toddler and some of his beach essentials - beach toys

Top 20 Toddler Beach Essentials in 2024

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Ultimate Packing List of Beach Necessities for Toddlers

Are you beachbound with little ones and looking for toddler beach essentials that will make your life easier? If that’s a resounding “yes!” then I’ve got you covered.

Because, well, planning a vacation with toddlers doesn’t always feel like a breeze. (As a mom of three, I can attest to that!)

Instead of looking forward to salty air, bright sunshine, and smooth ocean waves, you might be consumed with anxiety over the impending sandy pants, big feelings, and overtiredness — and perhaps feeling somewhat underprepared. 

Not to worry! All you need is some guidance in your preparations. I promise, it really is possible to have an enjoyable and memorable time at the beach with your toddler. 

toddler playing on the beach with text that reads: toddler beach trip essentials

Toddler Beach Essentials

One summer (when my husband and I had a toddler and an infant), we lived in a small cabin on the beach. Following, you’ll find a list of beach necessities that I’ve found will keep toddlers (and the rest of the family!) sane while on a beach vacay.

1. Portable Pop-Up Tent 

We all know that hot, cranky toddlers are not a whole lot of fun to be around. And that’s why an easy-to-transport beach tent is a must for a beach day!

Not only does it provide physical shade from the sun, but it also gives your child a mostly sand-free place to sit and enjoy their time. They can eat, play, and rest in their own designated area. 

This beach tent is quick and easy to set up, and it has a UV protective coating as well which helps protect your child from excessive sun. It also acts as a mini separate baby pool. 

Oh, and… You can actually fill the bottom with water for your kiddo to splash in!

2. Mesh Beach Bag 

Dragging lots of beach toys along? Then a mesh beach bag is a beach day must! 

You can totally use it to hold beach toys, and when they get older, it makes the perfect carrier for those seashell collections. The bag zips closed and is easy for little hands to navigate to save their previous beach treasures. 

3. Toy Set With Shovels 

Every beach-going kid needs a sand toy set. This set has a dump truck, shovels, sand molds, buckets, rakes, and more to keep the fun going all day long. 

It comes with a drawstring mesh bag to store all the toys in, making for easy cleanup and transportation from one place to another. 

4. Cooling Towel 

As we all know, the beach can tend to be a little, well, hot.

Having a cooling towel will make your hot beach day a lot more bearable for everyone. Simply soak it in water, wring it out, and snap it. This activates the cooling technology. 

You can put it on your toddler’s neck to bring their internal body temp down when overheated. Doing this will likely keep them comfortable and more interested, reducing the changes you’ll have to cut your beach trip short.

5. Portable Booster Seat/Highchair 

Eating at the beach can be a little on the messy side.

This travel booster seat with a tray, or one similar to it, provides a safer and cleaner place for children to eat or just sit and play in. 

The tray is dishwasher safe and the cover is machine washable which makes for easy cleanup after a day at the beach. It’s also collapsible and easy to travel with. 

6. Clip On Fan 

Afraid you don’t have enough ways to keep your toddler cool at the beach? Enter the portable fan.

A battery-operated portable fan keeps your child cool on a long hot beach day which may extend your time on the beach. 

It’s rechargeable and flexible so you can attach it wherever and however you want. 

7. Toddler Water Shoes 

A breathable outdoor sport shoe or water shoe is a definite essential for the beach. It stays on your toddler’s feet, making for stress-free exploration. 

They can get wet and splash and run and play in the ocean as well as the sand without them falling off or becoming disgusting. 

They’re easy to put on and remove, enabling your child to express their newfound independence. 

8. Snack Container 

What’s a beach day without snacks?! 

The GoBe Kids Snack Spinner is a great travel snack container because it’s easy for little hands to operate, it houses a variety of snacks, and it can also be fun to play with as your child clicks from snack to snack. 

No matter which specific snack container you get, make sure that it’s self-serve and limits the amount of sand that can get into it.

If you choose a multi-compartment snack container where your child has a variety of snack options, this will heighten their curiosity. 

9. Waterproof Bag 

A waterproof wet bag is great to have on hand anywhere you go because it’s multi-use! You never know if or when you’ll need one. 

Put a wet swimsuit in it, use it to store toys or snacks, put trash or diapers in it, anything you need! You can snap it onto a stroller handle, a bag handle, or anywhere you need it to be. 

10. Sun Hat 

Not only are sun hats super functional on a beach day, but they’re so adorable on little ones. 

Bucket hats or hats with shade and neck coverage provide physical shelter from excessive sun exposure, they’re adjustable, and assist in keeping them cool. 

Just be sure to choose a hat that’s comfortable and breathable for a day in the sun.

