26 Baby Beach Essentials: Beach Gear + My Best Tips (2024)

Looking for baby beach essentials? You're in the right place! I visited the beach countless times when my boys were babies and I compiled a list of 26 essentials.

You’re heading to the beach with baby – maybe for the first time – and you’re wondering what the heck you should bring. 

My first time to the beach with my older son, I brought entirely too much stuff. I’m talking bags full of stuff I never used. (New moms, am I right…) Then on the flip side there were other times I thought I could “wing it” and I forgot a couple of key items. (So dumb.) 

What I learned, like everything in parenting, is that a little planning goes a long way. After I figured out everything that I actually needed for a beach day, I put it on my permanent beach packing list. 

Take a look below at 26 baby beach essentials that will make your family beach day a breeze. It’s an exhaustive list, so you probably won’t need everything so just pick what will work for you! 

All kids are different, so after a few times you’ll get in the groove and realize the essentials for your family. 

Key Takeaways

  • The first part of taking baby to the beach is preparation. Creating a packing list and sticking to it will work wonders. 
  • The most important baby beach essentials are sun protection, swim gear, food/drink, diapers and wipes, toys, and floats.
  •  Best beach tips are to skip mid-day, hydrate regularly, be aware of the beach conditions, and apply sunscreen routinely. 

Table of Contents

⚠️ Heading to the beach with baby for the first time? ⚠️
Check out these posts for everything you need to know:

Tips for Taking Baby to the Beach
Best Beach Hacks for Toddlers and Babies
Best Beach Wagons for the Sand
Sun Safety Tips for Baby

The Walk In

1. Beach Wagon

The ultimate beach ride! There’s room for 2 kids and all your gear. It has extra-wide beach tires for a smooth ride too. PLUS some wagons even come with car seat attachments. 

If you want to browse more of the best beach wagons, check out my full list here.

2. Mesh Beach Bag

A mesh beach bag is a great choice because it allows sand and water to drain out, keeping your gear dry and sand free.

This bag also has a variety of pockets to keep all of your gear organized and both a hand strap and shoulder strap.

For Your Spot

3. Oversized Beach Blanket

Comes in 3 different sizes and can fit up to 7 people-  but still fits in a small travel bag. Plus, it’s sand proof AND water resistant. 


4. Pop-up Tent

These small beach tents are great for the little ones that need a spot to nap or a break from the sun.

Comes with a carrying bag and folds up well- it fit in our luggage easily.

5. Beach Umbrella

Block out the sun and enjoy your beach day with a little bit of shade with this big umbrella.

It’s lightweight, easy to setup, and stays secure in the sand.

6. Portable Fan

This fan can be used everywhere! Beach umbrellas, tents, wagons, the stroller.

It comes with three speeds and the battery can last for a full day. 

For Baby to Sit

7. Mini Swimming Pool

Bring the water to you! Fill a small pool with ocean water and have your little one splash away in the shade.

8. Floor Seat

Keep your little one secure while their toes are in the sand. If they’re still not ready for a beach chair, this floor seat is perfect.

9. Splash Play Mat

If you don’t want the mini pool, this is a good option for water play. Add some water and let your baby splash around on this play mat. It comes with back support and shade too! 

For Food and Drink

9. Soft Cooler

Instead of lugging a huge cooler, this is great for snacks and some drinks for a beach day.

This one has a shoulder strap and many pockets.  

10. Insulated Water Bottle

Hydration is key when you’re at the beach and these insulated water bottles will keep water cool for longer, are spill proof, and have an easy hold.

They are perfect for all types of outdoor outings!

For Baby

11. Sunscreen

Gotta lather up! This sunscreen is SPF 50+, water resistant up to 80 minutes, reef friendly, free of harsh chemicals, and vegan.

It’s also easy to apply which reduces the time you’ll have to deal with a squirming toddler!

