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14 Beach Day Must-Haves!

14 Beach Day Must-Haves!

Get ready for some summer fun in the sun with these 14 must-have beach day items!

I love taking my girls to the beach. We love to spend the entire day building sandcastles and dipping our toes in the sand. We enjoy trying to find crabs and minnows and walking out into water up to our shoulders and then riding the waves back to shore. The fresh air and salt water just scream summertime, and we look forward to warm days on the beach all year round. One of our favorite recent beach trips was to Galveston- read about it here! 

Preparing for a beach day has gotten easier as my kids have gotten older, although it is still a production! There are so many necessities we tote with us to ensure we are prepared to spend the entire day soaking up the sunshine. Here are our beach-day must-haves to make your day in the sun as fun (and relaxing!) as possible.  

21 Beach Day with Kids Must-Haves to Toss in your Beach Bag 

If you are heading to the beach with kids in tow, toss these must-have pieces in your beach bag to ensure your kids are entertained all day- and nobody comes home with a sunburn! 

  1. Sunscreen. This is a non-negotiable must-have at the beach. My kids prefer the spray kind because it’s faster to apply, but the lotion kind is fine, too. Just make sure it has an SPF of 50 or more and that you are reapplying it every 90 minutes or so. 
  2. A large beach umbrella or shade tent. These items are not easy to haul across the warm sand, but they are worth the hassle. You will be so glad you have an area all your own where you can go to escape the sometimes relentless summer sun! 
  3. Water shoes or flip flops. Flip flops are easy to kick on and off if you need to run to the restroom or to grab food or drink from a nearby stand or restaurant, and they are lightweight enough to toss in your beach bag. Water shoes are great to have when you are in the water to prevent pinched toes if the kids (or you!) accidentally step on a crab. Been there, done that… 
  4. A sun hat or sunglasses. Keep the sun out of your kiddo’s eyes and keep tiny heads from being burned by the summer sun. Plus, the glare from the sun bouncing off the water can be blinding! Sunglasses prevent everyone’s eyes from sun damage.  
  5. Beach towels or blankets. I always pack two towels per kids. One towel they can use to dry off on their multiple trips in and out of the water and the other one they can sit on. Once a wet towel has touched the sand, it is endlessly sandy, so I try to keep the towel they use on their bodies in my bag (and as un-sandy as possible!) at all times. Another great option would be a towel that resists sand. That’s on my list of things to purchase for this summer’s adventures! 
  6. Waterproof case for your phone. If you are hoping to snap a few great photos to remember your day at the beach, consider tossing your phone in a waterproof bag/case that hangs around your neck. Then your phone is always nearby and ready to snap those Insta-worthy shots but is still protected from potentially damaging elements such as water and sand.  
  7. Beach toys. Buckets, shovels, sand molds and sand sifters can all be purchased inexpensively and provide hours of fun for kids! I like to make sure I have at least one shovel and one bucket per child to prevent sibling squabbles during our fun day.  
  8. Beach chairs. These can be cumbersome to haul but nice to have, especially for adults. Sometimes sitting on the sand all day is rough on the bum! 
  9. A personal safe. These are generally not too expensive and fit nicely in a beach bag. I bring mine to water parks and beaches all the time and didn’t know I couldn’t live without it until two summers ago, when I no longer had to panic about someone stealing my wallet or fun while I was enjoying time in the water with my kids! 
  10. Floaties or life jackets. If you have young kids who still aren’t strong swimmers, a puddle jumper or life jacket is essential at the beach. The ocean can be unpredictable and it is important to be prepared. 
  11. Water, water, water! It is essential to stay hydrated in the hot summer sun. Toss as many bottles as you can in a cooler- either disposable or reusable- and make sure you and the kids drink up. Toss empty bottles back in the cooler to be recycled later.   
  12. Snacks. Kids are always hungry, so don’t forget snacks! Snacks that don’t require refrigeration are best- you don’t want anything melting in the sun! Crackers, granola bars, applesauce pouches, raisins and chips are all great beach-day snack options. 
  13. Baby wipes or wet wipes. Wet wipes come in handy at the beach to clean sandy hands before kids dig into snacks.  
  14. A wagon. Folding wagons are clutch when you are heading to the beach. Not only do they fold up compactly to fit in your car, they can haul all of your heavy items to and from your cozy spot on the beach!  

Beach Day with Kids Extras 

If you’ve squeezed all of your beach-day must haves into your straw bag and packed the kids in the car, you’re ready to hit the beach! If you’ve still got a little space left, consider adding these extra items to your beach bag for after you’ve had your fun in the sun! 

  • A change of clothes for everyone. It is easier to just pack cover-ups to toss on after a beach day and figure you’ll shower and change once you get home. It is nice, however, to have an extra outfit that is totally dry that kids can toss on in the event that you want to grab food or ice cream or make another stop before you head home. 
  • Swim shampoo and conditioner. I like to wash my girls’ hair as soon as I can after they’ve been in the water all day to prevent build-up of undesirable chemicals, pollutants and anything else icky. We have a couple of favorite summer-time shampoos you can read about here. 
  • After-sun lotion. Hopefully, you escaped your fun beach day without any backlash from the shining sun, but, if the kids (or you!) got a little too much exposure, consider packing after-sun lotion in your bag to cut down on the sting after the fact. 

Enjoy your day at the beach! 

About The Author

Stephanie Jarrett

Stephanie Jarrett is passionate about all things: family, parenting, travel, and budget-friendly tips. As a Texas-transplant and girl mom of three, she’s a resident expert for, Pearachute Kids, Hawaiian Falls, OKC Tourism Board, Livie & Luca, Mox Shoes, Arlington CVB, many more. When she isn’t on a road trip with her three girls, exploring museums, parks and more, she’s probably curled up on the couch with the latest NYT bestseller and a glass of red wine. Follow her adventures in Dallas/Fort Worth and beyond at

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