Nothing screams summer like a trip to the beach, and if you’ve ever been to the beach before, then you’ll know that packing can be stressful and somewhat of a nightmare.
To help make your packing experience that little bit easier, I’ve put together the ultimate family beach trip packing list to ensure you don’t forget any of those beach vacation necessities! There is also a free printable version of this Beach Checklist for Families for you at the end of this article. This will be useful for you whether planning a day trip to the beach or packing for a flight to a beach destination!
If you are are flying or driving to a hotel or other accommodation, check if they provide beach towels. Some higher end places also provide beach toys and floaties to borrow, saving you space in your case! Alternatively, use beach towels, swim diapers etc to pad out a stroller bag or car seat bag if you are checking it in – this offers some added protection to your items and some bonus items snuck in your baggage allowance.
Another top tip is make sure swimming costumes are in carry on luggage or easy to access, as when kids see the sea or pool, they want to get in immediately!
Water Safety At The Beach!
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Avoid blue, green and dark swimming suits on kids! These are harder to see in the water in case of any difficulties! Bright colours like red, pink and orange perform the best according to the Aqua Association. The image on their site shows the differences clearly!
Protective Sun Clothing and Other Accessories
Beach trip packing list for family essentials!
- Long sleeve rash guard – Long sleeve rash guards are the perfect way to protect your little ones’ skin from damaging UV rays Be sure to keep a lookout for those with UV50+ protection as these will protect their skin most effectively.
- Sun hat – Sunhats with neck protection are ideal for the beach, but if your little one won’t keep it on, then you can also opt for a hat with a neck strap to prevent it from falling or being thrown off.
- Sunglasses – Not only do kids look adorable in sunglasses, but they also protect their eyes and prevent any unwanted headaches. I highly recommended purchasing a sunglass strap along with the sunglasses to keep them with your little one at all times.
- Beach/Water shoes – You can find water shoes in most seaside stores, supermarkets, or on Amazon. They are extremely compact and are great for pebbly beaches or super hot sand.
- Swimming costumes – Swimming costumes are well-known beach attire so be sure to pack at least one per child and make sure it fits well and is comfortable.
- Swimsuit cover-up – Swimsuit cover-ups are great to throw on if you need to leave the beach for any reason. We personally love towel hoodies for kids as you can not only use them as a cover-up but also as a towel. Alternatively, a thin, quick-drying jumpsuit, kaftan, or kimono will work great too.
- Bucket and spade – When you think of beach toys, the first that springs to mind are a bucket and spade. If you’re visiting a seaside town, then buckets and spades will be readily available in most local shops, or you can order one on Amazon before your trip. If you are purchasing one before your trip, then there are even collapsable beach buckets to cut down on packing space.
- Water floaties – If your little ones are brave enough to take a dip in the ocean, then floaties are a must. These can be in the form of armbands or a rubber ring, and if you want to go all out, then you can also take along one of those giant inflatable animals or an inflatable raft.
- Water guns and blasters – There is no better way to burn off some steam than with a water fight. Water guns come in a range of sizes, and although it may seem like the most fun to take the biggest water guns possible, you also need to keep in mind that you need to carry all your stuff to and from the beach.
- Swimming goggles – If you’ve ever swum in the ocean, then you’ll know full well that salt water stings your eyes. Prevent any tears by packing water goggles for your little ones.
- Beach ball – Inflatable beach balls are a great toy to take to the beach as they can easily be blown up and deflated to fit compactly inside your bag.
- Bat and ball – A bat and ball is a fantastic beach activity that the whole family can get involved in.
Snacks and Drinks
- Cooler – If you plan on spending the entire day on the beach, then you’ll need to pack a cooler. After all, no one, and I mean no one, likes lukewarm drinks or snacks. Hardshell coolers are arguably the best at keeping drinks and snacks cold, but they can be heavy and bulky, especially when loaded up with liquids. Alternatively, a backpack cooler is easier if you don’t have a beach wagon. Add in some ice packs for extra refrigeration.
- Reusable water bottles – An insulated reusable water bottle is ideal for the beach as it’ll keep the contents cold, and it’s better for the environment.
