Looking for toddler beach essentials? You came to the right place. I’ve visited the beach countless times with my sons and I have compiled a list of 29 toddler beach essentials for you!
Going to the beach was my favorite thing to do before kids, and still is after I’ve had both of my boys (after years of practice).
The beach is an amazing place, but taking kids to it requires a lot of prepping and planning. It took me a few trips to get the hang of it, but now, it’s like clockwork!
I’ve put together my list of toddler beach essentials (with items either I or my friends own, so I know first-hand they’re good) plus my top ten toddler beach tips from my years of experience.
Since toddlers range from 1-3 years old, I’ve included items for the whole age range.
If this is your first trip to the beach with your toddler, don’t worry! As long as you prepare, it’ll be a great time. (And if it’s not, just leave and try again the next day, lol. Parent life, am I right?)
Ok let’s get started!
And if you need a packing list, check out my full beach day packing list here!
- With some preparation, a beach day with a toddler can be very fun!
- A few toddler beach essentials are sunscreen, a cooler full of water and snacks, rash guards, towels, shade, water floats, and sand toys.
- Key beach tips are to skip mid-day, hydrate regularly, be aware of the beach conditions, and apply sunscreen routinely.
Table of Contents
29 Toddler Beach Essentials
The catch phrase of not only Boy Scouts, but parents worldwide—always be prepared!
A beach day with a toddler can be so fun, but being prepared is a MUST.
With a little planning, you can ensure that everyone has a fun and safe time. Start off by reading over my packing list to get you ready.
FOR THE WALK IN:
1. Beach Wagon
The ultimate beach ride! There’s room for 2 kids plus all your gear. It has extra-wide beach tires for a smooth ride too.
2. Mesh Beach Bag
FOR SETTING UP YOUR SPOT:
3. Oversized Beach Blanket
4. Pop-up Tent
5. Beach Umbrella
6. Portable Fan
7. Mini Swimming Pool
8. Toddler Beach Chair
9. Floor Seat
FOR FOOD AND DRINK:
10. Soft Cooler
11. Insulated Water Bottle
TO PUT ON THE TODDLER:
13. Sun Hat
14. Rash Guard
15. Swimsuit for Girls
16. Swim Trunks Set for Boys
17. Water Sandals
FOR THE WATER:
18. Swim Vest
19. Reusable Swim Diaper
20. Waterproof Baby Carrier
21. Water Float
22. Beach Towels
23. Beach Towel Poncho
24. Ice Cream Sand Toy Set
25. Collapsible Sand Buckets
26. Sand Toy Truck Set
27. Waterproof Phone Pouch
28. Baby Powder
29. Travel Potty
My Top 10 Favorite Toddler Beach Tips
Toddlers love the beach, but it can be challenging to keep them entertained and safe.
You’ve bought all the gear, but what do you have to keep in mind during your time at the beach? What are you actually going to do while you’re there? How do you make sure everyone is safe?
After years of hitting the beach with my toddlers, I’ve put together my top ten best tips to get you through the day. And if you want my full list of beach hacks for toddlers and babies, check it out here!
Try to beat the hottest part of the day (12-3pm) 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 toddler hydrated by giving them plenty of water throughout the day. 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 those kids (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!
Dress toddlers in bright and/or the same color
If your toddler runs off or gets close to the water, it’ll be easier to find them if they stand out. It’s also easier to spot multiple kids if they’re in the same color.
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.
Put floaties on the bigger kids, even if they’re swimmers
You never know when a big wave will hit at the wrong time, so it’s just better to have the new swimmers in floaties or a life vest if they want to get in the water.
FAQs: Toddler Beach Essentials
How do I entertain my 2-year-old at the beach?
There is so much to do at the beach with a 2-year-old! A few of the most popular activities are:
- Play with sand toys: with just a bucket and shovel they can dig holes, build sandcastles, or collect water. You can also bring other fun toys like a watering can or trucks.
- Play in the sand: Digging holes, burying toys or each other, or building sandcastles and knocking them down are all fun sand activities.
- Splash in the water: Go to the shallow part of the water and start splashing or running in and out of small waves.
- Collect seashells: Walk around the beach and collect seashells in their bucket or a small bag. It’s fun to find seashells of different colors!
How long should a 2-year-old stay on the beach?
While you can certainly spend your whole day at the beach, a toddler should stay in the sun for about 45 minutes at a time. After 45 minutes, get in the shade for about 10-20 minutes before getting back into the sun.
Should a toddler wear a diaper at the beach?
Absolutely! The best diapers for the beach are reusable swim diapers. They’re better for the environment and they absorb water very well.
Wrapping Up: Toddler Beach Essentials
Toddlers love the beach! It’s a place where they can run, play with sand, splash in the water, and explore nature. But before heading to the beach with a toddler, you have to make sure to be prepared.
With a little bit of panning and packing the right toddler 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 toddler!