12. Sun Hat

Cover up as much skin as you can! A sun hat is essential to protect a baby’s face, ears, and neck from the sun.

This one is lightweight, breathable, and has a chin strap so it doesn’t fall off.

13. Rash Guard

Rash guards are key to protecting baby’s skin from the sun, bug bites, and scrapes or scratches.

This one is great quality, lightweight, dries fast, and comes in many different colors.

14. Swimsuit for Girls

If rash guards aren’t stylish enough for your girl, a long sleeve swimsuit is a great alternative!

This one will cover them up (just make sure to spray those legs!), it has UPF 50+ sun protection, a zip-up and snap closure to make sure it stays put, and it comes in adorable designs.  

15. Swim Trunks Set for Boys

If you’re looking for swim trunks and a rash guard, this one is adorable, has UPF 50+ sun protection, and has both an elastic waistband and tie up for a snug fit.

16. Water Sandals

Protect those little feet from hot sand, rocks, and whatever else can appear in the sand.

These sandals come with a rubber sole, breathable cutouts, and protects their toes.

For The Water

17. Reusable Swim Diaper

Instead of buying the cheap disposable swim diapers, these are well-made, absorb liquids really well, easy to clean, and it’s reusable. 

18. Waterproof Baby Carrier

This waterproof carrier will let you go into the water with baby while keeping your hands free.

19. Water Float

Perfect when you want to bring baby in the ocean or pool with you. 

My kids loved kicking their feet when they were in it. The shade is helpful too. 

20. Beach Towels

You can’t (or shouldn’t) get in the water if you don’t have a towel to dry you off! These beach towels are thick, huge, and they dry quick.

You can also get them in a colorful variety pack, so everyone gets their own color, or just stick to one color.  

21. Beach Towel Poncho

Not only are these ponchos so cute, but they are super soft and absorb water well.

They are literally the only way my little guys will actually keep a towel on to dry off too!

Sand Toys

22. Ice Cream Sand Toy Set

Bought it because I thought it was cute and now my boys fight over who can play with it.

It’s a HUGE hit and the pieces are well made.

23. Collapsible Sand Buckets

Great for travel, these buckets collapse and come with a mesh carrying bag. They’re great quality too. 

24. Sand Toy Truck Set

This tractor and dump truck are HUGE hits on the beach with kids. My kids can spend the whole afternoon playing with just this set!

They are also great for the sand box too, so you can get more use out of them.  


25. Waterproof Phone Pouch

Protect your phone from water AND sand, plus you can get some great underwater pictures!

26. Baby Powder

The trick to getting sand off at the end of the beach day.

Once skin is dry, throw some baby powder on it and rub the sand off. Try it, you’ll be amazed!

My Best Beach Tips​

After years of hitting the beach with my boys, I’ve put together my best tips to get you through the day. 

Skip mid-day

Try to beat the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm) and go before or after lunch/naptime. The UV rays are the strongest and it won’t end well with fragile skin. Going early in the morning will help you snag a good spot too! Going later in the day will give you cooler temps and less people.


Take sun breaks

Every 30-45 minutes, get out of the sun and sit under an umbrella or in the shade. In addition, consider rash guards (short or long sleeve swim shirts) to minimize the amount of skin that’s in the sun.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

Keep your baby hydrated by frequently offering water or nursing/bottles. Bring a water bottle for everyone (an insulated one would be best so it’ll stay cool longer). And if it’s possible, freeze water bottles the night before and leave them in the car or beach bag for after! 

Be aware of the beach conditions

Make sure to look at the beach flag warnings to ensure it’s safe to go into the water. Always supervise your toddler closely when they are in the water.

Red flag—high hazard: high surf and/or strong currents.

Yellow flag—medium hazard: moderate surf and currents.

Green flag—low hazard: calm conditions

Purple flag: dangerous marine life spotted

Bring different kinds of easy-to-eat snacks and pack them separately.

