Best Tips For Taking Baby to the Beach in 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Teaching your new baby the beach bum life? Been there, done that! Here are my best tips for taking baby to the beach for the first time.

Whether you’re a seasoned beach bum or a newbie with a brand new little one, taking your baby to the beach for the first time can be both exciting and intimidating. You want them to have a fun and safe experience, but there’s also a lot to think about, from sun protection to keeping them cool and comfortable.

I’ve been where you are twice now. My first little beach buddy wasn’t introduced to beach life until he was 6 months old, while my second little guy was barely 2 months.

Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot through trial and error (mostly happily) about what works best for beach days with a baby.

Here are my best tips for taking baby to the beach, from my own experience and research.

Buuuttt – before I start with my tips, read over a few safety tips about taking an infant to the beach.

Safety First!

  • Avoid Peak Sun: The hottest part of the day is typically between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is the strongest. Aim for a morning or late afternoon beach visit.
  • Shade & Sunscreen: For babies under 6 months, minimize direct sunlight by sitting them under an umbrella or sunshade. If your baby is over 6 months, use a baby-safe sunscreen (SPF 30+) every two hours.
  • Cover baby up: Dress baby in loose-fitting, breathable clothing like a rashguard and a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Hydration: Increase baby’s fluids by 50% while at the beach. Offer cool water or a bottle frequently to regulate their body temperature.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Inspect the beach for sharp objects or debris before letting your baby play in the sand and be aware of the changing tides and currents if going in the water
  • Take breaks and head indoors if your baby seems overheated or fussy.

Key Takeaways

  • Sun safety is the most important aspect of taking baby to the beach. Umbrellas or sun shades, rashguards, and hats are needed. It’s best to avoid the hottest part of the day, 11am – 3pm. 
  • A beach day with baby requires some planning and extra packing – essentials like shade, liquids, and a comfy spot make the trip smoother. 
  • Keep baby hydrated throughout the day – offer plenty of fluids and use a spray bottle or cool washcloth to keep baby cool. 

Table of Contents

one of my best beach hacks for toddlers is to cover skin up as much as you can.

Beach Packing List for Babies

I’ll give it to you straight. You’re going to need to bring a lot of stuff if you want to spend more than a half hour at the beach.

The good news is that the older your little one gets, the less you’ll have to bring. But at this stage, you’ll need to be prepared. The list below is exhaustive so don’t bring anything you won’t actually use.

 

Sun Protection:

  • Baby-safe sunscreen (SPF 30+)
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Sandals
  • Breathable rashguard/bathing suit
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach tent or umbrella (if not provided at the beach) 

Hydration Station:

  • Water bottles or breastmilk
  • Spray bottle

For Comfort:

  • Swim diapers, diapers, wipes
  • Change of clothes
  • Blanket or fitted sheet
  • Baby powder (or cornstarch) 

For Your Spot:

  • Mesh beach bag or laundry basket to keep the sand out
  • Beach wagon
  • Portable fan
  • Cool bag for food and drinks
  • Towels
  • Plastic bags for wet and sandy clothes
  • Float
  • Beach toys to keep baby occupied

Tips for Baby’s First Beach Visit

Prioritize Shade

When spending a full day at the beach, prioritize shade. Check if the beach you’re going to offers cabanas, umbrellas, or shaded areas. If not, bring your own sun shade or umbrella.

For maximum sun protection for your baby:

  • Beach Umbrella:Provides shade while playing on the sand.
  • Beach Tent:Offers a cool, covered spot for naps or playtime, and can be a wind barrier as well.
  • Canopy Floats:Protect your little one from the sun while enjoying the water.

Time Your Day

  • For a happy beach experience, choose cooler mornings or evenings to avoid the harsh midday sun (typically 10 am – 4 pm).
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially on sensitive areas, and offer drinks regularly to stay hydrated.
  • And remember, baby’s schedule doesn’t stop because you’re at the beach— incorporate the usual nap schedule for a restful beach day (after some fun in the sun, they’ll probably be much easier to get down too!)

Cover Baby Up

  • Choose loose-fitting, long sleeve rashguards for skin protection. If you can find a UV protected rashguard, even better!
  • A wide-brimmed sun hat will protect their faces and beach sandals or water shoes protect tiny toes from hot sand and sharp objects.
  • Opt for a swim diaper instead of a regular one if taking baby into the water.

Keep Baby Cool

  • Like mentioned above, prioritize shade with umbrellas or tents.
  • Bring a spray bottle with cool water for misting them down. You can also use a washcloth that was soaked in cool water to pat them down.
  • Frequent sips of water, juice, milk, or formula are essential for hydration, especially on hot days.

