We live at the beach. We used to go every weekend, but it’s just so much effort to pack up everything you need for the day. And if you have kids, your beach day packing list grows a ton. Luckily for us, we have a pool in our community and just head down there on the weekends. That way, if we forget something, we can just run home to get it. My friend Michelle is brave and goes to the beach with her kids often during the summer. That means she’s basically a pro at deciding what to pack for a day at the beach with kids.
So to help us out, she worked with me to put together this list for anyone who is venturing out to the beach on these last days of summer.
A lot of the items on this list are the same as what to bring to the beach for a day if you were going as a single person or a couple. And there are a few item you may be able to cross off if your kids are older. But for the most part, this list works.
What To Pack For A Day At The Beach With Kids
To be honest, this what to pack for the beach list was difficult to put in order. I didn’t know how to prioritize, so instead, I just put the list in alphabetical order.
We won a small collapsible beach tent in a giveaway years ago, and I love it. It’s perfect for one adult or two kids. You pop it open and have instant shade. Plus, if one of your kids needs to go down for a nap, it’s a great place to put them.
A larger beach tent works great too. When we use to go to the beach with Pete’s family, someone would always bring a 10 x 10 pop up tent. That gives enough shade for the entire family to sit under, plus room for blankets for the kids to nap. Just be sure to check the town’s beach ordinance to see if you’re allowed to bring these tents. Some won’t allow it because they can blow in bad wind (which is why we always bring tent weights).
Don’t forget the blanket or the chairs, if you prefer those. And if you do, we love the Tommy Bahama backpack chairs with the pouch up top and cooler on the bottom. As long as you remember to bring a place for your kids to sit, they won’t be competing for your lap or your chair.
And yes, you should bring them their own place to sit. If you only bring one chair, they’ll be competing for it. So either bring them one chair each or bring them a large blanket so they can all sit on it together.
If your kid is young enough that he or she drinks from a bottle, don’t forget to pack the bottles. And if your kid still drinks milk (which even older kids do), pack extra milk in your cooler.
Just, of course, be sure to pack ice or ice packs in that cooler as well. It definitely can get hot on the beach and you don’t want to serve your kids warm milk and get them sick.
Change of clothes
Before you leave the beach, you want to change your kids into dry clothes. They’ll be happier on the ride home. But you can’t do that unless you remember to pack a change of clothes.
Bring them up to a shower (most beaches have them on the boardwalk), rinse off the sand, dry them off, then put on dry clothes. Don’t forget to pack dry undergarments for them too.
If your child is still in diapers, pack diapers. And pack swim diapers too. If your child isn’t still in diapers, you can skip these.
And, don’t forget to save one dry diaper for the way home. If not, your child will be going commando and you’ll be nervous for the entire drive.
If you’re not packing bottles, you still have to pack drinks. We have a one-gallon water bottle, and that’s perfect for the beach. Ours is stainless steel, so throwing in a couple ice cubes with the water keeps it cold all day long. I would definitely suggested getting a stainless steel water bottle versus a plastic one if you’re going to be keeping it outside, like at the beach.
If your kids can’t swim on their own yet, pack their life jackets. The last thing you want to worry about is your child running off into the ocean when you’re not looking. And, if they do, you want to make sure they have a life jacket on — and you want to make sure you run faster than they do.
Kids or no kids, bring snacks to the beach. And if you’re stumped on what to pack, we have a list of healthy beach snack ideas.
This should go without saying, but … be sure to clean up after yourself if you do bring snacks. Don’t leave peanut shells on the sand.
Don’t forget your sunglasses. And don’t forget pairs for the kids too because if you do, they’ll be stealing yours. And then it’ll be like you forgot yours.
Your kids will enjoy their beach day a lot more if they don’t get burned. So prevent that by remembering to pack your sunscreen.
Don’t just pack it, though. You actually have to remember to use that sunscreen too.
At the beach, you usually dry off so quickly that you don’t need to wipe down with a towel. But not always. Sometimes you need the towel to wipe off and sometimes you need it as a barrier between you and the sand blowing at you violently (you know what I mean).
And sometimes, if you’re me, you need to use the towel as a shawl. Because it’s 90 degrees out, but it’s also cold.
It’s better to overpack and have your kids not play with the toys then forget them at home and hear your kids say, “I’m bored” eight million times while you’re trying to read your book.
An umbrella is a great thing to have as long as it’s not a terribly windy day. If it is, that umbrella can blow all over the place. But on a less windy day, it will stick in the sand and give you some shade.
What else would you add to this what to pack for a day at the beach with kids packing list?