Dry snacks like crackers, goldfish, granola bars, and chips work great. Throw some cool snacks like sandwiches (in quarters or halves), fruits, veggies, yogurt pouches, cheese sticks, and some popsicles in a cooler. One sandy hand can ruin a whole bag of food, so pack everything separately, or have it individually wrapped.

Apply sunscreen routinely

Keep baby (and yourself) lathered up at all times! Give them their first coat before you even get to the beach. Use lotion, spray, stick, whatever you have. Set a timer to remember to lather them up again periodically, roughly every 2 hours. Try using a makeup brush or sponge to get it on their face!

Use baby powder to get sand off skin

This has been a secret beach trick for years! Rub it on dry arms and legs and the sand just wipes right off. Cornstarch works too. It’s magic!

Bring extra clothes for the drive/walk out

That wet swimsuit smell is gross! Plus, it’s just not comfortable or hygienic. Get everyone in a fresh set of clothes before you get going. Put the wet clothes in a wet bag away from the rest of your stuff.


Prepare for post-beach clean up

Soak a few paper towels in clean water and put them in a ziplock bag in the cooler. When you’re ready to leave, take them out to clean face and hands, and to cool baby down.

FAQs: Beach Essentials for Baby

What does a baby need for the beach?

  • Sun protection: Sunscreen specifically designed for babies, a wide-brimmed hat, and a beach tent or umbrella for shade.
  • Swim gear: A rashguard or swimsuit with sun protection, swim diapers, and a small beach towel.
  • Food/drink: Water, bottles/formula, a cooler with ice packs, and snacks.
  • Diapering supplies: Extra diapers and wipes.
  • Other essentials: Extra clothes, sand toys, water floats, and a fan to keep them cool.

Can you take a 2 month old to the beach?

While it’s generally safe to take a healthy 2-month-old to the beach for a short visit, it’s important to know that sunscreen isn’t recommended for babies under 6 months old. So, keeping them in the shade with a beach tent or umbrella is crucial.

What time is best to take baby to the beach?

The best time to take a baby to the beach is during the cooler parts of the day, early morning or later afternoon. This helps avoid the hottest part of the day (between 11am-3pm) when the sun is strongest and UV rays are most intense. Planning your beach trip around your baby’s nap times and feeding schedule can also make for a smoother experience.

Wrapping Up: Beach Essentials for Baby

There you have it! Now you are ready to tackle the beach with your little beach bum. 

With a little bit of panning and packing the right baby beach essentials, you’ll ensure the whole family will have a blast. So, pack up your beach bag and follow these tips, and you’ll be ready to have a fun day at the beach with your baby!

And if you need extra help, check these posts out: 

Tips for Taking Baby to the Beach
Best Beach Hacks for Toddlers and Babies
Best Beach Wagons for the Sand
Sun Safety Tips for Baby


besa at beaches and babies

Your Go-To Girl for Beach Travel

Hi! I’m Besa. I’ve always been a travel-loving beach bum… and then I had kids. Two boys, born 19 months apart. But I didn’t let that stop me. I still travel, even with a couple little boys in tow – and I want to help other parents like you do the same!

I’ll be sharing all my travel tips, beach hacks, and guides for some of my favorite family vacation beach spots.


Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Why Trust Beaches and Babies?

Besa has been a frequent traveler for almost 20 years, and the last five years of her travels have included her two toddler boys, 19 months apart.
Years of flying and beach bumming with her kids has given her plenty of hard-earned experience in the travel world.

Need Help Booking Your Trip?
Use My Favorite Resources!

Kayak searches hundreds of travel sites for the lowest prices plus the flexible calendar tells you which days are the cheapest to fly.

booking.com is easy to use and gives options for all types of lodging. When I know I want a big rental house, I use VRBO.

rentalcars.com scans multiple agencies at your destination to give you the best price.

Viator lets you search for a specific activity at your destination or scroll all available.

Read over my full list of the best sites to book with on my Resources page.