Where to Put Baby

  • A small inflatable baby pool provides a cool, shaded spot for your little one to play. It’s also great for babies who are wary of sand and waves. Look for a pool with a built-in shade or position it under your beach umbrella.
  • If sand isn’t your baby’s thing, create a sand-free zone! Turn a fitted bedsheet upside down and prop the corners with bags or coolers to create a barrier. You can also find special sand-free mats that fold up for easy transport.
  • Invest in a water-resistant outdoor blanket or mat. This comfy spot is perfect for lounging on without getting covered in sand.
  • Consider a shallow, DIY pool! Dig a hole in the sand, line it with a shower curtain liner, and fill it with a bit of water. This is a great alternative to an inflatable pool and keeps your baby cool and contained.

Bring Drinks and Snacks

  • Pack enough food and drinks (especially water!) for everyone. Reusable ice packs or frozen ziplock bags of water can keep things chilled.
  • For babies who eat solids, pre-freeze fruits for a chilly treat.

 

Put Everything in a Wagon

Consider a beach wagon so you don’t have to carry the overflowing beach bags and cooler you’re bringing.

Many wagons even have built-in seating or car seat attachments for the kids. Here’s a list of my favorites for all budgets!

Find a Sunscreen Safe for Baby (6 mo+)

  • Look for mineral sunscreen: These sunscreens use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to physically block UVA and UVB rays. They are generally gentler on a baby’s sensitive skin.
  • Choose SPF 30 or higher: This provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Look for “water resistant” but not “waterproof”: “’Waterproof” labeling can be misleading. “Water resistant” indicates the sunscreen will stay effective for a certain amount of time after swimming or sweating.
  • Check the label for added ingredients: Avoid sunscreens with fragrances, oxybenzone, octinoxate, or avobenzone as these may irritate your baby’s skin.
  • Age range: Look for sunscreens specifically labeled for babies or infants. These will be formulated to be extra gentle.
  • Look for certifications: Consider sunscreens that are certified by organizations like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) or the National Skin Cancer Foundation. These organizations review sunscreens for safety and effectiveness.

Sand Removal Strategies

  • Baby Powder (or Cornstarch): While baby powder can be effective in removing sand from dry skin, it can get messy, especially when used on sweaty or wet areas. Here’s how to use it effectively:
    • Apply a small amount of baby powder (or cornstarch, a more natural alternative) to your hands.
    • Gently pat the powder onto your baby’s skin, focusing on areas with stuck-on sand.
    • Brush the powder off with your hands or a soft towel.
    • Be mindful of inhaling the powder, especially for babies. Consider applying it outdoors or away from your baby’s face.
  • Damp Washcloth: A damp washcloth is a versatile tool for cleaning up sand and messes at the beach.
    • Wet a washcloth with cool water.
    • Wipe your baby’s face and hands to remove sand and sticky sunscreen.
    • You can also use the damp washcloth to cool down your baby if they seem hot.
  • Mesh Beach Bag: A mesh beach bag allows sand to fall through, making it easier to clean up sandy toys and beach gear.
    • After a day of fun, simply shake out the mesh bag to remove most of the sand.
    • For stubborn sand trapped inside toys, you can use a damp washcloth or a small brush to remove it.

FAQs: Taking Baby to the Beach

What age can you take a baby to the beach?

There’s no single answer to this question as it depends on your specific baby. However, here’s a general guideline:

  • Under 6 months: It’s generally recommended to avoid direct sunlight with babies under 6 months. While the beach can still be enjoyable, focus on keeping them cool and shaded with an umbrella/sun shade, loose-fitting rashguard, and lots of liquids.
  • Over 6 months: Once your baby is past the 6-month mark, they can start enjoying the beach more directly. Sunscreen (SPF 30+) and protective swimwear are essential.

 


Can a baby be taken to the beach?

Absolutely! The beach can be a wonderful place to introduce your baby to new sights, sounds, and sensations. Just be sure to prioritize sun protection, hydration, and keeping them cool and comfortable.

 


What should baby wear to the beach?

Here’s what to pack for your little beach bum:

  • Sun Protection: A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are ideal.
  • Swimwear: Look for a loose-fitting rashguard or bathing suit, ideally with UPF protection.
  • Diapers and swim diapers: Pack plenty of both, and remember to dispose of diapers properly (look for designated waste bins).
  • Shoes (optional): Beach sandals or water shoes can protect tiny toes from hot sand and sharp objects.
one of the tips for taking baby to the beach for the first time is covering their skin up

Wrapping Up: Taking Baby to the Beach

With a little planning and these tips in your beach bag, you’re all set for a fun-filled beach adventure with your little one.  Sure, there might be a few meltdowns or unexpected diaper changes, but that’s all part of the adventure! 

By prioritizing shade, staying hydrated, and packing a few essentials, you can ensure your baby’s comfort and safety. Relax, embrace the mess (it washes off!), and focus on enjoying those precious moments together. 

So grab your swimsuit, pack your beach wagon, and get ready to introduce your little one to the magic of the beach!

taking baby to the beach requires some extra preparation but is totally worth it!
besa at beaches and babies
MEET BESA

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.

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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!

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

LODGING
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.

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

ACTIVITIES
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.