Ultimate All-Day MUST HAVE Beach Packing List for Families with Kids (Sources Included!)

July 1, 2013

(UPDATE: See my review of these listed items here) Brian and I and the girls are planning on going to the beach this weekend. As sort of a trial run we went to the lake on Saturday which has a sandy beach. It was kind of a bummer because the moment we got there the storm clouds came in and the rain started. All we had was a $5 umbrella and a tiny beach blanket. WHAT a mistake. But at least now I'm going to be prepared when we go to the 'actual' beach this weekend. Here's the "Everything-You-Could-Ever-Think-Of" list of things to bring to the beach as well as many things to help keep away the sand from your beach space. Now, this list isn't for your one hour beach stay. It's really best for an all day beach visit where you'll want all you could need without having to leave your spot.
1. Beach cart: Number ONE thing to have. Ideally the Wheeleez or Rolleez brand are best for the sand but they can be really expensive. You might be able to find a really good deal on Craigslist but the Rio brand on Amazon has some positive reviews too and are a lot cheaper. Some even have a place for your boogie boards.
2. Cooler with a handle and wheels: I like bringing a cooler with a handle and wheels because you can pack stuff on top of it just like another beach cart.
3. Beach canopy: I think this one by Lightspeed is great. It goes up in a minute with a quick pull system. It has a floor and is large enough for the whole family. It also has one permanent side wall and another removable one. Now, if you're looking for something to stand up in then this isn't for you but when you're at the beach the sun is EVERYWHERE. It's best to have something low to maximize the amount of shade. To help keep the sand out I'm going to add some removable velcro-attached weatherproof fabric from the floor to 5" up the poles. Also, I plan on adding a terry cloth material to the floor but you don't have to do that.
4. Auger Stakes: The beach canopy comes with stakes but those regular ones don't work well in the sand. To be on the safe side I'd get these auger stakes on Amazon. 4-Pack only $14. They have a spiral at the end to screw into the sand.
5. Giant duffle for stuff: If you have a beach cart without a mesh you should get one GIANT duffle bag to put all your foldable and small items in. Don't let each person have their own bag. It's just harder to stack everything on the cart that way.
6. Boogie boards: Put these on the back of your beach cart, standing tall.
7. Beach toys: Pail, shovel, frisbees
8: Portable potty seat: This is something to remember if you have toddlers. My youngest daughter Eloise WON'T go on a public toilet. And you don't want to walk ALL THE WAY to the public restrooms from your beach spot only to have a child refuse to do their business. I LOVE this Fisher Price 2 in 1 potty seat because you can use just the top to put over an adult toilet or use with the bottom if you are not close to a toilet. ALSO you can attach a regular grocery bag to the bottom and tie off their 'business' when done. Plus, it's really compact. Also, it's pretty cheap.
9. Beach towels: I usually bring one for each person and then a few extra because those towels get soaked pretty fast!
10. Pillows: Now, obviously pillows can get pretty sizable so don't go overboard. I usually bring two IKEA GRANAT pillows. They're just the right size and are really comfy.
11. Battery Operated Air Pump: You'll see why later. Get a small one like this one by Texas Instruments.
12. Tiny Blow Up Kiddie Pool: If you get a 'blow up' pool it won't take up much space in your packing gear. My BIGGEST irritation with the beach is when sand gets on my blanket or when the kids run into the canopy area with wet sandy feet and butts. You should keep a tiny blow up kidde pool next to the canopy so the kids (or anyone else) can wash their feet off in it before they get on the blanket. This one by Intex is only 34" wide and 10" high and $7.26 on Amazon. I also recommend using a lavette bottle to be able to get in hard to reach areas. PLUS, if you have an infant at the beach, it can be great to have a blow up kiddie pool. If you want to sit near your beach spot and relax, they can enjoy themselves without having to be supervised on the shore.
13. Baby powder: This is also great for getting sand off. See my review of how well it works here.
14. Beach table: It's always nice to have hard surface to eat off of. This product called "Table in a Bag" is great because it has a nice sized surface AND rolls up into a bag AND looks nice. It's pretty short only 16" high. It's a little pricey but Amazon is selling a used one in good condtion for only $37.73 free shipping.
15. Empty Wipe Bottle: This is a great disguise for keeping your wallet, keys and camera inside while you're enjoying the water. See my how-to here.
16. Ziplock baggies: You'll need the big freezer sized ones for seashells and other wet stuff.
17. Sunglasses for everyone: The beach is freakin' bright! I've found myself suffering at times because I forgot mine. The kids also need them. If they don't like sunglasses you can also use sun visors.
18. Beach chairs: The kind that collapse and pack into a bag. I like to bring at least two for the adults but if I can fit it, I like to bring some "kid sized" ones for the kids as well.
19. Twin sized cotton blanket: A nice cool white blanket is a really nice thing to have with kids. My youngest daughter Eloise will climb in the canopy and fall asleep on a pillow and a soft blanket.
20. Trash bags: There are hardly ever any trash cans on the beach within your beach spot. Bring a garbage bag and tie it to your canopy.
21. Waterproof case for iphone: I have something called a Lifeproof Case. It has worked really well for me so far. Just make sure all the seams are snapped shut! It's waterproof, sand proof, LIFEPROOF;-) I wouldn't take my phone onto the beach without it.
22. iPhone speakers: This isn't that necessary but it's nice to have. This one on Amazon by iHome is cheap, compact and it has really good reviews.
23. Mini grill and Lighter: This also isn't necessary but it IS nice to have hot food on the beach. You can go the briquet route or use propane instead. But I really kinda like this disposable grill that uses briquets. They're cheap and compact and you don't have to wash it or pack it back up when you're done.
24. Food, drinks, ice: If you're not using a grill pack bring some sandwiches. Also bring cold sodas and lots of ice. Water bottles! Snacks. Dried fruit. Chips, pretzels. Peanuts. Candy bars.
25. Arm floatees: Now, I don't really think many kids that are small enough to use floatees actually swim in the ocean but I always feel somewhat safer with them wearing some on the shoreline. It's a nice in between from a lifejacket and nothing at all.
26. Waterproof Spray SPF: Acutally you should put this on before you get to the beach but it's always nice to have incase it starts to wear off as the day goes on.
27. Book or magazines: David Sedaris just came out with a new book in April which I intend on reading this weekend. You should too!
28. Conditioner for hair: If I'm going to actually get IN the water I like to add a conditioner in my hair right before I go in. My hair is so coarse and gets really yucky at the beach without it. What I do with my kids is put their hair in Swedish braids which is just a braid on either side of the head then fold them over at top. Sort of like this but regular braids instead of fishtail braids. Bring a brush while you're at it.
29. Beach Cover Up: I love this DIY beach cover up.
30. Goggles: For the kiddies
31. Wipes and Dry Paper Towels: SO NECESSARY!
32. First Aid Kit: Including antacid tablets, anti-diarrheal medicine, antihistamine for allergies, bandages, pain reliever tablets of your choice and why not throw in some lip balm?!
33. Change of Clothes: This isn't really necessary but if you plan on going anywhere after the beach you might want to pack some dry undies, shirt and shorts.
34. Binoculars: If you are far from the shore and your kids are old enough to play on their own you might want to bring these to keep an eye on them from a far.
35. Cash: You might need to pay for parking or maybe there's a snack bar on the beach. Many places DON'T accept debit cards.
36. Hand sanitizor: There are some really yucky things on the beach.

