Beach Day Packing List for Family Fun at the Beach (2023)

Looking for a beach day packing list?

So, it’s time to pack for the beach! So exciting. Obviously not as exciting as when you would go without kids, but nonetheless still a great feeling. 

After many unsuccessful attempts at beach days, either bringing too little or bringing too much, I’ve found just the right number of items to pack for a great family beach day.

So, take a look at my list below and plan out what to pack for your day at the beach with kids. This is an exhaustive list, so just bring what you’ll actually use. 

⚠️ In the market for toddler beach essentials?
Check out this list of my favorites plus my 10 best beach tips

a beach day packing list is essential in making sure you have a successful time!

Table of Contents

For Setting Up Your Spot

These are the essentials for a long, relaxing beach day.

  • Beach wagonthese are awesome. They’re not only for the beach either, you can also use them anywhere! If you’re traveling, try to rent one on for your beach trip.
  • Big beach bag—a mesh one is good so the sand can escape, and one with pockets is even better for compartmentalizing everything
  • Portable pop-up tent (if you’re flying), beach umbrella/canopy (if you’re driving). If you’re going to a beach that rents beach umbrellas, consider that instead.
  • Beach chairs—these toddler beach chairs are adorable! 
  • Beach blankets (try the sand proof ones) or fitted sheets to lay out on
  • Big beach towels to dry off or try this beach towel poncho for the kids
  • Portable fan—keep everyone cool with a small fan
  • Bug spray (bugs just LOVE kids!)

For Food and Drinks

You can never have enough snacks! Running around in the sun and water make the kids work up an appetite. Bring lots of different types and pack them separately for an easy grab.

  • Cooler—Consider a soft cooler instead of a hard one. They are great for traveling because they are light and collapsible, plus you’ll be able to utilize as much space as you need.
  • Drinks—water, juices, sodas for the adults
  • Insulated cups to keep water cool
  • Snacks—sandwiches (cut in quarters), fruits like grapes (try them frozen), watermelon, pineapple, veggies like carrots, string cheese, popcorn, pretzels, granola bars, crackers. Bring as much as you can- better to have too many than not enough. (Throw in some not so healthy treats too!)
  • Depending on kids ages: Breast milk/formula, cow milk with bottles/sippy cups (bring an extra just in case) 

For Kids Clothes and Shoes

The most important thing to remember about kids at the beach is to cover them up. Their skin (nothing worse than a sunburn on vacation!) and feet need protection.

  • Sunscreen—lather up as much as you can! Gotta protect that precious skin. 
  • Rash guardsbetter for sun protection and to keep them more comfortable if the water is a little chilly
  • Bathing suits—this girls swimsuit and this boys trunk set are both adorable
  • Baby sunhats—baby’s skin is so fair, cover them up as much as you can
  • Swim diapers—Instead of buying the cheap disposable ones, get the reusable ones! 
  • Water sandals protect those little feet from hot sand, rocks, or whatever else can appear in the sand.
  • Kids swim vest or floaties so they can have fun in the water
  • Extra pair of clothes for the drive/walk home 

For Sand Toys

A few toys will enhance the beach fun but don’t bring too many—you’ll have to carry everything there and back. 

And really, a bucket and a couple of shovels really does the trick. If you’re traveling, consider buying them at a convenience store or renting them from when you get there.

Baby toys: 

  • Inflatable pool (or dig a hole in the sand and put a bucket of water next to the baby for splashing),
  • Water floaty (so you don’t have to hold them in your arms in the water)
  • A floor seat (to keep baby in one place)

Toddler toys: 

And Some Extras...

  • Baby powder to remove sand (it’s magic!)
  • Plastic or garbage bags for trash, wet towels, and wet bathing suits
  • Wipes for cleaning off hands and faces
  • Potty training? Bring the potty.
  • Depending on kids ages: nap routine items; sound machine, comfort item, etc. (If you’re lucky enough to actually get a nap out of them, that is.

FAQs: Beach Day Packing List

What should I pack for a beach day trip?

The essential things to pack for a beach trip with kids are sunscreen, bathing suits, towels, water, snacks, and sand toys. 

But if you’re planning on staying for a while, consider bringing a few more items on my list above!


How not to overpack for a beach vacation?

The best way to not overpack is to prepare beforehand! Make a list of everything you will need and stick to it. 

Starting packing early to ensure everything fits and you aren’t rushing at the last minute.


How do you spend a full day at the beach?

The most important tip for spending the full day at the beach is to load up on the sunscreen and get in the shade. The sun can really fry your skin! 

Additionally, bring lots of snack and water to stay hydrated and full. 


Wrapping Up: Beach Day Packing List

It takes a little more planning, but beach days with the kids can be a blast. 

Remember to bring your inner kid too, mom and dad!… get out there and dig holes and play in the waves with them. 

Enjoy these silly beach days while you still have them.


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.

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

RENTAL CARS 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.