family at the beach

Remember the days when you could just decide to go to the beach? You would throw on your suit, grab a towel and head out the door. You’d lounge on the beach, reading and swimming and relaxing. Now you have kids. If you live near a beach, you either have this down to a fine art or gave up after your first disastrous try.

For parents planning a beach trip, there’s no room for error. Here is a list of things you need to make your family beach day go more smoothly:

  • Tent
  • Portable fan
  • Cooler
  • Snacks, drinks and food
  • Sunscreen and hats
  • Toys
  • Blankets and towels
  • Games
  • Radio
  • Wet wipes

Basic Beach Trip Supplies

Going to the beach with children requires a lot of gear and can be quite a production. So setting up a tent for shade with a fan to cool off can help ensure that you’ll be able to stay for the long haul. This Discovery Kids Girls Pop-Up Castle Play Tent makes for hours of fun, as well as a place to rest and nap.

Discovery Kids castle tent

Blankets and towels provide a little extra cushion and comfort. Kids can curl up in the shade with a breeze and rest and a nap if needed. This is also a lifesaver when your child suddenly announces they hate sand and the ocean. Macy’s has a collection of beautiful and sturdy beach towels, such as this Tommy Hilfiger lobster towel.

Tommy Hilfiger beach towel

Stocking a cooler full of drinks, snacks and lunch is the way to go. Trying to stick with stuff that doesn’t need to be refrigerated is a pain and tends to not be that satisfying. Being in the sun is draining, so a good sandwich will keep kids fueled.

Pro Tip: Before you dump ice in the cooler, put a plastic cereal container on the inside toward an edge and then dump your ice in. You’ll be able to tuck trash into the container where it will be contained and not getting stinky in the sun.

Bonus: At the end of the day, you can throw out the ice and put sandy towels into the cooler for a clean ride home.

Sun Protection

Protecting your kids from the elements and ensuring they don’t get a sunburn that makes them miserable for the rest of the vacation is important. Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+ is perfect for the whole family.

Shiseido SPF 50 lotion

Buying hats and swim suits with sun protection can keep kids comfy. Another good idea is to buy a suit with a matching long-sleeved top like this Osh Kosh girls’ coverup swimsuit or boys’ Osh Kosh Aloha Surf Club coverup suit. The top acts as a natural SPF.

Osh Kosh boys rash guard swimsuitOsh Kosh coverup swimsuit



Keep Them Busy

Entertainment is crucial. While you can go to the beach with a book and be happy, your kids’ needs may not be so simple. Bring a radio, beach toys, books, and fun-in-the-sand toys like this affordable Melissa and Doug Seahorse Sand Ice Cream Kit.

Melissa and Doug sand ice cream kit

And Don’t Forget…

Finally, and this may be the most important thing, take wet wipes AND paper towels AND a bottle of water. Wet wipes are good for almost everything — except cleaning sand out of the eye area. In this instance, pouring water on a paper towel and dabbing the eyes handles most issues.

You can carefully pack all of these things, plan games they can play, plan contingencies, and chances are you’ll still have a meltdown. So the best thing you can do is make plans and then roll with the punches. Or you could just get a babysitter…