I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what to bring to the beach with toddlers for a successful family beach day and I wanted to share what’s been working for us!

Of course a family beach day for us is a lot like a family travel day in that we’re still at the mercy of two toddlers’ ever-changing moods, likes, and dislikes — and there are other helpful considerations like choosing a beach with a snack bar, restrooms, etc. (I share some family-friendly picks in the FAQ section at the bottom of my Nantucket guide!) — but this beach day packing list at least makes me feel a little more prepared so we can avoid the obvious pain points like too much sun or not enough snacks. I hope it’s helpful for some of you too!

P.S. I have to say I love how many of you have scooped up this stretchy swimsuit that I posted on Instagram last week that reminds me of Hunza G for a fraction ($59!) of the price — I really had no idea what size to get so I ordered a few options and I think the size 8 is going to get me all the way through the third trimester because of the stretch. I got the same size in the striped version and they’re both just cute and comfy and a great option to have in your closet whether you’re pregnant or not!

Our Family Beach Day Essentials

family beach day essentials

navy rash guard  //  periwinkle rash guard  //  striped beach tent

sand castle toys  //  spray sunscreen  //  sunscreen stick  //  toddler sunglasses

canvas tote  //  striped towels  //  light blue cooler

beach wagon  //  seersucker sun hat  //  baseball cap

1. Rash guards.

The more sun protection, the better. I like this affordable style from Target and this pretty color from Minnow.

2. Striped beach tent.

This thing is the best. It’s big enough for our family of four to sit and eat lunch in the shade and perfect if you can get your little ones to nap on the beach. It also folds up into a flat circle which takes a few tries to get the hang of. But this has been one of our summer MVPs for sure.

3. Sand toys.

We have an assortment of buckets, sand castle toys, shovels, and random trucks to keep our boys occupied — novelty is the name of the game with a one- and two-and-a-half-year-old!

4. Sunscreen.

We’ve been using this spray for their bodies and this stick for their faces, both of which are so easy to apply at home and reapply at the beach.

5. Sunglasses and sun hats.

These are admittedly hit or miss depending on the day, but these adorable toddler sunglasses, this seersucker sun hat, and these baseball caps are all in the rotation of things I try to keep on our boys’ heads throughout the day.

6. Beach wagon.

I was so happy when we realized this wagon would work on deep sand! We’d tried a couple others that were constantly getting stuck and more trouble than they were worth, but this one has rubber wheels that can make it through any terrain and is aesthetically pleasing to boot. We load this up with beach chairs, towels, snacks, etc. and it makes the trek from the car to the beach 100x more manageable (not quite enjoyable, but manageable!).

We also have a hodgepodge of old beach chairs at my parents’ house that could probably use some updating — would love any recs if there’s something you have and love! 

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