11. Life Vest or Puddle Jumper 

Any time you’re around water with your child, it’s a good idea to have a safety vest or device of some kind. 

Even if your child doesn’t want to swim in the ocean, it’s still smart to put them in a life vest or puddle jumper just in case. It serves as an additional layer of safety while at the beach and offers some peace of mind. 

12. Sand Proof Beach Blanket 

A sand-proof beach blanket provides a safe and clean place for your child to hang out, and it’s especially helpful for kids who do not like the feeling of sand. 

It’s lightweight and water-resistant, and the sand is easy to shake off. 

13. Cooler Tote Bag 

Having a cooler bag that zips closed is a beach essential whether your kids are with you or not! While sitting on the hot beach, you’ll be glad to have a cooler that keeps beach day meals and beverages cool. 

You can also put children’s gel ice packs in there and pull them out for your children to play with or use when they’re overheated. 

It has numerous pockets to accommodate your beach and swim equipment such as beach toys, goggles, and more. 

14. Child Beach Chair 

This Melissa & Doug folding chair has a cup holder, is collapsible, and is water-resistant. It also comes with a storage bag to put it in as you transport it. 

Having a beach chair can really make kids feel special and grown-up! And hopefully it will encourage some downtime. 

15. Sand Removal Bag 

This sand removal bag is a genius gadget for people who can’t stand the feeling of sand, and it can help get sand off of your child. 

Many young children don’t know what to think about the sand or actively dislike the sand, so this would be a great tool. 

This product can preemptively remove sand from their little hands before they start rubbing their eyes and getting sand all up in them (a parent’s worst nightmare!) 

16. Sunscreen Applicator 

There are many easy-application sunscreens out there, but if your favorite sunscreen (our is Green Screen!) is a little trickier to apply, consider a sunscreen applicator.

Having a refillable sunscreen applicator is super helpful when you’re on the beach — it allows you to reapply without getting so messy.

A sunscreen stick or brush-on powder sunscreen are also helpful applicators. 

If you’re unable to track one of these gadgets down in time for your trip (or if you don’t want them for whatever reason), you could always just use traditional sunscreen with a makeup brush to apply it to your child. 

17. Hooded Cape Cover-Up Towel 

A hooded cape towel works as a swimsuit coverup for your child and it will help them dry off the water after swimming. 

Because it won’t fall off your child, they can wear it and use it more independently if they want to, making your job easier. 

18. Rashguard Swimsuit 

Rashguard swimsuits provide physical sun protection for your child which is particularly helpful on days when you plan to be outdoors for the majority of the day. They’re also lightweight and breathable so your toddler doesn’t overheat. 

There are one-piece rashguard suits and two-piece rashguard bathing suits so you can order based on your and your child’s preferences. 

19. Swim Diaper 

If you expect that your toddler will want to get in the water, then having either disposable or cloth swimming diapers on hand is a must! 

20. Beach Cart or Wagon 

So, where are we going to put all of this stuff? Unless you plan to enlist your toddler in carrying their own beach gear (good luck!), then you may want to invest in something like a Collapsible Outdoor Utility Wagon

Having a cart or wagon will make it so much easier for your family to get to and from your beach spot. Even though they are a bit pricey, they can be used in so many ways outside of beach days.

Make it simpler with this easy way to transport your gear! 

Preparing for a Successful Beach Day

It’s a good idea to have realistic expectations and an optimistic mindset leading up to a beach vacation or a beach day with your toddler. 

It could be an overwhelming experience for them due to the elements, especially if it’s their first time or if it’s something they haven’t experienced much before. 

The key is to equip yourself with helpful products, useful gadgets, and lots of patience.

me holding my child as the sun sets on the beach

A few tips to prepare for a successful beach day:

  • Since you are such an influential figure in your child’s life, the energy you convey determines a lot about how the event will go. The calmer you are, the more relaxed they’ll be. 
  • Before you hit the beach, be sure to put sunscreen on your child around the time when you put their bathing suit on. That way, they’ll already have sun protection on when you get there and it can be instant playtime. 
  • Make sure you pack items for shade and to cool their body temperature, such as a hat, tent, ice packs, and more. 
  • Most importantly, pack more than enough water and hydration for your family! Dehydration can derail a beach day fast. 

Planning a day at the beach may seem like a lot of work, but it’s so worth it. The fun you’ll have together and the family memories made will make all of the preparation worthwhile. 

Your child may just need a little time to get used to the beach. If your beach day doesn’t go as planned, remember that it’s not a reflection on you or your efforts.

But I certainly hope you’ll enjoy your time at the beach together!

Read More: 

Outdoor Activities for the Family to Enjoy at Home This Summer

9 Fun and Easy Toddler Summer Birthday Party Ideas

50 Things to Do in Minnesota in the Summer

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