Top 10 things to bring on your next trip to the beach

by Jen on July 11, 2012 in 10 tips,beach,summer,water safety

kids playing at beach
Planning a trip to the beach? Not sure what to bring along to entertain the kids? Afraid that you might forget some critical item? Preparing to go anywhere with kids can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. We’ve put together a handy list of things to bring on your next trip to the beach.
Water
This one might seem pretty obvious, but you would be surprised how many times people find a perfect spot on the beach and then realize that they forgot to bring drinking water. There is nothing worse than having to pack up the beach gear and seek out a place to purchase water.
Shade 
sunhat on beach
How can you bring shade with you? Easily! Make sure the kids (and adults) all have hats on their heads. Bring along an umbrella – either the large kind that can stick in the sand on a long pole or a simple handheld umbrella. Some people even bring larger gazebo style tents…it just depends on the size of your group and the size of your beach bag.
Fruit
Playing out in the sun can make kids expend a lot of energy quickly. So, pack lots of fruit, an excellent source of water too. Bring along a cloth napkin and a knife to cut the fruit. Transporting whole fruit and then cutting it on site usually keeps the fruit fresher and less bruised.
Buckets
sand buckets on beach
Now that you are at the beach, how are you going to entertain the kids? Buckets! Buckets are a super versatile beach toy. They can be used to collect treasures, build sand castles or tote water.
Sketch pad and crayons
It never hurts to have a sketch pad and crayons on hand. When playtime in the water winds down and the kids are looking for some quiet play they can get creative. Sketch what they see on the beach, take rubbings of shells and rocks or write a story about their adventure at the beach.
Water squirters
water spray bottles

For whatever reason squirting water is a lot of fun for kids. While we usually bring our water squirters,  we now carry water spray bottles as well (thanks to a clever mom friend of mine). This is an inexpensive alternative to fancy water pistols. We picked ours up for about $2 each. Filled with water they make a fantastic toy for the beach.

Brown paper bag
This is another item we always have with us. A brown paper bag can fold up easily and be used to bring home all those rocks, shells, twigs, sand…you know “treasures” that kids discover at the beach.
Watch
watch

While it is possible to tell the time by looking at the location of the sun in the sky, it’s not very practical. A day at the beach can be fun, but too much time in the sun can be exhausting. Pace yourself and know your family’s limits.

Change
Ice cream, popsicles and freezies are just a few of the treats that your kids are going to want to enjoy at the beach. Pop some spare change into your change purse and be ready to cool the kids and make them smile.
Plenty of towels and a plastic bag
pile of towels

A towel to sit on, a towel to dry off with and a towel to clean up sandy kids with. You need as many towels as you can carry for a trip to the beach. The plastic bag is perfect for carrying home all those wet swimsuits and sandy towels.

A day at the beach is whatever you want it to be. If you dream of laying on a towel reading a book in peace, then go for it. However, if you have the kids with you then that dream may not come true. And while it is nice to think that our kids will be able to entertain themselves all day long, that might not be true either. A day at the beach is a great opportunity for a family to connect. Jump in the water, build a fortress in the sand or go on a beach scavenger hunt. Have fun, that’s what summertime is all about!
A few bonus tips
- don’t forget the sunblock for everyone in the family – nobody wants a post-beach day sunburn
- play safely near the water – know your kids (and your own) swimming abilities – if your children are not strong swimmers bring along a personal floatation device and they should always be WITHIN ARMS REACH
- most beaches have a system to communicate the water conditions – obey the signs and obey the lifeguards…if the sign says no swimming, please don’t swim
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dalhai July 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm

My toddler also loves a bubble wand at the beach. Last trip many kids came to play with our wand.

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Anonymous July 11, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Pack a small bottle of baby powder! It makes it soo easy to get sand off of legs and feet.

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stephaniegiese July 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

Love the squirt bottle idea! We also bring a small, inflatable baby pool for our toddlers so that they can play in the ocean water independently. Just blow it up when you get down to the beach and deflate it when you leave and it’s easy to carry with you. We fill it up by dumping a few buckets of ocean water inside and the kids will play for hours. Plus, you can move it under a shade tent or umbrella when the sun gets too hot for little ones to be out for very long.

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Anonymous July 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

And a camera preferably a waterproof one. To capture those unforgettable memories. :)

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JDaniel4's Mom July 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I love the squirt bottle idea! We need them for our beach trip!

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Anonymous August 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Don’t bring the plastic bags to the beach. It isn’t good if you were to accidently forgot it. Sea turtles tend to eat plastic bags and then died. Many beaches are now starting to post signs asking people to leave plastic bags at home or in the car. I always bring a plastic bag for the wet stuff but I leave it in the car and just pack everything up once we get to the car. It is a little bit harder with a two year but it works.

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