10 Beach Bag Essentials for a Trip With Kids

It can take a few trips to the beach with kids before you figure out exactly what it is you need to bring and what you can leave at home. We've gathered some great ideas to fill your bag and ensuring your seaside trip with little ones is a success.

May 17, 2018

Sandless Beach Tote

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The foundation of your seaside kit is a good beach bag. Avoid taking half of the beach home with you with a sandless tote like this one. When you're stuffing all your gear back into the bag at the end of the day, the sand you've gathered will sift itself down and out of the mesh bag. Give it a good shake or two and you'll guarantee the sand will stay at the beach where it belongs (and not end up in your trunk). BUY IT: Hammacher Schlemmer, $40

Sand-Free Beach Mat

Blankets and towels are just fine for a day at the beach, but if you want to rid yourself of the sand that inevitably accumulates when little ones are running on and off your spot, consider a sand-free mat. The weave allows sand and wind to pass through easily. It comes in summery prints and folds up small enough to fit into your bag. BUY IT: CGear, $55

Calendula Sunscreen

No day at the beach can begin without a good sunscreen for the little ones (and you, too!). This allergy-tested, broad-spectrum SPF 30+ formula from California Baby is a little bit on the pricey side, but you can rest easy that its high rating from EWG ensures that it's safe for kids and anyone with sensitive skin. Added bonus: The calendula scent is just delcious! BUY IT: California Baby, $20

Beach Sun Shade

Whether you're looking to keep your family's direct-sun time at a minimum or just want a spot to escape the heat for a bit, a sun shade is the way to go. Less obtrustive than a tent, and way more stable than an umbrella, this shade comes in loads of patterns and rolls up into a pouch small enough to sling over your shoulder or tuck in your big beach bag. BUY IT: Hollie and Harrie, $150

Customizable Sun Hat

It's hard enough to find a good beach hat for adults that keeps your face out of the sun and looks cute. But try to find one for your little ones and your style choices get awfully slim. This customizable straw hat comes in sizes from infant to 5+ and lets you get creative with a name, initials or a cute phrase on its brim. Fold it up and tuck it in your bag for all-day cuteness. BUY IT: Etsy, $39 and up

Flamingo Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a must-have for a day by the sea. Trying to keep them on your wee one is another story. However, if they've got a pair of shades that are as adorable as these flamingo ones, hopefully, they'll never want to take them off. They've got UV protection and fold up to slip into the side pocket of any beach bag. And at five bucks, if they get misplaced, it'll be no huge loss. BUY IT: Target, $5

Handtrux Shovels

No day at the beach is complete without digging in the sand. If your kiddo is bored with the standard bucket-and-shovel routine, they may love these Handtrux. Slip them on each hand, and your child instantly becomes a bulldozer capable of some major earth moving. You don't even have to put them away in the winter because they can dig in the snow, too! BUY IT: Uncommon Goods, $18

Waterproof Cell Phone Pouch

It's probably a given that you're going to take your cell phone to the beach. Having the luxury of phone access by the waves comes with the worry that it might end up wet—a death sentence for mobile phones. You can buy a lovely pouch like this, though, and keep out all the water and sand. Keep this small investment in your beach bag and save tons of heartache. BUY IT: Amazon, $9.99

Kid-Sized Beach Chair

Kids love to have things that are made just for them, beach chairs included. If your small fry is constantly snagging your lounger every time you get up from it, get them one that's sized just for them. Granted, it's not exactly going to fit inside your beach bag. It folds up, has a carrying strap and is small and lightweight enough to leave the carrying duties to the kid. BUY IT: SunnyLife, $36

Turtleback Drink Holders

This is the kind of small luxury that, while not technically necessary, can change your beach trip from slightly annoying to pure joy. Plant these little drink holders in the sand, and plop in your drink to protect it from the sand and accidental spills. They come in a range of bright colors and can even be used to keep things like keys and phones in an easy-to-find spot. You may even find yourself digging them out of your beach bag every time you're outside with a beverage! BUY IT: Amazon, $12.99 for four