- Plenty of water – You’re going to need plenty of water while at the beach, and I’ve found the best way to do so is by filling up a water gallon and refilling your reusable water bottle as and when you need to. Collapsable gallons are a great option because they can pack down when empty, making your trip back to your car far easier.
- Plates, cups, and cutlery – If you do plan on taking a picnic down to the beach with you, then it comes in handy to have some plastic plates and utensils to eat from/with. Reusable is even better!
- Snacks – Pack all your snacks into reusable containers to keep them fresh and out of sands reach. Fruit, vegetable sticks, squeezy yogurts, crisps, and nuts are all great beach snack options.
- Sandwiches – Sandwiches or wraps are a great packed lunch option when heading to the beach. You could also make a cold pasta salad or potato salad if sandwiches aren’t your thing.
- Suncream – Suncream is a must when leaving the house for any amount of time, and it is especially important when spending the entire day on the beach. Water-resistant sunscreens that are SPF 50+ should be applied every few hours for the best protection.
- SPF lip balm – Along with sunscreen for your body, you should also protect your lips by packing an SPF lip balm.
- Wipes – Wipes come in handy for a whole bunch of reasons, whether that be cleaning your hands before eating or nappy changes for little ones.
- Swim diapers and nappies – If you plan on taking your baby in the ocean, then be sure to pack and change them into a swim diaper. Normal nappies fill with water, weigh your baby down, and if they happen to explode, you’ve got a giant mess on your hands.
- Hand sanitizer – Another essential to clean away any germs before eating.
- Insect repellant – Bug bites are inevitable at the beach, so to prevent any unwanted itching, you should pack some form of insect repellant.
- First aid kit – Accidents happen, and it’s best to be prepared with a first aid kit to patch up any bumps, scraps, or scratches.
- Bio-degradable Soap – Many beaches have public showers that you can use to rinse off after your time on the sand. Packing environmentally friendly soap will save you from having to shower your little ones again when you get home.
- Aloe vera gel – Aloe vera is the holy grail if anyone in your party gets sunburnt. Of course, you want to prevent sunburn at all costs, but if it does unfortunately happen, you’ll have some aloe vera to save the day.
- Baby powder – If you’ve got wet sand on your hands, feet, arms, or anywhere for that matter, then apply some baby powder, rub the area, and the sand will come straight off.
Miscellaneous Things to Pack for the Beach
- Beach umbrella – A beach umbrella or a beach tent is the best way to provide your family with a little bit of shade while visiting the beach. This doesn’t mean that you can skip the sunscreen though, as many beach umbrellas aren’t fully UV protected. A beach wind break may also come in useful for your beach checklist if there is a slight wind on the day you’re visiting.
- Folding beach chairs – Folding beach chairs are great for adults as sitting on the sand all day with no back support isn’t the comfiest solution. They also make great spots to eat lunch as they prevent sand from getting anywhere near your food.
- Beach wagon/cart – A beach wagon cart is a necessity with all your stuff to bring to the beach. (Unless you want to make numerous trips to and from your car – trust me, you don’t!) A trolley will also work fine as long as you’re able to fit the majority of your family beach essentials on it.
- Picnic blanket – A large picnic blanket is great for relaxing or eating your lunch on. A big towel would also work fine depending on how many members are in your family.
- Napkins – Napkins or tissues go hand in with wet wipes to wipe off things like food residue.
- Bottle opener – This one only applies if you’re taking bottle cap drinks to the beach, so skip this if you don’t plan on it!
- Garbage bags or plastic bags – Whatever you take to the beach, you must take home with you, or at least to a bin close by. Garbage bags or plastic bags are the perfect solution to bundle up all your rubbish before leaving – an absolute must to add to your beach trip checklist.
- Hairbrush – Saltwater and hair equal one big knotty mess so pack a hairbrush and brush your hair out before leaving the beach.
- Towel – Whether you plan on swimming or just relaxing on the sand, a towel will dry you off or give you a comfortable and hopefully sand-free platform to lay on.
