The ultimate guide to beach essentials for young kids {+ printable family packing list}

Raluca Loteanu July 22, 2017
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beach essentials for young kids

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If you are preparing for a holiday at the beach, this guide of beach essentials for young kids will give you a full list of items to include in your luggage!

Do you know that feeling you get when you know that a long-expected vacation is coming soon? I totally love that feeling of anticipation! I can already imagine myself at the destination, enjoying it! And this gives me a lot of positive energy before every vacation! What I like less is preparing for the holiday and packing everything! So I usually prepare the packing list in advance to make sure that I have everything at hand when I pack our luggage.

This way I can be sure that I have time to buy exactly the products that I want and that I won’t miss anything important. If you would like to do the same before your vacation, I’ve gathered here a guide to beach essentials that we used in the past years or we plan to use this year. Since we moved to California last year, we go often to the beach or to the pool, so we had the chance to test even more products to include in our beach bag.beach essentials for young kidsphoto credit featured image: Evgeny Atamanenko /

Here are our favorite ones!

Must-have items to pack


This year we started to use Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray but when Bogdan was a baby we used the Bioderma spray.

For our vacation, I plan to also pack the Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Stick Sunscreen. It seems very practical and easy to apply on skin!

Beach towels

You will need these unless you stay at a hotel that provides them you can. For young kids, I totally recommend the beach poncho instead of the towels for dry-off. It is really great because the child can run around with it. And it looks really cute too!


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Swim shoes

They are great especially if you go to a rocky beach or if there are a lot of small shells in the sand. We use it at the pool too because the pavement around it is very hot and Bogdan cannot walk barefoot on it.

Swim diapers / portable potty

If you have a baby or a toddler, you will need some swim diapers. We tried Disposable Swim Diapers and they were okay but usually, I preferred to use a combination between normal diapers on the beach and cloth swim diapers in the water.

Here are two models that we liked, both from iPlay, which was our favorite swimwear brand when Bogdan was a baby.

Trunks with Built-In Swim Diaper

Reusable Absorbent Swim Diaper

If your child is already potty trained, it can be useful to pack a portable potty (like this one).

Rash Guard

A rash guard is one of the most helpful items to include in your beach bag. It offers a great protection and it also looks really cute.

You can either combine a Swim Long Sleeve Rashguard with a swim diaper

or you can choose a Full Body Rash Guard (like this or this)

or you can choose a two-piece set (like this or this)

Safety floaties

We have tried several safety floaties and we don’t have a favorite one yet. Bogdan uses now a swim vest that is similar to this one but for our vacation, I plan to buy this Basic Life Jacket. I’ve heard positive feedback about it and we want to try it because it seems more practical.

Sun hat

When Bogdan was younger we loved the iPlay sun hats. They are cute and practical!

This year we chose a sun hat from another brand because they had bigger sizes. I hope that it will be as practical as the ones from iPlay.

Items for play

To be honest, I am not a big fan of bringing too many toys at the beach. I think that kids can entertain themselves very good when they have sand and water around.

So we usually only pack sand toys. Our favorite sand toys are the ones from Melissa and Doug. We have the Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set.But I also like the Cupcake Play Set

and the Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cookie-Baking Set.

Bogdan also enjoys playing with sand and construction vehicle toys so maybe will pack some of those too.

When he was a baby, he liked playing in the inflatable baby pool, so it could be a good choice if you have a baby who loves water.

Additional items

These items are not must-haves but can be good additions to your packing list. We don’t use them now but I know a lot of parents who use them and find them useful. So I have added them here in case you think you might need some of them.

Swim Goggles (Bogdan will probably start to use them soon)


Beach tent

Beach umbrella

Outdoor blanket

Beach ball

Beach chair for kids

Helpful tips

1. If you want to avoid bringing a lot of sand into the hotel room after a day at the beach you can use a Mesh Beach Bag. The sand falls right out and it keeps everything cleaner.

I like this one, but I’ve also discovered a more affordable one here.
2. One of the best tricks to remove sand from the skin to avoid taking it in the car and in the hotel room is to use baby powder. The powder absorbs moisture and the sand just brushes off the skin.

3. If you go to a crowded beach, it’s good to think about safety too. Kids can get lost easily and it’s good to take some precautionary measures. I’ve just discovered these Travel ID Bands that are waterproof and discrete and they seem a good choice for summer vacations.

4. Use zip-locks to pack clothes and important items in the beach bag. They keep things clean and more organized.

I hope that this list and the tips will help you prepare your vacation more easily and make the most of the time you’ll spend on the beach. At the end, I can only wish you a wonderful vacation with a lot of happy family moments!

Bonus: Download the printable family packing list

The printable file contains 4 lists: packing list for the baby, packing list for kids, packing list for mom, and packing list for dad.

To download the printable you just need to fill in the below form. This way you will join the Playful Notes community, so you’ll receive regular updates from us and you’ll have access to our full collection of printable resources.

If you are preparing for a family holiday at the beach, check out this guide of beach essentials for young kids! | Beach essentials for toddlers | Beach essentials for preschoolers | Beach essentials for babies | Packing list | Printable family packing list | Beach items for kids | Beach essentials for kids | Beach packing list

If you are preparing for a family holiday at the beach, check out this guide of beach essentials for young kids! | Beach essentials for toddlers | Beach essentials for preschoolers | Beach essentials for babies | Packing list | Printable family packing list | Beach items for kids | Beach essentials for kids | Beach packing list

photo credit featured image: Sunny studio /

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Raluca Loteanu

If you find yourself on this blog I invite you to discover us as the happy family we are, who look with optimism and joy at life. If you want to contact me, you can find me on email, I gladly respond to each message.

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