We all have so much kid gear, but there are specific items that will make your family beach day go much more smoothly with kids. Some are obvious essentials but others you only think about when you’re sitting on the beach wishing you’d brought it.

Here’s a list of very helpful items to bring for a fun and relaxed day on the beach with children.

Affiliate Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase something, I might receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend items I’d use myself or recommend to the friend sitting next to me.

Let’s get the super obvious ones out of the way first on our checklist…


Essentials for a Family Beach Day


1. Water, water, and more water – You could never bring enough in my opinion.


2. Sunscreen. Make sure to bring some for body and for face, if you prefer different types for each area.

Click here for the 2019 Consumer Reports list of the Best Sunscreens of 2019.


3. Towels. I usually bring at least one large beach towel for each person and for covering beach chairs.




4. Arm/Body Floaties for kids who need them to stay safe in the water.


5. Phone for pictures, safety and for music streaming, if you want that.


6. Sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection for everyone.

We used these when our kids were tinier to make sure the sunglasses would stay on their face. Since they’re adjustable, we used these for years, not just when they were babies.




7. Hats with extra coverage.

We use this one for the kids because it is SPF 50 rated and has a flap in the back to provide additional coverage to the back of the neck.

It also has an adjustable chin strap so the wind doesn’t take it away. We’ve even used this on boat trips and the extra wind still didn’t take it away!




8. Snacks (or a packed meal if you’re staying for a while).

Kids can never get enough snacks. I personally prefer bringing veggies and fruits since they’ll need as much water and water-based foods as possible to keep hydrated and cool.



More Big Beach Helpers for a Family Beach Day


9. A Cooler, with wheels

A decent-sized cooler for water and food will come in handy.  I prefer a rolling cooler, but this is just a preference.  When it’s hot, it can be uncomfortable to carry too many things, especially while watching kids.







10. Cover-ups for everyone.

We use rash guard cover-ups like these for the kids. They’re long-sleeved but you need all the sun protection you can get.  At first, it seemed these might get too hot, but as long as they stay wet from ocean play, they don’t seem too hot.

This comes in many colors. I prefer the lighter colors that better reflect the sun.




11. Face and body-misting bottle, like this one.

We have one of these in the car and in the fridge at home for hot days. Keep this in your cooler and you’ll be set to quickly cool off with a spritz!




12. A decent sized beach tent like this one.

Make sure yours has a mesh opening on all sides like this one to boost the airflow inside the tent. A tent can help with sun coverage when the umbrella just can’t quite block all the sun.

It can also serve as a play spot when the kids need a break from the sun. We use this one




13. A beach umbrella to protect from the sun when you want a little more airflow than the tent provides.

For this one, I recommend renting one on the beach, if you can, because those are usually more heavy duty and you might even have help drilling a hole deep enough to keep it in the sand.

On one recent beach trip, we saw at least 2 lightweight umbrellas with metal poles swept up in the breeze because they weren’t anchored well enough.  So, I recommend renting a heavy duty one if your beach offers it.


14. Beach chairs so you can sit or lounge under the umbrella, on the blanket or in the tent.

Often, to save the bulk, we’ll rent the chairs and umbrella since it’s sometimes offered by hotels and state parks. If you rent after a certain time of day, the rental is often half-price.

We recently did that at Henderson State Park in Destin, FL. We rented from a service and only paid $25 for 2 chairs and an umbrella since it was the afternoon; score!

If you’d like to bring your own, there are several options, but, if we ever bring our own, I’m totally getting this one for its spa-like open face rest, which allows you to lay face down and read a book below you!  And, I love that it has cushions and lies flat.




15. Fold-up Beach Table – great for parking next to your chair so drinks don’t get sandy.

This could also be used as a play/card table of sorts for the kids inside the tent. I can totally see my kids playing Uno on this table!




16. Beach blanket. We use one similar to this one.

We set this up in front of the tent so we have a place to sit on the sand but not get too sandy.  The sand easily wipes off of it.  




17. Plenty of beach toys like these




And if you want to take it to the next level …

18. Small kid-sized portable pool.

This is great for cooling off outside of the waves and for having a water play place near the family beach fort.

It also serves as a great source of water for those sand castle builds 🙂

All you need to do is dig a hole in the sand, plop it on top and then fill it with water using the waterproof carrying bag that comes with it.

Click image to learn more.




19. A beach cart to carry all of this in.

We use a beach cart similar to this one. It can fit umbrellas and comes with a small cooler bag. We usually just throw in the beach blanket, tent, sand toys and towels and then tow it on the beach.

Note:  If your beach doesn’t have a ramp, don’t use this. We’ve had to pick up the whole thing and carry it up many stairs, so just use it when you know there’s a ramp or there’s direct, non-stair access to the sand.

It will give you a workout to pull it through the sand, but it’s better than making several trips for beach chairs, beach toys, the umbrella, the towels, the cooler and on and on.




What are your must-have items for the beach? Please tell me all about them in the comment section below.



Affiliate Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on the link and purchase something, I might receive a commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend items I’d use myself or recommend to the friend sitting next to me.