Must Have Items For Your Next Beach Trip

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If you've been reading any of my earlier posts you know that we've been living at the beach for a month. We have a 1 year old and we've gone to the beach everyday that it hasn't been raining. I've gotten a lot of questions on how I've managed a toddler at the beach for a month, so I decided to post about what has worked and hasn't worked for us. I hope some of these tips help you out on your next beach trip with littles!

I've learned a lot about what you need and don't need to bring to the beach with a toddler. One of the main things I've learned, which I believe is a lesson that applies to more situations than the beach, is that toddlers really don't need as much stuff as you think.

It's easy to overpack, or forget something (especially me who is a very un-organized, non detailed person.) If you're the type of person that wants everything for every possible situation, this list might be too little for you. I'm just sharing the absolute "must have items" that we've used every time we visit the beach.

  • A QUALITY UMBRELLA or CABANA. I emphasize quality here because we learned the hard way by buying a cheap umbrella and it lasting about 3 days before it blew away. Also, it's such a pain to get it to stick in the ground so it's a huge help to get an anchor that you attach to it.


  • A CART. I often went to the beach with just Ellie because Ben was working. The amount of stuff I could bring with me was extremely limited. Sometimes I brought the stroller but that's a pain to push once you get on the sand. I would highly recommend a cart like this one. (Everyone seems to have one with babies.)
  • SMALL AMOUNT OF TOYS. I emphasize small here because I know it's tempting to bring the whole kitchen sink for your baby to play with but here's the hard truth.

If your toddler likes the sand then they will probably be entertained by the sand, shells, and a few toys. If they don't like the sand, no amount of toys is going to help that. (I've witnessed some epic meltdowns from other toddlers.) A sand mat or beach tent might be helpful in these situations.

For the entire month that we've been here the one item that has entertained Ellie the most on the beach is a water bottle. She takes the lid off, puts shells in the bottle, shakes it. It literally entertains her for hours. So don't bog yourself down with toys.

**This will probably change once she gets older and is able to do more stuff with the toys like build sand castles, but for now a water bottle is the most entertaining thing for her.

  • A QUALITY BEACH CHAIR. Again the word QUALITY. We've been through a few cheap ones already.
  • BABY POWDER AND SUNSCREEN. My babysitter was actually the one that told me about how baby powder is the best and easiest thing to use to get sand off of your baby. It's literally like magic. The sand comes right off. We use that after every beach trip.
  • WATER AND SNACKS. The type of snacks depends on your babies temperament. Ellie eats graham crackers with sand all of them, she's not picky. You may need to plan more in advance for snacks and put them in separate bags but we've always been just fine with a few graham crackers, fruit snacks, and sandwiches. 
  • LARGE TOTE AND TOWELS. This is kind of an obvious one but a large tote is a must for the beach!

This list may seem small to you, especially for a toddler. You might need to add things to the list depending on what your child wants/needs. But from my personal experience with a baby who loves the beach. she is almost always perfectly content to play in the sand and have a few snacks and water. 

Once I figured this out sometimes all I would bring with me is my beach bag and my baby because I didn't feel like lugging the cart and umbrella with me.

Have fun on your next beach trip! Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!