Summer wouldn’t be complete without its fair share of spontaneous family beach days or a family beach vacation. And while these outings can be tremendous fun and a source of joyous memories for years to come, the simple truth is you must plan ahead if you want to get these results.
To avoid unpleasant surprises on your day of beachy fun, it’s a good idea to write a list of things you’ll need beforehand. Divide this list into two — one with things you already have and one with things you need to purchase. Below, find some of our favorite family beach day must-haves to help you get your list started.
8 Items for an Enjoyable Family Beach Day
1. Anti-UV Beach Tent
If you’re planning on hitting the beach with kids of any age, an anti-UV beach tent is simply a must. Kids love playing around in the sand but can easily overdo it without proper planning. And if there’s one thing that ruins your fun day at the beach, it’s a sunburn, or worse, a sunstroke. You can easily avoid these issues by grabbing your very own lightweight anti-UV beach tent. Not only will it help provide you with shade when you need it, but some privacy too!
2. Beach Toys
There’s one thing you can’t deny about going to the beach with kids — toys will help to keep them entertained. Here are some of my favorite beach toys to bring for a family beach day.
3. Travel First Aid Kit
While you should never dwell on the worst that could happen, at the same time, you should always be prepared for it. Traveling with children can bring an endless stream of unpleasant surprises, from scrapes and bruises to mysteriously upset stomachs. Family beach days included! Having a travel first aid kit on hand filled with herbal remedies for common ailments is a must on any trip.
Here are some items I pack in my travel first aid kit.
- Electrolyte Salts
- All-purpose Salve Sticks
- Bug Repelling Oil
- Ginger Chews
- “Skin Quencher” After Sun Skin Cream
- Herbal Headache Tincture
4. Quick-Dry Towels
Since kids love getting in and out of the water, you’ll need something to dry them off quickly that dries quickly on its own. There’s nothing ickier than drying off with a damp beach towel.
My advice is don’t skimp on beach towels. Instead, opt for lightweight, quick-dry beach towels that won’t take up much space in your beach bag. Ideally, pick out different towel colors for each family member, so everyone knows which towel belongs to each person. It’s also a good idea to bring some extra towels along that are what I call “sand towels,” which are only used to wipe sand off of little feet!
5. Beach Cooler
Playing around in the sun can be exhausting, so staying hydrated and satiated is crucial for a family beach day. Make sure you pack plenty of water with some electrolyte salts, homemade electrolyte drinks, and some easy beach snacks in a handy beach cooler. Why handy? It keeps the water cool and helps maintain the freshness of the tasty, healthy snacks you bring.
6. Sandproof Beach Mat
Who doesn’t love plopping down on their beach mat to dry off after an exhausting swim session? The only thing that can ruin the experience is the grains of sand that get trapped in the beach towel and grate against your wet skin. Save yourself a load of trouble by packing a family-size sand-proof beach mat, instead of a regular one.
Pro tip: I lay a beach towel in front of the mat so my boys can wipe the sand from their feet before getting on the mat to lay down.
7. Mineral Sunscreen
For a family beach day, chances are you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the sun. And while the UV Beach Tent will provide you with some shade, it’s still a good idea to pack some storebought or homemade mineral sunscreen as well.
Wanna hear a pro tip? Do yourself a favor and apply the initial layer before you leave the house. Because, as every parent knows, a kid jumping up and down at the mere sight of water isn’t an easy sunscreen target. Applying it before you leave the house saves time, and possibly a nasty sunburn.
8. A Big Beach Bag
Lastly, step up your beach storage capacity with an extra large family beach bag. This nifty carrier has all the pockets and compartments you’ll need to bring along your favorite beach must-haves. I pack our towels, books, sunscreen, tent, and toys in here, and yes, it all fits! We even use this when packing for a lack day or a trip to a local waterpark!
So What About You?
Of course, what you bring along to your family beach day will vary from mine, but I hope this list of our beach must-haves has been helpful to you.