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Going to the beach with kids can be fun when you plan ahead and are prepared! Here is a list of my must have items when packing up for a day at the beach with kids!

What to pack:

  • Sun protection - I like babo botanicals spray and badger cream for my kids in addition to UPF hats and swim shirts
    • If your kid doesn't like having sunscreen applied, try using a makeup brush or sponge!
  • Shade - whether it's from an umbrella or a beach tent (we have this one and love it!), it's important to provide some sort of shade for your baby
  • Water play for baby - sometimes the ocean waves can be too much for a baby, so packing a safe place for them to play in the water is a great way to keep them happy, cool, and occupied! Try bringing an inflatable baby pool or dig a hole and line it with a splash pad or shower curtain!
  • A place for kids to nap - depending on how long you're staying at the beach and how old your child is, you may want to consider bringing something for your little one to nap in! I used this travel bassinet for Mila when we went to Florida (which is small enough to fit in a suitcase if you're traveling by plane), but you may need something bigger like this pop-up pack and play!
    • Depending on how far you have to walk and how soft the sand is, some strollers may be suitable for a quick beach nap, or you can pack your favorite baby carrier (my favorite is this ergobaby) and contact nap!
    • For super hot days, I like packing a portable fan to make sure my babies don't get too hot during naps.
    • A sound machine may not be necessary as the waves are soothing on their own, but just in case, I always like to bring a portable sound machine.
  • Baby powder or cornstarch to remove wet sand. I couldn't find good fragrance-free baby powder in a pinch before our recent beach trip so I packed cornstarch and it worked just as well! 
  • Activities - this is going to vary based on the age of your children, but for my girls (ages 2.5 and 8 months), I packed a huge tupperware bin full of sand toys like buckets, shovels and scoops, spray bottles, measuring cups and spoons, funnels, and sand castle molds to occupy Mila throughout the day. We ended up filling the tupperware bin full of water for her to play with at our tent and she loved it! If you don't already have sand toys, this pack has pretty much everything you would need! If you don't feel like buying anything, grab plastic bowls, spoons, measuring cups, and sifters from your kitchen!
    • For older kids, try packing a set of watercolor paints and paintbrushes! Go for a beach walk and collect shells, rocks, and sticks to bring back to your tent and paint! This kept Mila occupied for a long time!
    • Stacking cups are great for little babies to use in the water or on a beach blanket!
  • Life jackets - for your older kids, don't forget to pack their life jackets! Don't have one? Look for one that's Coast Guard approved!
  • Changing pad - for easy and sand free diaper changes
  • Dry clothes/swimsuit - if your little one doesn't like to stay in a wet swimsuit!
  • Trash bag - or plastic grocery bags for trash and wet clothes/swimsuits
  • Hand sanitizer - I love this kind!
  • Beach chairs
  • Beach blanket
  • Towels
  • Water

...and don't forget SNACKS!!

The night before we left for our trip to the beach, I prepped some healthy snacks that would stay fresh in the cooler throughout the day to grab and snack on whenever anyone was hungry!

Here are some healthy snack ideas:

  • Chia seed pudding (here's my favorite recipe)
  • Egg muffins are great if you're planning on having breakfast at the beach! I made some with bacon and cheese for Mila and some with spinach and feta for myself and we just ate them cold! Sounds weird, but they were delicious!
  • Hummus with various veggies for dipping
  • Guacamole with chips (we like siete brand)
  • Applesauce pouches
  • Yogurt cups (make your own or buy premade at the store - but watch for added unnecessary sugars if you do this!)
  • Fruit
  • Sandwiches or wraps
  • Trail mix/mixed nuts/granola
  • Pasta salad
  • Cheese and crackers

If nothing else, my biggest suggestion is to pack your patience and leave your schedule at home!

Beach days with kids look a lot different than they used to, but remember you are making precious memories and these days won't last forever!

About the Author

Hannah is a Certified Lactation Counselor located in Lancaster, PA, and a spouse and parent to two lovely daughters. Her passion lies in aiding women in achieving success on their breastfeeding journeys and raising awareness regarding the numerous benefits of breastfeeding. She knows firsthand the struggles of breastfeeding as a mother, which has fueled their desire to help others. Hannah provides personalized and compassionate care to families, whether they are expecting, new parents, or preparing to return to work.

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