- Portable phone charger – If you’re on the beach all day, then you may need a portable phone charger. I personally love to take pictures of my kids on my phone so having a charger ensures my phone is never without power so it always makes my beach trip packing list!
- Stroller fan – If you have babies who are guaranteed to nap during your beach trip, then a stroller fan will cool them down and prevent them from getting too hot and restless.
- Camera and underwater camera – A camera is an alternative option to your phone so be sure it’s charged and ready to go before your beach trip.
Walking down to the waves constantly to cool off your little ones can be exhausting, so instead, take a kiddie pool and fill it with water. That way, they will be next to you at all times, and they have a safe and controlled area to splash around in. An inflatable kids pool works great for a hotel pool too and is the perfect addition to your beach vacation checklist when flying with babies and toddlers!
Fitted Bed Sheet
Sand is annoying, especially when you’re eating lunch or when you’ve just applied a fresh layer of SPF. When packing for the beach all you need is a fitted bed sheet to create a sand-free zone!
Roll your bed sheet out on the sand and place four heavy items in each of the four corners. Then, once you lift the sides up, you’ll have a large sand-free area that is perfect for babies to move around in. A great way to remove sand from your body after a day at the beach is talc!
Take a marker and note down on your sunscreen bottle the times you’ll need to reapply sunscreen to your little ones. Once you’ve reapplied, cross the time out! I’ve found it’s also handy to set a reminder or an alarm on your phone every two hours, so you don’t forget.
Also if your kids are more wriggly than an octopus, try the other sunscreen hack; use a make-up brush to apply sunscreen
Freeze Your Water Bottles
One of our beach vacation essentials. The easiest way to keep the water in your water bottles cold for a long period of time is to put them in the freezer the night before your beach trip. That way, when you pack them in the morning, the entire contents will be ice which will melt throughout the day.
Mesh Laundry Bag for Beach Toys
Don’t forget to add this to your beach day packing list! A mesh laundry bag not only keeps all your beach toys together in one place, but the holes in the bag also allow the sand on the toys to sift back out onto the beach as you walk back to the car or hotel room.
Bring a diaper or nappy and a bag. Wrap it up to look like its used and hide any valuables in it! Want to make it more realistic- add a bit of chocolate to melt around the side!
Beach Packing Tips and Tricks
Take a Large Beach Bag
I’ve found that it’s easier to take one large big bag as opposed to numerous small ones. If you don’t want to splash out on a new beach bag, then a reusable shopping bag will also work well as they can hold a large number of items, and they’re normally waterproof and easy to wipe down.
Place Big Items in Your Beach Trolley First
This one is common sense, but when loading up your beach cart, be sure to place your larger items like your cooler, water gallon, or beach tent in first, and then place all other items on top.
Put Important Items at the Top
When packing your beach bag, place your beach essentials at the very top, so you don’t need to unpack everything or rummage around in the bag to find them.
Pack the Day or Night Before
Don’t leave packing to the very last minute as you’re bound to forget something important. I personally like to pack and refer to my beach essentials list the day before, so if I’m missing anything crucial, I have time to go out and get it.
Use Talc Or Baby Powder
This helps remove sand off your body!
Condensed Family Beach Vacation Packing List
- Long sleeve rash guards
- Sun hat
- Beach/ water shoes
- Swimming costumes
- Swimsuit cover-up
- Collapsable beach buckets and spade
- Water floaties
- Water guns
- Swimming goggles
- Inflatable kids pool
- Beach ball
- Bat and ball
- Cooler or backpack cooler
- Insulated reusable water bottle
- Plastic plates, cups, and cutlery
- Plenty of water
- Resealable snacks
- Swim diapers and nappies
- Hand sanitizer
- Insect repellant
- First aid kit
- SPF lip balm
- Aloe vera gel
- Beach umbrella
- Folding beach chairs
- Beach wagon cart
- Picnic blanket
- Bottle opener
- Garbage bags or plastic bags
- Beach Towels
- Portable phone charger
- Stroller fan
- Camera and underwater camera
- Mesh laundry bag
PRINT THE KIDS BEACH ESSENTIALS PACKING LIST BY CLICKING ON THE IMAGE.
- More Packing Lists!
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