The Essentials for a Beach Trip with Babies and Toddlers
Our CEO, Morgan, is sharing her list of essentials that you need for your next beach trip with babies and toddlers.
We survived our first beach trip as a family of 5!
Every year, we make the trip to Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast with one of my best friends from high school and her sweet family. Between us, we have 5 babies and toddlers aged 5 months, 1 year, 3 years, 4 years and 5 years. Every age bracket is covered!
Like every other millennial mom with an endless amount of information at our fingertips, we spend countless hours Google searching, social media polling and Amazon perusing before the trip to make sure we have everything we could possibly need. If something promises to “provide hours of entertainment”, be “a breeze to set up” or anything else that implies it will make a vacation with kids easier…we’re in.
And every year, we use about half of all the stuff we lugged down there.
Until this year!
With a few years of practice under our belts, we fine tuned our packing lists and nailed the packing game (and gained some trunk space)!
This was our thought process when planning what to bring for our babies and toddlers:
- Toddlers: Anticipate their groupthink tendencies and know that they will all want the same thing!
- 6-15 Months: Somewhat mobile and ready to go, go, go.
- 0-6 Months: Comfort is key.
- Adults: An efficient process to get to the beach…and a cooler.
The Essentials for a Beach Trip with Babies and Toddlers
- Veer Wagon | One of my all-time favorite kid products. At home, this is our double stroller. It is also the perfect beach wagon because it folds flat, can hold up to 170 lbs and its wheels roll easily over the sand.
- Backpack Cooler | It doesn’t take up room in the wagon and folds flat when empty.
- Umbrella Holder | Because who wants to get hit in the head or chase an errant umbrella down the beach?
- Stick Sunscreen | It just makes everyone’s lives easier. (Note: Do not use sunscreen on babies under 6 months!)
- Vaseline | Sand chafing for the little guys can be pretty brutal the first day or two!
- Chairs and Umbrellas | We end up buying cheap ones when we get there and just leave them for the next person. It ends up being cheaper than a beach service and, let’s be honest, we aren’t sitting down all that much anyways so grocery store chairs work just fine!
- Packable Waterproof Blanket | Sand shakes off easily and it rolls up for added portability.
- Sand Toys | Get an assortment of shovels, nets and buckets. If you have multiple toddlers, do yourself a favor and make sure there’s one of each type of toy for everyone. (Unless you want to listen to “I want Charlie’s shovel!” all day long.)
- Pro tip: Buy each toddler a set on Amazon and have them shipped to your destination. One less thing to pack!
- Individually Packaged Snacks | Is there an official name for the phenomenon that happens when kids hit the sand and become bottomless pits? Avoid an entire bag of snacks being ruined by sandy hands and bring individually packaged snacks.
- Pro tip: Make each toddler their own (identical) “snack bag”.
- Goggles | They’ll make looking for seashells and fish much more enjoyable for everyone!
- Scooters & Helmets | We had a short walk to the beach and our kids loved having their own sets of wheels to get them there. Scooter rides were also a great post-nap activity.
- Indoor, quiet-time activities | Bring a few activities that are new to your kids. Break these out when everyone needs a little downtime. These worked really well for us because our toddlers were able to do them (somewhat) independently:
- Craft Kit: This may have been the MVP of the trip. Individually packaged craft activities that come with everything you need.
- Simple puzzles
- Coloring: I’m a big fan of mess-free coloring, especially in a house that isn’t ours.
- Bead Kit: This one definitely required adult-supervision, but they had so much fun picking out beads and making bracelets with different words.
In my opinion, this is the most exhausting beach age. Everyone is ready for naptime after a morning at the beach with a 6-15 month old!
At the top end of this age range, you have the “tabys”. These kids are in that middle ground when they are not a baby anymore, but aren’t quite a toddler. “Tabys” are already, or close to, walking and just want to go, go, go! All they need are their two legs and they’re off…with lots of stumbles and mouths full of sand.
At the younger end of this age range are babies who are becoming mobile and want to feel like part of the group. Luckily, there are some genius devices that will help contain them, without them knowing they’re being contained.
- Pop N’ Go Portable Play Yard | We borrowed one for our trip and I admit that I was pretty skeptical about this new product that I had seen all over social media. Well, in this case, Instagram was reality! It really is just as small and effortless to put up as promised. It gives baby a space of their own with plenty of space to move around, with shade!
- KidCo Go Pod | A favorite of mine for years. It’s only 7 pounds, folds easily, has drink/snack holders and loops to attach toys. Babies get to stand and feel like they’re part of the group!
- Swim Diaper Hack | A disposable swim diaper followed by a reusable swim diaper. Ultimate protection, minimal mess. And always, always, always get the reusable swim diapers that snap at the sides. Trust me.
- Fisher Price Dome: I’ll never stop talking about this brilliant invention. One of my most-used baby products of all time.
- Stroller Fan: Bring 2 so that you can have one charging while the other is being used!
- Ergo 360 Carrier: My favorite carrier for once baby is over 12-15 lbs. It’s great for walking to, from and on the beach.
- Baby Bjorn Bouncer: Poppy loved sitting in this under the umbrella and watching the big kids play! It’s so lightweight, folds and the cover slips right off for easy cleaning.
I hope that our trials and errors will be helpful to you in planning your next family trip to the beach. And even if you forget a toy or your kid absolutely hates the sand and you spend your entire trip by the pool, know that you’re still making incredible family memories that will last a lifetime.
Also be sure to check out our Guide to Packing When Traveling with Babies and Toddlers for more tips to simplify your travel!
My last piece of advice? Book yourself an adults-only “vacation” for after your beach “trip” with your little ones to recover!