Did I forget anything? Gosh, I hope not. That's a LOT of stuff. Let me know if you think I missed something and I can add it. I might have overlooked some of the smaller stuff.

5 {comments}:

BarbaraShowell said... Best Blogger Tips

WOW. I am the polar opposite, the woman who sits down at the beach on the scarf she had wrapped around her waist and if I have anything besides keys at all it fits in one little bitty bag- maybe a water, sunscreen, camera, cigarettes and a couple dollars if there's a concession stand. My kids were only allowed to bring what they could carry from age 3 or so. But I have gone with people who pack with you and it's nice if someone else is packing and dragging it.

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

We have a small portable water pump called hot jugz. we use it as a mini shower. They insulate and it kinda works like a bug spray pump.

Kristy said... Best Blogger Tips

I just happened to randomly come across this post, which was PERFECT!!! Because we leave for the New Jersey beach in one day! Thank you so much for reminding us to bring the potty seat! That would have been a disaster!

Lauren and Eddie said... Best Blogger Tips

I came across this list on Pinterest and I'm blown away. Are you camping at the beach? I don't understand why on earth you'd need all this "stuff." I'd say the cart, cooler, canopy, toys, towels, sunglasses, chairs, food, spf, wipes, and magazines would be my necessities. You're making 10 trips to the car! ;)

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@Lauren and EddieIt's meant to be a "comprehensive" list. I don't know if we brought "everything" but we definitely brought most of it. When we went you would be surprised. The beach cart and the cooler (with wheels) carried everything. I should have got a picture of that! So I got the cooler and he got the cart and we made it in one trip. Granted it's not the easiest walk I'll admit but if you have a good beach cart (like a wheelez or rollez) it makes it a lot easier!

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