargeable battery. We’ve never actually used the battery; we charge the fan by USB source. It’s just more convenient.

WiHoo Portable Stroller Fan– The WiHoo is battery or USB powered as well. It has a flexible tripod design which makes it very versatile. You can stand it up or wrap it around a chair, stroller, or wherever you need it.

Whether a clip-on or a tripod, a fan is a beach must-have for toddlers.

Spray Bottle- If you are looking for some good toddler beach hacks or on any hot day, purchase a cheap spray bottle and fill it with water. Use it as a mist to keep your baby or toddler cool on hot summer days or while at the beach.

Toddler Beach Tent- Take a beach tent to protect your little one from the heat and they also make for a safe place to take a nap.

  • Easy and quick setup.
  • Can be used as a playpen or nap while at the beach.
  • Lightweight.

Beach Blanket- Sand-proof beach blanket can accommodate the entire family. It’s oversized, lightweight, and comes with stakes. The blanket is also waterproof.

Best Kids Wagon For The Beach- The Mack Daddy of all beach wagons for toddlers is the Veer All-Terrain Cruiser Stroller/ Wagon! This wagon is extremely durable and comes with all the bells and whistles. It’s certainly on the pricey side but worth the investment! It’s durable, multi-functional, and comes with lots of goodies. The Veer functions as a stroller and wagon.

  • You can push or pull the wagon.
  • Attach a car seat which makes this a must-have baby and toddler beach essential. Adopters for car seats fit many popular brands.
  • A removable snack and drink tray. Yup!
  • 3 Point harness
  • Storage nooks
  • Stows with ease

Related: Veer Wagon Review

Toddler Sunglasses- Who doesn’t love a fashionable toddler? Baby Banz sunglasses provide UVA and UVB sun protection for kids ages 0-2 years old.

  • A velcro strap to make sure your baby’s sunglasses remain in place.
  • One-year replacement guarantee if anything happens to the sunglasses.

Food/Juice/Water Cups- Two of our favorite toddler water bottles are the Yeti Rambler Jr. and the Hydro Flask for kids.

Best Beach Cooler With Wheels  

We always bring a cooler to the beach. I don’t know about your toddler but mine needs a lot of variety when it comes to food and snacks. One minute he wants apple slices and the next he wants a sandwich. So, for us bringing a cooler to the beach gives everyone a variety of options especially if you are making a long day of it with a toddler at the beach.

Coleman Portable Cooler with wheels keeps items cold for up to 5 days it’s capacity is up to 50 quarts. Comes with a handle, sturdy wheels, and cup holders on the lid. Another option is the Igloo Glide with wheels which has a capacity of up to 110 quarts.

Coolers are definitely beach essentials for a family to keep everyone happy when it comes to food and snacks.

Toy trucks in the sand at the beach

Toddler Beach Activities

Sand Bucket SetThis set comes with all the sand toddler beach toys your kids will need, including a see-through sprinkler bucket.

Water Blasters– One activity they will love for a summer beach day with kids is water blasters.  These are even a blast for just having fun in your own backyard. They will keep your children busy running around the entire time they are outdoors. They are very easy to use with a foam cover.

Beach Balls- Inflatable beach balls are beach vacation essentials for toddlers for endless amounts of play!

Kiddie Float- This toddler and baby beach float has a steering wheel that comes with a horn for sensory play and a shade canopy. And don’t forget a portable air pump. 🙂

All the toddler beach essentials you need to keep your kids active at the beach.

Tips: If you are a breastfeeding mom the Lekebaby breast milk cooler is an option to bring along to store your milk.

Compact Travel Bottle Warmer-  For the mamas traveling to the beach with a baby.  This Kiinde travel bottle warmer can be used for warming breastmilk, baby bottles, and baby food.

  • No batteries or electric outlets are needed.
  • Add hot water to the stainless steel cup and it will keep the water hot all day.

Here’s another beach hack for kids.  It took me having a kid to learn the wonders of bringing a bottle of baby powder to the beach to get the sand off. I promise it’s a must-have baby & toddler beach essential!

If your partner is anything like mine, having a portable handheld vacuum to clean up any extra sand after your beach vacation with kids is a great idea. It’s not a part of my list for toddler beach essentials but it’s a great one if you need to keep your car clean. LOL.

Related: Baby Essentials First 3 Months & Beyond

That’s it! I hope you find this list of must-have baby & toddler beach essentials and tips for kids at the beach helpful!

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